Anderson to miss opening Ashes Test, dealing blow to England’s chances

Dec 7, 2021: Veteran fast bowler Jimmy Anderson is set to miss the opening Test against Australia, with reports suggesting on Tuesday that England’s chances of regaining the Ashes have been shaken.

The 39-year-old, the most prolific fast bowler in Test cricket with 632 wickets, has a minor calf problem, the cricketer also reported with the BBC that he is unlikely to start in Brisbane on Wednesday. The England Cricket Board did not immediately confirm the report.

In his absence, England will select four bowlers from Chris Vokes, Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson, Stuart Broad and Jack Leach to play with returning all-rounder Ben Stokes. England was already without fast bowler Joffra Archer, who is out of the tour due to an elbow injury, and Olly Stone, who was ruled out due to back surgery.

Anderson spent about an hour in the net on Monday at his own pace, but memories of his withdrawal from the first Test of the 2019 Ashes after four overs are still fresh, the cricketer said, saying hence the decision was made not to risk it.

The announcement came a day after England captain Joe Root refused to announce his squad for the Gabba Test, despite Australia confirming their starting XI over the weekend.

“I’m not into mind games, I’m not in a position to name my team right now,” Root told reporters. “Fairplay that they have announced their eleven. I really do not care or change anything from our point of view. We will run our business the way we want and when we are ready.”

Given his age, Anderson was unlikely to play all five Tests in the series.

The second Test in Adelaide, a match played using pink ball under lights, is set to begin on December 16 – just four days after the end of Brisbane.

Anderson has taken 60 wickets at an average of 35.43 in 18 Tests in Australia, which is almost 10 runs worse than his actual career average of 26.62. Australia are the current holders of the Ashes after a 2-2 draw in England in 2019. They won the last series at home 4-0 in 2017/18.

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