Alastair Cook couldn’t imagine a better apprenticeship for Stuart Broad, who this week will adopt the mantle of England spearhead.
Jimmy Anderson’s side strain has been likened to Glenn McGrath’s game-changing ankle injury during the 2005 Ashes by a handful of players and coaches in the Australian camp.
The absence of Anderson, England’s all-time leading wicket-taker, weakens the hosts’ XI.
However, Cook is fully confident that Broad has the mettle to guide the inexperienced attack through the fourth Test that starts on Thursday.
“I don’t think there’s been too many cases in history where a guy has 299 wickets and played 80-odd Tests and he’s waiting to lead the attack,” Cook said.
“It’s a great moment for him in terms of his homeground and stuff.
“Clearly Jimmy is going to be missed, we can’t sit here and deny that.
“You don’t play forever and think ‘who is irreplaceable. There’s always someone who can come in.”
Mark Wood, provided he passes a final fitness test on Wednesday, will be that man.
As for comparison to McGrath’s freak accident, when he stepped on a cricket ball at Edgbaston, Cook gave it short shrift.
“I suppose it has its similarities in one sense,” he said.
“But we don’t know how the result is going to go.”
Broad suggested he would seek the counsel of Anderson this week, but planned on keeping things as simple as possible.
“Importance of that (leading the attack) is not to apply too much pressure to myself,” he said.
“That doesn’t change my role particularly.
“It will be important the bowling unit talk proactively in this game and that is what I will try and lead.
“That is what Jimmy and I do naturally so I will have to be a bit more conscious of that this week.”
Meanwhile, Cook conceded Australia coach Darren Lehmann had a point when he suggested both England openers were “struggling”.
Adam Lyth has looked a walking wicket this series, scoring 72 runs at an average of 12.
However Cook scored 96 at Lord’s and is averaging 30, while there was little he could do about either dismissal at Edgbaston.
Despite all that, England’s all-time leading run-scorer had little interest in firing back at Lehmann.
“I’m a little bit disappointed with the actual numbers stacking up,” Cook said.
“It just hasn’t quite clicked in this series.
“I haven’t quite scored the runs I’d like to, but I still feel ok with my game.”