James Anderson hopes to prove Ashes fitness against Ireland

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James Anderson.

James Anderson is hoping to prove his fitness for the Ashes in next week’s historic one-off Test against Ireland.

Anderson, England’s record wicket-taker, has been sidelined with a torn calf muscle sustained playing for Lancashire at the beginning of this month.

Starting next Wednesday, the Three Lions take on Ireland in a Test match for the first time at Lord’s before launching the Ashes series against old foe Australia at Edgbaston on August 1.

“That’s the plan for me,” Anderson said. “I feel really good at the minute. We meet up on Saturday and have the weekend together as a squad and then move down to London for the Ireland Test.

“So it’s just about assessing it. If I’m fit for Wednesday, then great, if not I’ll keep going with my fitness and hopefully be ready for that first Ashes Test.”

English cricket is riding the crest of a wave after last Sunday’s World Cup final win against New Zealand enthralled the nation.

Anderson, who celebrates his 37th birthday two days before embarking on his ninth Ashes series, believes England can feed off the euphoria, but warned it is now time for them to shift their focus.

“It could be a very memorable summer for English cricket, but there’s a lot of cricket to be played before that happens,” the Lancastrian said.

“The thing for us is, obviously we want to carry the momentum forward, but we can’t afford to hang on to the World Cup win.

“It’s time to re-focus on to Test cricket. We realise the dangers that the Australian team bring to Test cricket, so we’re going to have to be fully focused on that.”

Australia regained the Ashes with an emphatic 4-1 series win in early 2018 and Anderson feels there could not be a better time for England to attempt to win them back.

“It’s a really exciting time for English cricket,” he said. “I think it was an amazing (World Cup) final and the reaction to it has been phenomenal.”Seeing the nation gripped by it and for it to be on terrestrial TV and things like that was great for the game.

“Now it’s our job as English cricketers to try and carry that momentum on and hopefully an Ashes win will do that.”

Anderson, whose 575 wickets in 148 Tests places him fourth on the all-time list, captured his 950th first-class wicket this season while playing for his county.

His 30 wickets in six County Championship matches, at an average of 9.37, suggest he is still at the top of his game.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this season playing for Lancashire and actually feeling part of the team instead of coming in for the odd game here and there,” he added.

“My form has felt pretty good and it was frustrating to get this injury a couple of weeks ago, but that’s just part of the job as a bowler.

“I feel like I’m in a good place, physically as a bowler, and I’m looking forward to the Tests.”

Lancashire, top of Division Two in the County Championship, were scheduled to launch their Vitality T20 Blast campaign against Leicestershire on Friday night.

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James Anderson gives England Ashes scare with calf injury

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James Anderson.

England bowler James Anderson has been ruled out of the rest of Lancashire’s County Championship clash against Durham after sustaining a calf injury.

Anderson was forced to leave the field after pulling up during his run up on the third morning of the match.

The 36-year-old, who claimed his 950th first-class wicket on Monday, stretched and attempted to run in three times to shake off the problem, but was forced to leave the action.

The ECB said in a statement: “Jimmy Anderson has sustained tightness to his right calf. He will take no further part in the game and will continue to be assessed.”

With the first Ashes Test against Australia less than a month away, any potential injury to England’s star bowler will be a major concern for the selectors.

While England’s one-day international squad have been in World Cup action, Anderson has spent a prolonged spell with his county in preparation for the Ashes, which begins at Edgbaston on August 1.

This match at Sedbergh School – the County Championship’s newest venue – is Anderson’s sixth game in the competition and his two wickets on Monday took his tally to an impressive 30 for the season.

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Captain Eoin Morgan says England ready for World Cup

Rory Dollard 28/05/2019
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Eoin Morgan.

Eoin Morgan will take to the golf course on Tuesday content that everything is in place for England to start their World Cup campaign in peak condition.

The England captain was a bystander as the tournament hosts cantered to victory in their final warm-up match, bowling Afghanistan out for 160 then knocking off the runs in less than 18 overs.

Morgan was officially part of the winning team after recovering from a dislocated finger but he opted against fielding and was not required with the bat as Jason Roy’s bruising 89 not out saw the side home for the loss of one wicket.

Factor in an all clear for paceman Mark Wood, who has been passed fit following a scare over his troublesome left ankle, and preparations are looking bright.

Morgan revealed he intended to play “a lot of golf” on his day off and cut a satisfied figure as he assessed the situation.

“We have felt ready the last week or so, even if we didn’t play these warm-up games,” he said.

“As a whole I was very happy with the preparation. When you play as convincingly as that it builds confidence in the hard work you’ve done both in training and in the game and the other side of it is that it gives us the afternoon and evening to switch off – not playing another close game against a strong side.

“Everyone is going to feel that anticipation and excitement of playing the first game and it will be different than any other day and I will be encouraging guys to embrace it.”

As for the good news on both his and Wood’s fitness, Morgan added: “It’s the best possible news with both of them. With Woody being a fast bowler it’s inevitable we would have injuries but to come back with the scan as clear as it could be is great, so we are all ready.”

Worries over Wood’s condition when he pulled up in Southampton were inevitable given his career-long fitness issues but the Durham man insisted he was calm.

“I wasn’t worried about the scan because I knew it was precautionary,” he said.

“I probably could have carried on bowling but I didn’t want to take any risks with it when I knew what was round the corner, especially with my background.

“I had a light bowl this morning and felt fine, then I had a bit of a heavier bowl whilst the lads were playing football and that felt absolutely fine. If anything, I just need to get it on the ice machine 24/7 for the next couple of days.

“I will fully join in with practice on Wednesday and then be ready to go on Thursday if selected.”

England have three options to take the new balls against South Africa, with Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer and Wood all preferring to bowl at the start of the innings.

The trio have rotated over the past couple of weeks but only two will get the gig in the opening game.

“I am happy to bowl in a different way or in a different spot but I imagine if selected I will play the same role as always,” he added.

“It is a long tournament with a lot of games so I expect we will mix and match.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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