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Excited Anderson has point to prove

By Liam Blackburn

James Anderson is itching to get the new season started with Lancashire as he strives to once again be the figurehead of England's attack this summer.

The 31-year-old seamer's regular presence on the international stage has meant appearances for his county side have been sporadic for the best part of the last decade.

However, Burnley-born Anderson, who is second to only Ian Botham on the list of all-time England Test wicket-takers, will this month travel to Dubai with the Red Rose as part of their pre-season preparations, while he also expects to play a part in the domestic campaign's embryonic stages, beginning on April 6.

Those fixtures are preoccupying much of Anderson's thinking and he insists it offers the perfect chance for him to bowl himself into form after the collective disappointment of England's winter tour to Australia.

Speaking at Emirates Old Trafford, where the Red Rose were launching 'The Lancashire Way', an initiative which is designed to raise participation levels in the sport, Anderson said: "The (England) guys that are still here are, I'm sure, hurting as much as I was after that series defeat and really want to show people that's not the real us.

"My job now is to work as hard as I can here with Lancashire. I know I'm going to be starting the season with Lancashire; I'm going on a pre-season tour in a few weeks' time and I've got to get myself as fit as possible, get my skills back up to where I think they should be and start the season trying to take wickets."

Anderson has had time for reflection since he last appeared in an England shirt in the final Ashes Test in Sydney two months ago.

His aim now is to return to the consistent levels which have made him one of the most fearsome swing bowlers in world cricket.

"From a bowler's point of view we just weren't consistent enough," he added of England's winter Down Under.

"We bowled well in periods - we had them 150 for five a couple of times, which you'd be happy with - but then just let them get away. (Brad) Haddin played amazingly well.

"I don't think we were consistent enough for long enough periods of time, certainly that's something I've been working on.

The way I've been successful over the last few years is being really consistent, hitting good lengths, good lines for long periods of time - all day long and into day two if you have to.

"I think that's where our success as a bowling group has come from and we didn't do that in Australia."

Anderson is far from the only Lancashire player on England's radar with new recruit Jos Buttler and debutant Stephen Parry impressing in the current one-day international series with West Indies.

Meanwhile, Simon Kerrigan claimed 4-86 out in Sri Lanka A for England Lions last week and Anderson believes it is just a matter of time before his county team-mate is adding to the Test cap he accrued at the Kia Oval last August.

"Hearing the reports from Sri Lanka he's bowled fantastically well," noted Anderson.

"Certainly in that last game he had really good figures so there are signs there that he has got the mental strength to come through and I'm sure whether it's this year, next year or the year after he'll play for England at some stage again."

For the time being, though, Kerrigan and Anderson are most likely to next take the field together representing Lancashire and, after a two-month break to recharge the batteries, the latter cannot wait to get the ball in his hands once more.

Anderson said: "I still feel a real hunger to play cricket; I love playing the game.

"I love turning up here to Old Trafford, working on batting, bowling, fielding. I love diving around trying to take catches and things like that.

"As long as that's there I'm going to keep playing; I don't see that changing any time soon."

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