Sport News

Supplied by

James Anderson confident he will be fit for Ashes opener

8:33 pm, 19th July 2019

Anderson, the most prolific seamer in the history of Test cricket, injured his calf bowling for Lancashire earlier this month but is hoping to play in England’s four-day game against Ireland at Lord’s from Wednesday and then the Ashes opener at Edgbaston from August 1.

The paceman will be 39 by the start of the next Ashes series, in Australia in 2021-22, but sees no reason why playing then is an unrealistic goal.

“I am going to keep assessing my fitness over the weekend and then into Monday and Tuesday in our preparations days at Lord’s,” Anderson said of the Ireland Test.

“If it comes to Monday and Tuesday and I am fit to play then great, if not then I’ll try and get fit for the first Ashes Test.

“I have been too busy trying to get fit for [this Ashes] to worry about any others.

“A lot is going to be made of my age because it is a bit unusual for a bowler my age to still be playing international cricket but I still have the will. I want to play as long as possible.

“I still love playing the game. If I’m still bowling well enough, hopefully I can play a couple more Ashes maybe.”

Anderson has been part of England’s home Ashes series triumphs in 2009, 2013 and 2015, as well as the victory in Australia in 2010-11 – but he has also tasted 5-0 and 4-0 defeats respectively away from home in 2013-14 and then 2017-18.

The 36-year-old, who has taken 575 wickets in 148 Tests to date, believes the likes of himself and Stuart Broad, plus those who played in England’s World Cup win, can unite to beat Australia again.

“I grew up in an era when we didn’t win the Ashes so to win it a few times as a player has been a dream come true. It still means a huge amount to us and Australia.

“It hurts losing to them, it was devastating the way we lost to them last time. You want to put it right.

“Hopefully the lads who played in the World Cup can get refreshed and the ones who weren’t there can bring some energy back into that group and we can kick on.

“We have had a really promising Test side for a few years. We have been inconsistent, which is the frustration. We know we can be a good team but we’ve not quite showed that with the results.

“We want to find some consistency like the one-day side has.

Anderson’s fellow seamer Mark Wood will miss the Ireland Test as well as the first two Ashes matches with the side strain he sustained during Sunday’s thrilling win over New Zealand in the World Cup final.

“Four to six weeks is what I have been told,” Wood told Sky Sports News.

“I am pretty sore at the minute. To do it three balls before the end of my spell at the World Cup was pretty disappointing but I would take that any day to take the trophy home.”

Watch England face Ireland from 10am on Wednesday on Sky Sports Cricket. Then catch the Ashes from 10am on the same channel from Thursday, August 1.