With the 2019 World Cup less than eight months away, allrounder Corey Anderson has decided to focus on white-ball cricket by opting out of the first-class format for the coming season. Anderson has been away from Test cricket since February 2016 and last played a first-class match in April earlier this year.
Back from representing Somerset in the T20 Vitality Blast, Anderson will leave with the New Zealand A squad for the UAE to play against Pakistan A. That will give him a chance to slot straight back into the New Zealand ODI and T20I squads because the selectors had decided to keep two open slots in each of the limited-overs squads to pick players based on their performances in the A series.
"I got a taste of [the World Cup] here four years ago and it was unbelievable," Anderson told stuff.co.nz. "To try and give myself a chance to be involved in that again, that's the driving force.
"I really want to be in that side. I want to be in there right now. There's still that dream and still that goal. I think it's probably just making sure I'm doing it the right way as well. Trying to earn [my place] back and earn the right to be in the side. Performing at that level is the next biggest thing you have to try and achieve."
Anderson played as many as 16 T20 matches in the Vitality Blast and accumulated 514 runs but bagged only one wicket because he bowled only four overs. His last international match was an ODI in the Champions Trophy last year before he underwent a back surgery in September 2017. His career has been plagued with multiple back injuries and putting in several weeks of work in England gave him a "massive boost".
"It's the first time I've got to the top of my mark and not had to be worried about if I was going to be sore or hurting in any different area," he said. "It's given me that little bit of love back in the game, which you tend to lose sometimes when you get bummed out with injuries. It's nice to feel like I've got my body back and I can get stuck into it.
"Although the surgery was 12 months ago, it's probably just being cautious around those things. I had my 12-month scan last week to make sure everything was great and I got the all-clear to say everything was spick and span.
"To have everything back and heading in the right direction gives your psyche a massive boost."