LEEDS: Jimmy Anderson has offered a bullish defence of England’s Test side, insisting there is “no problem” despite a run of seven defeats in 10 matches, but that confidence was deflated somewhat late on Wednesday night with the news Ben Stokes is an injury doubt with a hamstring problem.
The all-rounder has a tight left hamstring and will be assessed on Thursday before a decision is made on whether he needs a scan.
Sam Curran has been drafted into the squad for Friday’s second Test as cover in what is the 19-year-old Surrey all-rounder’s first Test call-up.
Before the Stokes news, however, Anderson had sent out a defiant message to the critics. Speaking after the nine-wicket hammering by Pakistan at Lord’s, the former captain Michael Vaughan urged England to “shake things up” by dropping either Anderson or Broad for the second and final Test of the series at Headingley.
Joe Root’s team know that only victory – and avoiding a series defeat – in Leeds will lift the mood of despondency that remains following a miserable Test winter in Australia and New Zealand. But Anderson, England’s all-time leading wicket-taker, said: “I don’t think there is a problem. I just think we’re potentially low on confidence. It needs something just to turn it round, a bit of luck or something.
“I think it’s quite easy for the confidence of the team to take a hit when you have a defeat like that. So it’s going to take some special individual performances this week. So we’ll try, as well as using our skill, to use our heart – to use the fight we have in the dressing room to show people what we can do.”
As for Vaughan and the ruffling of metaphorical feathers? “When you suffer a heavy defeat there’s always a lot of noise,” Anderson said. “Lots more opinions come out. There’s not a lot as players we can do about that. If the management or players think that feathers need to be ruffled, then as players all we can do is concentrate on our job.
“The outside noise is always there and it’s a bit louder when you perform badly. That’s something you’ve just got to deal with as a sportsman and block out as best you can.” Agencies
There’s no surprise that Anderson disagrees with Vaughan’s view that his new-ball partnership with Broad should be broken up when the series finale starts on Friday.
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