With his blond hair and baby-faced good looks, Stuart Broad was already shaping up as the Next Big Thing of English cricket when he pushed his career into overdrive in a sensational spell of bowling in the fifth and decisive Ashes Test at The Oval in 2009. With the series in the balance, Broad claimed figures of 5 for 37 in 12 overs, including 4 for 8 in 21 balls, and after that there was no coming back for Australia.
He was struck by injury for the first time in the 2010-11 winter. Ruled out of the last three Ashes Tests, he broke down again during the World Cup. However, his significance in England's future was confirmed when he was named Twenty20 captain in May 2011.
A slump in form almost cost him his Test place for the 2011 series against India but having survived the cut he responded with a Man-of-the-Series display, including the first Test match hat-trick to be recorded at Trent Bridge, in what was viewed as a career-defining period.
He followed it up with a superb winter, albeit as England lost to Pakistan in the UAE, taking 13 wickets at 20.46 and also scored a half-century in the second Test. His 2012 summer began with an 11-wicket haul in the first Test against West Indies at Lord's - where he became only the fifth England player, and seventh overall, to earn a place on both bowling and batting honours boards.
In his early cricketing career, Broad played as an opening batsman, following the example of his father, Chris, until he suddenly shot up. Within 18 months he had transformed himself into a beanpole medium-fast bowler, gaining international recognition with the England Under-19 side and establishing himself in the Leicestershire first XI in 2005, beginning a meteoric rise that included an England A debut in only his 11th first-class match in March 2006 and a call-up to the senior one-day side five months later.
Those early years as a batsman did not go amiss. After his first eight Tests, he had racked up three half-centuries from the pivotal number eight position, and pushed his Test average above 40 - a mark his father (39.54) just missed out on over the course of his 25-match career.
His stock continued to rise on tour with England in Sri Lanka when his 11 cheap wickets helped them to a 3-2 one-day series victory. He was then called up for the subsequent Test series in December, making his debut on a slab of Colombo concrete and toiling for 36 sweaty overs.
The subsequent tour of New Zealand proved to be his real chance, however. With Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison both lacking form, he was selected for the Wellington Test. The decision was immediately vindicated, if not with a huge match-haul then certainly by the composure and control he showed.
The following Test in Napier, however, demonstrated his immense all-round talent. A vital 42 helped prop up England's first innings before he took 3 for 54, testing all New Zealand's batsmen with pace and bounce. That impression continued to climb during England's home season in 2008 when no less a technical purist than Geoffrey Boycott likened his tall elegant batting style to Sir Garfield Sobers.
Although he has struggled at times for consistency with his bowling, his unmistakable talent was out on show again against South Africa in Durban in 2009 as helped bowl England to a famous innings victory. It took him a while to revive that form, but when he did he looked a world-class performer.
Broad moved from Leicestershire to Nottinghamshire, his father's county, in 2008. His county appearances have been limited, naturally, but when available he has turned in several outstanding performances. In his first 10 Championship games for Nottinghamshire he picked up 54 wickets, including career-best figures of 8 for 52 against Warwickshire at Edgbaston. ESPNcricinfo staff Read More