Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 August 2019

James Anderson faces Ashes fitness race after being ruled out of Ireland Test

Calf injury means Olly Stone will get his Test debut in England's bowling attack

James Anderson, left, trained on Tuesday but England have chosen not to risk him against Ireland with the Ashes starting next week. Action Images via Reuters
James Anderson, left, trained on Tuesday but England have chosen not to risk him against Ireland with the Ashes starting next week. Action Images via Reuters

James Anderson has been ruled out of England's four-day Test against Ireland at Lord's due to a calf injury.

Anderson has failed to recover from the injury sustained to his right leg when playing for his county Lancashire against Durhamon July 2.

"Jimmy will continue to be assessed ahead of the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston on August 1," an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) statement read.

Anderson's unavailability for Ireland's maiden Test on these shores was not unexpected and the target now facing the 36-year-old is to be fit in time to face Australia.

Chief selector Ed Smith stated when naming the squad last week that England's record wicket-taker would not be risked ahead of the Ashes series if there was any lingering doubt over his injury.

Bowling resources have already been stretched by side strains sustained by Mark Wood and Jofra Archer in the recent World Cup victory over New Zealand.

Warwickshire paceman Olly Stone got the nod to cover for Anderson against Ireland, with the ECB also announcing a Test debut for opening batsman Jason Roy.

The Surrey star was one of the key performers in England's World Cup win and will now get his chance in Test cricket.

Somerset's Lewis Gregory joined Anderson as the two players not selected from England's 13-man squad for the Ireland Test.

Captain Joe Root said at his pre-match press conference: "With Jason, we want him to be himself, express himself and trust his instincts as much as possible.

"He brings something different to our Test batting side, he's a proven performer in international cricket and fully capable of making big contributions.

"I hope he doesn't try to play differently, I hope he'll go and be himself.

"There were occasions in the World Cup when he had to trust his defence and he might have to draw that out a bit longer in Test cricket - but he can go and put the pressure back on the opposition, he's one of the best in the world at that."

Stone has only recently returned from a back injury suffered in January on England's tour of the West Indies but Root has no doubts over what he can bring.

He said of Stone and Gregory: "They're two guys who've not been around a Test squad in England but they came in and put very good cases forward.

"They've played well in the Championship, Olly's only come back the last couple of weeks but he's played well and Lewis has been very consistent the last couple of years, he's had a brilliant summer.

"Olly's got good pace, that's one thing he brings to this squad, and it's a good opportunity to see him play this week."

Moeen Ali and Jack Leach are included as frontline spinners and Root said: "Lewis is the unfortunate one to miss out, along with Jimmy, (but) it gives us good balance and plenty of options with the ball."

Updated: July 23, 2019 05:29 PM

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