Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan believes the time is now for England to break up their legendary new-ball partnership between James Anderson and Stuart Broad, with the players’ ages cited as main reason.
The pair have taken over a thousand Test wickets between them (Anderson – 575, Broad – 467), but at the ages of 37 and 33 respectively, questions have been raised about their viability moving forward as England look to rebuild ahead of the next Ashes campaign down under in just over two years’ time.
The duo enjoyed mixed fortunes in the latest Ashes series, with England’s king of swing Anderson bowling just four overs after succumbing to a calf injury exacerbated during the first Test.
Broad fared far better, taking 23 Aussie scalps at an average of 26.65, including dismissing dangerous opener David Warner on no fewer than seven separate occasions.
The effectiveness of the twosome has been severely limited in previous campaigns in Australia, with the flat pitches providing little in the way of seam or swing for those lacking express pace.
It is a combination of these factors that has lead Michael Vaughan to declare that the time has come for the much-vaunted partnership to be gradually phased down.
Speaking on the Tuffers & Vaughan show on BBC Radio 5 Live, Vaughan said: “I don’t think it is right both of them play now.
“It might be that Broad plays one series and Anderson plays one series.
“They are not going to like it but they are at that stage of their careers where England are going to have to manage the combination very smartly.”
Players expected to have “a bridge to the outside” if international action is given the go-ahead.
England hope to squeeze in a near full international campaign despite the lengthy setbacks faced by the sport.
England have named 14 uncapped players in a 55-man training group.
A total of 55 players have been invited to work under ECB guidance in the coming weeks.
The swing bowler completed the landmark at Headingley.
But the ICC has rejected claims the tournament will be postponed, insisting a number of contingency plans are being considered.
He will not return from his family home in Tasmania even if the delayed season gets under way later this summer.
No domestic cricket can take place until at least August.
An expanded training group of up to 45 is due to be named on Friday.