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Wisden Cricinfo staff
November 14, 2003
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.
Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge
Plays of the day from the tri-series match between Zimbabwe and South Africa