James Anderson: England ‘chomping at the bit’ to start first Test in Pakistan

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.

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“(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.

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.

England v South Africa – LV= Insurance Test Series – Second Test – Day Three – Emirates Old Trafford
James Anderson feels England are capable of taking 20 wickets in a match in Pakistan (Mike Egerton/PA)

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.”

Pakistan’s Naseem Shah has taken inspiration from Anderson's career
Pakistan’s Naseem Shah has taken inspiration from Anderson’s career (Stu Forster/PA)

Pakistan fast bowler Naseem Shah insisted he has learned from “legend” Anderson’s successful and lengthy career.

“I think it is a big achievement for him that he is still playing and is very fit and that shows how much hard work he has been doing,” the 19-year-old said.

“He does that required hard work, he is a legend and I have learnt from him. The big thing about him is that he is still fit and playing at 40.

“He is a legend and knows everything about bowling, having played everywhere in the world. He is one of the best.”