ISLAMABAD: Just two days before the start of Thursday’s Test against Pakistan, fast bowler James Anderson said the tourists were here to win the Test series regardless of the conditions and condition of the pitches.
Anderson said in a media interview at Bindi Stadium on Tuesday that winning the series would not calm his team down. “Winning the series is what’s important to us. No matter the conditions and playing surfaces, we want to end up winning the series. We are well prepared for that.”
Anderson is the only member of the England squad who previously toured the country 17 years ago but could not get a chance to play Tests in Pakistan. “I am not a good reader of the pitches but whatever the circumstances, it will be our effort to put pressure on Pakistan and win the series. The wicket of Babar Azam clearly holds significance for Pakistan. Getting some key wickets will help us make forays into Pakistan’s batting line-up.”
In the plain appearance of Pindi Stadium’s roof, Anderson thought it was a suitable track for spinners. “We looked at the Australia and South Africa matches as the wicket is like. But we go into the Test with an open mind and will do our best to adapt to the circumstances.”
He added that playing in Pakistan is nothing short of an exciting challenge. “Playing in the subcontinent always presents tough challenges. Our efforts will be to cover all our bases well and try to mix things up using new and old balls fairly effectively and how to pressure opponents when there is nothing on the wicket. I’m not sure of the value of reverse swing on these Earth “.
Anderson, a 175 Test match veteran, had hoped to run alongside Ollie Robinson. “Robinson is skilled and wants to learn with every game. We talk a lot and hopefully we can take the best chances coming our way.”
The pacer believes that the learning process never ends. “The kids learn from me and I learn from them. We look after each other. We have cricket brains that help us do our best.”
Admit it’s not just about experience. “You have to bowl well to get wickets and play your part in victory. Putting your skills into practice using your experience is more important.”
Anderson said it wouldn’t be easy to provide support from sub-continental wickets. “However, for fast bowlers our effort will be to pick 20 wickets. We have a captain with a cricketing mind who has the ability to think outside the box.”
He thanked the cricket fans in Pakistan for the wonderful welcome. “Good to be back after 17 years. I am grateful to the cricket fans in the country where the match is watched and followed with passion. We will do our best to entertain the crowd by doing our best.”
The veteran footballer paid tribute to the Pakistan team saying that England should play the best cricket to determine who the hosts are. “Aggressive cricketing has been England’s forte in recent times. This style of play will be practicable in the series considering the strength of the Pakistan team and the situation that day.”
He said that as far as his personal goals are concerned, as long as his body will allow him, he will continue to play for his country. “I didn’t set any goals for myself before retiring. The moment I feel like my body isn’t supporting me, I’ll call it a day,” said Anderson, 40.
Anderson, who is England’s most successful bowler with 667 wickets in 175 matches, will make his Test appearance in Pakistan for the first time, having played against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in six Tests in 2012 and 2015, taking 22 wickets. Overall, Anderson claimed 74 wickets against Pakistan in 18 Tests.