James Anderson says he is unlikely to play for Lancashire until the end of May

By Sports Desk April 05, 2024

James Anderson does not expect to be available for Lancashire until the end of May at the earliest as he looks to prime himself for the English Test summer.

Anderson became the first fast bowler in history to reach 700 Test wickets last month, joining spinners Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne in an exclusive club, in England’s 4-1 series loss in India.

As he wants to be firing on all cylinders for the first of England’s six Tests this summer, against the West Indies at Lord’s starting on July 10 – three weeks before his 42nd birthday – Anderson anticipates he will sit out the early part of the 2024 Vitality County Championship, which got under way on Friday.

He is set to miss at least the first five rounds and could also skip the visit of Warwickshire, beginning on May 24, although Lancashire’s next fixture after that is not until June 23 at Kent.

“With the Tests being in July, it’s tricky,” said Anderson. “It’ll probably be June before I play, or maybe the end of May.”

Anderson featured four times within the space of a month last year but then suffered a groin niggle which left him touch and go for the start of an Ashes series in which he had an underwhelming impact.

Anderson reducing his county commitments this term means the prospect of him playing alongside Nathan Lyon has receded after Cricket Australia scaled back the off-spinner’s availability for Lancashire.

The pair have been on opposite sides of the Ashes divide over the years but Lyon revealed they had lunch earlier this week and Anderson remains hopeful they can play together at least once or twice.

“It was nice to actually have a civil conversation with him,” added Anderson, speaking following the announcement that £35million will be invested into grassroots cricket.

“I think he plays seven out of the first nine games, so hopefully I’ll play one or two, either at the end of May or in June.”

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