England fast bowler James Anderson admitted Thursday that he is “not up to match speed yet”, just a week out from the first Test against South Africa.
“I’m just looking to force my way into the Test side,” he said ahead of a three-day match against South Africa A, starting at Willowmoore Park on Friday.
“I know I’m not up to match speed yet.”
With 575 wickets in 149 matches, Anderson, 37, has taken more wickets in Test cricket than any other fast bowler but he said he still had “that hunger and desire to be back”.
He said it had been difficult watching from the sidelines while he was out of action with a calf injury sustained in the first Test against Australia at Edgbaston in August.
Anderson bowled 11 overs in two spells against an Invitation XI on Wednesday.
He said he is “not far” from full match fitness.
“I think the second spell I bowled after lunch (when he took one for seven in five overs) was much better. I felt a much better rhythm. That’s just the nature of bowling.
“I’ve bowled in the nets and in the middle in the last two weeks but you just can’t recreate that match intensity. I think I was just a little bit off the pace in that first six overs.
“I’m sure if I bowl spell after spell in the next game, hopefully I will get better and better.”
The first Test gets under way at Centurion on December 26.