Bob Willis and Sir Ian Botham talk bowling with England’s Stuart Broad and James Anderson

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What makes a bowling venture? Back in August 2017 we decided to ask the four strongest bowlers of all time of England.
Following the death of Bob Willis on Wednesday, here is another opportunity to see Ian Ward’s interview with Bob (325 wickets), Sir Ian Botham (383), James Anderson (575) and Stuart Broad (471).
It includes their thoughts on a selection of topics including the 1981 Ashes, training techniques and why bowlers have a propensity to be a bit grumpy… Below is a taster…
Ward: [To Willis] how significant is it to have a venture – Jimmy and Broady’s, yours using Beefy – to help you as an individual bowler?
Bob Willis: Quite important really. You need that hill to operate up , in the wind. That was his [Botham’s] occupation. I had my small spells down wind. 1 time, Mike Brearley’d Beefy bowling 41 overs one day out of one end, all about seven overs.
Ward: [To Anderson and Broad ] Who’s the brains in your partnership?
Broad: he gets the wind , so likely him.
Ward: Is there any jealousy or rivalry between the two of you? Or can it be really much a staff job?
Anderson: I believe we realise that we need each other. We bring out the very best of one another, rather than just when we’re bowling in tandem. If I’m at mid-off, I will attempt to provide Stuart guidance and a little helping hand, if I could. Plus it works the opposite way around. It’s not like, I’m the bowler, therefore I’m going to work together with the wind. We try to determine what is ideal for the group.
Broad: Also, together with bowling into partnerships; the faster you choose 10 wickets, the quicker you are off the area and with a brew with your feet up, which means you are going to work together with the bowling device to attempt to create as many opportunities as possible. What Jimmy claims about fielding at mid-off – that a policy we’ve turned to. You don’t actually talk to each other for 12 overs of a charm if you’re fielding at fine leg. Now you can pick up whether it is swinging, a whole lot faster what the pitch is doing. That has helped us in the past four or five decades.
Ward: [To all] Has your connection with each other consistently been so cordial?
Willis: No one likes criticism do they? I started was quite good and commentating -‘oh, that he had been unlucky there’ – but I thought that is not going to make me a career in broadcasting. So I got the older chainsaw beginning sawing them off in the knees and out.

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