James Anderson has insisted he is still excited about playing for England this season, even if matches are played behind closed doors.
England cricketers are set to return to limited individual training next week, with bowlers such as Anderson leading the way, amid assurances that health protocols will make their sessions less risky than going to a supermarket.
The England and Wales Cricket Board hope they can kickstart a season delayed by the coronavirus by rescheduling for July a three-Test series at home to the West Indies that was meant to take place in June.
But officials have conceded the only way international matches can be staged in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic is by barring spectators from what will be ‘biosecure’ grounds.
Anderson though has lost none of his enthusiasm when it comes to the prospect of adding to his England record tally of 584 Test wickets.
“It’s exciting in a way we’re actually talking about the possibility of playing cricket this summer,” paceman Anderson said Friday in an Instagram Live with longstanding new-ball colleague Stuart Broad.
“I think as long as everything is place with safety concerns then I’ll be pretty comfortable playing.
“We’ve been a part of the England set up for a long time now. We’ve got some great people working on every possibility and outcome from this summer and going forwards.”
As for playing in matches with no spectators, Anderson reckoned his experienced of taking part in some sparsely attended county matches for Lancashire would stand him in good stead.
– ‘Intensity’ –
“It’s quite easy to play in front of a big crowd because of the intensity, you have to be on top of your game,” explained Anderson, a 37-year-old veteran of 151 Tests.
“If there’s no people there you have to try and find your own energy and intensity from somewhere.
“To be honest it will be pretty similar to county cricket!”
The ECB’s plan in having the bowlers go back first is to try to give then a seven-week lead-in to a rescheduled first Test in July.
And with Britain in a state of lockdown, Broad said they would need that time to get themselves somewhere near match fitness.
“It’s going to take us eight or nine bowling sessions I reckon for us to feel like our bodies are ready to get going,” Broad said.
Anderson added: “Yeah it’s hard. As much as you can bowl in your garden or with a tennis ball or whatever, nothing replicates practice or (being) out in the middle so we’ve got to give ourselves time to get back into it.
“And I think the other thing is not to get frustrated again because it’s been so long since we bowled.
“If a few balls go where you don’t want them, you’ve just got to bide your time while you get back into it.”