James Anderson hopes for injury-free summer ahead of Ashes tour
REUTERS - England pace spearhead James Anderson is hoping his body can withstand the rigours of the English test summer before he shifts his focus to the side's defence of the Ashes in Australia later this year.
Anderson, who is recovering from a shoulder injury, is currently preparing for the county season with Lancashire and will not play an international until the first of four tests against South Africa starting July 6 at Lord's.
England then host West Indies in a three-match series to wrap the test summer in September.
"The tests are a long way away," Anderson, who is England's all-time leading test wicket taker with 467 victims, told reporters.
"I'll manage the first part of the season with Lancashire to see how my shoulder pulls up and how my fitness goes, and if I'm fit then I definitely will try to play all seven (tests).
"I'll manage the first bit, so I get enough cricket in so I am ready for that test series but not so much that I turn up tired."
Anderson, who turns 35 in July, is determined to be a part of England's tour of Australia in November but has refused to look too far into the future.
"The Ashes is a very important part of this year for the English cricket team and I'll have to focus on that closer to the time," he added.
"I'm focused on staying fit... and I need to show the selectors that I'm still eager and hungry."
Anderson is set to feature in Lancashire's season opener against Essex on April 7.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru)