England pace bowling stalwart James Anderson has made peace with the shock exclusion from the squad for the ongoing three-Test away series against the West Indies, saying that the omission was completely out of his control.
The 39-year-old Anderson — the highest wicket-taker in the world among pace bowlers with 640 scalps in 169 Tests — was axed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), which felt he and pace-bowling partner Stuart Broad did not perform as per expectation during the Ashes series.
England, under Joe Root, lost the Ashes 4-0 in Australia and the ECB went into rebuild mode, removing chief coach Chris Silverwood and axing Anderson and the 35-year-old Broad for the Caribbean tour.
Anderson has said that he will play for his county side Lancashire to make a bid to regain his spot in the England Test side.
“When you’re hearing how things are going and not being a part of this rebuild is a little bit tough. But I made peace with the decision weeks ago; it’s completely out of my control,” said Broad on BBC Radio 5 Live.
“What I can do now is just get myself ready for the county season and try and show people what I can do. I feel in a good place physically and mentally as well,” he added.
Anderson and Broad are England’s all-time No.1 and 2 leading Test wicket-takers with a combined total of 1,177 dismissals.
Soon after ECB had announced the Test side last month, Anderson had said he was in “shock” and felt “frustration and anger” at being ignored.
“I’m (now) just looking forward to playing some cricket for Lancashire,” he added.
On 25-year-old pacer Saqib Mahmood’s perfect debut in the drawn second Test at Bridgetown (Barbados), Anderson said, “It will do wonders for him, that’s an amazing return on that pitch where we saw all other seam bowlers struggle.”
Mahmood finished with match figures of 4/79 on Test debut.
“To perform like that in your first game, especially in that second innings, it did give England a little bit of a sniff. His chest will be out after that game. It would have been hard work for him on that pitch this week and Test cricket will only get easier as his career develops,” opined Anderson.
“He’s not a Jofra (Archer), he’s not a Mark Wood; he’s not a 95mph bowler. I feel like he’s going to consistently hit 85mph and be pretty accurate,” added Anderson.