LONDON: England’s James Anderson said he is expecting to return from his groin injury in “a couple of weeks” but the veteran fast bowler will not aim for a comeback for the one-off Test against Ireland so that he can be fully fit in time for the Ashes.

Anderson suffered a groin injury playing for Lancashire last week but was named in the 15-man squad for the Test against Ireland from June 1.

The first Ashes Test is at Edgbaston from June 16.

Anderson is England’s leading bowler in Tests, with 685 wickets, and is crucial to their chances after fellow pacer Jofra Archer was ruled out of the Ashes with an elbow injury.

“It’s obviously not great getting injured but it’s probably the best outcome for what it is because it’s a low-grade thing.

“I think in a couple of weeks I’ll be back to full fitness,” Anderson told the BBC’s Tailenders podcast.

“It’s frustrating beca­use you always want to feel good and get enough bowling in before a series and you want to be fresh.

“So it’s now about trying to plan the best route through this summer.

“I felt like I needed to play this game so it’s not ideal, but I’m not stressed about it.”

Anderson said he is trying to avoid a similar situation from 2019 when he pulled up injured on day one of the first Test against Australia.

A niggling calf injury ruled him out of the rest of the campaign as Australia retained the Ashes after the series in England was drawn 2-2.

“I’m just taking it day by day and seeing how it goes because obviously I don’t want to risk anything by making it worse,” the 40-year-old added.

“I’m more confident I can get this one right (compared to 2019) and give the Ashes a right good crack.”

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2023

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