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James Anderson retires: Which bowlers could form England’s new-look pace attack for Ashes?

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There are some names that have featured for England across formats in the last 12 months that immediately spring to mind as contenders.

Nottinghamshire’s Josh Tongue impressed with 10 wickets in two Tests last summer, but is yet to feature this campaign. His average pace isn’t that high at 84.9mph but he hurried batters and troubled them with short balls.

His Notts team-mate Olly Stone is returning to action after injury and could add to his three Tests, with his last in 2021. England will need bowlers who can take the new ball and Stone has demonstrated an ability to bowl with the new (56 of his 160 first-class wickets) and old ball.

Matthew Potts of Durham came into the Test team in 2022 but only featured against Ireland last year. Vaughan thinks we’ll “see a lot more” of Potts, who has claimed 23 wickets across different periods of the game in his six Tests. His form this season doesn’t stand out though.

Lancashire’s Saqib Mahmood returned to first-team action last week after suffering two stress fractures in his back. His two Tests were pre-McCullum and Stokes but his ability to bowl mid-to-high 80s throughout an innings will put him in the mix if he can stay fit.

Brydon Carse is a team-mate of Potts at Durham and has played 17 white-ball games for England. He can reach speeds in the high 80s and bowls an aggressive stump-to-stump line. His form this season is a concern but a career red-ball average of 33.22 puts him in contention.

Surrey’s Gus Atkinson has charged on to the scene in the last 12 months and was unused during the Test tour of India in January and February. A debut is likely to come soon, and he’s a real threat in the middle overs, averaging 11.50 this season. He’s dangerous with the short ball too, averaging 10.33.

Jamie Overton of Surrey will also be in conversations after making his Test debut in 2022. He can bowl with speed and offers something with the bat but is currently out injured.

Somerset’s Craig Overton last played a Test in March 2022 but is regularly among the leading wicket-takers in county cricket. He bowled in the low 80s in his eight Tests and may have been overtaken in the pecking order in red-ball cricket.

Jofra Archer is someone England will want in their squad, with Vaughan saying he is “world class” and offers an “X-factor”. He is returning to cricket after repeated elbow surgeries though, and the plan is to play Test cricket in 2025.

An outside bet may be left-armer Sam Curran, who last played a Test in 2021. He would offer a different angle but his average pace was below 80mph which may count against him. He would offer valuable lower-order runs though.

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