The Ashes: James Anderson set to miss first Test
England pacer James Anderson is set to miss the first Ashes Test against Australia at the Gabba. The 39-year-old Anderson's workload is being managed by the visitors. England are planning to introduce Anderson for the Day-Night Test which begins four days later after the first encounter. The tourists will now have to decide upon how to go about the team selection.
Why does it matter?
Anderson has a crucial role to play against the Aussies in the upcoming Ashes series. With a five-Test series on offer, England need to prioritize his fitness given his age. Anderson is key for England's chances and is their leader of the bowling unit. It's a sound decision by the England management with just a four-day gap between the first two Test matches.
What are the options for England?
If all-rounder Ben Stokes is able to bowl and play a key role, then a door could open up for spinner Jack Leach. However, it remains to be seen if England ask Stokes to be the side's fourth seamer given that he hasn't played since July. Therefore, we could see Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, and Ollie Robinson be the four options.
Anderson isn't carrying an injury, confirms ECB
A statement from ECB stated that Anderson isn't carrying an injury but the plan is to get him ready for the second Test. "Jimmy is fit to play, and is not carrying an injury. With five Tests in six weeks the plan was to get him ready for the second Test in Adelaide," an ECB statement said.
2019 Ashes: Anderson was ruled out after an injury
With limited build-up the two sides have had in the lead-up to the fixture England are cautious. In the 2019 Ashes, the veteran right-arm pacer had bowled just four overs in the first Test before being ruled out of the series with a calf injury. Notably, Anderson had earlier picked up a calf injury and missed out on the one-off Test match against Ireland.
England management abstains from taking a risk
"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," the statement said.
A look at Anderson's Ashes stats
Anderson has racked up 60 wickets at an average of 35.43 in Australia. The star player played a key role in England's last series win in Australia in 2010-11 when he took 24 wickets at 26.04. He was the leading bowler for England in the 2017-18 Ashes series in Australia, picking up 17 wickets at 27.82. In 32 Ashes Tests, Anderson has 104 wickets.