England head coach Chris Silverwood says he is not against resting seamer James Anderson for the second Test against India in Chennai despite his superb form in the first game at the same venue.
Anderson, 38, starred with three wickets for six runs in a superb five-over spell of reverse-swing on day five as Silverwood’s side won by 227 runs on Tuesday to inflict a first home Test defeat on India since 2017.
However, the rotation policy England are adopting during a bumper year of international cricket means Anderson could be given a break during the second game of the four-match series from Saturday.
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He blew the game open for us, it was quite remarkable to watch. He went a long way to helping us win that game. For aspiring young fast bowlers to see an over like that is inspirational. He is in the best shape of his life and that hasn’t gone unnoticed. He has worked extremely hard on his fitness and is bowling beautifully.
Chris Silverwood on James Anderson (Pic credit – BCCI)
Silverwood says he has contemplated playing Anderson and Stuart Broad – Anderson’s probable replacement should the paceman sit out the second Test – in the same game, though that would seem most likely the third Test, a day-night fixture in Ahmedabad from February 24.
Asked whether it would be difficult to omit Anderson after his excellent display in the series opener, Silverwood told reporters: “Yes, he is a class act, but you’ll have to wait and see.
“We have got many bowlers here that we could play at any given point. I feel very lucky that I have an abundance of talent.
“Has it crossed my mind [to play both Broad and Anderson]? Yes, they are both class acts, but things are working at the moment and we have to look after our players.
“I am not reluctant to change a winning team if it’s the best thing to do for the players and the team and our longevity over a long period.
“You run the risk of the result being different, but you could play the same team and the result be different because we know India are a very good team and are going to come back hard.”
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On the dilemma over whether to rest Anderson, Sky Sports Cricket expert and former England captain Michael Atherton said: “Root is going to find it hard to leave Anderson out.
“I know the rotation policy is such that they are talking about Broad and Anderson rotating every other game but the way Anderson is bowling, you still have to think about winning that next game.
“They will have to see how Anderson rocks up after five toughish days in Chennai but, in these conditions, it is the spinners who are doing the majority of the donkey work”.
We stuck to our game-plan, which is not rocket science. Big first-innings runs and putting the opposition under pressure with the ball and it paid off. I thought Joe Root’s captaincy was excellent as well and what he has done with the bat is phenomenal. When he is getting big runs, it helps us immensely and gives confidence to the team.
Chris Silverwood on England’s win in first Test (Pic – BCCI)
England will make at least one change for the second Test, with Ben Foakes returning to the side as wicketkeeper in place of Jos Buttler, who is being rested for the final three games of the series.
Foakes was named Player of the Series when England won 3-0 in Sri Lanka in late 2018, with his 277 runs including a century on debut in Galle.
Silverwood also gave his backing to Dom Bess, who picked up four wickets in India’s first innings in Chennai but went at over six runs an over from eight overs during the hosts’ second knock amid a series of full tosses.
“Ben [Foakes] is looking good and has been training hard. Having this opportunity coming his way has given him a great focus,” said Silverwood.
“I don’t see it as weakening, I see it as an opportunity for people to come in and show what they can do. Last time he was in the subcontinent he was very successful.”
On Bess, the head coach added: “I’m not worried, he is still in good spirits. Everyone has a bad day every now and again, I can accept that. It’s not through a lack of effort.
“We will get to the nets and find him some rhythm. He has shown he can get us wickets so I’m sure he will be fine.”
Root’s footwork against the spinners has been excellent – for any aspiring batsman who wants to play spin he has given a few masterclasses over the last month. The way he has been positive, the way he has swept, has been excellent, hence the results that have followed.
Chris Silverwood on Joe Root’s superb form (Pic – BCCI)
Crowds of up to 15,000 per day are to be permitted at the 50,000 capacity MA Chidambaram Stadium for the second Test, with spectators required to wear facemasks and maintain social distancing.
Silverwood says he has no fears about the bio-secure bubble being breached and is looking forward to supporters providing a “buzz”.
He added: “I have no concerns. We feel safe and I am sure things will be done properly. Since we have been here we have been very well looked after and we feel safe in the environment.
“To get some noise in the ground again is going to be fantastic. Some sort of normality will give the lads a lift and make more of a buzz. It will be great.”
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