Ottis Gibson believes Mark Wood remains the outstanding pace bowling prospect in England despite a disappointing display against South Africa.
Gibson, who will leave his role as England seam bowling coach after the Lord's Test to take up the job of head coach of South Africa, still feels Wood has the pace and skill to prove a success at international level if only his injury problems can be resolved.
Wood, who made his return from injury on Tuesday when he was named in Durham's Championship side for the game against Kent, claimed only one wicket in two Tests against South Africa and rarely generated the pace England hoped to see from him. It subsequently transpired he was struggling with a bruised left heel and he has not played for six weeks.
"I really do think Mark Wood is the one," Gibson said. "Obviously he's had a horrendous time with injuries, but I went on a Lions tour with Mark about three years ago and saw him bowl pain free. And that's when I said to Kevin Shine, the ECB's lead fast bowling coach, that if we can keep him pain free he is our X factor bowler.
"But he's not been able to stay pain free and I still don't think we've seen the best of him."
The other man Gibson mentioned as an exciting prospect was Olly Stone. The 23-year-old made a strong impression on T20 Finals Day by bowling at sharp pace - around 92 mph at times - and showing he had fully recovered from the injury problems that robbed him of a year of cricket. Stone damaged his anterior cruciate ligament during a wicket-taking celebration in June 2016 but played his first first-class game of the season last week.
"I watched the T20 Blast this weekend and I saw Olly Stone," Gibson said. "We knew of him before but he had a bad injury. So it was good to see him back on the field and it was really good to see him bowl 90mph on finals day.
"He was quick through the air, he bowled a good yorker and he had some good slower balls as well, which shows he has a good understanding of what he's trying to do."
While there were hopes Jamie Overton, another bowler of sharp pace, would return before the end of the season, it now seems he will be able to play just one game rendering his selection for the Ashes tour highly unlikely. There will be a Lions squad out in Australia at around the same time as the full Test squad, though, so it could be that Overton and Sussex's George Garton, a left-arm fast bowler, find themselves involved in that. Gibson described England's fast bowling stocks as "in great shape."
He admitted he had felt "a bit emotional" when taken for a farewell meal with the England management in London on Monday night and described the opportunity of working with James Anderson and Stuart Broad - the two highest Test wicket-takers in England's history - as "unbelievable."
"To work with the two best bowlers in terms of wickets taken in the history of England cricket is unbelievable," he said. "Anderson is very skilful. He knows how to bowl an outswinger and then an inswinger without much of a change in his action.
"He's also open to new challenge. If I say go close to the stumps and bowl an inswinger or go wide of them and bowl and bowl an outswinger then he's still curious about the game. If you're curious, you continue to learn. He's not a senior pro who is set in his ways and just wants to plod in drop it on a length. He still wants to develop new skills.
"The way he looks after himself is a credit to him. He has had a very good summer and I know he feels he still has a few years left in him for England.
"I have known Stuart Broad a long time. I played with him at Leicester. He saw how I operated then as a senior pro and I brought that to my coaching: make sure guys understand what they need to do to win matches with regards to tactical stuff and make sure they know what length to hit to ensure they are aiming for the top of off stump on this pitch."
As for his replacement, Gibson urged England not to be swayed by 'big names.'
"The new bowling coach needs to be open minded," he said. "They need to bring a calmness. It doesn't necessarily have to be a big name or a legend of the game."