Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Anderson can be a leader for England

Paul Collingwood has described James Anderson as "a real leader" among England's bowlers and cannot wait to have him back in the side.

The Lancashire seamer is currently struggling with a knee injury and is one of several bowlers who have been on the crocked list two weeks into a two-and-a-half month tour.

Stuart Broad (shoulder) is the other main paceman struggling, while Graham Onions (back) played his first match on tour on Tuesday after he missed out on the earlier games with his own injury.

It has prompted the selectors to call on Liam Plunkett as cover, with the Durham player linking up with the rest of the squad in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
While England's batsmen have had no trouble at all adapting to the conditions, their bowling seems to be a minor problem area having only taken all 10 opposing wickets once in their first six tour games.

That was in the opening game against the Eagles when both Anderson and Broad played, but Collingwood is not too bothered.

"I wouldn't say it's a major concern," he said. "I think we're aggressive as a unit, I think we're getting more experience and we've obviously got Jimmy Anderson to come back into the side, which is crucial.

"I think he's a real kind of leader for us now in terms of the bowling stakes. For such a young guy, I know that's a big statement, but he is a real leader in bowling.
"But again, we've got a lot of potential and very dangerous bowlers, obviously with Broady coming back in as well. We have missed those two when they were injured. Hopefully they will be fit pretty soon and we can get back to bowling sides out."
Collingwood has himself missed the last two games with a back injury and his absence alongside the two frontline seamers, Graeme Swann (intercostal muscle), the main slow bowler, and Alastair Cook (back) left England with just 11 fit players against South Africa A on Tuesday.

The visitors had the day off on Wednesday ahead of a difficult ODI series and most of those injuries are expected to clear by Friday, with only Broad considered extremely doubtful.

Collingwood continued: "(The injury) is actually progressing really well. It was very, very sore on Sunday and I had two injections on Monday.

"If I was playing today I would have been 50-50, but I've got a couple of days to go so the chances are going to be very high.

"Everything seems to have settled down, I'm doing the work in the gym and progressing really well, so I've got a very good chance for Friday."

If he plays the 33-year-old will become England's most capped one-day player, surpassing the 170 appearances he currently shares with Alec Stewart.

He was pleased to be breaking the record, but conceded that luck has been on his side after a difficult start to his career which began with four single-figure scores against Pakistan and Australia, before a trip to Zimbabwe helped boost his average.
"When you've played so many games along the way, you've got to probably have a lot of luck," he added.

"Certainly after four games, I think I had a fair bit of luck in the selection going to Zimbabwe after that.

"Thankfully I've done okay since then. But you've got to obviously stay injury-free to play that many games.

"Barring a couple of injuries early on in my career, touch wood it hasn't been too bad. It's a bit of a surprise that I've got to so many, but hopefully I can keep going for some time yet."

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