James Anderson accepts that England’s rotation policy can be “frustrating” but the country’s all-time leading wicket taker reckons that, at 38, the system is helping him stay fresh in the latter part of his career.
Anderson took five wickets as England won the opening Test against India in Chennai at the start of the month but was rested for the second match – a 317-run defeat on the same ground.
He is expected to return for the day-night Test which begins in Ahmedabad’s newly-built 110,000-capacity Sardar Patel Stadium on Wednesday, where conditions could see seam bowling come back to the fore.
“You have got to try and look at the bigger picture,” Anderson said.
“The idea was if I missed the second Test, that would give me the best chance of being fit and firing for the pink-ball Test.
“So that’s where I am at, I am feeling good and fresh and ready to go again if called upon.
“It’s frustrating to an extent but I can see the bigger picture with the amount of cricket that we have got.”
Anderson pointed to the injury setbacks he suffered in the last two years – missing most of the Ashes in 2019 and being ruled out of two Tests in South Africa at the start of 2020 – as the price of playing too much.
“It’s the same for all bowlers, not just me,” he said. “We’ve got 17 Test matches this year and the best way of getting your best players firing for as many of those as possible is to take little rests every now and then.
“It’s not a case of shielding, it’s just a case of trying to make sure you’re not wearing someone out until they completely break in half.”
With a day-night Test opening up the possibility of movement, the pairing of Anderson and Stuart Broad could be hard to resist.
The duo, who share more than 1,100 wickets between them, have only played together in nine Tests in the last two years – and Anderson admitted it was hard to know how many more times they might be seen in tandem again.
“That has definitely crossed my mind,” he said. “Ideally we would get into a position where there will be times – a crucial game potentially – when they want the experience there of both of us and that might get called upon.”