On May 11, Anderson confirmed that his final Test would be against West Indies in July. This will be his 22nd year of Test cricket and he has amassed 700 wickets (and counting). How will England replace the most prolific England bowler of all time?

Like-for-like replacements

Having been anointed as Anderson’s most likely successor almost a decade ago, Chris Woakes has been one of England’s most reliable and successful seamers since his debut in 2013. Woakes is an incredibly skilful seamer, especially in home conditions, where he averages 21 with the ball. He was also named player of the series in the 2023 Ashes as he helped England fight back from 2-0 down.

Bursting onto the international scene in 2021 against New Zealand, Ollie Robinson took to Test cricket instantly. He has taken 76 wickets in 20 matches and boasts a brilliant bowling average of 23. However, England’s recent tour to India left question marks over his ability to consistently play at his peak as he only played one Test, where his bowling speed rarely reached 80mph. A middling start to the 2024 County Championship season for Sussex has only raised more questions about his immediate Test future.

Among uncapped seamers, Sam Cook has been banging down the door for some time. The most recent season where Cook averaged over 20 in the County Championship is 2019. He has been superb with the red ball for Essex but has yet to receive a call up for England. His similarity in style to Anderson and his lack of pace – he is generally slower through the air than Anderson – has been held against him but there are few, if any, seamers as skilful as Cook on the circuit. With Anderson out of the way, the door has been left open for Cook.

Elsewhere, Matt Potts averages under 30 with the ball in Test cricket. He has always impressed for England and had a stellar Lions tour to India, taking two six-fors in the three unofficial Tests. He has been unable to reclaim his spot in the England XI since 2022 but this summer could be his opportunity.

Out-and-out quicks

Mark Wood has been the fastest English bowler for the last decade. He’s not a typical English seamer but often finds a place in the side due to the point of difference he offers. This summer will be no different, and with Anderson retiring, his experience will be crucial.

Gus Atkinson has played only 16 first-class matches but is a likely debutant this summer. He has taken 54 wickets and is a destructive first change bowler due to his extra pace. A winter travelling with England saw him impress in the ODI World Cup, but he was unable to make his Test debut in India.

Like many of the quicks on this list, Olly Stone’s career has been plagued by injury. When available, Stone combines his pace and skill to great effect. His 48 first-class matches have brought 160 wickets, and his three Test appearances displayed his skill.

Long shots

Dillon Pennington is yet to receive a call up for England but a great start to the summer has seen him take 16 wickets at 27.50 in his first season for Nottinghamshire. The 25-year-old has taken over 150 first-class wickets and could be a surprise selection for upcoming England squads.

Josh Tongue and Saqib Mahmood are two of England’s most promising quick bowlers. However, both have been plagued by injury in recent times. Mahmood has played just two Tests, both in 2022 against the West Indies, but has barely played a red-ball match since due to stress fractures in his back. He played his first match of the season last week, but it is unlikely England will rush him back. Similarly, Tongue had a breakthrough summer in 2023 but has hardly played since and has already been ruled out of the West Indies series that kicks off the Test summer.