James Anderson: Sidelined England fast bowler not “giving up” on Ashes comeback
James Anderson bowled only four overs in the first Ashes Test. © AFP

Disheartened though he is to miss the next few Ashes Test matches, sidelined fast bowler James Anderson says he is not “giving up” on making a comeback to the squad before the final Test starts on September 12.

Anderson has been ruled out of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s next week with the England cricket management confirming on Tuesday that scans taken on the 37-year-old in Birmingham last week revealed an unspecified calf injury.

Anderson, the most successful Test fast bowler of all time, has begun a rehabilitation programme to assess the extent of damage and the chances of him featuring in the remaining three Tests after the Lord’s game starting August 14.

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“I certainly have no intention of giving up. If I don’t play against Australia, then the winter tours to New Zealand and South Africa are the next target,” Anderson told The Sun. “My focus now is to get better and try everything possible to play a role later in the series. I’m sure there will come a point where other bowlers either get injured or need a rest.

“The thought of more time away from the game is driving me nuts. I haven’t thought about giving up. My body feels great everywhere else, I’m as fit as I’ve ever been. It’s hard to say when I might play again but it won’t be for a while.”

Anderson was passed fit for the Ashes opener but injured himself on day one of the Edgbaston Test after complaining of tightness in his right calf. He managed four overs before going for a scan during the lunch break but later came out to bat, becoming the last wicket to fall in England’s first innings. He did not bowl in Australia’s second innings.

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The 37-year-old had torn the same right calf during a county match for Lancashire earlier in July and subsequently missed two County Championship matches and also the four-day Test against Ireland which England won by 143 runs.

The third Ashes Test is in Leeds from August 22, four days after the scheduled end of the Lord’s Test. The fourth Test is at Anderson’s home ground of Old Trafford from September 4 and the final fixture starts September 12 at The Oval.

“The England management want me to play some cricket before I return for a Test match. So I’ll have to schedule that as well, which is not so easy because it is mainly Twenty20 matches at the moment,” said Anderson.

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The setback has increased the chances of World Cup star Jofra Archer making his Test debut at Lord’s next week.

Archer has played 28 first-class matches, all for Sussex between 2016 and 2018, from which he has claimed 131 wickets at 23.44 apiece with five five-wicket hauls and once taking ten in a game.

In a quest to prove his fitness for the Lord’s Test, Archer turned out for Sussex’s 2nd XI on Tuesday and took six wickets and scored a century against Gloucestershire.