Peak Nighthawk? Let’s not be too hasty

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With 15 minutes to go on day two, Stuart Broad walked out to bat at number four as England’s “Nighthawk”. Second ball he skied a hook that fell to earth after bowler and keeper left it for each other. It is hard to envisage a more Broad passage of play. Except for all the other ones.

To quickly recap the Nighthawk role, Ben Stokes described it as a nightwatchman who goes out there to slog and annoy the opposition rather than just dig in and block up an end, as is traditional.

As quite possibly the most annoying cricketer there’s ever been, Stuart Broad is a good fit for this innovative role. If you then factor in his destructive mayfly style of batting, you realise that Nighthawk is really his job and his alone.

Broad’s hook shot has long been the purest element of his batting ‘method’. Skying a hook and then watching it land between two passive fielders is therefore very Broad, very annoying and consequentially, very, very Nighthawk.

Just imagine the emotions in this moment as that pink blur travels unstoppably grasswards.

Now imagine the emotions a nanosecond later when everyone remembers that the batter who has benefited is Stuart bloody Broad.

So the moment itself certainly feels like peak Nighthawk. However, we’d argue that there remains room for improvement when it comes to the circumstances. Ask yourself whether there’s anyone in the weird wild wonderful world of Test cricket who’d be more annoyed to be involved in such a miss?

More Broad

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  1. Gosh this article came out quickly. Is that because neither Sam nor I requested that you do this when, on your preceding article, we commented briefly about Broad’s “creature of the night” performance a few hours ago?

    But in my humble opinion you have not pinpointed the most night-hawkish, nor the most “quintessentially Stuart Broad” aspect of his innings so far.

    The “Broadest” incident was soon after the matter of the vertically descending pink missile between the indecisive keeper Blundell and the equally indecisive bowler Kuggeleijn. Because that incident was the last ball of the over and Broad took a run for that miss, retaining the strike.

    Let us ignore the next ball – an angry ball delivered by Southee that hurtled away for four byes, adding to Blundell’s anguish.

    The ball after that struck Broad on the body and grazed the helmet. Broad then took pains to have the full concussion test and reject the first replacement helmet brought on for him, taking up nearly 10 minutes of the 15 minutes remaining in the day’s play. THAT surely was the most annoying thing a nigh-hawk could possibly have done in those circumstances. How Broad kept a straight face during that interlude I have no idea, other than to concede that he is THE MASTER of being annoying.

    Thus he survives to fight another day. Who is to say how annoying he might be when play resumes at the start of Day Three. After all, the job of the night-hawk is not simply to be annoying as the close of play approaches. It is also, ideally, to continue to be annoying the next day.

    Stuart Broad.

    1. England might regret wasting that fifteen minutes. It’s about an hour’s drive to Rotorua from Tauranga, well worth the trip, and that extra fifteen minutes might make all the difference in how many bubbling mud pools they can get round on Sunday afternoon.

      Imagine how silly they’ll all feel if they miss out on one of the better bubbling mud pools.

      1. There would be no question of the squad missing out on any preferred bubbling mud pools. They’ll have The Night-Hawk with them.

        No petty official would be denying The Night-Hawk and his pals access to a mud pool. No way. The squad will not only see the pools, The Night-Hawk will organise some super-awesome mud fights at the best of the pools.

  2. There should be a word for that feeling when England win a Test and Australia lose one on the same day.

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