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James Anderson likely to miss Ireland Test as Ashes precaution

England fast bowler tweaked groin while playing for Lancashire but plays down severity

James Anderson grimaces during England's training session at Hamilton, New Zealand XI v England, Hamilton, February 8, 2023

James Anderson was named in a 15-man squad for the Ireland Test but is likely to be rested  •  Getty Images

James Anderson is set to miss England's first Test of the summer against Ireland at Lord's as he looks to preserve himself for the Ashes series that follows.
Anderson is currently recovering from a mild strain of his left groin picked up during Lancashire's recent County Championship match against Somerset. The 40-year-old picked up the injury on day one, and took no further part in the match. A scan last Friday (on day two of the match) revealed the extent of the damage was not too serious, with Anderson calling it "the best result of a bad situation".
He will undergo a 10-day recovery period which will see him running next week. Though he was announced in the squad for the one-off Ireland Test and will be fit by the time it comes around on June 1, his priority is the first Test against Australia which begins at Edgbaston on June 16. Other fast bowlers, such as Mark Wood, are also expected to be preserved for the Ashes, with England due to select their attack for Ireland from Stuart Broad, Ollie Robinson, Matthew Potts and Chris Woakes.
"I think I will be fit for the game," Anderson said of the Ireland fixture. "Whether I play or not is probably another matter really. I definitely don't want to risk it.
"I feel good, fine. I had a scan on the second day of that game. It was a little groin strain. It's a 10-day recovery period, and I'm rehabbing already, running next week. It was the best result of a bad situation. I'm disappointed to have to pull out of a game but with what's to come in the summer it was actually a pretty good result."
Anderson's caution comes from the 2019 Ashes, when he bowled just four overs in the opening Test before suffering a recurrence of a calf injury that ruled him out of the rest of the summer. He admitted to feeling "a little bit" more cautious because of that experience four years ago. Provided rehabilitation goes as expected, the 179-cap seamer expects to be fit and firing to play as full a part as possible in the five-match series against Australia.
"That was a different, more serious injury," Anderson said of his 2019 experience. "I ripped my calf earlier that summer, and it was a real push to try to get fit for that first Test. I don't feel like this is anywhere near that severity.
"I am desperate to be fit for the first Ashes Test. If that means missing the Ireland Test, so be it."
James Anderson was speaking at a partnership launch announcing Radox as an Official Partner of England Cricket.

Vithushan Ehantharajah is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo