James Anderson shouldn’t have played at Edgbaston: Darren Gough
James Anderson (AFP Photo)

Former England international Darren Gough feels James Anderson should have skipped the series opening Ashes Test at Edgbaston.

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Anderson complained of tightness in his right calf after managing just four overs on the first day of the Edgbaston Test against Australia. He didn’t bowl again but did come out to bat during both the England innings.

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Scans later revealed he aggravated a previous injury picked while playing a County Championship match in July forcing him to be ruled out of at least the second Test at Lord’s that starts from August 14. Gough said that the decision to play Anderson for the first Test could come to bite back England later in the ongoing Ashes.

“He (Anderson) is such a good bowler and big player. But I personally did not think he should have played. When you are getting older and I know this as I have been through similar things you want to play every game as you think it might be your last series,” Gough wrote in his column for the Yorkshire Post.

“If I had been asked the same question, I would have wanted to play. He is close to 600 wickets, so would have wanted to play in what could be his last series,” he wrote.

The second and third Test will be played at Lord’s and Headingly where pitches, Gough said, would have been ideal for Anderson. ” when Jimmy did not play against Ireland, I felt he should not play in the first Test as he had such a good record at Lord’s. Now, we are going to miss him for Lord’s and Headingley, which would have been pitches that would have suited him. He would have made a huge difference,” he observed.

England lost the first Test after taking a decent lead in the first innings and head to Lord’s trailing 0-1 in the five-match series.

Gough, who played 58 Tests, 159 ODIs and two T20Is, reckons England will need to prepare green pitches to beat Australia and Anderson would have thrived on those surfaces. “To beat Australia, we are going to have to play on green pitches which are helpful and Jimmy is our best bowler. On flat pitches, their batsmen are better suited to it and their bowlers are more likely to bowl us out,” he said.

Jofra Archer is in the prime position to replace Anderson for the Lord’s Test after proving his fitness while playing for Sussex second XI, something Anderson should have himself done so before the series.

“Jimmy should not have gone into the first Test having had just a couple of nets. He will be a huge loss, but it could have been avoided. By the time he is back, we might have lost the series. Archer had to play second-team cricket to prove he is fit and I think it has to be the same rule for a senior player. The older you are, the harder it is to come back from these type of injuries Jimmy has. He should have had some kind of practice game,” Gough said.