Lancashire’s Jimmy Anderson will miss England’s one-off four-day Test match against Ireland which starts at Lord’s on Wednesday.
And that has sparked fears he will be also ruled out of the Ashes opener in just nine days’ time.
Anderson has been struggling with a torn calf muscle and had hoped to use the Ireland clash to prove his fitness ahead of the summer’s big collision with Australia.
The Ashes series gets under way at Edgbaston on August 1 and the country’s all-time leading wicket taker must now be a doubt, despite the positive noises coming out of the England camp this morning.
“Jimmy will continue to be assessed ahead of the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston on August 1,” an ECB statement read.
Anderson damaged his calf playing for Lancashire against Durham on July 2.
The target now facing the 36-year-old is to be fit in time to face the Aussies.
Chief selector Ed Smith stated when naming the squad last week that England’s record wicket-taker would not be risked ahead of the Ashes series if there was any lingering doubt over his injury.
Bowling resources have already been stretched by side strains sustained by Mark Wood and Jofra Archer in the recent World Cup victory over New Zealand.