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James Anderson hoping to prove Ashes fitness in historic Ireland Test

James Anderson hoping to prove Ashes fitness in historic Ireland Test
© Reuters
England's all-time leading wicket-taker suffered a calf injury earlier this month.

James Anderson is hoping to prove his fitness for the Ashes in next week’s historic one-off Test against Ireland.

Anderson, England’s record wicket-taker, has been sidelined with a torn calf muscle sustained playing for Lancashire at the beginning of this month.

Starting next Wednesday, the Three Lions take on Ireland in a Test match for the first time at Lord’s before launching the Ashes series against old foe Australia at Edgbaston on August 1.

“That’s the plan for me,” Anderson told PA. “I feel really good at the minute. We meet up on Saturday and have the weekend together as a squad and then move down to London for the Ireland Test.

“So it’s just about assessing it. If I’m fit for Wednesday, then great, if not I’ll keep going with my fitness and hopefully be ready for that first Ashes Test.”

English cricket is riding the crest of a wave after last Sunday’s World Cup final win against New Zealand enthralled the nation.

Anderson, who celebrates his 37th birthday two days before embarking on his ninth Ashes series, believes England can feed off the euphoria, but warned it is now time for them to shift their focus.

“It could be a very memorable summer for English cricket, but there’s a lot of cricket to be played before that happens,” the Lancastrian said.

“The thing for us is, obviously we want to carry the momentum forward, but we can’t afford to hang on to the World Cup win.

“It’s time to re-focus on to Test cricket. We realise the dangers that the Australian team bring to Test cricket, so we’re going to have to be fully focused on that.”

Australia regained the Ashes with an emphatic 4-1 series win in early 2018 and Anderson feels there could not be a better time for England to attempt to win them back.

“It’s a really exciting time for English cricket,” he said. “I think it was an amazing (World Cup) final and the reaction to it has been phenomenal.”Seeing the nation gripped by it and for it to be on terrestrial TV and things like that was great for the game.

  1. Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri) - 800
  2. Shane Warne (Aus) - 708
  3. Anil Kumble (Ind) - 619
  4. James Anderson (Eng) - 575
  5. Glenn McGrath (Aus) - 563

“Now it’s our job as English cricketers to try and carry that momentum on and hopefully an Ashes win will do that.”

Anderson, whose 575 wickets in 148 Tests places him fourth on the all-time list, captured his 950th first-class wicket this season while playing for his county.

His 30 wickets in six County Championship matches, at an average of 9.37, suggest he is still at the top of his game.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this season playing for Lancashire and actually feeling part of the team instead of coming in for the odd game here and there,” he added.

“My form has felt pretty good and it was frustrating to get this injury a couple of weeks ago, but that’s just part of the job as a bowler.

“I feel like I’m in a good place, physically as a bowler, and I’m looking forward to the Tests.”

Lancashire, top of Division Two in the County Championship, were scheduled to launch their Vitality T20 Blast campaign against Leicestershire on Friday night.


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