London: England captain Andrew Strauss said on Wednesday his pace spearhead James Anderson would be fit for the fourth and the final Test against India starting at The Oval on Thursday. (See Pics)
Anderson, who complained of stiffness in his right thigh after the Edgbaston Test, attended the full nets sessions at The Oval and a visibly happy Strauss said he was "very optimistic" that Anderson would be available for selection. Anderson, who has 18 wickets in the series, is the No.2 bowler in the World Test rankings.
"We are very optimistic he (Anderson) is fit to play. He had a good bowl today, but like all these things we have to check how he comes up tomorrow morning. It just seems nothing more than a little niggle at this stage," said Strauss.
"We've set a precedent of resting players in the past and I think it's sensible at times to be able to do that, because of the hectic nature of the international schedule and you don't want bowlers breaking down for important series. But we will only be resting players if we're absolutely sure they need a rest," he said.
Strauss, however, said that the playing XI will be picked up on Thursday morning. But if Anderson fails to prove his fitness, the choice will be between Graham Onions and Steven Finn.
"He (Anderson) has been very much the leader of our attack for the last couple of years and he's been outstanding in that role," said Strauss. "But we've had to deal with Stuart Broad being injured, Chris Tremlett being injured and people have come in and done well and that's always the challenge for you as a side - to make sure you've got the strength in depth to be able to mitigate against any sort of injury. If and when we have to deal with that, we'll deal with it."
Straus said the England team is not just dependent on one player.
"He's very important, not just for the tone he sets but for his relationship with the other bowlers. But you can't rely on one person. That's one of the things that we've been good at: we've not relied on one or two people to win us a Test match. We've had performances from all 11 and when we're missing a player it's important the guy coming in can fill that role.
"I think (Jimmy) would be a huge loss, like any of the seamers, but we thought that with Tremlett when he couldn't play at Trent Bridge. Up stepped Bressie (Tim Bresnan) and he's been unbelievable in the two games he's played. We have got vast stocks of fast bowlers at the minute. I'm not sure where they've all come from, but it's nice for us they have all arrived at the same time, because you can never have enough big fast bowlers," he said.