Anderson heads home for birth
James Anderson is on his way home to attend the birth of his second child - and will rejoin his England team-mates in Perth in time for next week’s third Ashes Test.
England team director Andy Flower confirmed this morning that Anderson flew from Adelaide last night, just hours after helping England win the second Test there by an innings and 71 runs and therefore go 1-0 up with three matches to play.
The 28-year-old is the latest of several England players to have temporarily left an overseas tour in similar circumstances - following the examples set previously by Andrew Strauss, Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen among others.
But none has previously undertaken such a long trip, and it is convenient that England have a mid-tour break between Tests.
Flower said: “He left last night, and he’s going to be there for the birth of his child. We hope everything goes well, and he’ll be back a few days before the Perth Test.”
Anderson would likely have been rested anyway for this week’s three-day tour match against Victoria in Melbourne, where England today arrived.
Explaining England’s policy, Flower added: “We’ve got to try to balance what’s important to our cricket team and also what’s important to these guys in their personal lives.
“Their family lives, relationships and children obviously come above cricket.
“We’ve set a precedent in the past for making sure that people can be back home for the birth of a child if possible and if that’s what they want.
“If that’s not necessary in their particular circumstances then it would be great to have everyone here all the time.
“But he should be back and in working order for the third Test.”
England are minus, on a more permanent basis, the injured Stuart Broad after he was ruled out of the rest of the tour due to a torn abdominal muscle.
Flower will therefore likely allow the three pace bowlers in the squad who have yet to feature in either Test - Chris Tremlett, Ajmal Shahzad and Tim Bresnan - to demonstrate their credentials in the match at the MCG, starting on Friday.
England, meanwhile, toasted their opening victory quietly last night - because, as Flower pointed out, much work remains to be done if the Ashes are to be won this winter.
“They were pretty muted, as far as I know,” he said of his team’s celebrations. “There’s a long way to go in this series.
“We work hard for any victory, and to win a first-class game takes an enormous amount of effort and skill - and the same goes for Test matches, even more so.
“It’s good for the guys to let their hair down, but they are focused on what’s ahead. We know how serious the challenge is ahead of us.”