England’s Stuart Broad has admitted that much of the criticism he received ahead of the team’s fourth Ashes Test was valid.
The bowler arrived in Melbourne with just five wickets in the series, but he and double-centurion Alastair Cook went on to belatedly kick-start their Ashes campaigns on day two at the MCG.
Broad burst into life with figures of four for 51 as Australia lost their last seven wickets for 67 to be bowled out for 327.
By day three, Broad made eight fours and a six from 63 balls to claim a half-century and give England a chance of victory over the last two days.
That win was not meant to be, however, as Australia closed out a draw to retain their 3-0 lead going into Sydney in the new year.
Writing in his Mail on Sunday column, Broad – who also claimed the wicket of Shaun Marsh on the stroke of lunch on day five – remained upbeat about his latest performance and described his time at the crease with Cook as a moment he will remember for “the rest of my life”.
“It was very satisfying, with five wickets and a 50 in this game, to show I can still perform at this level. I know I was criticised in the build-up by some ex-players, but I’ve stayed away from that,” he said.
Former Ashes-winning England captain Michael Vaughan was among those who questioned the lynchpin seamer’s place in the team.
But, Broad appeared to bear no grudges against Vaughan or anyone else paid to have a high-profile opinion.
He wrote: “I don’t take it personally. It’s part of the game. For instance, I’ve heard Michael Vaughan said a few things. but he was one of the first people to text me to say well done when I took wickets.
“I know he has a job to do in the media and it won’t ever stop me sharing a glass of red with him. I was on holiday with him for a couple of days before the Perth Test!
“The bottom line is much of the criticism of me was valid.”
Looking ahead to the final Test match next week, the 31-year-old said there was “no such thing as a dead rubber” and hopes to build on his confidence from Melbourne to “finish on a high” and claim the team’s first win of the series.
He wrote in the paper: “I’m now only two wickets away from 400 in Tests but I wish I’d already reached that landmark because that would have meant I’d had a more productive series.
“But it would be a lovely figure to reach in Sydney and beyond that I’m hoping for a big 2018 because, numbers-wise, this year hasn’t been the greatest for me.”
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