James Anderson is a real doubt for this summer’s Ashes after scans revealed he’d suffered a calf muscle tear.
The ECB have confirmed England’s all-time leading Test wicket taker suffered a “low-grade tear” and will be continually reassessed, The Sun reports.
Anderson — who was spotted with his England teammates at Wimbledon this week — limped off the field during Lancashire’s County Championship clash with Durham on Tuesday.
Joe Root’s men kick off their Ashes campaign against old enemy Australia on August 1, with Anderson’s spot for the five-match Test series now in jeopardy.
An ECB statement read: “England seam bowler Jimmy Anderson, who left the field during Lancashire’s Specsavers County Championship match against Durham at Sedbegh School on Tuesday July 2 due to tightness to his right calf, underwent an MRI scan on Friday.
“The MRI confirmed that Anderson has suffered a low grade calf muscle tear.
“As a result of the injury, he will commence a rehabilitation program with the England and Lancashire CCC medical teams.
“Anderson will miss Lancashire’s next two Championship matches against Northants and Sussex.
“He will be reassessed on an ongoing basis regarding his availability for the Specsavers Test match versus Ireland at Lord‘s on July 24 and the Specsavers Ashes Series against Australia starting on August 1.”
Despite his advancing years, now aged 36, Anderson is still widely considered as the best exponent of swing bowling in the world.
The “Burnley Lara” continues to wreak havoc with the new ball, particular the Dukes ball in English conditions — and is the leading Test wicket taker amongst all seamers in history.
And with the Ashes on home soil this summer, the absence of Anderson — who’s taken 575 wickets in his five-day career — could be crippling.
Should that be the case, England may have to swap out swing, guile and experience for raw pace — with 95mph speed kings Jofra Archer and Mark Wood impressing at the World Cup.
HOW RAIN COULD SEND AUSTRALIA THROUGH TO FINAL
England is facing World Cup elimination with Australia going through if rain stops play in their Thursday night World Cup showdown — and the forecast is worryingly drizzly.
Eoin Morgan’s men could be knocked out of the tournament without a ball being bowled should the weather intervene.
As Australia finished above England in the group stage, they would progress — with both Thursday and the reserve day seeing rain forecast.
The forecast for Edgbaston on Thursday is scattered showers with 50 per cent chance of rain. Forecasts for Friday are more alarming with a 70 per cent chance of rain.
According to the latest updates, Edgbaston — the host venue for England’s big game — is set to see the rain clouds roll in on both Thursday and Friday.
The World Cup rules state that should play be impossible on both days, the team with the better position in the group stage would progress.
In that scenario, Australia – who beat England in the group stage during Jason Roy’s time out with injury – would play India or New Zealand in the final at Lord’s.
On the bright side, the weather for now only appears to be drizzly on Thursday, rather than full-on washout — with the reserve day looking far worse.
Should that happen, it’s likely Duckworth-Lewis would come into play — which could play into England’s hands given their ability to score runs quickly.
Despite losing their group stage game against the Aussies, Morgan and Co are still arguably favourites for their semi-final — should the rain stay away.
England finished their group campaign with a late surge thanks to Roy’s return — and Bairstow’s fired-up batting displays.
And should the host nation make it through to the final, the game is set to be broadcast on free-to-air TV.
Sky, who have exclusive TV rights to the tournament in the UK, are in talks for a sharing plan with Channel 4, who have shown evening highlights throughout the tournament.
But the BBC, ITV and Channel 5 are also interested if those discussions break down.
Sky bosses believe such a gesture would be good for cricket, with England having not appeared in a World Cup final since 1992 and at home since 1979.
— This story originally appeared on thesun.co.uk