Anderson's withdrawal opens door for Kirtley

James Anderson has been pulled out of England's Test series against Bangladesh in order to allow him more time to recover from a knee injury.

Anderson is now the 11th victim of the injury jinx that has haunted England's fast bowlers over the last year, a hoodoo that accounted for Darren Gough, Simon Jones, Andrew Caddick, Matthew Hoggard, Richard Johnson, Glen Chapple, Andrew Flintoff, James Ormond, Steve Harmison and James Kirtley.

The England selectors will not be naming a replacement for Anderson until next week. The delay is to allow the board time to check on the fitness of likely replacements, although the favourite has to be the Sussex seamer Kirtley.

Anderson took five wickets in an innings in his first Test, against Zimbabwe in July, and Kirtley went one better a month later with six in the second innings of his debut against South Africa at Trent Bridge. But after taking his total of victims to 13 in his two Tests, the jinx struck and the injured Sussex paceman missed his county's run-in to the Championship title.

Whichever replacement is named, he will only play in the two Tests against Bangladesh. Anderson will fly out on 28 October and be available for the one-day series against Bangladesh as well as the one-day and Test rubbers against Sri Lanka in November and December.

Last night the chairman of selectors, David Graveney, said: "Losing James for the Bangladesh Tests is a blow but he is a young bowler who has borne a heavy workload this summer." Indeed, the extra time off will probably be a relief to the player and the England management, given the effort he put into his first seven Tests, as Graveney added: "Having consulted the medical team, we feel that this decision is in his best long-term interests."

The ECB's chief medical officer, Dr Peter Gregory, explained: "James has an overuse injury in the tendon on the outer side of his left knee which we feel will be best alleviated by a combination of rest from competitive cricket and an intensive programme of strengthening exercises under the supervision of the Lancashire physio, Dave Roberts."

Anderson will also spend time at the ECB National Academy in Loughborough working with the bowling coach, Troy Cooley, before flying to Dhaka for the one-day games.

Anderson has been an integral part of the England set-up since he made his international debut in a one-day series against Australia last December, making an immediate impression in the VB triangular tournament that also involved Sri Lanka. Despite his lack of experience, he was included in the squad for this year's World Cup in southern Africa, and in his first game he took a career-best 4 for 25 against the Netherlands, the best figures by an English bowler in a World Cup on foreign soil, beating Chris Lewis' 4 for 30 against Sri Lanka in Ballarat, Australia in 1992.

And he is something of a debut specialist because he took his best figures to date, 6 for 23, on his first first-class match, against Hampshire at The Rose Bowl in 2002.

In June, he became the first Englishman to claim a one-day hat-trick, against Pakistan at The Oval. After his impressive 5 for 73 in the first innings on his Test debut at Lord's, he picked up another five-wicket haul in the first innings against South Africa at Trent Bridge.

* Derbyshire have agreed to release Dominic Cork from his contract, ending the former England all-rounder's 16-year association with the county.

Comments