Nasser Hussain backs misfiring Anderson to find form in India

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Former England captain Nasser Hussain thinks it would be foolish to write off James Anderson and has backed the veteran pacer to return to form and make an impact during his side’s tour of India in the new year.

Anderson struggled to make much of an impact during the recent Ashes series against Australia, with the 41-year-old unable to generate much movement with the ball when managing just five wickets for the series at an average of 85.40 from four Test appearances.

It was an uncharacteristic Ashes return for Anderson, who is universally renowned as one of the best pacers in modern times and the fact he has the most Test wickets (690) of any fast bowler in the history of Test cricket only further strengthens this claim.

The recent retirement of fellow quick Stuart Broad leaves Anderson with more responsibility to shoulder as he enters the twilight of his career and Hussain believes the experienced right-armer is up for the challenge and can prosper against India on the sub-continent.

“I think especially with Broad going, I would like that experience (in India),” Hussain told host Sanjana Ganesan on the latest episode of The ICC Review.

“Chris Woakes has stated that he’s not that keen anymore of playing away from home and his record’s not great away from home.

“We’ll see, he (Woakes) might change his mind. There’s been a lot of mind changes recently. But if you don’t have Woakes and you don’t have Broad, you will need that experience of someone like Jimmy Anderson.”

Anderson has an excellent record against India, with six of his 32 five-wicket hauls in Tests coming against Rohit Sharma’s side and his average in the Asian country (29.32) is decent in comparison to other places he has played in.

“Jimmy’s got a very good record against India…and you need a balanced attack. You need that experience for younger players to come in,” Hussain noted.

“Listen, Jimmy’s had a bad or an average couple of months, but you are a fool if you’re writing off Jimmy Anderson.

“I spoke to him in an interview yesterday and he was like, the hunger is still there. He’s already thinking about how to get back to his best.

“He’s already thinking about going back in the nets and working hard at his game and that’s a good sign for me that he’s still got that hunger. He’s, what, 10 wickets away from 700, and that will keep him going for a while yet.”

And while the absence of Broad and fellow retiree Moeen Ali is sure to be felt by England going forward, Hussain believes his former side have some good depth in their bowling ranks who are more than capable of performing well in India.

“Jack Leach will (hopefully) be back and Rehan Ahmed is a very good second spinner, as we saw in Pakistan,” Hussain said.

“Josh Tongue has bowled really well. Ollie Robinson is a very skillful bowler. Unfortunately, someone like Olly Stone is injured and obviously Jofra Archer is injured.

“You need that extra pace as well in India. So England have got…they’ve got that lad (Gus) Atkinson at Surrey, who has a lot of good things being said about him.

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“So England have options. It’s the next test for Bazball. They said Bazball will work against one side, then they moved on to the next side. Then they moved on to New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan. The next challenge is India and everyone knows India in India is one of the sternest challenges in Test match cricket.

“It’s Bazball against spin. Bazball against Ravi Ashwin, (Ravindra) Jadeja and Axar Patel and that is going to be fascinating.”

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