Olly Stone is the latest name added to England’s injury list.
Mark Wood has been ruled out for the entire Ashes, Jimmy Anderson at least two Tests, like Stone, while Jofra Archer is currently hoping to prove his fitness in time for Lord’s.
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August 14, 2019, 10:00am
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But is there a Plan B in case Archer fails to convince? Stone was next in line, but who now?
At one time, cricket folk in the north of England used to say that the easiest way to find a fast bowler was to whistle down the nearest mine shaft. We have taken a slightly different approach and scoured county cricket for the quicks who could come in…
HENRY BROOKES (Warwickshire)
Still a teenager, the 6ft 3in tall, 19-year-old Brookes emerged last season, taking 21 wickets over five games at an average of 22.38, helping the Bears win promotion back to the top flight of the County Championship and earn himself a call-up to the England Lions squad.
A back injury ruled him out of their winter tours, but he is firing on all cylinders again and has 23 Championship wickets to his name this season, albeit at a slightly more expensive 37.56. ECB supremo Ashley Giles, who was previously sport director at Edgbaston, is known to be a fan.
TOM HELM (Middlesex)
Like Brookes, the Middlesex man has suffered his fair share of injuries over the years but the 25-year-old possesses genuine pace and, with a clean bill of health, he is now delivering on a regular basis.
Helm has 24 wickets at 25s this season, picking up two five-wicket hauls in Division Two of the County Championship, including a career-best 5-36 against Worcestershire – and, significantly, he is more than familiar with the vagaries of the Lord’s pitch should England have to look elsewhere from Archer.
SAQIB MAHMOOD (Lancashire)
Mahmood is seriously quick – he has been clocked at 92mph – and is very much on the selectors’ radar, having been chosen for the last two touring Lions squads, although he was unable to feature against India last winter due to visa problems.
Although the 22-year-old has been overshadowed by Anderson and Graham Onions during Lancashire’s red-ball campaign – 12 wickets at 36.50 over six games – he made a major impact in the Royal London One-Day Cup, finishing as the tournament’s leading wicket-taker with 28.
JAMIE OVERTON (Somerset)
The younger of the Overton twins (by three minutes) is generally regarded as faster than Craig, who has three Test caps. Jamie has yet to represent England at senior level, although he was included in an ODI squad back in 2015.
Overton’s height – he is 6ft 5in – gives him the ability to hit the deck hard and, after a brief loan spell at Northamptonshire earlier in the season, he has impressed back at Taunton, taking 22 County Championship wickets at an average of just 17.23.
JOSH TONGUE (Worcestershire)
The Worcestershire quick is only 21, but he is yet another whose progress has been held up by injuries, with a back injury curtailing his debut season in 2016 and then a stress fracture in his left foot ending his hopes of a place on the Lions tour last winter.
However, Tongue’s 16 wickets in Division Two this season have come at a miserly average of 18.44 and he did his chances of selection no harm by claiming the scalps of Cameron Bancroft and Usman Khawaja in this week’s tour match against the Aussies.
OLLIE ROBINSON (Sussex)
Although not as quick as some of his rivals, the Sussex seamer is as consistent and accurate as they come and it may not be far-fetched to view him as a Test candidate, given his selection for the Lions side that drew with Australia A earlier in the summer.
Robinson finished last season with a staggering 74 red-ball wickets and his form has shown no signs of tailing off this year, with 40 strikes from just seven games at an average of 17.72.
IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PACE THOUGH…
If continuity may be seen as more important than out-and-out pace, the selectors may prefer to promote a bowler who is already within the England set-up to join the attack alongside Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes.