Paul Collingwood expects James Anderson and Stuart Broad to excel in the Ashes


England’s winter of Test cricket has been dominated by spin but assistant coach Paul Collingwood believes veteran seamers James Anderson and Stuart Broad will be back on top in the Ashes at the end of the year.

The pitches in Galle, Chennai and Ahmedabad have pushed slow bowlers to the fore over the past two months, leaving Jack Leach as the side’s top wicket-taker with 26 in the past five Tests against Sri Lanka and India.

When the latter series comes to a conclusion over the next five days, England’s next overseas assignment will be their long-awaited trip Down Under and the emphasis will be back on the pacemen.

Paul Collingwood is one of two senior assistants in the England set-up.
Paul Collingwood is one of two senior assistants in the England set-up (Mike Egerton/PA)

Fast, bouncy bowlers like Mark Wood, Jofra Archer and Olly Stone are sure to play a big part in the tourists’ plans but the old firm of 38-year-old Anderson and 34-year-old Broad have given every indication that they are ready for another crack at the old enemy.

And after a combined 305 caps and 1,128 wickets heading into Thursday’s fourth and final Test, Collingwood is backing them to make their mark.

“We have a lot of cricket before then, but the way they are bowling at this moment in time, I’d be very surprised if they weren’t,” he said.

“I think we always resort to ‘are they too old?’. To me, when you have two bowlers who tick all the boxes and physically seem to be getting younger, it would be mad to overlook these guys.

“Whenever there are doubts about their age, they seem to put them to bed with their performances on the pitch. As long as they are still performing, they are going to be at the top of the tree when it comes to being selected.”

Given the duo’s vast reserves of knowledge, Collingwood also expects them to continue setting a template for their team-mates and eventual successors.

“Players themselves can be the best coaches because they are the ones out in the middle, in the battle,” he said.

“To have that kind of experience and know-how and be passing it on to the next generation is absolutely gold dust for us. I’m privileged to take the mitt and watch these guys go about their business every day. Sometimes, you have to pinch yourself how skilful they are.”