The England cricket team’s chances of winning the One Day International series in Sri Lanka has suffered a major blow with the announcement of star blower James Anderson’s withdrawal due to knee injury. Anderson, who plays first-class cricket for Lancashire, began his international career in 2002. Since then Anderson has played for England in over 160 One Day Internationals and over 90 Test Matches. Anderson also was the 4th English bowler to take 300 Test wickets and is England’s highest ever international wicket-taker across three formats. He is also well known for his batting partnership with Yorkshire man Joe Root, together achieved the highest ever score for a 10th wicket batting team during the 1st Test of India’s 2014 tour of England.
The significance of Anderson’s absence, in light of his various achievements, is only compounded by fellow top bowler for England, Nottingham’s Stuart Broad, also being sidelined due to knee injury. Despite this double blow England coach Peter Moore has not drafted in a replacement. This means that players such as Ben Stokes, Steven Finn and Chris Woakes will have the opportunity to be selected for the ODI series. However, considering the absence of both England’s first-choice bowlers, it is a credit to the depth of the team that bet365 still have England as the slight favourites to win the ODI series with odds of 7/4 compared to Sri Lanka’s 4/9.
This is not the first time that the Anderson has been sidelined due to a troublesome knee injury. The Lancashire born cricketer missed a tour of Bangladesh in 2003 when he damaged a tendon on the outer side of his left knee. However, it is unclear if Anderson’s present injury is related to this previous aliment. Even if the knee problems prove to be unrelated, it would still be the latest in a series of injuries that has seen Anderson sidelined several times over his illustrious career. In 2007 the now 32 year-old struggled to recover from a back injury which coincided with him breaking his finger during a practice session in 2007. Anderson also damaged his ankle in 2008, playing a warm-up game of football before a match. Therefore, it is deeply impressive that despite these interruptions to his career, Anderson has still complied one of the most impressive resume in the history of the sport.
It is a resume that will continue to be added to with Anderson already confirmed to resume his participation on the international tour before the end of the year. The England and Wales Cricket Board announced that Anderson will return to the bowling programme in 2014 with an appearance in South Africa this December. This being so Anderson can fully prepare for the tri-series against Australia and India as well as the ICC Cricket World cup. Until his return, a weakened but not defeated English team will have to fight harder then ever, during the upcoming seven-match trip that begins on the 26th November in Colombo, to ensure that they return home victorious.