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Five fast bowling backup options for England in white-ball cricket

by Wisden Staff 4 minute read

As part of our reflections on England’s white-ball summer, we’ve examined the 50-over world champions’ back-up spin options in limited-overs cricket, as well as the additional opening choices they have in ODI cricket.

Continuing in that vein, we’ve also taken a look at fast bowling options England could turn to in white-ball cricket in case of injury or a lack of form, examining a few names who were in neither of the squads for the ODIs and T20Is against Australia.

David Willey

The Yorkshire left-armer made his return to the England set-up after more than a year out against Ireland and immediately impressed, following up a five-wicket haul in the first ODI with a couple of impressive batting hands to claim the Player of the Series award. Still, the 30-year-old was omitted from the Australia series after Sam Curran was chosen as England’s left-arm option, with selector Ed Smith highlighting England’s strength in depth. Willey’s T20I record remains particularly impressive, with 34 wickets coming at an average of 22.38, pertinent with two upcoming back-to-back T20 World Cups.

Reece Topley

Having suffered a number of back stress fractures, Topley made his first England appearance in over four years in the Ireland series, taking 1-31 in a four-wicket win. Tall, quick and a reliable performer once he’s on the park – his 11 wickets have been key in Surrey’s run to the T20 Blast quarter-finals – he just needs to stay on it now.

Olly Stone

Another bowler whose body has held him back, Stone’s raw pace has stood out in his brief international career so far, and he landed an ECB pace-bowling development contract at the start of the year, a few months on from an impressive Test debut against Ireland. He was among the wickets in this year’s T20 Blast, taking 14 wickets in eight matches at an average of 17.50.

Tom Helm

Helm’s name has long been in circulation but he is still waiting for an international debut, having never truly put forward an unanswerable case at county level. Still, he was in England’s white-ball training group earlier this year and despite taking 3-49 against Ireland for the Lions, was unable to land a spot in the full squad. He did enjoy a productive Blast campaign, 12 wickets returned at an average of 22.75.

Henry Brookes

With a strong front-on action that produces troublesome pace, Brookes, like Helm, took three wickets against Ireland for the Lions but missed out on a call-up. While he has struggled to live up to the red-ball impression he made when breaking out for Warwickshire in 2018, he has consistently taken wickets in T20 cricket, with 11 at 26.09 in this year’s Blast.

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