James Anderson says he is “not assuming anything” as England contemplate resting their star bowler for the second Test against India despite his match-winning performance in the series opener. The paceman took three wickets in a superb spell of reverse-swing bowling in Chennai on Tuesday as England won by 227 runs to go 1-0 up in the four-match series. The 38-year-old’s fitness levels appear to be as good as at any time in his long career but Anderson may be left out for the second Test, also in Chennai, depriving him of the chance to add to his tally of 611 Test wickets — a record for a fast bowler.
England face a packed 2021 Test schedule, culminating in an Ashes series in Australia, and the coaching staff know they must use their resources carefully.
The tourists could stick to their policy of rotating Anderson with longstanding new-ball partner Stuart Broad, who missed the first Test but has been in fine form over the past 18 months.
“When a batsman gets in rhythm and form, they want to keep batting and keep that rhythm going, and it’s the same for a bowler,” said Anderson.
“You want to keep that going if possible, but I’m very aware that we’ve got four Test matches in quick succession here and there will probably be a need to rest and rotate. So I’m not assuming anything.”
England will make at least one change to their team, with wicketkeeper Jos Buttler taking a pre-arranged break and Ben Foakes set to return behind the stumps.
England coach Chris Silverwood admitted on Wednesday: “It is hard (to leave Anderson out), he is a class act. But you’ll have to wait and see.
“I’m not reluctant to change a winning team now if it’s the best thing to do for the players, the team and the longevity of it.”
England will play in front of a crowd for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with up to 15,000 fans a day allowed into the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium.
Silverwood said he welcomed the return of supporters.
“They (the Indian authorities) have been brilliant since we’ve been here,” he said. “We all feel safe and I’m sure things will be done properly.
“To get some noise in the ground again will be fantastic. It will be some sort of normality and it will give the lads a lift.”
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