Miller: Anderson call is for the best
National selector Geoff Miller insists resting James Anderson for the third Test against the West Indies is in the frustrated England paceman's best interests.
Anderson was omitted from a 12-man squad for the final match of a series in which England hold an unassailable 2-0 lead. A quad injury which troubled the Lancastrian during the second Test may have influenced England's thinking, but the 29-year-old said ahead of the squad announcement that he was fit to play and would be disappointed to miss out.
Miss out he will, though, with Steven Finn and Graham Onions battling to take his place at Edgbaston. Miller said: "James Anderson will miss this 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."
He continued: "We have been made to work hard for our two victories so far and are delighted to have secured the series, however we know that we will need to continue to play some good cricket if we want a third win against the West Indies this week."
A depth in talent in the fast bowling stocks has ensured England will remain firm favourites to continue their winning ways and whitewash the Windies. Indeed, both Finn and Onions could yet be called into action with England to decide on whether to also give Stuart Broad time off ahead of the series against South Africa.
The 25-year-old arguably faces a more hectic schedule than Anderson this year as a fixture in all three formats, while he also has the added responsibility of captaining England's Twenty20 team ahead of their title defence in Sri Lanka immediately after the summer schedule.
But England Test skipper Andrew Strauss has previously reiterated the importance of balancing rotation with success, and dropping both new-ball bowlers would represent a risk. Finn replaced an injured Anderson against Sri Lanka at Lord's last summer, one of just two Tests appearances since he was dropped during the last Ashes in Australia.
The 23-year-old had started his Test career at a gallop, with 53 wickets in 13 matches, and while he has been usurped by Tim Bresnan of late that record has ensured he remains a key part of England's planning.
A shoot-out for places between him and Bresnan is unlikely, given Bresnan's perfect record in his 13 Tests and the added batting depth he would provide when the Proteas' feared attack comes knocking. Indeed, Finn could even be overlooked this week for Onions, who is more of a like-for-like swap for Anderson.
Onions, who has not played a Test for two-and-a-half years due to injury, also offered a timely reminder of his class by taking six wickets for Durham on Saturday and 11 in the match as they almost snatched victory against county champions Lancashire at Chester-le-Street.