Former England captain and the current assistant coach, Paul Collingwood is confident that senior pacers James Anderson and Stuart Broad will not only fly to Australia for the Ashes but are also amongst the first-choice bowlers for the series Down Under later in the year.
Both the legendary pacers have not played in Tests together in recent times owing to injuries, and now due to the rest and rotate policy instituted by the ECB to keep their players fit and fresh. On their current tour of Asia – 2 Tests in Sri Lanka and 4 in India – only once – in the pink-ball Test in Ahmedabad – both have featured together in the same line-up.
While that could be attributed to the spin-friendly nature of the pitches, however, the fitness of both pacers in a busy schedule is always a concern. Also, in the pace friendly pitches in England – where they will host India and then New Zealand – and in Australia for the Ashes, fast bowlers in Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, and Olly Stone will give the iconic duo a run for their money for a spot in the eleven.
They put the doubts about their age to bed with their performances: Paul Collingwood
Paul Collingwood, however, is solid upfront with his stance of backing both the pacers. He points out that both have only got better with age – Anderson, 38, and Broad, 34, have been brilliant in the past few years and share over 1100 Test scalps between them. Paul Collingwood, who led England to the 2010 T20 World Cup title, reckons as long as both the pacer are fit, they are in contention for a place in Test eleven.
“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. 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,” Paul Collingwood said in the press conference.
“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 skillful they are,” the former all-rounder added.