The independent voice of cricket

T20 World Cup 2024

Who will make up England’s T20 World Cup pace attack?

Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Reece Topley are all in line to be in England's 2024 T20 World Cup squad
by Katya Witney 4 minute read

England are set to announce their Men’s T20 World Cup squad next week, with their fast-bowling department the most obscure element of their squad. Here’s what their attack could look like.

England’s opening match of the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup is less than six weeks away. It will be the first time since their title-winning campaign in 2022 that they will have a full selection of players available to select from. From that tournament up to now, 14 fast bowlers have been included in England squads for T20I series, making it hard to predict who will occupy the likely six spots on offer in the squad to fly to North America.

However, the most recent T20I series England played in the Caribbean does give us some clues to the attack they might go with, and there are some names from that 14-man list who can be ruled out of contention with certainty. David Willey, part of England’s trophy-winning side, has since retired from international cricket. Richard Gleeson was a reserve player during the campaign but hasn’t featured in an England squad since.

Equally, there are a few names who can be pretty much locked in. Sam Curran was the Player of the Tournament in 2022 and while his trajectory hasn’t been linear since, he’s likely to be a lock. Currently captaining Punjab Kings in Shikhar Dhawan’s absence in the IPL, Curran is in the top ten wicket takers in the tournament, with 11 wickets from eight matches. In terms of his role in the XI, reprising his status as England’s go-to death bowler will be essential if they are to successfully defend the title.

In terms of out-and-out quicks, injury as ever will play a role in selection. Rob Key revealed earlier this month that Jofra Archer is targeting a T20 World Cup return, with Archer himself expressing his desire to play in front of friends and family in the West Indies. If Archer’s fitness holds during the warm-up series against Pakistan next month, he’s almost certain to be on the plane.

Alongside him, there’s the possibility of Mark Wood, Reece Topley, and Gus Atkinson. Topley is a near-certainty: he’s been a mainstay of their white-ball squads when fit over the last two years. Since the beginning of 2022, only Curran has more T20I wickets than him among England seamers. The prospect of Wood and Archer bowling together in tandem is also mouthwatering.

Atkinson could be the quick to miss out in favour of Archer. He was part of England’s T20I series in the Caribbean last year, when several of the key bowlers were missing, playing one match in which he conceded 33 runs from two overs. While England rate Atkinson, with three top-tier pacers available and limited space in their attack, he may be left out in favour of variety.

The other pacers England could call upon but fall lower down the pecking order include Tymal Mills, Josh Tongue and John Turner. Mills was part of England’s 2022 squad but has only played three T20Is since, all during the West Indies tour, going wicketless in two of them. Tongue and Turner were also included in the initial squads for the West Indies series but Tongue was withdrawn before the series started, and Turner did not play a game. Nevertheless, both are highly rated by England management, and could be potential bolters.

There’s also Luke Wood, who was a standby player in 2022 and was in the squad for the New Zealand T20Is. But with Curran and Topley to provide left-arm angles, he’s likely to miss out.

The last of the six spots is likely to fall to a bowling all-rounder, with Chris Woakes in prime position. Woakes had a difficult 50-over World Cup last year and isn’t the force in white-ball cricket he once was. He also had a middling tour of the Caribbean where he picked up four wickets in as many games. While he’s likely still in prime position to be included in the squad, there’s an opportunity for someone else to come in.

Of the established names in line, Chris Jordan has only played four T20Is since the last World Cup, picking up one wicket: he wasn’t included in the West Indies series. Brydon Carse is also on England’s radar. He played all three T20Is against New Zealand last summer and was Player of the Match with figures of 3-37 in the first. He featured in the ODI leg of the West Indies tour but was not selected in the T20I squad.

Of those who haven’t featured heavily in recent England squads, Jamie Overton is also in contention for the final spot, or to fit into the squad elsewhere. He is currently uncapped in T20Is but has had a good run of form in franchise cricket. With Ben Stokes out of the running, his abilities with the bat could be equally valued. With a 1,000-run cut-off, only Andre Russell (170) and Finn Allen (169) have a better strike rate than his 167. Overton hit 202 runs at a strike rate of 182 in last year’s Hundred, and was the Adelaide Strikers’ leading wicket-taker in the BBL over the winter, acting mostly as a death bowler. He is, however, currently awaiting the results of scans after picking up a back injury during the early rounds of the County Championship.

Matt Potts is also in the pecking order, though unlikely high enough in it to warrant first-choice selection for the tournament. He replaced Tongue in England’s Caribbean ODI squad, and is also uncapped in T20Is. He scored his maiden first-class century in the second round of the County Championship, in a timely reminder of his credentials with the bat.

Whatever combination selected, the squad represents the first time in 18 months we will have a clear idea of what England’s T20I fast-bowling pecking order is.

Subscribe to the Wisden Cricket YouTube channel for post-match analysis, player interviews, and much more.

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