There were plenty of eyebrows raised when England confirmed bowler James Anderson would miss out on the first Ashes Test against Australia in Brisbane.
The Three Lions camp has suggested they want to manage the veteran seamer’s workload but only time will tell if the tourists made the right decision.
England Decide to Play the Long Game
To decide to go into a first Ashes Test without your country’s all-time leading wicket-taker was a big call by head coach Chris Silverwood and his team. England, who are 9/2 in the Ashes betting odds to win the series, are looking to claim the famous urn on Australian soil for the first time since the 2010-11 campaign. No side has managed to win the Ashes series after losing the first Test since the Three Lions completed the feat in the fabled 2005 series.
Despite what the history books might say, England decided against throwing Anderson into the mix from the start of the series and seem to be keeping their powder dry for the Tests to come. At the age of 39, it is understandable why the England management would have concerns about Anderson’s durability through what is one of the toughest series in the sport. It’s Lancashire star Anderson’s fifth trip Down Under for the Ashes, and while he keeps himself in tremendous shape, he has claimed he will likely be limited to three of the five Tests this winter.
Anderson Earning Strong Reviews
Going into the series there were positive reviews of Anderson’s effort behind the scenes at training. England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler had admitted facing Anderson in the nets had been a “great challenge” and felt it would stand all the English batsman in good stead going into the series. Buttler also added how impressed he was with Anderson’s longevity, claiming that age was simply “just a number” for the experienced paceman.
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There had been some concerns over what was believed to be a minor calf injury Anderson was nursing at the start of December, and that may well have played a role in his absence from the first Test. Risking a further injury setback would be a dangerous tactic from Silverwood’s team, especially with so much cricket to be played.
After the first clash at The Gabba in Brisbane, England and Australia meet once again for a day-night match in Adelaide. It’s set to be another intriguing contest, with the changing light conditions adding to what is already one of the highest-pressure environments cricket has to offer. Expect Anderson to be putting his hand up for selection in that one.
As with any Ashes series there are bound to be plenty of twists and turns along the way. England will be hoping that they are the ones who can build some early momentum and have Anderson joining a side firmly in the mix to secure the urn.