Pakistan vs England: James Anderson says tourists ‘chomping at the bit’ for Test return | Cricket News
James Anderson insisted the England team are “chomping at the bit” to get
their first Test in Pakistan for 17 years under way in Rawalpindi on Thursday.
The 40-year-old is the only member of the England squad to have toured the country before, back in 2005, but he only featured in red-ball tour matches and one-day internationals, not the Test series.
It is the only cricket-playing nation where Anderson has yet to play Test matches during his two decades in professional cricket, and the seam bowler is ready to embrace the new challenge.
“(We are) really excited,” Anderson said. “Especially after the summer we had in Test cricket, we felt like we were building something and we want to keep that kind of momentum building and to be a part of that in the summer was amazing.
“Then, to be a part of what is a really exciting challenge for us out here…Different conditions, different to what we will have experienced before as a group. It’s a really exciting challenge and I think all of us are just chomping at the bit.”
In March, Australia became the first of the big three cricketing nations (India, England and Australia) to embark on a Test tour of Pakistan again and the first two Tests ended in high-scoring draws before the visitors clinched a series victory in the final game.
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However, Anderson believes England have what it takes to claim 20 wickets in each match, a feat Australia managed in only the final Test match of their series. In Rawalpindi, only 14 wickets fell across the five-day Test, and it could prove a tough challenge for the England bowling attack.
Anderson continued: “We’re trying to make sure we (the bowlers) have all bases covered for every eventuality and make sure we know what fields we might set, talking specifics about their batters as well and trying to work out plans for them.
“But I think, at this level, it’s happened for a few years in the Test team in particular where we, I wouldn’t say we’re self-sufficient, but we do look after each other, and we’ve got great analysts.
“We’ve got great coaches all around us and some of the best captains the world has ever seen in our group, so we can pick their brains as well and we feel like we’ve got what it takes to take 20 wickets in each Test match.”
How will England play in Pakistan?
Head coach Brendon McCullum said his side will not deviate from their “aggressive” style of cricket as they aim for a Test series win in Pakistan, while England captain Nasser Hussain expects a tough challenge for the tourists.
“The pitches are really flat,” Hussain told Sky Sports. “They stay good for five days and you do not get the full six and a half hours of cricket at this time of year. I think the stat is that 47 per cent of Test matches here have ended in draws so you’d better find a way to get 20 wickets.
“Because of how they bat and the rate at which they are going to get their runs, if they get big runs quickly it will buy them a bit more time to get 20 wickets. I think they are going to miss Mark Wood because you need express pace as well as mystery spin. They are lacking that but they do have the veteran Anderson, who has all the skills.
“Everyone keeps talking about ‘Bazball’. It is about being attacking but it is also understanding how quickly conditions can change. Upfront might be a really good time for batting with the ball coming onto the bat, that could be the time to get your run-rate up to four an over.
Test Cricket Bitesize
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“Then all of a sudden when it starts reverse-swinging and spinning, you may just have to change some of the shots and the angles you were creating earlier. I think England will bat deep as they will want to keep going hard
“I don’t think they will change much, simply because these are flatter pitches than in England. If you are doing it in England against the Dukes ball where 250-300 is par then you are certainly going to be playing the same way, that attacking brand, here in Pakistan.”
Watch England’s three-Test series in Pakistan live on Sky Sports Cricket. Coverage of the opening game begins at 4.30am on Thursday ahead of a 5am start in Rawalpindi.
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