England pacer James Anderson will sit out of the first Ashes 2021-22 Test against Australia starting in Brisbane on Wednesday. This is a part of England's plan to keep the pace king fresh for the day-night Test match in Adelaide from December 16. (LIVE STREAMING)
James Anderson, the third-highest wicket-taker in Tests, is fit, but considering the long series which ends on January 18 in the New Year, it was unlikely that the 39-year-old will play all five matches in six weeks.
“Jimmy is fit to play, and is not carrying an injury,” an England and Wales Cricket Board statement said.
“With five Tests in six weeks, the plan was to get him ready for the second Test in Adelaide. He bowled at full capacity yesterday (Monday) for just short of an hour and was in a good place physically. He will do the same again today at practice,” the statement added.
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The decision to rest James Anderson in the first Test comes as a precaution after the veteran pacer missed the majority of the 2019 Ashes series following a calf injury he sustained during the first game at Edgbaston. Age also comes into play for the Lancashire legend.
Meanwhile, James Anderson will stay with the Test group and work with the coaches at the Gabba. Another aspect that could have worked for the team management to rest Anderson in Brisbane is his poor records compared to in Adelaide.
At the Gabba, Anderson has taken seven wickets in four matches while in Adelaide, the English paceman has 16. “(It's) just a precautionary measure (resting Anderson in Gabba) with an incredibly long series ahead,” England batsman Jos Buttler told reporters.
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It also remains to be seen, whether England play Stuart Broad or go with a specialist spinner in Jack Leach. All-rounder Ben Stokes, who had a long lay-off due to a finger injury and mental health issues, is also fit to play and available for selection.
"Ben is fit to play. He's been performing very nicely in the nets,” said Buttler. “It’s a massive plus for us as a side,” added Buttler. Meanwhile, new Australia captain Pat Cummins has confirmed batsman Travis Head and fast bowler Mitchell Starc will play in the first Ashes cricket Test.
Cummins said that Head is set to be picked ahead of Usman Khawaja while the early call on left-arm quick Mitchell Starc, as a new ball bowler, means the hosts have now decided on a line-up and a plan to rattle Joe Root's England.