Paul Collingwood has backed England greats James Anderson and Stuart Broad to be leading the way come the Ashes series in Australia at the end of this year.
The veteran pacemen, England’s two most successful Test bowlers of all time with over 1,000 wickets between them, have found themselves playing a secondary role during the team’s ongoing tour programme in Asia which has largely taken place on spin-friendly pitches.
One consequence is that slow left-armer Jack Leach has been England’s leading wicket-taker with 26 during the past five Tests against Sri Lanka and India.
It may well be that spin is again to the fore in the fourth Test at Ahmedabad starting Thursday, where an England win would see them end the four-match India series level at 2-2.
But with a home series against India later this year followed by a campaign to regain the Ashes ‘Down Under’, pitch conditions in both England and Australia mean that fast bowlers will likely be centre stage once again.
England can call upon express quicks in Jofra Archer and Mark Wood, but assistant coach Collingwood expects Anderson and Broad to play central roles in Australia for all the pair are now aged 38 and 34 respectively.
“We have a lot of cricket before then, but the way they are bowling at this moment in time, I’d be very surprised if they weren’t,” Collingwood told a conference call on Wednesday.
The former England all-rounder added: “I think we always resort to ‘are they too old?’. To me, when you have two bowlers who tick all the boxes and physically seem to be getting younger, it would be mad to overlook these guys.
“Whenever there are doubts about their age, they seem to put them to bed with their performances on the pitch. As long as they are still performing, they are going to be at the top of the tree when it comes to being selected.
“Sometimes, you have to pinch yourself how skilful they are.”