The start of the 2019/20 cricket season has arrived, and with it comes a rare occurrence for Lancashire.
England’s leading wicket-taker, James Anderson, is set to play for the club for an extended period, with the first Test of the summer only starting in July due to the 2019 World Cup.
And the 36-year-old is delighted to be able to contribute for the club for whom he made his debut for in 2000.
During the club’s annual media day on Wednesday, Anderson said: “It’s exciting to have a stint here and give a bit back.
“I owe a lot to Lancashire with what they’ve helped me with over the years -they’ve helped me get to where I’ve got to, so it’s nice to have a good stint and hopefully help to get us off to a good start.”
Anderson’s workload needs to be carefully monitored, mainly due to his age, but he is confident he can play the majority of the matches he is available for.
“It is quite hard to map it out (what games to play),” the fast bowler added.
“You don’t know what is going to happen with the weather or there could be a game that goes two or three days.
“I’ll just manage it as and when the games come along but the plan is to play around seven of the 10 County Championship games.
“It’s not just the older players that need to manage their workload, the younger lads need to as well.
“The county season places tough demands on your body, especially as a bowler, but we’re very lucky to have a great medical team here who look after us and try and manage each player in their own way through the seasons.”
Anderson in Ashes action for England in 2015 (Credit: bensutherland, Flickr)
The Red Rose’s first official game of the season comes against Middlesex at Lord’s on April 12 in the Championship, before an eight game Royal London One Day Cup stint.
And despite having not played a List A game for two years, Anderson is confident that he will be involved this time around.
The seamer, who has taken 269 one day international wickets for England, said: ” It’s a bit of an odd one having that one game, then eight one day games then nine back to back Championship games.
“I might play two or three out of the eight as I need to keep ticking over and bowling.”
He then joked: “I might be able to resurrect my 50 over career and get into the World Cup squad.”
Anderson’s former England team-mate, Alastair Cook, recently retired from international duty after 156 consecutive Tests.
Cook, 34, opted to sign a new three-year deal with his home county Essex starting this season.
Anderson said that it is dependent on how he feels as to whether he goes down that same route when he eventually retires from the international circuit.
“It’s hard to say as I don’t know when that’s going to be (retirement date),” he stated.
“If I retire this year from internationals and decide that I have another two years left in me then yes, definitely.
“What Alastair has put his body through compared to mine doesn’t really compare, opening the batting doesn’t take a lot out of you!”
With England facing a tough Ashes series against Australia this summer, and Lancashire attempting to bounce back to Division One of the County Championship at the first attempt, Anderson is sure to have an exciting season ahead.
And the Burnley-born man is confident that both his sides can achieve big things this summer.
As far as his county are concerned, Anderson said: “It would be nice to get off to a decent start, promotion is all it’s about for us this season.
“It’s not going to be easy because there are some strong teams in this division.
“We need to get off to a good start and then show some consistency throughout the year.
“The other two competitions are important as well – if we can be consistent throughout the year I think we’ll be up there.”
The One Day Cup will see a final hosted by Lord’s for the final time over the summer.
Anderson has played in two finals at the historic ground and would love to add a third appearance this summer.
He reflected: “That’s what got me in to cricket, (Lancashire’s) semi final against Yorkshire then the final against Kent at Lord’s in 1996 – I loved that era.
Sajid Mahmood took three wickets for Lancashire in the 2006 C&G Trophy final (Credit: Pinkcandy & GFDL, Wikimedia Commons)
“It’s been a while since we’ve been to Lord’s, I remember the 2006 (C&G Trophy) final against Sussex when (James) Kirtley took a five for (Lancashire lost that game by 15 runs).
“It would be great if we could make it. I’d definitely play in that one – that would be one of the three games!”
Anderson also believes the England one day side can make their own piece of history this summer, with the World Cup taking place in this country.
“I would be really disappointed if England don’t make the semi finals,” he said.
“The West Indies series, 2-2, I know they were slightly different conditions, that didn’t necessariliy tell me that England aren’t up to it but that the West Indies, who had to qualify for the World Cup, are a threat.
“In my head there’s now 10 teams that could potentially get to the semi finals.
“You can’t take anyone for granted – Australia always turn up for a World Cup, you can never rule out India or Pakistan either – Pakistan beat us in the Champions Trophy semi final last year.
“For me it’s still wide open but I’m still hopeful that England can go all the way.”