England’s record wicket-taker James Anderson accepts he may not be able to play every Test this winter if he is to remain at the peak of his powers.
Anderson, who sits sixth in the all-time wickets table with 463 scalps, turned 34 in July and has been considered a long-form specialist by selectors for the past 18 months.
But even with that reduced workload England’s calendar is unforgiving and trips to Bangladesh and India will see them play seven Tests in just over eight weeks before Christmas.
Anderson has, in the past, bridled at suggestions that he should be part of a rotation programme and was reportedly frustrated not to be involved in this summer’s Lord’s Test against Pakistan after recovering from a shoulder injury.
He already trumps every other English paceman for longevity, having racked up 119 caps in 13 years and, among seamers, only Courtney Walsh, Glenn McGrath and Kapil Dev have bowled more than his 26,366 Test deliveries.
With no hint of retirement on the horizon, he nevertheless appears readier to bow to the realities of the schedule.
“It’s a tough one because as a player if you’re fit you want to play, simple as that, no matter what the format you’re desperate to play,” he said.
“But there may well come a time when it will get managed. At 34 I probably have to manage myself, be managed, quite well. You want, if possible, to play every Test but India is going to be five back to back and that’s a huge ask for any bowler.
“We’re in constant discussion with the captain, coach and medical staff about the best scenario. We’ve got good backroom staff who are very switched on and it will be managed well.
“You take it game by game...you can’t say now ‘I’ll miss the second Test of five’, because you might bowl 15 overs in the first game.”