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Five potential solutions to England’s pace problem

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After losing back-to-back Tests against the West Indies on pace-friendly pitches in the Caribbean, English cricket is once again wondering where it might find a genuine quick of its own.

Here, we look at the options currently available.

Mark Wood

In contention to win his 13th cap in St Lucia next week, the Durham seamer probably has one more chance at proving himself a Test match pace man.

Capable of eye-catching speed from a low, skiddy trajectory but occasionally tempted to settle into more prosaic spells. If England are to get the best out of him they need to use him in shorter, sharper bursts than before and with a clearer focus.

Jamie Overton

The quicker of the Overton twins has been on the horizon as a ‘next big thing’ for several years.

As with so many fast bowlers, his early progress was stalled by a series of injuries but it cannot be long before his country come calling. The 24-year-old has had plenty of time in county cricket to learn his game and has checked all the pathway boxes along the way.

Jofra Archer

The Barbados-born prospect is due to qualify for England within a matter of weeks. Archer’s appeal is easy to see – he is vibrant, skillful and most importantly able to crank it up to 90mph. Selectors will be aware that he is best known for his exploits on the Twenty20 circuit, though.

It seems likeliest that he will get his chance in the limited-overs formats first but do not be surprised he quickly progresses to red ball duty.

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George Garton

Still very raw, with only 10 first-class games under his belt, Garton’s status as a rapid left-armer makes him unusually attractive. Gave the distinguished South African Hashim Amla the hurry up on his England Lions debut in 2017 but also has a tendency to be loose, including sending down the odd beamer.

Joined up with the Ashes squad as cover in 2017/18 but will have to win a regular place with Sussex to be considered.

Olly Stone

The Warwickshire seamer made a strong impression on England’s batsmen on his first senior call-up in Sri Lanka earlier in the winter, causing a stir with his performances in the nets.

England Media Access

His maiden one-day international wicket increased the buzz – a steepling bouncer that Niroshan Dickwella gloved away from his face – but his hopes of a Test debut in the Caribbean were ruined by a stress fracture. Hopes are high that he will bounce back unabashed.

Bubbling under

Zak Chappell: New Nottinghamshire signing, who could reach new levels at Trent Bridge.

Harry Brookes: The England Under-19 international was dubbed “a potential superstar” on debut by ECB managing director Ashley Giles.

Saqib Mahmood: Unpredictable but brisk, needs a string of games for Lancashire to build his case.

Topics:
England cricket
Cricket
Mark Wood
Olly Stone

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