James Anderson ready for pink-ball Test and says England’s rotation policy will help extend his careerFebruary 25, 2021
James Anderson admitted he was frustrated by missing the second Test against India but believes England’s policy of rest and rotation will prove beneficial to both him and the team over time.
After playing a starring role as England won the series opener, Anderson was left out of the side as India levelled the series with a crushing win in the second with the tourists keen to have their leading-wicket taker fully fit for the day-night Test in Ahmedabad.
With the pink ball expected to swing under lights, the 38-year-old could again play a pivotal role for Joe Root’s side and, after watching on in Chennai last week, he says he is raring to go.
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“It’s obviously mixed emotions missing out after playing pretty well in the first Test, you’ve got to look at the bigger picture I guess,” Anderson told reporters.
“The idea was if I missed [the second Test] then it would give me a better chance to be fit and firing for the pink-ball Test. I’m feeling good and fresh, and ready to go again if called upon.”
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Anderson argued that by sitting out the occasional match, not only will he be better placed to perform in the key games that he does play, but both he and Stuart Broad will be able to keep playing for longer.
“I don’t think I’m being shielded; I think that is the wrong term to use,” he said. “It’s a case of trying to stay fit for as long as possible.
“I’ve seen the last couple of years, 2019 when I missed the Ashes and a little bit at the start of 2020 when I got an injury in South Africa – it’s not just me, it’s all bowlers, but when the workload builds up, those injuries do happen.
“We’ve got 17 Test matches this year and I think the best way of getting your best players firing for as many of those as possible is to take little rests every now and then.
“It’s not a case of shielding, it’s trying to make sure that you’re not just wearing someone out until they completely break in half.
“I can only see positives coming out of this. For me, hopefully, it is going to keep me going longer and Stuart will say the same, it will keep him going for longer.
“Obviously there will be times when we’re frustrated and want to play, but the coaches and the medical team are taking the thought process that we want to keep everyone as fit as possible so we can pick and choose who can play at certain times. Hopefully, it will benefit those players having a rest every now and then.
“It’s something that we’re still getting used to, I’m sure the coaches and medical team are still getting used to it but I think going forward it’s a positive thing.”
The more immediate concern for England is the third Test and after Zak Crawley talked up the prospect of the pink ball giving the tourists a slight advantage in the third Test, Anderson adopted a more cautious tone.
“No pressure on the seamers, Zak, thanks mate!” he said. “We’ve got a little bit of experience with the pink ball but this is just the second (day-night) Test in India, the first one in February as well so we don’t know how it is going to behave.
“The bowlers who get the ball in their hand come the Test match will be hopeful of it doing something and we’ll be hopeful that that gives us a little bit of an edge.
“It’s swinging a little bit, probably a bit more than the red one but until you get out there in the middle, in a match situation, you don’t really know what it’s going to do. In the nets it’s done a bit but we’ll just have to wait and see.
“Obviously, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed if I do play and we bowl first, I’ll be hoping it does a little bit.”
Whatever the ball does, Anderson is looking forward to the chance to play in a 110,000-seater stadium but also under lights again, with the special atmosphere that creates.
“We’ve got to win the series 3-1 to qualify for the World Test Championship final so we’ve got to win two Test matches, that’s as simple as it gets for us.”
“The stadium looks great, it’s not going to be full, but I think the atmosphere will be pretty special,” he added.
“The pink ball matches that we’ve played have had a different atmosphere as well, and a real special one, something that the guys will remember so we’re all looking forward to it immensely.
“Going into it 1-1, the series in the balance, we had a disappointing second Test but we’ve tried to maintain level heads throughout; we don’t get too excited when we win, we don’t get too down when we lose, we just try and improve on how we’ve been performing.
“Hopefully we can go out there and do our best, and our best will be enough to get us a victory.”
Follow text commentary of the day-night third Test between India and England in Ahmedabad on skysports.com and the Sky Sports app from 8.30am on Wednesday.
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