James Anderson admits he is not guaranteed a place in England’s summer Tests against India and Sri Lanka.
The right-armed paceman has made a sublime start to the season, shining in a rare appearance for Lancashire in the county’s Division One tie against Notts, taking 5-54 on day one. It was the first time he had stepped onto the field since Australia’s fifth Test victory in January that secured England’s Ashes whitewash, and the Burnley bowler appeared to gain some much-needed confidence after a tough winter for both himself and his country Down Under.
Having been rested for one days against Australia and played no part in England’s equally defective attempts in the T20 World Cup, Anderson has admitted there is now some “rustiness” to his game that must be improved upon if he is to be recalled to the fold for the upcoming fixtures against Scotland and Sri Lanka in limited overs cricket.
Sri Lanka will perhaps prove the toughest test of the summer, buoyed by their first World Cup trophy in eighteen years, but Anderson has plenty of time to impress before the first Test at Lord’s on 12 June.
The series will provide a perfect opportunity for Anderson to take some high-profile wickets as he seeks to chase down Ian Botham’s record of 383 Test wickets for England. ‘Jimmy’ remains the third highest Test bowler in the ICC’s rankings, but Lancashire will certainly miss him when he departs in four weeks; his appearance is part of a move to get centrally-contracted stars to play more county cricket.
Anderson has provided some much-needed back-up as last year’s leading wicket-takers Glen Chapple and Kyle Hogg have both seen their new seasons delayed through injury.
With Anderson’s aid, the Red Roses are enjoying life back in Division One after securing promotion last year. For the next month, at least, Anderson will be part of a formidable bowling attack that now includes Kabir Ali, who formerly plied his trade at Worcestershire and then Hampshire.
To many outside the England camp, Anderson might be seen as irreplaceable regardless of his performances in domestic cricket. As one of the most well-established bowlers in international cricket, he can not only offer continuity in what are set to be tumultuous times, but also has an experienced head that will be invaluable as the ECB ring the changes over the next few months.
However, Anderson accepts that he must continue his fine form if he is to avoid being one of those changes.
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