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James Anderson benched for first Ashes Test to keep him ready for Adelaide pink-ball contest

It was already being speculated that the third-highest wicket-taker in Tests would not play all the five-Test matches on the trot.

Saurabh Ganguly Author

Updated - 7 December 2021 11:28 am

Highlights
  • Jimmy has taken 57 wickets in 17 Test matches after coming back from injury.
  • ECB have insisted that Anderson does not have injury concerns.
  • The decision could also have been taken keeping in mind Anderson's record at the Gabba.

Veteran England speedster James Anderson will miss the first Ashes Test in Brisbane. However, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have insisted that Anderson does not have injury concerns and it is part of the 39-year-old pacer’s workload management. England want their pace spearhead to be ready and absolutely raring to go for the pink-ball Test in Adelaide next week.

It was already being speculated that the third-highest wicket-taker in Tests would not play all the five-Test matches on the trot with he himself saying that perhaps three of those five games could be a realistic aim to achieve. The rest will obviously be down to how many overs he bowls and how his body responds.

Jimmy had also previously missed the majority of the 2019 Ashes series with a calf injury he sustained during the opening Test match at Edgbaston which had left the Three Lions a bowler short. Consequently, the hosts of that series went on to lose the opening Test with several questions being raised on whether Anderson would be able to come back.

But the master swing bowler has come back and how! Brushing aside his injury and fitness issues, Jimmy has taken 57 wickets in 17 Test matches ever since that episode and featured in each of the Test matches against New Zealand and India in the home summer gone by.

Anderson not carrying an injury: ECB

“Jimmy is fit to play, and is not carrying an injury,” an ECB statement said. “With five Tests in six weeks the plan was to get him ready for the second Test in Adelaide,” the statement added.

“With the limited build-up we have had so far on the tour, both him and the management didn’t want to take the risk of him playing after what had happened in 2019 at Edgbaston, when he broke down on the first morning,” ECB’s statement further read.

“Anderson bowled at full capacity yesterday for just short of an hour and was in a good place physically. He will do the same again today at practice. He will stay with the Test group this week. And work with the coaches at the Gabba rather than playing for the Lions,” ECB said.

The decision could also have been taken keeping in mind, Anderson’s record, which is not too good at the Gabba, the venue for the first Test where he has taken just seven wickets in four matches, averaging 75.14.

In contrast, Anderson’s numbers turn impressive at Adelaide where he has scalped as many as 16 wickets at an average of 29.50.

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