James Anderson is eager to prove his fitness in time to take on India on Friday, as England’s Test side looks to keep their feel-good factor going in a must-win contest at Edgbaston.
India holds a 2-1 lead in the series, halted last September when the tourists declined to play at Old Trafford due to concerns over a coronavirus outbreak, while England arrived off the back of a 3-0 clean sweep over New Zealand.
Anderson sat out the final match of the New Zealand series at Headingley due to concerns over his left ankle, although he remained with the squad to take in a thrilling third victory of the summer.
The 39-year-old admitted he was frustrated not to feature in England’s latest Test victory, with Anderson enjoying the buoyant feeling around the team and motivated to return to action.
“We’ve started brilliantly, and I think we’ve shown what style of cricket we want to play under Ben [Stokes] and Brendan [McCullum],” Anderson was quoted saying in an interview.
“Having got to know those two and see them work together over the past few weeks, they’ll want to build on that and not just settle for those performances. They’ll want even better performances as we go, even more, positive cricket, and I think that’s really exciting.
“I certainly feel like I’ve got a smile on my face on the field a bit more than I normally have! It’s just been so much fun playing with this group and the style of cricket that we have been playing.”
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England’s Ben Foakes tested positive midway through the third Test but joined the squad in Birmingham for a light training session on Wednesday afternoon, while Sam Billings remains with the team as cover, with Anderson also coming through training unscathed in his bid to return to action.
“I hate missing games,” Anderson added. “After that game at Headingley, the feeling around the group is so good you want to be around it as much as possible.
England captain Ben Stokes was delighted with his side’s 3-0 series win over New Zealand and hoped to carry it over to the next Test against India.
“It was disappointing to miss the last game, seeing the guys out on the field having a good time and playing well. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that I can get back in this week.
“The ankle feels pretty good, and I’ve got a couple of days of practice to get through. If I can do that, hopefully, I’ll be good for Friday. We’ll see what happens.”
India plans to make a late decision on the availability of captain Rohit Sharma for this week’s Test against England. Sharma tested positive for Covid-19 last week, and reports in India suggested team management had already decided to place fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah in charge for the first time on Friday.
“The update on Rohit is that he’s being monitored by our medical team – he’s not yet been ruled out,” said head coach Rahul Dravid.
Ahead of Friday’s rescheduled deciding Test between England and India at Edgbaston, recap how the visitors established a 2-1 series lead last summer before Covid intervened.
“He needs to get the negative Test to be available. We’ll keep monitoring that. We’ve still got close to 36 hours to go, so he’ll have a test Wednesday night and one Thursday morning as well. Then we’ll see.
“It’s really up to the medical team to decide on that. We’ve not had a chance to see him as he’s in isolation, but we’ll keep monitoring that situation.”
“It’s probably better that the communication comes officially from official sources,” he said, despite holding a senior management role himself.