Saturday, March 2, 2024

England will be alright without Anderson

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DURBAN – There is sufficient depth in England’s bowling department to make up for the absence of their record wicket taker James Anderson in the Boxing Day cricket Test against South Africa, Stuart Broad said on Thursday.

Anderson has been ruled out of the first Test in Durban because of a calf strain but fellow paceman Broad said there were others waiting in the wings to replace him.

“Of course it’s disappointing when you lose the spearhead of your attack but I think, rather than it being a ruled out of the series type thing, it’s just a slight niggle and the management decided that it really wasn’t worth the risk in the first match of the series,” Broad told reporters.

“We have such depth in the squad that there’s no need to take a risk, it’s not a hammer blow to us. Steven Finn coming back to fitness and bowling so nicely last week, (hence) we have got the depth to cover. We only name the side the night before the game but I think everyone who has had a run out on this trip has really impressed.”

Broad and Finn are likely to be joined by Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes in the bowling line-up for the test at Kingsmead, which starts on Saturday.

“Woakes has been a consistent performer in the United Arab Emirates one-dayers (against Pakistan) and has continued that rhythm here,” added Broad.

“These sort of wickets are the type that you want to see Steven Finn bowl on, good bounce, a bit of seam and he showed that against South Africa “A”.”

Finn put forward his credentials with six wickets in the win over South Africa A in the last of the warm-up matches.

He had been forced to pull out of England’s Test series against Pakistan in October after suffering a bone-stress injury in his left foot.

He was a late addition to the squad in South Africa after impressing for England Lions in two comeback appearances against Pakistan “A” in Dubai earlier this month.

Scans on Anderson’s right calf on Tuesday confirmed he will miss the series opener but he is hoping to be fit for the second test in Cape Town on January 2.

The 33-year-old will do some light fitness work over the coming days, before undergoing a fitness test towards the end of the first test, the England Cricket Board said on Thursday.

Anderson has claimed 426 Test wickets during his career and overtook previous record-holder Ian Botham during England’s tour of the Caribbean earlier this year. (Reuters)

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