James Anderson credited the homely Trent Bridge environment and conducive seam conditions for his remarkable return at the venue ahead of England’s opening fixture of the LV= Insurance Test Series against India starting on Wednesday
The seamer has 64 Test wickets, including seven five-wicket hauls and two ten-wicket matches, with an average of 19.62 at the historic hunting ground.
His return in England is bettered only by his average of 17.68 at Chester-le-Street.
“In years gone by, swing has played a big part here,” Anderson said.
“It is a ground where you look up at the sky rather than down at the pitch. If there is cloud cover and it is humid, then generally it is a good place to bowl. The nicks will carry if there is a bit of grass on the wicket.
“I do like playing here, I feel at home. It is such a welcoming place to play, the stewards and staff are incredibly friendly. It is somewhere I feel very comfortable.”
Anderson’s return to Test action follows a white-ball block in domestic cricket, but both he and Nottinghamshire’s Stuart Broad have been readying themselves for the series with training at Loughborough.
Despite the hours spent in the nets, the 39-year-old says getting himself into the correct mental headspace is as important as the physical preparation.
“There has been a lot of other cricket going on, but it’s mostly been with the white ball, so we have been trying to find places to bowl, to make sure that we are ticking over,” Anderson said.
“It hasn't been normal preparation, but that is just the nature of this summer. We have had to manage as best we can.
“We’ve had a couple of good days here, everyone is excited and hungry for Test cricket to be back, and the intensity in practice has shown that.
“But for me, it has been more about being in the right mindset. The bowling and the batting, once you are in the battle, those skills switch on. It’s about being mentally prepared, and that is different from turning your arm over in the nets.
“You have to focus for five days, it is always mentally changing as well as physically against India, so preparation is about making sure your game is in order for that.”
England’s all-time top wicket taker is also eagerly anticipating the resumption of a battle with India captain Virat Kohli.
The seamer has dismissed Kohli eight times in international cricket, with Tim Southee the only bowler to have taken his wicket on more occasions.
“I am definitely excited to play against him again,” Anderson said, “You want to challenge yourself against the best and he certainly is that.
“We know how big a player he is both as a player and a captain, he has a huge influence on their team. To be honest, I don’t care if I get him out as long as someone does, that’s the important thing. He is a huge wicket.
“India’s whole top six is riddled with talent so it is gonna be a big challenge for us seam bowlers.”