Huge hole will be left: Stuart Broad on England's bowling attack after James Anderson's retirement

England’s veteran pacer Anderson announced his decision to retire from Tests with the first Test against West Indies at Lord’s in July

Updated - May 13, 2024 12:14 pm IST

Published - May 13, 2024 11:56 am IST - London

England’s James Anderson (left) and Stuart Broad pose for a photo. File

England’s James Anderson (left) and Stuart Broad pose for a photo. File | Photo Credit: AP

England pace legend Stuart Broad said England’s inexperienced bowling attack may have challenges after star fast bowler James Anderson’s retirement would create a “huge hole”.

England’s veteran pacer Anderson announced his decision to retire from Tests with the first Test against West Indies at Lord’s in July. Anderson, the highest wicket-taker among pace bowlers in Test cricket, will play his final red-ball game for England in July.

Anderson has stated that the series opener against the West Indies at Lord's on July 10-14 will be his 188th and last Test match for England after a career spanning over two decades.

Matthew Potts, Brydon Carse, Josh Tongue, and Gus Atkinson are all potential alternatives, but Broad is concerned about Ben Stokes' bowling options moving ahead.

While Broad believes the future may be a baptism of fire for England bowlers, he does acknowledge that talent is present and waiting for opportunities.

"I think exposure for some bowlers now is really important, because there's talent out there. You've got the likes of Matthew Potts who has done well in Test cricket and on a Lions tour, Gus Atkinson has loads of great attributes, Josh Tongue who struggled a bit with injuries over the winter but bowled great against Ireland and Australia," Broad said as quoted by Sky Sports.

"Brydon Carse up at Durham has shown some good potential and has attributes to play Test match cricket - quick, tall and can certainly bat as well. Jamie Overton has struggled with injuries but shown promise as well," he added.

"England could easily go into a Test match this summer with a very, very inexperienced bowling group. If you don't play a (Chris) Woakes, Mark Wood has a rest and there's no Jimmy Anderson, you could have three seamers and a spinner out there potentially with 20 caps between them. That's quite scary as a Test captain I would have thought. We don't know how much (Ben) Stokes' going to bowl — we hope he does," he added.

At 41, Anderson has played Test cricket for over two decades to become one of the greatest bowlers the format has seen. He made his Test debut at Lord's in 2003 and has taken 700 wickets in 187 Tests.

Having neither of the two available to lead the line with the red ball in the future might cause issues, and Broad reaffirmed his concern about the void Anderson's departure will create.

"There's going to certainly be a huge hole left by Jimmy Anderson that someone is going to have to step into. And not just by swinging the new ball. But by communicating, by keeping calm if the boundaries are leaking, by tactically being aware of what field works at certain grounds, pitches and times of Test matches. Ultimately, you don't learn that unless you're thrown in," he added. Broad describes his major trait as the desire to grow and adapt his own game.

"My thing was always continuous improvement. Jimmy's has always been that as well, and we drove each other forward a lot with that mindset. Working on different things in the nets, run-ups - I think Jimmy worked on a new run-up at 41 - I certainly changed mine in 2019 and I was 33/34. We always had that mindset you had to keep improving," he added.

"That was probably why he played that much. If we didn't have that mindset, we might have played 20 Tests and then been found out," he added. England host West Indies in a three-match ICC World Test Championship series in July, starting with the first Test at Lord's.

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