England’s best fast bowling attack for each type of conditions

As I’m sure we all know, there is intense competition for places within the English pace bowling battery due to the depth in quality that the attack possesses. Joe Root and Chris Silverwood are spoilt for choice with bowlers that are all capable to win games of cricket for their country.

However, having this amount of options makes it near impossible to decide which player suits which situation and opponent.

The rest of this article is dedicated to finding England’s best fast bowling attack for each type of conditions (bear in mind that this is the best fast bowling attack for each type of conditions and I am not suggesting that this attack should be used for every test match as I too think rotation is essential).


English pitches are generally perfect for swing and seam bowling with overcast conditions being in abundance.

England in particular have a reputation of being devastating in these favourable conditions and a vast majority of that has been due to James Anderson and Stuart Broad. Both of them have consistently delivered the goods in when given the dukes ball and have never let England down at home.

Both of them are nailed on despite their age and Anderson’s so called “declining” performance (more on that later) as they both are undoubtedly England’s greatest ever bowlers.

Stuart Broad steams in.

In addition to this duo, the unsung hero Chris Woakes has been outstanding in English conditions and even has a better bowling average than both Anderson and Broad when at home (albeit with a much smaller sample size). He too is a certainty in my bowling lineup because of his immense skill and immense accuracy.

Including Ben Stokes, those 4 bowlers form what I think is the best fast bowling attack at home.

I know what you’re thinking: where’s the pace? Where’s the left arm variety? Where’s that X factor? As much as I would love to play the 90 miles per hour quicks and left arm swing bowler, the numbers that Anderson, Woakes and Broad is impossible to ignore at the moment so that is why they are my best bowling attack at home.

However, perhaps on a pitch more favourable to out and out quick bowling, such as old trafford, playing either one of Jofra Archer or Mark Wood is a good choice.

The best pace attack at home

  • Chris Woakes
  • James Anderson
  • Stuart Broad
  • Ben Stokes

The Subcontinent

Most teams prefer to play 2 spinners when in the subcontinent due to how dry and conducive to spin the pitches there tend to be and I’m going to presume that England would do the same. That leaves only 2 spots remaining for 2 specialist seamers.

Asian pitches are generally devoid of any conventional swing and seam and this is Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes main weapon and without it they all have horrific averages in the subcontinent and for that reason they are ruled out.

However in the scenario that England decided to only play one spinner, I would select Stuart Broad purely because of his experience and impeccable line and length.

Because conventional movement is almost non existent in the subcontinent, there are only 2 other ways to claim wickets in India and that’s reverse swing and pace.

Ben Stokes already has the reverse swing department covered as when he can get that old ball moving he is as good as any bowler in the world so that leaves pace.

I am aware that raw pace is going to get you nowhere in the subcontinent but I believe that a bit of pace is a necessity everywhere with the exception of a green seamer in England. I would bowl the express pace bowler in short, sharp spells, seeing as the spinners will bowl the vast majority of the overs, and ask him to bowl as fast as he can.

For this I would use Jofra Archer as I still believe that he is a 90 miles per hour bowler but England need to use him properly and give him the workload he deserves to reap the rewards. The point of difference between him and Wood is that Archer does not rely pace to get wickets as on a dead surface Jofra Archer can bowl cutters and an unerring line and length while Wood can’t.

James Anderson takes the final spot and takes the new ball with Archer. This decision might surprise a couple given that Anderson has had a lean spell in the last series and Broad was exemplary. I however still believe that James Anderson is still the leader of the pack and only a prolonged drought in form will make me think otherwise.

Besides, England need an experienced campaigner who is able to squeeze every ounce of movement out of that new ball and Anderson is definitely the man.

The best pace attack at the subcontinent

  • James Anderson
  • Jofra Archer
  • Ben Stokes
  • Stuart Broad (if no 2nd spinner)

Australia / South Africa

Both Australian and South African pitches are typical to have minimal lateral movement, consistent bounce and terrifying pace.

This terrifying pace means that the first 2 names on the team sheet have to be Mark Wood and Jofra Archer without a shadow of a doubt. The skiddy speed of Mark Wood and the steepling bounce and searing speed in tandem bowling at horrified Australian batsmen will be a feast to the eyes.

As I said before, I know that Archer is not bowling the speeds that we all wish he would but I am confident that with the right management he will be able to reach the mind boggling pace he reached in the 2019 Ashes.

Chris Woakes and Sam Curran have to miss out due to their lack of pace and aggression. Gentle 80mph floaters simply isn’t penetrative enough in Australian conditions and they will be useless without the dukes ball in hand.

Ben Stokes will be a priceless asset due to his partnership breaking abilities; when everyone is down and out he is always the man to stand up and win the game for his country.

James Anderson’s illustrious career is not over.

Now it comes down to the final dilemma of who to pick out of James Anderson or Stuart Broad? My answer is, again, James Anderson for the same reasons that were stated earlier in this article.

However the next time England play in Australia, it is very likely that Stuart Broad would have overtaken James Anderson in the pecking order or Anderson could have retired by then but as of now, James Anderson is in their best XI.

The final pace attack for Australia / South Africa

  • Mark Wood
  • Jofra Archer
  • James Anderson
  • Ben Stokes

Hope you enjoyed this article!

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