James Anderson remains hungry to play for England after missing the Ashes – and has backed Joe Root to carry on as Test captain.
Seamer Anderson bowled just four overs on the first day of the opener against Australia due to a calf injury, though it was initially hoped he would still feature in the rest of the series.
However, while attempting to prove his fitness before the fourth Test at his home ground of Old Trafford, the 37-year-old suffered a setback on duty for Lancashire’s second XI, ruling him out of contention.
Yet despite a disappointing 2019 so far, Anderson remains determined to get back to full fitness and turn out for his country again.
“At the minute, I’m just focusing on getting fit again. I’ve still got the hunger and desire to play for England,” Anderson told Omnisport.
“As I’ve said before this year, up until I got injured, I’ve been bowling as well as I ever have, so I’ve still got the hunger there to get through this, do the rehab and get my body in good shape again and hopefully get onto a winter tour.”
— OptaJim (@OptaJim) September 11, 2018
Without their all-time leading wicket-taker in the longest format, England have come up short in their bid to regain the Ashes on home soil.
Defeat in Manchester on Sunday means Australia – who won the previous series 4-0 – hold a 2-1 lead with just this week’s finale at the Oval to go.
Root’s position as skipper has come into question in the aftermath of the fourth Test, though Anderson is adamant England do not need a captaincy change despite concerns extra responsibility has hampered the Yorkshireman’s batting.
“I certainly think he’s the right man for the job,” Anderson said. “He’s done some great work with the Test side over the last few years.
“From the team’s point of view, we’ve shown glimpses of what we can do but been a little bit inconsistent. So it’s about finding that consistency as a group.
“And I think he [Root] will be as disappointed as anyone with his form. It’s a tricky one, whether if he had batted [at number] four it would make any difference.
“I don’t think his captaincy is necessarily affecting his batting, he’s just not scored the runs that he would have liked in the series.”
James Anderson was speaking on behalf of ‘The Test Experts’ Specsavers, Official Test Partner for England cricket ahead of the final Test of the Specsavers Ashes Series at The Oval. Specsavers are encouraging fans to take eye and ear tests this summer.