England's James Anderson will find Test comeback 'very tough', warns Mark Ramprakash
"He's done terrifically well to play as long as he has - but you feel it's going to be very tough for him to continue"
Last Updated: 12/01/20 12:10pm
Former England player Mark Ramprakash fears it will be "very tough" for James Anderson to prolong his Test career following the seamer's latest injury setback.
The 37-year-old has been ruled out of the remainder of England's series against South Africa after suffering a rib injury during the second Test in Cape Town.
Anderson - who is England's all-time leading Test wicket-taker with 584 - also missed virtually the entire Ashes series last summer due to a calf injury and Ramprakash told Sky Sports News he was "very concerned" over the bowler's international future.
"It's not only disappointing that he's injured but it's also a serious injury for a fast bowler, not something to be taken lightly," he said.
"As we get on into the summer, Jimmy's creeping up to 38. He's done terrifically well to play as long as he has - but you feel, with the calf strain he had last summer and now this, it's going to be very tough for him to continue his England career.
"I guess it comes down to motivation, it comes down to that attitude and desire to do the training, and fast bowling is a very physical job. He worked incredibly hard to get back to full fitness.
"It was a prolonged thing, but he did the hard work, did the rehab and showed the commitment and his will to still be part of the England team and continue this fantastic career he's had."
Anderson returned the 28th five-wicket haul of his Test career in South Africa's first innings at Newlands to put England in control and ultimately set up their 189-run victory to square the four-match series.
Ramprakash is convinced the experienced paceman would have played an important role in the third Test, which begins on Thursday January 16 at Port Elizabeth, live on Sky Sports Cricket, and then the series finale in Johannesburg.
Jofra Archer, who sat out the Cape Town Test with an elbow problem, is the favourite to replace Anderson at Port Elizabeth, although England could also turn to Mark Wood or Craig Overton.
"England have plenty of talent to choose from. For me, it'd be Archer because he's had a superb time since he came into Test cricket and he loves the big stage," added Ramprakash.
"He's inexperienced at Test level, but the only way he's going to get better is by playing. I think he has all the attributes to have a successful international career.
"Jimmy's got a stellar record. He's a great competitor and in terms of England's remaining matches on this trip, he would have had a big say.
"We saw how well he bowled at Cape Town, he'd regained that high standard of bowling we've become used to. So that's going to hurt England.
"He'll be a huge miss to the team and in particular to the captain, Joe Root, because he knows he's got a real trump card there."
Watch day one of the third Test between South Africa and England, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 7.30am on Thursday.