James Anderson could play for Surrey against West Indies A next month as England look to ensure his full fitness ahead of the Test series against India.
Anderson, so much a one-club man that he has an end named after him at his home ground of Old Trafford, is currently sidelined due to a longstanding shoulder problem. While the England camp originally suggested they were looking at the Championship match between Anderson's Lancashire side and their arch-rivals Yorkshire at Old Trafford from July 22 as Anderson's comeback game, it now appears they are also considering Surrey's match against West Indies A starting on July 16.
The idea - understood to have come from acting England Team Director, Andy Flower - may raise a few eyebrows. Not only is it a bit of a surprise that England want Anderson to play an extra first-class game ahead of the Test series, but England Lions start a four-day first-class match against India A at New Road on the same day. It may be relevant, however, that the Surrey game is only three days.
There is precedent for such arrangements, however. Andrew Strauss was drafted into the Somerset side to play India A at Taunton in 2011 as he struggled for form. His own county, Middlesex, did not have a match that week. Strauss subsequently scored a century for Somerset and averaged 38.16 in the Test series against India.
Anderson recently described the schedule for the Test series against India - which feature five Tests in six weeks - as ridiculous. The series starts at Edgbaston on August 1, with the final Test starting at The Oval on September 7.