Cook eager to move on from Anderson 'sideshow'


Alastair Cook is eager to put the "messy affair" of James Anderson's omission from the England team for the first Test behind them as the seamer prepares to return against Pakistan at Old Trafford on Friday.

England captain Cook and head coach Trevor Bayliss felt Anderson was fit to play in the opening game of the four-match series at Lord's last week, but the selectors decided otherwise.

Anderson had been struggling with a shoulder injury, but was able to get through 22 overs for Lancashire against Durham and take three wickets after being left out of the England squad.

England's leading Test wicket-taker has been recalled to face Pakistan on his home ground and Cook wants to move on from talk of a rift over Anderson's non-selection as his side attempt to respond to a 75-run defeat at the home of cricket.

The opening batsman said: "It was a slightly messy affair and nobody intended it to be that. It's been a bit of a sideshow. It's great to have Jimmy back. He is an outstanding bowler and it's great to have him fully fit.

"The selectors didn't think he was fit enough for Lord's, the medical reports were 50-50, so he was left out of the squad. They felt he was a week away from match fitness and he's ready here.

"The selectors weren't willing to take the risk of him getting injured again, which is why he was left out of that squad.

"In hindsight he could have played that game, because he went and played two days for Lancashire against Durham and got through.

"But if he'd bowled thirty overs, hurt a shoulder and been ruled out of the game, we'd all be here disappointed with the decision. [The selectors] probably erred on the side of caution and hopefully we'll now have him for the next three games."

All-rounder Ben Stokes (knee) is also set to return from injury in Manchester, while Cook said England will make a late decision on whether to include leg-spinner Adil Rashid. Seamers Steven Finn and Jake Ball have been released from the squad.

Misbah-ul-Haq expects England to come out fighting following their defeat last week and the Pakistan captain said his side's military-style celebrations at Lord's were not meant to rub salt into the wounds of Cook's men.

He said: "This is a bigger challenge for us, in the coming game.

"The celebrations were nothing to do with England - it was only a gesture for those we worked with.

"We always respect the opposition and we don't want to do celebrations for them. We fully respect them and we have to really work hard in the next three Tests. We're ready for that.

"We don't disrespect the opposition - they're a fine team and we know their strengths."

Misbah revealed that leg-spinner Yasir Shah, man of the match in the first Test after taking 10 wickets, is fully fit despite taking a blow on the shoulder in the nets.


Key Opta stats:

- England have not lost in a Test at Old Trafford since 2001, winning seven and drawing two, but that defeat was against Pakistan.
- Pakistan are unbeaten in their last seven Tests against England (W6, D1). They have only put together two longer unbeaten runs against England (1973-1978 nine matches, 1984-1992 14 matches).
- James Anderson averages 17.1 against Pakistan with the ball; of the 35 bowlers with 30 wickets or more against Pakistan, only Graeme Swann has a better average (17.0). 
- Pakistan have lost just once in their last nine Test matches (W6, D2).