Anderson approves of Lumb call-up
James Anderson has praised England’s bold selection of uncapped Hampshire batsman Michael Lumb for the ICC World Twenty20.
Lumb, who is currently playing for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League, has been included in the 15-man squad for the competition in the West Indies which starts late next month.
The left-handed opener has been a consistent run-scorer for the Royals, as well as for his county in England’s Twenty20 competition.
Lancashire pace bowler Anderson, who also features in the squad, played against Lumb during his time at Yorkshire, and believes the 30-year-old could make an impact at the highest level.
“I played quite a lot of second team cricket against him when he was at Yorkshire, when I was starting out, and he looked very talented then,” Anderson told ecb.co.uk.
“He has come on leaps and bounds since then with Hampshire. He’s had a great couple of years playing Twenty20. Now he’s in the IPL. I saw he got 45 the other day, in which he looked very comfortable.”
Anderson pinpointed Lumb’s well thought-out approach to batting in the game’s shortest form as potentially crucial against the world’s best bowlers.
“He looks comfortable and confident when he’s at the crease and he’s got a very good gameplan for Twenty20 cricket. It’s working for him at the moment,” he added.
The presence of destructive batsmen such as Lumb - along with the more established names in the England top order - is a cause of optimism for Anderson ahead of the tournament, which starts on April 30.
But he has challenged England to improve their consistency if they are to lift a major trophy for the first time.
“We’ve got a great chance; I think we’ve got a great chance going into any tournament,” Anderson said.
“We’ve got a really talented side but it’s been frustrating the last few years. If we play well we can beat anyone in the world, but if we play badly we get beat by Holland.
“We’ve seen recently that the players we've got - Morgan, Pietersen, Collingwood - who are all-match-winners with the bat, and we’ve got bowlers who can compete with anyone in the world.
“We know what we’re capable of and on our day we can beat anyone. Over the last few years we’ve not been that consistent. If we can find some consistency in the tournament then I’m sure we’ll go a long way.
“It’s just trying to find that consistency. If we all perform well at the same time, we can go a long way in the tournament.”
Anderson is set to lead the England attack in the Caribbean after showing no signs of discomfort during his rehabilitation from a knee injury that saw him rested for the tour of Bangladesh.
However, he is aware he needs to be fully fit to be sure of inclusion in England’s group matches against West Indies and newcomers Ireland in Guyana on May 3 and 4 respectively.
“I need to play some cricket to prove my fitness, so hopefully I can get a few games with Lancashire, which will be nice, and hopefully the knee can stand up to it,” said the 27-year-old.
“I’d like to play as much as I possibly can before that because I’ve not played for quite a while.
“Firstly, because it will be a good test for me knee, and, secondly, because I need to get some match practice.
“Hopefully there's enough cricket between now and then to get in some form and see if my knee can cope with the stresses of it.”