James Anderson has set his sights on making a comeback from a rib injury for England’s important Test tour of Sri Lanka next month.
The most prolific fast bowler in Test history took his tally to 584 wickets with superb match figures of seven for 63 against South Africa at Cape Town last month but he was in visible discomfort on the final day.
A broken rib – later described by Anderson as “the most pain I’ve ever been in on a cricket field” – ruled the 37-year-old out of the final two Tests as England claimed a 3-1 series win.
However, with Jofra Archer set for three months on the sidelines, Anderson believes he can hand England a fitness boost ahead of a series in Sri Lanka where each match is worth a whopping 60 points in the World Test Championship.
“It’s good, it’s all healed,” Anderson told Sky Sports News. “I’ve been training for a few weeks now, getting my bowling back up to speed, and I feel really good.”
While Anderson seems set to make himself available, England may be wary given his recent injury record. He returned to action in South Africa after recovering from a longstanding calf injury that spoiled his summer.
The aim for me is to get fit for whatever is next and at the moment that is Sri LankaJames Anderson
The Sri Lanka pitches, often not conducive for seam bowlers, could also be a factor for selectors ahead of a series which gets under way on March 19 at Galle.
Anderson took only one wicket in two Tests on his last visit to the island 18 months ago but bowled with his customary exemplary control in 41 overs as England secured a 3-0 series whitewash, and he has refused to countenance being held back for the English summer.
“The aim for me is to get fit for whatever is next and at the moment that is Sri Lanka,” Anderson added. “With a broken bone you are just waiting for that to heal, you’ve not lost any fitness.
“It’s just about building my bowling back up now, we’ve still got a month before that tour so we have to just wait and see what the selectors think.”