Veteran England fast bowler James Anderson is relieved that the doors for him making a comeback into the England Test side haven’t been shut entirely. With Ben Stokes appointed as new Test skipper on Thursday and Rob Key made the managing director of men’s cricket, the chances of Anderson and his new-ball partner Stuart Broad having a crack with the red cherry is still present.
Anderson and Broad, amongst the top-10 wicket-takers in Test cricket with 640 and 537 wickets respectively, were shock omissions from England’s three-match away series in West Indies in March, which they lost 1-0.
Post the series, Joe Root stepped down as Test captain after England won just one of their last 17 Tests. With Stokes and Key at the helm, doubts over the duo’s Test future have been calmed down.
“Stuart and I were hoping our careers weren’t over. So it’s nice to hear there’s a chance. It still means we’ve got to put in some performances here with our counties to prove that we’re playing well enough to get in that final 11. Because of the situation and not having people in these roles, you’re just so unsure of what’s going to happen. So now having that clarity is really nice,” said Anderson to BBC Radio Lancashire.
Stokes’ first assignment as England’s Test captain will be a three-match home series in June against New Zealand. It will be followed by the postponed fifth Test against India at Edgbaston followed by another three-match home series against South Africa. In the current World Test Championship table, England are at the bottom.
Anderson, currently playing for Lancashire in the County Championship, was in praise of Stokes, 30, calling him a “natural leader who has the respect of the group” — and has “a clear idea of how he wants the team to play”. “I’d love to be a part of that (of playing under Stokes). We’ve had a tough few years, we’re down the bottom of the Test Championship. English cricket needs to get back to winning Test matches.”