As an ex-England opening batsman, Ashes hero, and father to English cricket’s hottest property, Chris Broad has spent a lifetime steeped in cricket. Today, in his role as an ICC referee, he remains at the sharp end of the game.
How does officiating the game compare to playing it?
There’s nothing quite like playing but to still be involved in cricket is fantastic. The body told me enough was enough when I had to retire and move on to something new and I’m very grateful to still be involved in international cricket.
You had a reputation as a passionate and temperamental cricketer. Does your own career give you some perspective when it comes to the discipline of players?
I think that’s one of the reasons why I was given the job. I’ve been there and I understand international cricket. There are certain instances when players do get a bit hot under the collar but I’ve been doing this job now for six years and in the last few years I’ve seen less players in the capacity of indiscipline than I did when I first started. Players understand what they can and can’t get away with and there is no doubt it is improving.
You scored three centuries in England’s victorious 1986/87 Ashes. How does it feel to now be known as Stuart’s dad?
I’m getting used to it. It was a little strange when I was first introduced as Stuart Broad’s father but hey, he’s had an incredible rise to stardom and it’s always nice to be known in some way, shape or form, so Stuart Broad’s father will do. That’s fine.
What can be done to get more spectators to watch Test cricket?
I think exciting cricket is important to encourage people back and over the last 10 years the game has gone up a level. It is still vibrant in this country and the Ashes in Australia this winter will be massive. South Africa still produces a fair number of cricket watchers. It’s one of those games that unless you are brought up with it is very difficult to teach Test cricket because it is for the purists.
It was a little strange when I was first introduced as Stuart Broad’s father but hey, he’s had an incredible rise to stardom and it’s always nice to be known in some way, shape or form, so Stuart Broad’s father will do.
Can Twenty20 cricket help generate interest in the longer forms of the game?
Cricket is making a good amount of money through the one-day game and the Twenty20 revolution and of course we encourage Test cricket, it’s the game that cricketers want to play, but I don’t think it’s essential to play Test cricket in front of full houses. I think the Twenty20 game, the 50-over game and the Test game all work extremely well together. Some people were saying the 50-over game was dead. Sachin Tendulkar has just got the first ever double hundred in 50 over cricket. It’s not dead, it’s alive and kicking.
The ECB appeared to have gone cold on the referral system following the winter tour of South Africa. Can the ICC win back their support?
When anything new comes into the game there will be people who are a little bit reluctant to change. I don’t think we’ve got to the final embodiment of the review system but people are working hard to make sure that it is good for the game. I personally believe it is good for the game and most of the umpires and referees are very much in favour of the review system. I think the ECB need a bit more persuading than some of the other boards and it’s the job of the ICC to make sure that it is implemented properly and that all boards come back on board.
Allegations of corruption in cricket have surfaced again recently. How strong do you think the threat of corruption is to cricket and what can be done to prevent it?
I obviously can’t comment on specific cases because there are investigations going on but I know that our anti-corruption unit are leaders in their field and they are extremely keen to get the message out that corruption in cricket and in any sport is just not the way to go. It’s clearly not something that we encourage and we’ve just got to keep on top of it and get rid of it from sport.
Ball tampering has also hit the headlines in recent months. Is that something you routinely look out for as a match referee?
It is part and parcel of the game and it’s been going on for years. Some would say that shining a cricket ball is ball tampering. It’s disappointing that bowlers feel they need to do it but I think in recent times some of the pitches that cricket has been played on have been so flat that the bowlers feel they need a bit of assistance to get the ball to move. It will happen but it is illegal and wherever match officials think that something is going on it will be stamped upon.
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