The independent voice of cricket

Ashes 2023

Ashes 2023: Six English seamers unlucky to miss out on selection for the Ireland Test

Sam Cook and Craig Overton in action in the County Championship; both will be vying for Ashes selection later in the summer
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Worcestershire seamer Josh Tongue was a surprise addition to the England squad for their upcoming Test against Ireland at Lord’s.

Tongue, 25, was drafted in as injury cover with both Ollie Robinson and James Anderson having recently nursed minor injury concerns. He has been on England’s radar for some time, impressed on England Lions’ tour of Sri Lanka this winter, and was selected despite averaging over 40 with an economy rate of 4.41 in County Championship Division Two this season.

Here are six seamers who were perhaps unfortunate to miss out on selection:


Sam Cook

Cook has long been one of the leading bowlers on the county circuit. Also 25, he boasts a formidable first-class record; after 66 matches, he has taken 238 wickets at an average of 19.86. He was also involved with the England Lions over the winter but is a different profile of bowler to Tongue, who is taller and quicker than the metronomic Essex seamer.

Craig Overton

A regular feature in Test squads last summer without playing a game, Overton has fallen down the pecking order in 2023. He admitted to being “gutted” at the news of being overlooked for the Ireland Test after taking 3-8 from four overs in Somerset’s T20 Blast season opener against Hampshire.

The tall Somerset quick has had, by his lofty standards at least, a quiet start to the 2023 summer as he has managed tendonitis in his knee. In many ways a classical English seamer, Overton has played just three of his eight home Test matches (where he averages 27.50). Unlike most of England’s bowling options for the Ireland Test, Overton is a realistic option to bat eight.

Matt Fisher

Another tourist with the England Lions over the winter, Fisher picked up his only Test cap till date in the Caribbean last year in Joe Root’s last series as captain. He missed the majority of the 2022 summer with a stress fracture, but has made encouraging progress so far this season without pulling up trees. He has 11 wickets from three matches back for Yorkshire in the County Championship.

Saqib Mahmood

Like Fisher, Mahmood made his Test debut against West Indies last year and missed most of last summer through injury. He has taken three wickets from two County Championship appearances since his return to action; a Test recall would probably have been premature.

Sam Curran

Curran is yet to play a Test in the McCullum-Stokes era, but he is someone who you would think would fit England’s new brand of cricket. He is only recently returned from the IPL, and has not played a first-class game since June last year so it may be that he is only considered for selection when he gets some red-ball cricket under his belt in June.

Gus Atkinson

Atkinson is only 12 games into his first-class career, but has been mightily impressive for Surrey this season. Slightly shorter than Tongue but as quick, if not quicker, Atkinson averages less than 15 with the ball in Division One in 2023. His lack of experience almost certainly counted against him but he is one to look out for in the near future.

Have Your Say

Become a Wisden member

  • Exclusive offers and competitions
  • Money-can’t-buy experiences
  • Join the Wisden community
  • Sign up for free
Latest magazine

Get the magazine

12 Issues for just £39.99