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Stuart Broad has become a part of folklore in this country and is a popular answer to quiz questions Getty Images (File Photo)

The name is Stuart Broad and Indian fans connect well with this name. At a time when text messaging was at its peak, the jokes on how this Stuart was little-d at Durban made rounds around the country. The name has become a part of folklore in this country and is a popular answer to quiz questions. It has nothing to do with his reputation as one of world cricket s best bowlers. How Sourav Ganguly trolled him in 2007 after smacking him for six following the verbal volleys is a YouTube hit but the icing on the cake that makes the name Stuart Broad immortal in India was all thanks to Yuvraj Singh s six sixes in an over. Full Cricket Scorecard: India vs England 1st Test at Rajkot

The lanky lad from Nottingham is no Malcolm Nash, Tilak Raj or Daan van Bunge. He has worked his way to 100 Tests well, almost. It will be a momentous occasion when he steps out at Rajkot to play the milestone Test against the No. 1 side in the world (provided he is picked, that is). The No. 1 bit transports us to 2011, when the then No. 1 ranked Indian side arrived on English shores and Broad annihilated them, snatching their No. 1 title and reinventing himself. Broad is much broader than his reputation in this country that does not fail to celebrate its glory moments.

Back in 2011, Broad had dismantled India with 25 wickets from 4 Tests at 13.84, becoming the first bowler to take a Test hat-trick against them. Yuvraj had shattered his confidence at Durban and four years later, he managed to do the same to the southpaw. Enough of bat swings; it was time for the ball to talk. India went down 0-4 in the series and Broad s heroics enabled England to lay their hands on the much-coveted Test mace.

Success

From that series till date, Broad stands Test cricket s most successful fast bowler; even if one includes spinners, he sits at No. 2, only behind Rangana Herath. Since Broad s renaissance in July 2011, here are the top five pacers.

Bowler M W Ave BB SR Econ 5WIs 10WMs
Stuart Broad 62 253 25.20 8/15 51.6 2.92 12 2
James Anderson 60 244 25.81 6/42 56.6 2.73 11 2
Dale Steyn 39 179 21.10 6/50 43.4 2.91 10 1
Trent Boult 46 168 29.56 6/40 59.6 2.97 5 1
Tim Southee 39 142 30.19 7/64 61.7 2.93 3 1

He will be without his partner-in-crime James Anderson for the Rajkot Test. While Anderson scores in terms of consistency like Wasim Akram, Broad is more like Waqar Younis, who can be in a zone for a spell or two and run through sides. His 8 for 15 at Trent Bridge in 2015 saw England decide the Test in its first session. More recently, his 6 for 17 at New Wanderers guided England to a series victory in South Africa. VVS Laxman: England need to play positive cricket against favourites India

Broad has a knack of going after quality wickets. He has dismissed AB de Villiers 10 times and Michael Clarke 11 times. And if you think relies on Anderson from the other end. He has played in 10 Tests without Anderson and has claimed 36 wickets at 25.72.

There is no contest between the two. Broad admits to playing a support role to Anderson, whom he considers the more potent threat. However, in the latter s absence, he is more than ready to step up.

I don’t think I have been a different bowler with Jimmy not in the side. With Jimmy I communicate really well with him, so it’s natural that we talk about conditions, talk about the ball, talk about reverse swing, new batsman coming in etc.

When Jimmy is not in the side, I find it a bit more forceful with the communication, make sure the bowling unit is sharing as much as possible because if you go quiet as a bowling unit, you are not working together. It is much harder to get those 10 wickets in an innings. You have to always share how you are seaming the ball, how you are swinging the ball, if the leg-cutters are working, show, which one gets the ball reversing quickly, bowl cross-seamers. I think our team has always taken for granted that Jimmy and I always talk. So, when Jimmy is not in the team, we make sure we are sharing information a lot more, said Broad ahead of the Rajkot Test.

Broad s numbers look impressive but in current context are misleading. Broad has played 14 out of his 99 Tests in the subcontinent, and has claimed 33 wickets at 38.36. Barring UAE he has failed to put up a good show elsewhere. He has played 3 Tests in India and has claimed 2 wickets at 145.50 and his economy has been over 3.8.

He wasn t fit during the 2012-13 India series and he was honest enough to admit, I probably shouldn t have played that series.

100th Test

In close to 140 years of Test cricket, Broad is set to be only the 65th cricketer to make an appearance in 100 Tests. He will be only the 10th specialist pacer to enter the club. The only other pacers to have played over 100 Tests are Courtney Walsh, Kapil Dev, Glenn McGrath, Chaminda Vaas, Anderson, Shaun Pollock, Wasim, Ian Botham and Makhaya Ntini. Broad is set to join this elite list. India vs England: DRS all you need to know about

“Yeah, obviously I am aware how special an achievement it is because of the players that have come before me. The amount they have given to English cricket, it’s a special cap to receive. Actually, I think, what excites me more is this 100th game being the start of a huge series for us as well. There is no bigger occasion than starting a series in India, against a No. 1 team in the world. It’s great to get a milestone being in such an important game because we know how vital it is to start these tours well,” Broad said about the momentous occasion.

The dearth of practice matches will hamper England s fortunes in this series as they usually prepare well for long tours. However they seemed to have done their homework on conditions and also the two-Test series in Bangladesh was helpful in getting acclimatized to the conditions.

England are hoping reverse-swing to play a role here and Broad s contribution will be massive. He has studied the Australian approach of 2004-05 that had led them to a series win. And the side also has taken leafs out from Anderson and Dale Steyn s book.

This SG ball, we are not really sure how quickly it will reverse or if it will reverse at all. The ground looks lush, there are no used pitches and we are not sure how dry the pitch will be. So we just have to react. We have had a meeting about it, we have talked about keeping the ball dry, keeping the ball away from the lush grass because it’s such a vital armoury for seam bowling. You look at teams that have come here and won Australia had Kasprowicz, Gillespie and McGrath, our last tour here with Jimmy I think he took 20 wickets. Steyn took 26 wickets here with a huge amount of reverse swing. It’s going to be our biggest armoury,” Broad added.

All-rounder

Not many remember that his counterattacking 64 in the second Test, at his home ground in Trent Bridge in 2011 that placed England in a commanding position. Broad averages close to 22 in Test cricket and has a hundred to his name. The lower order resistance from the Englishmen will be key as they will be up against the lethal likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

The countdown has begun for one of the most anticipated series in recent times. Broad s rich CV does not show exploits in India and here is his chance to rectify that. In Indian context, where he is a part of folklore for reasons unwanted, he will like to be the answer for a different quiz question: Who was the English bowler who dismantled India at home with 30 wickets in 5 Tests?

(Suvajit Mustafi consumes cricket for lunch, fiction for dinner and munches numerous other snacks throughout the day. Yes, a jack of several trades, all Suvajit dreamt of was being India s World Cup winning skipper but ended up being a sports writer, author, screenwriter, director, copywriter, graphic designer, sports marketer, strategist, entrepreneur, philosopher and traveller. Donning so many hats, it s cricket, which gives him the ultimate high and where he finds solace. He can be followed at @RibsGully [Twitter] and rivu7 [Facebook].)