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Anderson values performance over nostalgia at Old Trafford.

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Anderson's Old Trafford Uncertainty

James Anderson is well aware that his inclusion in the upcoming fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford is far from guaranteed, even though it could be his last opportunity to play in front of his home crowd at Lancashire. The 41-year-old seamer was left out of England’s thrilling victory in the third Test at Headingley after struggling to make an impact in the previous matches at Edgbaston and Lord’s.

Anderson's Return Seems Likely

During those two matches, Anderson managed to claim three wickets at an average of 75.33, expressing his difficulty in utilizing his swing-bowling techniques on the flat pitches. However, with Ollie Robinson suffering a back spasm and limited options for an alternative seamer in the squad, Anderson’s return to the team at his home ground seems plausible.

Anderson's Old Trafford Mastery

Regardless of his recent performances, Anderson has been a vital asset for captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum, exhibiting his prowess with 48 wickets at an average of 21.22 in 12 appearances since the beginning of the 2022 summer. His impressive record at Old Trafford further strengthens his case, having taken 37 wickets at an average of 22.02 in ten Tests at the venue, including crucial scalps during England’s series-levelling win against South Africa last year.

James Anderson prioritizes team selection over personal nostalgia for potential Old Trafford appearance

In his column for the Telegraph, James Anderson emphasized that sentimentality will have no influence on team selection for the upcoming Ashes Test. He acknowledged that the decision-makers, Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum, will choose the strongest team to compete against Australia without considering the “Jimmy Anderson End” narrative. 

Anderson understands that he is not guaranteed a place in the next Test and fully supports the decision to stick with the winning team. He recognizes that team selection is beyond his control and focuses on ensuring he is mentally and physically prepared to play. 

With an illustrious career that includes 688 wickets at an average of 26.21, Anderson acknowledges that the end of his career is inevitable. However, his primary focus remains on the ongoing Ashes series and he pushes thoughts of retirement to the back of his mind.

Reflecting on the potential significance of the upcoming Test at Old Trafford, Anderson realizes that it could potentially be his last appearance at the venue. Nevertheless, he remains unfazed by such thoughts, directing all his energy towards contributing to the team’s success. 

With a strong desire to be part of the team and contribute to an England victory that would level the Ashes series, James Anderson is determined to leave the nostalgia behind and concentrate solely on cricket. Mentally and physically refreshed after a break, he aims to enjoy the game and make the most of his time on the field.

Despite his impressive career statistics, Anderson acknowledges the need to improve his record against Australia, having last experienced an Ashes Test win in 2015. During the break between matches, while his teammates rest, he plans to continue working on his skills to ensure he is fully prepared if given the opportunity to play at Old Trafford. 

Reflecting on the first two games of the series, Anderson admits he was too serious and intense. If he gets the chance to play in Old Trafford, he intends to approach the game with a smile on his face. Excited to be part of a thrilling series, he hopes to contribute once again, as he has done consistently over the years by delivering performances that can truly impact the outcome of a match.

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