Manchester: England’s most successful bowler James Anderson feels he and Stuart Broad should be paired together to lead the bid for a series win in the decisive Test against the West Indies.
The hosts are spoilt for choice ahead of Friday’s start of the third Test at Old Trafford with Anderson, Jofra Archer and Mark Wood all looking to return to the team.
However, Broad, Sam Curran and Chris Woakes all made positive contributions to England’s 113-run victory in the second test, which ended on Monday.
A schedule of six matches in seven weeks against the West Indies and then Pakistan means England have had to rotate their bowlers and Anderson does not underestimate the difficult choices facing coach Chris Silverwood and captain Joe Root.
“I presume the best three players will play but it’s going to be a difficult decision for Joe and Chris and there will be some disappointed guys,” Anderson told a news conference on Wednesday.
There have been suggestions that Anderson, who turns 38 next week and has a record 587 wickets for England, and 34-year-old Broad will likely not bowl again together but Anderson said he hoped this was not the case.
“Our record together speaks for itself and I’d really like to think that if we are both fit and England are picking their best bowling attack then we’d both be in that,” he said.
“It’s a good position to be in because it shows we have strength in depth,” Anderson added.
England’s camp is still dealing with aches and pains after the exertions of the second test, also in Manchester, where they levelled the series after losing the first in Southampton.
“There is a bit of stiffness with the bowlers but that’s inevitable,” Anderson said.
“It’s about being smart with the practice now and going into Friday really fresh.
“We have a great opportunity to win the series and we want to kick on from last test’s win. If we keep looking to improve I’m sure we’ll put in another good performance this week.”
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The players have been told to remain in their respective rooms as RT-PCR testing is being carried out. Besides Shastri and Patel, fielding coach R Sridhar and Arun are also isolating in London.
All the 21 players of the Indian Test squad have tested negative for COVID-19, a development that clears the decks for the fifth Test against England to proceed as scheduled from Friday
The 39-year-old Anderson also wondered whether he would get to play another Test match for England at his home ground.