The anxious laugh of Chris Silverwood says it all.
How difficult would it be to inform James Anderson that he will not be playing in the fourth Test at The Oval?
England’s head coach grinned, “Yes, very.”
If that event arose, Anderson’s attitude would very definitely not be as lighthearted.
The three back-to-back Tests at the end of the series will be no picnic for either side’s fast bowlers.
A fast bowler who bowls 41 overs in a Test match will have run 50 kilometres and done it at a reasonable pace, according to strength and conditioning coaches.
Running up to the bowling alley isn’t the same as jogging around the park.
And the more bowlers bowl in a short period of time, the more likely they are to be successful.
James Anderson and Ollie Robinson have had an especially heavy workload.
They’ve appeared in all three Tests and bowled the most overs of any bowler on either side, with 116.3 and 116.5 overs bowled in the series, respectively.
It’s easy to forget that Anderson is 39, but he’s had his share of injury issues in the last two years, including a quad niggle before the second Test, and this is Robinson’s first five-match series.
He may be in good shape, but the intensity of a series like this can deplete guys who haven’t experienced it before.
Although he granted England a day off after the four-day triumph on Headingley, Silverwood said they had a lot to do when choosing the squad for the fourth test.
“The break is something I don’t want to do,” he added.
“In front of us we have plenty of cricket.
The tests come quickly and thickly.
It’s challenging back-to-back.
Each day while we’re out on the ground, these men give everything and we need to ensure that we look after them.
Now, though, I will not take any choices or judgements.”