England in Sri Lanka 2002-03

Anderson - 'I'm not an automatic choice'

Wisden Cricinfo staff

November 14, 2003

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James Anderson has admitted he is no longer an automatic choice for England after a disappointing end to last season.

Anderson, 21, began last summer in sizzling form, taking 4 for 29 against Pakistan in the NatWest Challenge and 5 for 73 on his Test debut against Zimbabwe at Lord's. But Graeme Smith and South Africa were a different proposition, and Anderson struggled for his line and length, as well as having problems with his follow-through, and hence his confidence plummeted.

Now the likes of Steve Harmison, Matthew Hoggard and Richard Johnson, who all performed well against Bangladesh, will be challenging Anderson for a place in the side.

"If anyone told me I was not an automatic choice, I would agree," Anderson told the Daily Mirror. "After the way I finished last summer, and the way the guys have bowled in the Test series against Bangladesh, I don't expect to walk back into the team."

He also admitted a niggling knee injury and fatigue hindered his bowling as the season wore on. "When I look back on my first summer as an England player, I am fairly pleased with it because I played in every Test match," he said. "I try to be my own harshest critic, and after the start I enjoyed - we beat Zimbabwe by an innings twice inside three days and won both one-day competitions - my season did fizzle out."

He continued: "I was tired, and sometimes it probably showed in the way I bowled, but I was a newcomer to the international scene and it takes a while to adjust to the intensity required.

"One minute I was in every headline and everyone was saying nice things about me, the next people were telling me I was no good. When you play for England, you have to put up with the criticism."

England's first Test against Sri Lanka starts on December 2 at Galle, after a three-match one-day international series, which begins on November 18 at Dambulla.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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