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James Anderson is set to make a belated introductory appearance in this season’s LV= Insurance County Championship as he seeks an England recall.
Anderson and Stuart Broad were controversially omitted from the three-Test tour of the West Indies last month as England’s much-publicised reset in red-ball cricket fell flat in a chastening 1-0 series loss.
Neither of England’s top-two all-time leading wicket-takers want to end their storied international careers and they are available to make their first appearances of the domestic campaign this week.
Anderson, 39, sat out Lancashire’s season-opening win against Kent last week but is poised to feature in the Division One clash against Gloucestershire at Emirates Old Trafford, which starts on Thursday.
Broad, like Anderson, remains a centrally contracted player and while the 35-year-old has been cleared by the England and Wales Cricket Board to play in Nottinghamshire’s Division Two trip to Chester-le-Street to take on Durham, it has been reported he will delay his return to action for another week.
The duo, who have taken a combined 1,177 Test wickets, have not played competitively since England’s 4-0 Ashes loss in January, with Anderson admitting last week he was still bemused by his surprise axing.
“I’ve stopped trying to make sense of it and just put it to one side,” said Anderson, the most prolific seam bowler in Test history with 640 dismissals in 169 matches.
Broad, who has taken 537 wickets in 152 Tests, revealed in his Mail on Sunday column in February that he was left “confused and angrier with each passing day” at being overlooked for the Caribbean trip.
Whether the pair have an England future – their next Test assignment is a three-match series against New Zealand in June – is likely to be near the top of the in-tray for new managing director of men’s cricket Rob Key, a former international team-mate of Anderson’s.
Saqib Mahmood, arguably the only England fast bowler to emerge from the West Indies with any credit, could line up alongside Anderson as he is also free to face Gloucestershire this week, with both seamers bowling in Lancashire’s training session on Tuesday morning.
However, Ollie Robinson, who missed all three Tests against Kraigg Brathwaite’s side due to a back spasm, is unavailable for Sussex’s trip to Worcestershire because of a non-Covid illness.