Stuart Broad makes the front of an unprecedented Wisden cover

Stuart Broad wears a face mask on a unique front cover of cricket almanack Wisden, after passing 500 Test wickets in a season dominated by bio-secure bubbles and empty stadiums

  • Stuart Broad shone in 2020, even though he was dropped for England’s first Test
  • Now, the England bowler is on the front cover of the 2021 Wisden Almanack
  • The snap of him wearing a mask was taken after a match in Sri Lanka last month 

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented Wisden covers. 

The Almanack has always been a cricket book first, and a social history second – so the image of Stuart Broad, England’s player of the summer, wearing a mask, the globally recognised symbol of the year, seemed to tick both boxes.

Wisden has had a photo on its cover ever since 2003, when Michael Vaughan clenched his fist to celebrate one of the six Test hundreds he made the previous year. 

The latest Wisden cover features Stuart Broad, England’s player of 2020, wearing a mask

Broad enjoyed an electrifying 2020 for England but was dropped for the first Test of the year

The 2020 cover saw Jos Buttler’s World Cup winning stumping receive recognition 

Since then, an appearance on the front has always come with kudos: Andrew Flintoff and Shane Warne shared the honour in 2006, Sachin Tendulkar had pride of place in 2014, Anya Shrubsole – hero of England’s World Cup win – in 2018.

Oddly, this is Broad’s cover debut, and it comes after he was dropped for the first Test of the summer against West Indies. 

His response was typical of the man: 29 wickets at 13 apiece in the remaining five games, including his 500th in Tests, plus a batting average of 41.

In Galle last month, where the photograph was taken by England’s media manager, Danny Reuben, he proved he was still a handful overseas too, with match figures of 26-14-34-3 to help set up victory in the first Test against Sri Lanka.

There weren’t many reasons to smile in 2020 – and Broad’s mask removes that possibility – but his performances provided England fans with a welcome distraction.

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