James Anderson still struggling to come to terms with England omission
James Anderson is still struggling to make sense of his omission from the Test side and says he has had no communication from the England camp.
England’s record wicket-taker was left out of the West Indies series last month, alongside long-term opening partner Stuart Broad, after their 4-0 Ashes defeat – with interim director of cricket Andrew Strauss suggesting it was an opportunity for the team to develop.
Broad revealed in the aftermath of the decision that the pair, who have a combined 1,177 Test wickets between them, had only received a five-minute phone call from Strauss to explain the decision.
Anderson, 39, is preparing to start the new season with Lancashire but says he is still unable to comprehend his England axe.
“I’ve stopped trying to make sense of it and just put it to one side,” Anderson said.
“It was completely out of my control. I’ve got to focus on what I can control and that is bowling as well as I possibly can. Firstly that is here these next two months, try and take as many wickets as I possibly can and see what happens from there.
“Something like this, for me, it’s quite a big deal because it came out of the blue a little bit. I still feel like I’m bowling well.
“I was in the top 10 of the world rankings so I feel like I’m doing a good job for the team. I feel like I’ve got a lot to offer, not just on the field but off it. I’ve really enjoyed working with the other bowlers that are coming through.
“After an Ashes defeat everything comes under scrutiny. There’s lots going on, people losing their jobs and stuff. I would have loved a sit-down, face-to-face, but obviously that’s not always possible in these situations.
“I would have loved more than a five-minute phone call, but again that’s not always possible.
“It’s difficult because there is no one in those positions yet, there is an interim director of cricket and interim head coach. With stuff up in the air like that, I would expect to hear something once those positions are filled.”
When asked if he has heard anything from the England set-up, Anderson replied: “No.”
England captain Joe Root suggested after their series defeat to the West Indies that the squad had made “big improvements” in attitude.
Anderson rejected suggestions he was difficult to captain and does not believe there was an issue during the Ashes.
When asked what he made of Root’s comments, Anderson said: “I don’t know. I didn’t hear that. I’m not sure.
“If that’s the case then… I don’t know. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens in the summer.
“I’ve done what I did for quite a long period of time, I feel like I know what I’m doing. I don’t think I’m extremely stubborn. I will take advice and feedback from people.
“You’d have to ask Joe what he means by that.”
Despite having 640 Test wickets under his belt, Anderson is in the strange position of having to make a point with his performances in the County Championship to win back his England place.
The Lancashire seamer admits he feels he has a point to prove, adding: “I guess so. For me, if I think of how I build up to a Test series, I want to be in as good form as possible going into that series.
“For me, the best way of doing that is performing for Lancashire, trying to win games of cricket. That’s been my mindset for ever really.
“Hopefully those performances will lead to a call-up and if not then at least we will get off to a good start to the season.
“If the England call doesn’t come, I will still play here this season. I have never looked too far ahead in my career. It’s always game by game, series by series, season by season.”
Lancashire head coach Glen Chapple was equally baffled by England’s decision but backed Anderson to make his point.
“In my mind, Jimmy is as strong as ever. He will want to put a marker down certainly,” Chapple said.
“I am sure he is (still hurting). I can’t imagine him not to be honest. I don’t understand the decision. He is still the best bowler in the country, end of.”
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