Stuart Broad left ‘angry’ and England players check lottery tickets! The cricket quotes of 2020

The coronavirus pandemic may have reduced the amount of cricket played in 2020 – but there were still some cracking quotes from within the game from the likes of Stuart Broad, Shane Warne and Jason Holder…

STUART BROAD speaks candidly in the Sky Sports Cricket Player Zone after being left out of England’s first Test against West Indies…

“I’m not a particularly emotional person but I’ve found the last couple of days quite tough. To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement: you get disappointed if you drop your phone and break your screen. I’ve been frustrated, angry and gutted – because it’s quite a hard decision to understand. I’ve probably bowled the best I’ve ever bowled in the last couple of years.”

Getting to 700 Test wickets and another Ashes tour? JAMES ANDERSON is refusing to rule it out…

“Why not? I feel like I still have a lot to offer this team and as long as I feel like that I will keep on going. Joe Root has said he would like me to be in Australia. I don’t see any reason why I can’t be. I absolutely love playing Test cricket. There is no better feeling than putting the boots on, going out there and doing what I love doing. I still get satisfaction from putting a hard shift in, putting 25 overs in a day.”

West Indies captain JASON HOLDER says Michael Holding’s passionate words about longstanding institutionalised racism resonated with him and will hopefully lead to lasting change…

“I saw the interview with Mikey and I felt it in my veins. It was powerful, he hit the nail on the head and was spot on. Credit must be given to him and I want to thank him personally for that. Hopefully the message he sent out can be viewed by all so people can understand and we get the systemic equality we are looking for. There is a bigger picture than sport sometimes and we need to have a level playing field for everyone. It’s for us to come together a lot more – to educate ourselves and try to solve issues that we have.”

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MICHAEL ATHERTON reflects on an unprecedented summer for the game and how the ECB managed to stage matches amid a global pandemic…

“Given the problems, given the limitations, it has been an amazing summer of cricket in so many ways and there are so many people to be grateful for – the ECB who have managed to put bio-secure venues on, the players from five international sides who’ve given up basic freedoms and had to spend time in a bio-secure bubble, players who have given us competitive and close games to enjoy. While there has been a lack of international sport, cricket has been a saviour this summer.”

BEN STOKES on the turnaround in his life and career since the Bristol incident in 2017 after it was announced he would captain England in the first Test against West Indies in Joe Root’s absence…

“It was ‘right, what am I going to do from this point forward? How am I going to carry and conduct myself?’ I wanted to get better and it’s been no fluke. I don’t normally like to speak about myself in this way but looking back I’m proud of what I’ve been able to do since that incident. It’s been through complete dedication towards the job I do.”

MARK WOOD admits quitting cricket crossed his mind in the midst of his injury hell a few years ago…

“I was actually close a couple of times to saying ‘I’ve had enough’. I didn’t think I could cope with it with my body. Around my third ankle operation was the hardest time – I didn’t know if I wanted to do it anymore. Things weren’t right. I knew they weren’t right. I ended up having some pretty bad mental-health stuff, with anxiety. I had a panic attack on a flight. I was sick of the rehab. I thought I’d never reach the potential I thought I had and I did contemplate thinking ‘I’ve had enough of this, should I do something else?'”

After a Test match between England and Pakistan ravaged by bad light, NASSER HUSSAIN called for common sense to prevail…

“At the end of day three when we had very little rain, after a week of record temperatures, we had only had 86 overs of cricket. That is not good enough. Merely because conditions are not ideal, merely because the red ball is not picked up as well, is not a reason to walk off the field. These are unusual times. Countries have flown over and sacrificed a lot to go in quarantine and when you have an opportunity to play and the world is watching, do everything you can to stay on.”

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JOE ROOT feels blessed to have one man with 600 Test wickets (Anderson) and another with 500 (Broad) in his Test bowling line-up…

“We’re looking at two of England’s best bowlers of all time. To be playing in the same team as both of them – we’ve got to understand how lucky we are to be watching them go about their business. It’s a real privilege to play alongside both Jimmy and Stuart and hopefully that’s going to happen for a lot longer as well.”

ROOT salutes talismanic all-rounder Stokes after yet another Superman-style display…

“Everyone understands that we are watching a player at the peak of his powers at the peak of world cricket, who is delivering time and time again. We have to savour that and understand we are in the presence of greatness. The sky is the limit for him. He seems to want to keep getting better and better and we’re seeing those results out on the field. He’s Mr Incredible! He probably looks a bit the like the cartoon character, too! He’s a similar shape, but probably a bit skinnier than him now.”

HEATHER KNIGHT with a concise take on England being eliminated from the Women’s T20 World Cup after their semi-final with India was rained off…

“It’s all very English – talking about the weather and getting knocked out.”

England subsequently missed out on the final – but the magnitude of the event at The MCG was not lost on KNIGHT

“As soon as Katy Perry came out with those pink glittery bats you thought, ‘wow, this is pretty unique for women’s cricket’. There were 86,000 people and hopefully it’s not just for one day and is something that can continue for the future of the game.”

SHANE WARNE explains why he selected Nasser Hussain in the XI of the best England players he faced in Test cricket…

“Although we all love mocking him, his 207 at Edgbaston [in 1997] was a fantastic innings. Nasser had a couple of other unbelievable innings as well but to set the tone in the first innings of an Ashes series was really good. We had a really good attack as well. The toughness he brought to the team and his ability against good bowlers means he made that side over a few others.”

Australia’s STEVE SMITH rediscovered a key part of his anatomy – before ending a lean run of form with successive 60-ball ODI hundreds versus India…

“I was disappointed with my batting through the IPL. I wasn’t consistent enough and never got into a good rhythm. But the last few days I’ve found something, I’ve sort of found my hands. It’s taken three or four months but I’ve found them.”

England used coded messages in the final T20I against South Africa in Cape Town, with JOS BUTTLER quick to joke about their meaning…

“[England analyst Nathan Leamon] was calling out the EuroMillions numbers – the lads were checking their tickets!”

Australia captain TIM PAINE lauded his quick bowlers after they torpedoed India for their lowest-ever total of 36…

“When you are as tall and quick as our boys and they get it right, it can be an absolute nightmare. I thought both these attacks had the ability to take really quick wickets – I didn’t think they’d be coming that quick!”

A week later, though, and India head coach RAVI SHASTRI was saluting his team for bouncing back from their Adelaide implosion and winning the second Test at the MCG…

“I think this will go down in the annals of Indian cricket – no, world cricket – as one of the great comebacks in the history of the game. To be rolled over for 36 and then three days later get up and be ready to punch was outstanding. The boys deserve all the credit for the character they have shown.”

ASHLEY GILES pulled no punches when assessing how damaging Jofra Archer’s biosecure bubble breach could have been – but vowed to support the England fast bowler…

“This could have been a disaster. The ripple effect this could have had through the whole summer could have cost us tens of millions of pounds. On this occasion he got it wrong [but] show me someone who has never made a mistake and I’ll show you a liar. I don’t think trust is something that is lost or gained over one incident. Jof will learn from it. We will support him and move on. He is a fine young man.”

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