Anderson out on loan in attempt to find Ashes fitness

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The Independent Online

The England fast bowler James Anderson is likely to advance his bid for Ashes fitness by playing for Glamorgan next week after his home club, Lancashire, agreed to loan him to the Welsh county. His England team-mate, Steve Harmison, however, will not play again before next month's ICC Champions Trophy in India.

Harmison, who missed the one-day matches against Pakistan with a back problem, has not suffered a setback but his withdrawal from Durham's final match against Yorkshire at Headingley does nothing to ease the anxiety over how many of the party due to travel to Australia in November are carrying injuries. Matthew Hoggard, who was undergoing a second scan on a side strain yesterday, is the latest.

The idea that Anderson should take the unusual step of playing for a county other than his own reflects the degree to which the interests of the England side now influence the domestic game. The 24-year-old has not played international or county cricket since suffering a stress fracture of the lumbar spine in India last winter and the England selectors are keen to see him in meaningful action before the end of the season.

Title-chasing Lancashire are not keen to risk him for their final fixture, against Hampshire at the Rose Bowl, starting on Wednesday, where a setback for the 27-year-old could hamper their bid to pip Sussex to the Championship crown. However, Second Division Glamorgan have nothing at stake in their final match, against Gloucestershire in Cardiff, and after being approached by the England and Wales Cricket Board, have raised no objections to taking Anderson on loan.

"It is an unusual situation but we have said we would be happy to do it," Glamorgan chief executive Mike Fatkin said. "We would not want to do it every year but there are no promotion or relegation issues at stake and we have a few injuries." Lancashire say they are happy to co-operate and the only obstacle to the arrangement is the ECB's own regulations on loan deals, introduced last season. But Lancashire chief executive Jim Cumbes predicted they would be waived.

"Usually a loan has to be at least four weeks but the board do have discretionary powers," Cumbes said. A final decision is expected on Sunday, when Glamorgan visit Lancashire for a Pro40 game.

Harmison, meanwhile, will not be allowed to assist Durham in their bid to avoid relegation from Division One of the Championship against fellow strugglers Yorkshire. England's main strike bowler, whose year has been beset by injuries, will undergo further remedial treatment.

The selectors' chairman David Graveney said: "Stephen's withdrawal... will allow for a more gradual progression in his recovery programme.."

Liam Plunkett, the other Durham bowler named in the Ashes squad, has also been ruled out of county action with a side strain.

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