Famous for his three centuries in consecutive tests during the 1986/87 Ashes series in Australia, Brian Christopher Broad was a stalwart for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club for nearly a decade. Born 29 September 1957 in the district of Knowle in Bristol, the tall left-handed opening batsman made his first-class debut for Gloucestershire in 1979. After five seasons, in which he managed over 4800 runs and eight centuries, Broad joined Notts in 1984, and had his best season to date with 1549 runs at an average of 44. His main achievement however was being picked for the England test team to combat the might of the West Indies pace attack.
In need of a forthright opening batsman to face the likes of Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall, and Michael Holding, Broad first appeared in the Second test at Lord’s. Batting first, he crafted out an assured innings of 55 off 115 balls with nine fours, featuring in an opening partnership of 101 with Graeme Fowler. He finished the series with 195 runs at 24.37 in four tests, the Windies having won the 1984 series 5-0. Broad then hit his highest test score of 86 in a drawn game versus Sri Lanka at the end of the summer. In 1985 he accumulated 1786 first-class runs in 47 innings with a career-best knock of 171 playing Derbyshire. A successful run in the season’s NatWest Bank Trophy, saw him score 58 in the quarter-final and then 64 in the final as the county lost the decider by just one run.
Another fine season in 1986 with 1593 runs and six hundreds saw Broad picked for the illustrious Ashes tour down under. Notts had a reasonable summer coming fourth in the County Championship and third in the Sunday League, as well as reaching the quarter-final and semi-final of the two one-day competitions. Broad had a stellar time in the 40-over Sunday competition with 701 runs at 53.92 apiece. It was his time in Australia during the 1986/87 winter which propelled Broad into one of the best batsman in international cricket. After scoring an unbeaten 35 to help England chase down the winning target in the first test, he then hit 162 with 25 fours in the second game out of a total of 592 for 8 declared. He followed this up with 116 in the next game, and then 112 at Melbourne as England brilliantly retained the Ashes. He ended the series with 487 runs at an average of 69.57 in nine innings, becoming only the fourth English batsman to score three hundreds in consecutive tests against Australia. He formed a successful opening partnership with Bill Athey during the tour.
Returning back home to the English summer, Broad enjoyed his most successful season with the county, winning the County Championship and the NatWest Trophy competitions, despite breaking a thumb and struggling on the test arena against Pakistan. He produced five century first wicket partnerships with his opening partner for many years, Tim Robinson. The pair would go on to become one of the best opening batsmen for the county, sharing in 20 century partnerships at a Notts best average of 52.50, having started off their careers batting together with two hundred-plus stands in a match in their very first outing in 1984. He had knocks of 64, 67, and 65 in three successive innings in the Trophy competition, before the county beat Northamptonshire in the final. Broad was selected for the tour to Pakistan but in the very first test refused to walk after being dismissed before going on to make a century in the next match.
In January 1988 he notched his fourth test century against Australia, all overseas, before making his sixth and final hundred playing New Zealand a few days later. Again he was reprimanded after knocking over his stumps after being bowled against Australia. He went on to play four more times for England appearing in his final test in 1989. He had a record of 1661 runs in 25 games at an average of 39, with all six of his centuries having been made on tour. Broad struggled during the coming season before accumulating over 1500 runs with three centuries and ten fifties in the summer of 1989. There was success in the Benson & Hedges Cup with Broad compiling scores of 53, 78, 106, and 66 in the run-up to the final. He was one of the participants when an England XI embarked on a rebel tour to South Africa in 1989/90. He had his best season in 1990 with 2226 runs in 43 innings at an average of 54.29 with nine hundreds. He compiled his career-best individual innings of 227 not out against Kent, as well as scores of 180 versus Derbyshire, 140 playing Middlesex, and 156 against Worcestershire. The season next, 1991, was also a great success for Broad with the county winning the Refuge Assurance League 40-over competition and coming fourth in the County Championship.
He accumulated 1739 first-class runs at 49.68 per innings with five centuries and seven half-centuries. It was his run in the League however which really inspired with 635 runs at an average of 52.91. He formed a formidable opening partnership with Derek Randall (673 runs), and added scores of 100 not out, 108, 79 not out, 65, 76, and 73 not out along the way. Broad eventually moved back to Gloucestershire in 1993 before retiring a year later. After retiring, he became a match referee to adjudicate in test match and one-day international games. Broad was honoured recently by being elected as the President of Nottinghamshire CCC in 2023.
*Article provided by Hitesh Darji (Cricket Correspondent)
*Main image @TrentBridge Chris Broad in batting action for Nottinghamshire.