Saker banks on Anderson

2013-11-04 13:27
James Anderson (Getty)

Sydney - England bowling coach David Saker predicts James Anderson will once again be the tourists' standout quick in the upcoming Ashes series, saying he thrives in his role as leader of the pace pack.

The Lancashire bowler has been a key figure in England's past two series triumphs over the Australians, taking 22 wickets at 29.59 in his team's 3-0 win in July-August and 24 wickets at 26.04 in their 2010-11 series victory.

Anderson remains the leader of England's pace pack and Saker predicted the 31-year-old will have another standout Ashes campaign, which gets under way in Brisbane on November 21.

"In the last visit over here, he broke the barrier that he wanted to break," Saker said.

"He wanted to prove to a lot of Australians that he could bowl well in all conditions. He came over here and had a fantastic series. Then he went to India and did a fantastic job for us.

"As far as pressure goes, he thrives under it. He thrives under the leadership banner."

Saker said when Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff were the front-line England bowlers, Anderson had a more low-key role.

"But since he got that leadership role, he's become an (elite) bowler. I'm looking forward to him leading us again," he said.

Australian Saker, who has been England's bowling coach since 2010 and recently renewed his contract, played a big role in Anderson's transformation into his current status as a world-class paceman who has taken 329 wickets in 87 Tests.

Anderson and Stuart Broad will start in the first Test against Australia, but the third seam spot is still up for grabs after Chris Tremlett, Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin all failed to fire in last week's drawn tour game against a second-string Western Australia side in Perth.

The trio had combined figures of two wickets for 303 runs in WA's first innings, but Saker was pleased with their effort in the second innings.

"When you play your first warm-up game, there's some nerves there," Saker said.

"They all know they're playing for one spot, so there's a bit of apprehension. But as the game went on, there were some good signs from all of them."

England step up their Test preparations with a four-day game against Australia A, starting in Hobart on Wednesday.

Skipper Alastair Cook, batsman Kevin Pietersen, spinner Graeme Swann and Broad are all set to return after missing the Perth outing.

Read more on:    england  |  james anderson  |  cricket

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