Why Stuart Broad wears a bandana as England cricket star prepares to retire after Ashes
Retiring England bowler Stuart Broad started wearing a headband during the summer of 2020 - despite not sporting the item for the first 13 years of his Test career
England legend Stuart Broad's cricketing career will end on Monday after the final day's play of this year's Ashes series at the Oval.
Broad announced his plans to hang up his spikes on Saturday evening. England need to win the match to draw the series 2-2 and stop bitter rivals Australia from securing a first Test series victory on British soil in 22 years.
Broad is one of the greatest cricketers of all time after taking 602 Test wickets (and counting). Yet fans are baffled by one aspect of his game... his bandana. The Nottinghamshire bowler didn't wear a headband for most of his career.
It was only in the summer of 2020 - when the hairdressers were closed due to Covid - that Broad appeared with a headband. Fans initially assumed he was wearing it because he couldn't get his hair cut, but the bandana has remained ever since.
Broad showed off his headband for the first time in May 2020 when he returned to training ahead of England's Tests that summer. He uploaded a video of himself bowling at Nottinghamshire's Trent Bridge ground while wearing his trademark item.
Yet Broad's reason for wearing the bandana was not because of his locks. It was to stop him from touching the sweat on his head.
Bowlers often use sweat to help shine the ball, giving it a better chance of swinging away from or towards the batter. Yet cricketers were told not to use their sweat or saliva during the early stages of the Covid pandemic to stop the disease from spreading.
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Cricketers were forced to live in bubbles during much of the pandemic to ensure Covid didn't get into dressing rooms and cancel Tests. The game's governing bodies were in danger of losing huge amounts of revenue if matches were abandoned due to Covid.
This happened in August 2021 when England's Test against India at Old Trafford was called off due to potential Covid cases in the tourists' camp. India agreed to return to England for a one-off Test match at Edgbaston the following summer to recover the losses.
As such, Broad needed to find an answer to his sweat problem. He tweeted in May 2020: "Headband has been added to stop sweat dripping down my face, so hopefully I get out the habit of touching my face while bowling."
Broad went on to enjoy one of the best summers of his career in 2020 and decided to keep the bandana, despite the Covid rules being eased. He temporarily stopped wearing the headband in 2022 but brought it back because he "felt naked".
Broad missed the bandana so much that he asked his mum to drive down to Lord's to bring him one for a game between Nottinghamshire and Middlesex. Speaking to GQ, he revealed: "She drove down the M1 with them the next day."
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