Anderson’s comeback remains uncertain
England may be without James Anderson for the first three Tests in India as he continues his recovery from the shoulder injury which has hampered him since midway through the English season.
Anderson has not been included in the 16-man squad for the five-Test tour which is unchanged from the group currently in Bangladesh.
Alastair Cook had already said that Anderson would miss the opening Test in Rajkot and a decision over the involvement of him on the tour will be taken in the coming days, but it is understood that the Mumbai Test which begins on December 8 is now seen as his earliest return date.
Speaking after the first Test in Chittagong, England coach Trevor Bayliss gave a positive outlook on Anderson. “The medical staff are very pleased with how he has come on in the last week or so. He has had more scans and is looking good. They haven’t given any indication of when he might be available, but definitely out for the first Test in India.”
He was described as “the difference between the sides” by India captain MS Dhoni after England won the 2012 Test series between the teams, but it seems increasingly likely that England will have to learn to live without him.
When Anderson spoke to ESPNcricinfo earlier in October, he was confident over his recovery. “I’m not going to miss the entire trip, no,” he said. “I’m very confident I’m going to be involved in the India series, it is a frustrating injury, something I want to get right, but it does happen in cricket, in sport, you get injured, you’ve just got to deal with it, and hopefully I can get as fit as possible as soon as possible.”
While there might have been a case for calling up another spin bowler for the India tour – England had two seamers (Steven Finn and Jake Ball) and one spinner (Zafar Ansari) on the side-lines for the first Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong – the England team management have suggested they are likely to retain faith in a six-man attack involving three seamers and three spinners.
Mark Wood, the Durham fast bowler, who was part of the original squad for Bangladesh remains unavailable having required another ankle operation.
If England do require reinforcements, they have an 18-man Lions squad a short flight away in the UAE.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo