Anderson rests troubled knee
James Anderson will play no part in the first of England’s two warm-up games ahead of the Test series against South Africa as he rests his troublesome knee.
The pace bowler has been troubled by a mystery problem in his right knee for more than two months; scans have proven there is no structural damage in the joint, but Anderson has continued to experience pain.
He will rest the injury during the first of two two-day matches against a South Africa Invitational XI, which gets under way at Buffalo Park in East London tomorrow, but is expected to play this week’s second match.
England face the same opponents at the same venue from Friday, and team director Andy Flower remains optimistic that the leader of the tourists’ attack will be fit to face South Africa in the first Test at Centurion starting next Wednesday.
“Jim had some further injections to that knee area on Saturday, to try to settle things down a little,” Flower confirmed. “We’re allowing those injections to work. He’s had a good reaction to them so far.
“He won’t play in the first two days of this preparation here but will play in the second two-day game - and then, we hope, be ready for the Test match.”
Asked if there is a question mark over Anderson’s readiness for the first Test, Flower said: “Yes, there is” - before adding: “I think he’ll be ready.
“He could probably get through it (a full four days), but we’re trying to allow the injections to have an effect, and he needs a little more time without any bowling.
“We’re giving him that time. If Jimmy misses the first two days and plays the second two, that balance suits us. Two days of middle practice out there in the second two-day game should be sufficient.”
Anderson’s knee is not England’s only problem as they try to complete their preparation for the four-Test series.
Horrendous weather, most noticeably a violent thunderstorm over East London last night, left the tourists resigned to yet another day bereft of outdoor practice.
Welcome sunshine this morning, however, both allowed them to switch back to grass nets - all bar Anderson and Adil Rashid, who remains with the England Performance Programme, of the present attack were able to bowl - and conditions on the adjacent ground to dry a little.
“This is unexpected good weather today. We thought it was going to be raining most of the day,” Flower admitted.
“It’s great for our guys to get in the nets outside - and also, it’s great for the outfield to get some sun and wind on it.”
There will need to be more of the same - and none of the forecast showers later today and tomorrow - for England to get under way on schedule at 10.30am local time.
The wicket was today being dried by fans under a raised canopy, while groundstaff swept away swampy puddles from the edge of the square and bowlers’ run-ups.
Flower said: “It’s not perfect. But it’s not the end of the world either. We’re not expecting too much rain over the next four days, so that’s going to dry out a little more.
“If we get three days’ good practice out there towards the end of this week, that will stand us in good stead for the first Test.
“You’d always want a little more, but the schedule doesn’t allow for any more than four days of match preparation, so that’s what we’ll deal with.”