James Anderson “put his heart and soul” into recovering from the calf injury that ultimately dashed his Ashes dreams, earning the sympathy of Stuart Broad.
England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker was ruled out of the Old Trafford and Oval Tests after suffering a recurrence of his calf problem during the opening clash with Australia at Edgbaston.
The 575-wicket paceman featured for Lancashire’s second XI in a bid to prove his fitness but came up short and the 37-year-old looks set to have bowled his last ball in Ashes action.
“He’s obviously very disappointed, he’s put his heart and soul into getting back to full fitness,” said Broad ahead of the fourth Test at Old Trafford.
“It was early June when he hurt his calf initially, he got back fit for the first game and that didn’t quite work out how he wanted.
“He’s done everything he possibly could. I’ve seen him running, bowling – he’s bowled 20 overs in a day.
“He’s frustrated, he’s going to have a period of time of ifs and buts, what if he’d done this or what if he’d done that.
“But it’s important for him to have a bit of a break now and look forward to future challenges.”
— OptaJim (@OptaJim) September 11, 2018
Broad had envisaged a very different outcome for Anderson in this series, but he insisted his team-mate has a lot of cricket left in him.
“I had in my mind that it was almost written in the stars that he’d come back and bowl from the James Anderson end and bowl us to victory,” added Broad.
“That’s not going to happen, but he’s got a lot of cricket left in him and he’ll be desperate to get that calf right, because it’s a long-winded calf injury, two or three months’ worth of calf niggle and he’ll want to get rid of that.”