James Anderson 'unlikely' to play for Lancashire before June

England seamer looks to manage workload ahead of West Indies Tests in July

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
James Anderson returned to action, Lancashire vs Gloucestershire, LV= Insurance Championship, division one, 1st day, Emirates Old Trafford, April 21, 2022

James Anderson is unlikely to feature in the early months of the county season  •  Getty Images

James Anderson is unlikely to play for Lancashire in the County Championship before June, as he looks to manage his workload before England's Tests against West Indies and Sri Lanka in the second half of the summer.
Anderson has played four Championship games for Lancashire in each of the last three years. But England's home Test season starts around six weeks later than usual this summer, against West Indies on July 10, on account of a scheduling clash with the T20 World Cup.
"With the Tests being in July, it's tricky," Anderson said at The Oval, speaking as the government announced a £35 million investment package in grassroots cricket. "It'll probably be June before I play, or maybe the end of May."
Nathan Lyon, Lancashire's new overseas signing, had lunch with Anderson on his first full day in the country and has expressed his desire to play alongside his Ashes rival. "I think he plays seven out of the first nine games, so hopefully I'll play one or two [with him], either at the end of May or in June," Anderson said.
Lancashire play seven Championship games before the start of the T20 Blast in May. They then have two more fixtures starting on June 23 (vs Kent at Canterbury) and June 30 (vs Nottinghamshire at Southport) which Anderson may target before the first Test against West Indies.
Most of England's Test regulars are due to play in five out of their respective counties' first seven Championship games, though schedules vary from player to player. Durham chief executive Tim Bostock estimates that Ben Stokes will play "three or four" Championship fixtures for Durham before the first Test, after withdrawing from the T20 World Cup.
Jack Leach, who recently underwent surgery after injuring his knee during England's tour to India, is not expected to feature in the first month of the season. "Somerset are likely to be without Jack Leach until early May as he continues his rehabilitation back to full fitness," the club said in a statement on Thursday.
Richard Gould, the ECB's chief executive, believes the participation of many England players at the start of the season is "a real boost" for the status of county cricket. "Aside from the IPL, we can all focus on first-class, red-ball Championship for April and May, and that's a good thing," Gould said.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98