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Stuart Broad on James Anderson's retirement: Scary future for England bowling attack as huge hole will be left


Stuart Broad has told Sky Sports the future of England’s bowling attack may be a “quite scary” prospect, with the retirement of James Anderson certain to leave “a huge hole”.

Speaking as a guest on the latest episode of the Sky Sports Cricket podcast – an Anderson retirement special – Broad touched on England’s options post his long-time team-mate.

Anderson has confirmed July’s series opener against West Indies at Lord’s from July 10-14, live on Sky Sports, will be his 188th and final Test appearance for England after a career spanning over 20 years.

“England could easily go into a Test match this summer with a very, very inexperienced bowling group,” Broad said.

“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) Stokesy’s going to bowl – we hope he does.

“But that could leave you a bit exposed. There’s only one way to find out with bowlers, and that’s to give them a go.

“Encourage them to communicate out there, encourage them to solve their problems live in a Test match, with the scrutiny of media and fans, and pressure of winning.

“Ultimately, we might look at this summer as India not coming, or a really good South Africa team, but Sri Lanka and the West Indies are capable of beating England, without doubt – we saw the West Indies at the Gabba – but England will have the mindset they should be winning six Test matches.

“With the style of play they’ve been operating with, and the quality of player England have got, there’s no doubt England’s goal will be to win all six. If you set that goal, you need to pick a bowling attack you think could take 20 wickets as well.

“It’s not just about throwing caps away and saying ‘have a go’, you need to pick a bowling unit that can win on that particular pitch.

“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.”

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Take a look at some of the landmark moments throughout Anderson’s Test career, with the 41-year-old becoming the first seamer to reach 700 wickets

While feeling the future could prove something of a baptism of fire for England bowlers, Broad did add there is talent available waiting for opportunities.

“I think exposure for some bowlers now is really important, because there’s talent out there,” he said.

“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.

“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.

“There’s bowlers out there that need a bit of exposure to see what it’s about in Test match cricket. To know if their bodies can take it and adjust – they may pull up this summer with the intensity and think, ‘Gosh, I’m really sore. The intensity is much higher than I thought’.

“They may need time to adjust their training plan and how they operate before a tour in two years’ time.”

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Nasser Hussain and Michael Atherton have their say on the news Anderson is to retire from international cricket after the opening Test against West Indies in July

As to how Anderson has enjoyed the career he has – the 41-year-old became the first seamer and just the third bowler in history to reach 700 Test wickets earlier this year – Broad says his key attribute has been the search for improvement and changes within 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,” he added.

“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.

“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.”

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Ian Ward says Anderson’s numbers will never be matched in the future

What next for Anderson?

Anderson has revealed he has held conversations about remaining with England this summer in a coaching role.

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Sky Sports News’ James Cole assesses the news that Anderson is set to end his Test career with England this summer

He is open to transitioning to the backroom staff for the remaining five Tests – two against the Windies and three versus Sri Lanka – and he has discussed the prospect with director of England men’s cricket Rob Key, plus head coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes.

“I feel excited about what the future might hold,” Anderson said on his BBC Tailenders podcast. “Potentially sticking around with the team this summer in a different capacity would be nice.

“We have chatted about it but the chats are ongoing, that’s something I’ll keep talking to Stokesy, Baz and Rob Key about, what happens after that Test match.”

England have not had a designated bowling coach since McCullum took charge of the Test team two years ago, with Anderson stepping into the role on an ad-hoc basis to mentor his younger colleagues.

When are England in action this summer?

England have four T20 matches at home against Pakistan, starting at Headingley on May 22 before continuing to Edgbaston (May 25), Cardiff (May 28) and The Oval (May 30), with the series serving as preparation for the T20 World Cup the following month.

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Here is what you can look forward to next summer on Sky Sports Cricket, including T20 World Cups and The Hundred

Their title defence begins against Scotland in Barbados on June 4, ahead of playing Australia at the same venue on June 8. They then face Oman in Antigua on June 13 and Namibia in the same place two days later, with the top two from the group then progressing to the Super 8s and the tournament running until June 29.

The Test summer begins with a three-match series against the West Indies at Lord’s (July 10-14), Trent Bridge (July 18-22) and Edgbaston (July 26-30), with three more Tests against Sri Lanka in August and September. Watch every England match throughout this summer live on Sky Sports.

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