England's top wicket-taker in Test history will not feature at the Gabba in the opening Test of the 2021-22 Ashes, beginning on Wednesday, 8 December.
Anderson, an England spokesperson confirmed, isn't carrying an injury. Rather, the decision to leave out the 39-year-old has to do with managing his workload ahead of what will be a gruelling five-Test, high-octane series.
“Jimmy is fit to play, and is not carrying an injury," an England spokesperson said. "With five Tests in six weeks, the plan was to get him ready for the second Test in Adelaide.
“With the limited build-up we have had so far on the tour, both him and the management didn’t want to take the risk of him playing after what had happened in 2019 at Edgbaston when he broke down on the first morning.
During the 2019 Ashes, England lost Anderson to a calf injury during the opening Test in Edgbaston and had to go through the rest of the match with a bowler short. Belying his age, Anderson bounced back thereafter, playing all the home Tests against India and New Zealand this year.
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“He bowled at full capacity yesterday for just short of an hour and was in a good place physically," the spokesperson added. "He will do the same again today at practice.
“He will stay with the Test group this week and work with the coaches at the Gabba rather than playing for the Lions.”
England could also be without the other half of their veteran duo, with doubts over Stuart Broad, the 35-year-old having missed a significant portion of England's home summer with a calf injury.
It could mean Chris Woakes slots into the line-up, with Mark Wood and Ollie Robinson also in the offing. The availability of Ben Stokes, who is set to appear for England for the first time since July, when he took a break for mental health reasons, comes as a boost for the side, particularly given the balance he lends to the XI.
Australia, meanwhile, have already confirmed their starting XI for the clash, which will be the side's first outing in the ICC World Test Championship 2021-23 cycle.
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