England are set to take on neighbours Ireland in a one-off test match at Lord's ahead of their much-anticipated series against bitter rivals Australia.
Veteran bowler James Anderson picked up a groin strain while on county duty for Lancashire. With a huge summer ahead for him and his country, Anderson pulled out of the clash against Somerset.
The injury drew concerns as the pacer suffered a similar fate prior to the 2019 Ashes series. Anderson reached full fitness before the first test, only to bowl four overs until re-injuring his torn calf, which eventually ruled him out of the series. The series was drawn and Australia retained the Ashes.
In comparison to the 2019 injury situation, Anderson commented:
"It was the best result of a bad situation. That situation (in 2019) was a different injury, a more serious injury. I ripped my calf earlier that summer, and it was a real push to try to get fit for that first Test. I don't feel like this is anywhere near that severity," Anderson said.
Tensions were eased as scans only indicated a 10-day recovery period for the 40-year-old pacer, even allowing him to appear in the 15-man squad against Ireland. The English Cricket Board will make decisions on whether Anderson will be immediately thrown into the mix or be given a chance to recover before the dawn of the first Ashes test at Edgbaston on the 16th of June, giving the veteran an additional 15 days of recovery.
"I think I will be fit for the Ireland game. Whether I play or not is probably another matter really. I definitely don't want to risk it," said Anderson on Wednesday.
"I am desperate to be fit for the first Ashes Test. If that means missing the Ireland Test, so be it.
"I feel good. I had a scan on the second day of that game - it was a little groin strain. It's a 10-day recovery period, and I'm rehabbing already, running next week.
"I was disappointed to have to pull out of a game but, with what's to come in the summer, it was actually a pretty good result."
England will look to start the summer off with a win in the only game before the Ashes commence, with a squad that sees the return of Jonny Bairstow and Matthew Potts.
England squad vs Ireland for the one-off test at Lord's:
✅ Fifteen players have made the cut...
Go well, lads 👊
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) May 16, 2023