James Anderson: Don't blame my age for off-colour Ashes display

England quick admits struggles but insists he is not thinking about his future

James Anderson insists his age is not to blame for his off-colour performances in the first two Ashes Tests, and says that he'll be looking no further into the future than the start of the third Test at Headingley on Thursday.
Anderson turns 41 later this month, but speculation is mounting about his role for the remainder of the series, after a haul of three wickets at 75.33 in 77 overs to date.
He admitted after England's two-wicket loss in the first Test that the Edgbaston wicket had been like "kryptonite" for him, and he further struggled at Lord's in a contest that featured a total of 504 short balls, the most ever logged in ESPNcricinfo's ball-by-ball statistics, which began recording such data in 2015.
"I will be honest," Anderson wrote in his column in the Telegraph. "You want to contribute in the big series and I cannot remember having two such quiet games in a row for at least the past 10 years.
"I feel like I have always contributed at some stage. But I do not think I am bowling particularly badly; I am just going through a lean patch, which you do not want to happen in an Ashes ... I am saying lean patch but it is only two games out of 181.
"I am not going to criticise the pitch again. They have not suited me so far but I have found ways of getting wickets in the past on flat pitches. At the moment I am just not finding that knack.
"However, when you see the best bowlers in the world slamming it into the middle of the pitch, it is not great viewing. If you asked all the bowlers on show at Lord's, they will say they want to try other skills as well.
"I have spent 20 years pitching the ball up trying to swing it and move it off the deck and when you do not get anything doing that, it is frustrating. I just have to keep working on my game, chat to the coaches and see if there is something more I can be doing."
With the short turnaround to the Headingley Test, Anderson seems likely to sit out the contest, with Mark Wood's extra pace expected to be a factor after Ben Stokes, England's captain, admitted he would have picked him for the second Test had he been considered match-ready. Moeen Ali is also expected to be back in contention after resting his damaged spinning finger.
But with the Old Trafford and Oval Tests still to come, and England needing to win all three to win back the Ashes for the first time since 2015, Anderson is adamant that he'll be ready and waiting to play his part as and when he is called upon.
"It comes with the territory at my age for people to speculate about my future. But I understand. It is a high-profile series and you get put under the spotlight a bit more and the easy target is to say he is getting on a bit. But the reason I have not taken wickets is not because of my age.
"I am not thinking about the future. The future for me is just thinking about Thursday and the start of the next Test. That is as far ahead as I will look. If I get the nod, I will put in a performance the team need. If not, I will keep working hard and play a role at some stage across the series."