NO BALL: Fast bowler rested for Third Test against West Indies
LONDON: ENGLAND left James Anderson out of their 12-man squad announced yesterday for the Third and final Test against the West Indies at Edgbaston starting on Thursday.
The England selectors insisted the 29-year-old Lancashire star was being omitted to "overcome several minor injury niggles" rather than being rested on grounds of squad rotation.
However, in a move that could cause a rift between the England hierarchy and their leading bowler, Anderson himself insisted he was fit to play in his Sunday newspaper column.
Seamers Steven Finn and Graham Onions, yet to feature in the series but included in 13-man squads ahead of five-wicket and nine-wicket wins at Lord's and Trent Bridge respectively that have given England an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the series, will compete to fill the place left vacant by Anderson's absence.
However, England could play both bowlers were they to rest Anderson's regular new-ball partner and Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad.
An England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) statement said Anderson had received treatment during the Second Test at Trent Bridge for a minor quad problem.
It added that missing the final test would give Anderson, whose tally of 267 wickets in 70 matches leaves him fifth in the list of England's most successful test bowlers, time to overcome "several minor injuries".
Anderson has missed just one of England's past 25 tests, since he was rested from the 2010 tour of Bangladesh, and national selector Geoff Miller said his omission had been in the "best interests" of the bowler.
"James Anderson will miss this Investec Test as we look to manage his workload ahead of a busy period of cricket this summer and beyond, a decision which is in the best interests of the team and James himself," Miller said.
But Anderson, in his column for the Mail on Sunday, published before the squad was made public, said: "It would be extremely disappointing for me to miss out.
"It would be different if I felt fatigued or was struggling with an injury. But I believe I am fit to play -- and while I am fit to play I want to play in every England game I can."
England have a packed home international programme, with South Africa set to challenge them for the World No 1 test ranking. They also face one-day series against the West Indies and Australia before taking on the Proteas.
Meanwhile Yorkshire middle-order batsman Jonathan Bairstow, two matches into his test career, retained his place for Edgbaston despite struggling against the short ball at Trent Bridge.
The squad: Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Jonathan Bairstow, Matt Prior (wkt), Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Steven Finn, Graham Onions. AFP