England chief Giles hopeful over Anderson's fitness for South Africa tour

By Sports Desk November 16, 2019

England's coaching staff are hopeful James Anderson will be fit to feature in the upcoming tour of South Africa, according to Ashley Giles.

Anderson has not travelled with England's Test squad for the two-match tour of New Zealand, which starts next week.

The 37-year-old - England's record wicket-taker in red-ball cricket - sustained a calf injury in the first Ashes Test, which saw him miss the rest of the series.

However, England's managing director Giles is confident Anderson, who will be attending a pre-tour training camp in South Africa, will be able to face the Proteas.

"Jimmy is going out to Potchefstroom," Giles told BBC Sport. "We're hopeful. We think he is on track, which is great. The medical team are happy.

"The older you get these things tend to linger longer. We felt no point forcing it for this short tour.

"It will be interesting to see the pitches we play on in South Africa. I think they'll be green and they'll go for a bowler war and take us on. It's not something I'd take on with Jofra Archer and Jimmy Anderson, but it will be an exciting series."

Joe Root's captaincy was called into question at times through the Ashes, with Australia retaining the urn.

However, Giles stressed the plan is for the Yorkshireman to lead England during the next Ashes, which takes place in Australia in 2021-22.

"We have talked about Joe leading and winning in Australia. We've not said 'maybe if you get there.' We plan for him to be our captain," Giles added.

"That series will come around quickly as we know with the business of the schedules. None of us know what is around the corner, things can change quickly. But in our planning when we sat down even before the Headingley Test we were looking to Australia.

"That's the holy grail for Joe. Going to Australia and winning is the big prize and we have enough time to plan for that."

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