Troy Cooley, the England bowling coach, believes James Anderson can play an important part on the winter tour of Pakistan, after rediscovering his form during a season of county action. Anderson was called up to the squad for the final Test against Australia and Cooley says the time away from the international scene has helped him.
He told the Press Association: "Watching Jimmy perform this year has been fantastic. He's gone back and basically done everything England and Duncan [Fletcher] have asked of him - and that's to become a complete bowler."
Anderson claimed 60 wickets for Lancashire in the County Championship, following a dispiriting tour of South Africa last winter, as his performances suffered from a lack of regular cricket. His rapid move into the England team during the 2002-03 tour of Australia and the World Cup meant that this was his first full season for Lancashire.
He followed his stunning start to one-day cricket with a five-wicket haul against Zimbabwe on Test debut. With England's attack suffering from injuries he rapidly became the leader, but his form began to tail off during the 2003 summer. Then on the following winter tours to Sri Lanka and West Indies he lost his place and became a bit-part player in the Test team.
But with Simon Jones currently rated as only 50-50 to recover from his ankle injury in time for the Pakistan tour, Cooley says that Anderson is ready to step back up to the side. "He's taken 60 wickets and watching him at the Oval, you just saw something different," he said. "He's come back a better bowler and if people like Simon don't make it he will be ready to take the challenge. He's been on this stage before, he likes the stage so there is a little support there if one of the others don't make it."
However, Cooley is still confident that Jones can play a part in Pakistan, where the reverse-swing that was developed over the summer will be a key weapon for England. "The doctors are working hard to help him now and let's hope he's fit and raring to go because he'll suit those conditions nicely."
"He's not started bowling again yet. He's being earmarked to bowl again in a week or so and hopefully he'll be alright for that - it's one step at a time for him."
Meanwhile, there are also growing concerns about the fitness of Chris Tremlett, the Hampshire fast bowler, who has ongoing knee problems. Tremlett has had three painkilling injections since May and did not appear happy towards the end of the season. He is currently visiting a specialist in Stoke to try and cure the problem before the tour departs.
Tim Tremlett, his father and Hampshire's director of cricket, says now is the best time to get it sorted: "He's had the problem since May but now there is time to work properly in the gym to strengthen it. Our physio has been in touch with the ECB doctor, who knows what's going on."