Fit-again James Anderson back in England Test squad: Details here
England's veteran fast bowler James Anderson has returned to the England Test squad for the tour of South Africa starting, December 26. It's a crucial phase for both sides to gain momentum in this four-match Test series. Notably, Anderson has not played for England since suffering a calf injury in the first Ashes Test in August. Here's more.
England Test squad for South Africa tour: Joe Root (captain), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wk), Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Pope (wk), Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
The leading wicket-taker in Tests for England was ruled out after bowling just four overs in the first Test against England. Anderson had earlier picked up a calf injury and missed out on the one-off Test match against Ireland. He was named in the first Test and was expected to lead the bowling unit. But the 37 year-old was bothered by the same issue.
Anderson has 575 Test wickets in 149 appearances. He topped the ICC Test Rankings for Bowlers in 2018. However, he has dropped to seventh. Earlier, Anderson stated he has the desire to keep playing. "I've still got a real hunger and desire to play cricket. I still love the game and still feel like I can be the best bowler in the world."
Anderson had felt that he has a lot to offer in Test cricket and had ruled out retirement claims. The tour of South Africa is immense for the bowler. The hunger and desire are there in him and we feel he will make a strong return for England. He has been one of the greatest bowlers in Test cricket.
Meanwhile, wicket-keeper batsman Jonny Bairstow, who was dropped for the recent 1-0 series defeat in New Zealand, also made a return. Joining him was pace bowler Mark Wood, who has been out since the ICC World Cup 2019 final in July because of side and knee injuries. The uncapped Saqib Mahmood misses out in the 17-member touring side.
Meanwhile, there are 120 ICC World Test Championship points up for grabs in the series. England had earlier drawn the Test series against Australia 2-2. They lost the urn and were recently beaten by New Zealand in a series that wasn't part of the Test Championship. South Africa, who were blanked by India in the three-match series, are yet to open their account.