Sir Ian Botham tells Stuart Broad to stick to lengths he bowled at Lord's
Sir Ian Botham says few can touch Stuart Broad when he sticks to the template he used at Lord's.
Last Updated: 20/05/13 5:55am
The England seamer (7-44) showed world-class form on Sunday afternoon with an irresistible 11 overs that transformed a close Test match into a comprehensive 170-run victory for the hosts.
Sky Sports pundit Botham has criticised Broad in the past for bowling too many short balls, but praised the consistent line and length that sent New Zealand's batsmen into a tailspin in at Lord's.
"It was perfect," he said.
"Psychologically England would have gone out after the batting this morning and said they'd got half an hour to go out there and have a blast. They'd got the new ball straight after the break, but nobody expected what happened - and that was Stuart Broad hitting his straps.
"He got the first wicket of Peter Fulton with a little outside edge and after that he was just too good for the batsmen.
"That's what he can do and when he does it he's as good as anyone in the world. I think back to The Oval and that spell against the Australians when he kept on hitting the top of off-stump and making the batsmen play.
"That's what he did today; he was aiming at the top of off-stump and that's when he's at his best, not when he bowls short.
"He went through a little period when everyone was saying he was the enforcer - what a load of baloney that was - and luckily someone had a word in his ear and he got it back to where he is at his best.
"His best bowling because of his height is when he comes in and bangs the ball in to what I would consider almost a driving length, but it's not for him because he gets the bounce.
"He gets bounce and that's what makes him so dangerous.
"Today he was at his best. If he continues to bowl like that this summer then I think England will win the Ashes because they'll out-bowl Australia.
"They've got New Zealand at Headingley, but if form like this is taken into the Ashes it's all good for England."
Botham hopes that the career-best figures recorded by Broad on Sunday will end the debate about the sort of lengths he should be bowling in the Ashes.
And he's convinced the England coaching staff will ensure he sends down fewer short balls than he has done in the last few months.
"There's lots of people in the dressing room to tell him that and he knows himself, Botham added.
"He's been around long enough and he's big enough and daft enough and like all bowlers he'll have sorted that out in his head.
"OK, sometimes it doesn't come out right or the rhythm is not quite there, but I think he should be able to make that more often than not work for him.
"I expect to see that happen. He'll enjoy taking seven wickets and the reason he took seven wickets is because he got the right line and the right length."