England captain Joe Root defended his decision to play in the first test against James Anderson, despite doubts about the fitness of the bowler.
Anderson, 37, was missing a month before the ashes after suffering a calf injury when playing for Lancashire in the County Championship. Upon returning to England, the fast bowler stopped in Edgbaston on the first morning and was able to throw only four overs in the match. His absence was a heavy blow to England’s attack, which was difficult for the Australian batsmen to control as the guests headed for a 251-win win.
“He passed every medical test – he was ready to play,” Root explained his decision after the game. “And it’s one of those freak scenarios he stopped in. I think because it’s the same calf, we’re not sure if it’s a different injury or not, we’ll have to wait and see what the scans say.
“It’s easy to look back and say we did it differently, but he passed all the tests, as I said, and it was a unanimous decision for him to play,” he added.
Anderson, England’s most successful 575 scalp bowler, has managed to beat in both innings, albeit with limited mobility. However, it is feared that he might have ruined his chances of playing in the second test next week. If he does not recover on time, there is a strong possibility that Jofra Archer will replace him.
Archer, England’s leading wicket taker at the 2019 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, is recovering from injury but has been tested in national games.
“With Jofra, we are in a slightly different situation where he played a lot of cricket in between and we have a clearer idea of where he is,” Root said. “We need to make sure that we know exactly how to tackle the next game and not make too many emotional decisions, and we’ll sit down as a panel and pick a squad from there.”
The captain was also not too discouraged by the defeat in the first test and insisted that England could get back on its feet. “I think we have the confidence we need,” he said. “Of course we would prefer to win 1-0 but [we have] four games and a lot of time to think things through before the next one.”
The second test begins on Lord’s 14th August.