New Zealand v England, 1st Test, Hamilton, 1st day March 5, 2008

Anderson links up with Auckland


James Anderson struggled in the one-day series but now gets the chance to find some form © Getty Images
 

James Anderson will link up with his England team-mates in Wellington ahead of the second Test after New Zealand Cricket agreed to allow him to turn out for Auckland in their four remaining fixtures of the State Championship.

The unexpected arrangement was put in place after Auckland lost both their strike bowlers, Kyle Mills and Chris Martin, to international duty, as well as two more - Darryl Tuffey and Andre Adams - to the rebel Indian Cricket League. However, according to Justin Vaughan, the chief executive of NZC, it was not a popular decision.

"We are not particularly enthusiastic about it, but we can understand why Auckland want to do it with some of their other bowlers absent," said Vaughan. "We would be happier if they gave a chance to a young New Zealand bowler because we can see a scenario where Anderson bowls himself into form and then helps England win the deciding final Test because of that."

For England, the move is opportune. Anderson suffered a worrying loss of confidence during the one-day series, and had slipped behind Stuart Broad in the pecking order for the Test series. Early in his England career he endured long periods of inactivity on tours under Duncan Fletcher, and suffered for his lack of match practice whenever he was thrown into the side at short notice, most notably at Johannesburg in 2004-05.

Auckland, which is only an hour-and-a-half up the road from Hamilton, will allow him to use his time on the sidelines productively. "He's played a lot of one-day cricket but didn't play in the three-day game last week so it's a great chance for him to go away and get some more experience of playing in New Zealand," said Moores. "Jimmy was very keen to go and play and that's how it came about because of his enthusiasm to get a game under his belt and get a bowl.

Vaughan said that he hoped that a reciprocal arrangement would be put in place when New Zealand visit England next summer, but when asked if he would be happy for that to happen, Moores sounded reluctant to commit, saying: "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo