Beyond James Anderson and Stuart Broad, does England have the fast bowling resources to keep itself competitive in Test match cricket when the two veterans call it quits, asked former captain Kevin Pietersen, who is worried over country's stocks in the fast bowling department.
Both in their 30s, it is understood Anderson and Broad are aiming to be part of the next year's Ashes campaign in Australia and will consider their future after that tour.
"I am worried about England’s Test team, when Broad and Anderson go. They are on their last legs at the moment," Pietersen told Reuters in an interview. "If Broad and Anderson go, there’s going to be a big, big gap to fill. Do they have the bowlers?"
Pietersen also weighed in over options like Mark Wood, Jofra Archer & co.
"Mark Wood is very good, however he’s full of injuries. And Joffra Archer, he’s also had that elbow injury during that South African series, so he hardly played."
"So it will be about how quickly England can fill that gap because ... if you can’t take 20 wickets in the test match you really are behind the eight ball," he said.
Anderson, 37, is England's highest Test wicket-taker with 584 scalps while Broad, four years younger, is second on the list after 485 wickets.
Anderson has been injury-prone for long now and Broad is not the same bowler he was at his peak.
Unlike fast bowling, an area of England's game that Pietersen feels optimistic about is the improving captaincy of Joe Root, especially after the 3-1 series triumph in South Africa.
"I think that he came away from that tour a much better leader, a much better captain, and with a lot more respect from a lot of people that had reservations about him leading into that test tour in South Africa," he said.
Making Root's job slightly easier at the helm are people like Ben Stokes, for whom Pietersen reserved special praise after a terrific last season.
"He (Stokes) has been absolutely sensational over the last few years," he said. "We all knew he had cricketing talent, we all knew he had the ability to turn the game on its head."
"But for him to consistently do it, and for him to prepare the way that he continues to prepare, and to play the way that he plays, he is a huge asset to that England team."
But the 39-year-old reckons it's too early to compare Stokes with Sir Ian Botham.
"Comparing people, I think you can only do at the end of a career," said Pietersen.
"In terms of match-winning (abilities), they’re right up there with each other. They both win games, single-handedly, so the comparisons I think are quite unfair while a guy is still playing."
"I hated being compared to people. I just wanted to play and be me," he added.
(Inputs from Reuters)