Anderson ready to back aggressive approach as England prepare for Pakistan Test return

By Sports Desk November 29, 2022

James Anderson has backed Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum's aggressive approach ahead of England's first Test against Pakistan, but acknowledges they are in the dark over what to expect on the pitch.

The tourists kick off a three-match series in Rawalpindi on December 1, marking their first return to the country for red-ball cricket since 2005.

England had not toured Pakistan in the wake of the Sri Lanka bus attack in 2009 until September this year, when they returned to the nation for a seven-game T20 series ahead of the World Cup.

But having won six out of seven Tests on home turf under an all-guns-blazing approach from captain Stokes and coach McCullum, Anderson is ready to maintain the momentum on their trip overseas.

"We've got a captain and coach that don't want draws," the 40-year-old told BBC Sport. "We're not playing for draws.

"We don't know how it's going to play. Traditionally it is flat. We'll come out and try to win the game - we might have to be creative in how we do that."

Though a member of the party for England's last Test tour of Pakistan in 2005, Anderson did not feature, but he did play in a string of ODI matches.

That means the veteran red-ball specialist is in the dark on what to expect from his wicket, although he says he is still delighted to finally get the chance to play the longer format there.

"It's great to be back," he said. "Seventeen years is a long time. It would be wrong if I said, 'The pitch is going to play like this', or, 'This is what to expect'.

"There will be times when we have to soak up pressure. We get that.

"But there will be times when we have to put pressure back on the opposition and the skill we're trying to develop is when to do that.

"With the ball we're trying to take wickets. The captain and coach have made that quite clear - every time you run in to bowl it's about taking wickets - not about controlling the run-rate. It's about how we're going to get 20 wickets."

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