An MRI scan has revealed that James Anderson, England’s record Test wicket-taker, has “a low grade calf muscle tear,” according to the ECB, and will miss Lancashire’s next two Championship matches against Northants and Sussex while he undergoes a rehabilitation programme. Anderson underwent the scan on Friday after he was forced off the field during Lancashire’s County Championship match against Durham on July 2 after experiencing tightness in his right calf.
With the recovery time for such injuries typically somewhere between 10 days and a month, depending on their severity, the England team management remains cautiously optimistic he will be fit and available for their first Test of the summer, against Ireland, which starts on July 24 at Lord’s. The first Ashes Test starts at Edgbaston on August 1.
While there might have been a case for using the Ireland Test – a four-day match – to take a look at less experienced bowlers ahead of the Ashes, it seems England’s World Cup run has presented a few complications for the selectors. The likes of Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes have all undergone fitness tests ahead of recent games and are carrying an array of aches and pains into matches. All three are likely to be rested ahead of the Ashes, with some suggestion that Archer will not be risked until the second Ashes Test at Lord’s.
Anderson has been in outstanding form for Lancashire this season. He has played six Championship matches and claimed 30 wickets at an average of just 9.36. While there might have been an argument for resting him from more games, experience has shown that Anderson – who will be 37 at the end of the month – tends to benefit from ticking over rather than a complete break from bowling.