England vs India: My shoulder is feeling better than ever and I’m ready to down Virat Kohli

IT is almost two months since I played for England and I’m 100 per cent ready to take on Virat Kohli.

I am fit and strong and, most importantly, my right shoulder feels better than it has for ages.

 Jimmy Anderson is ready to take on India at Edgbaston on Wednesday

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Jimmy Anderson is ready to take on India at Edgbaston on Wednesday

In India’s last Test series here in 2014, we won 3-1 and had some success against Kohli — he scored 134 runs in ten innings.

But a lot can change in four years and Kohli will be more determined than ever to do well, starting at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

He had planned to play for Surrey for a month to get used to English conditions and, although injury scuppered that, it showed Kohli’s desire to score a pile of runs this summer.

He will have thought a lot about how he can improve over here.

 England's fast bowler is ready to represent England for the first time in nearly two months

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England's fast bowler is ready to represent England for the first time in nearly two months
 Virat Kohli will be standing in James Anderson's way when the two teams meet

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Virat Kohli will be standing in James Anderson's way when the two teams meet

Kohli is always fired up, very animated on the field and plays with passion.

He can already be classed an all-time great batsman. But it’s not just about Kohli — India have a fantastic top six. We have to be ready for all their batsmen.

The bowlers will talk to Joe Root and the coaches and devise some plans for Kohli.

But you don’t want to be too rigid, you need to think on the hoof and adapt to conditions and match situations.

 Virat Kohli is just one of India's talented batsmen hoping to sink England

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Virat Kohli is just one of India's talented batsmen hoping to sink England
 The ICC rankings have Anderson back at the top of the pile

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The ICC rankings have Anderson back at the top of the pile

I don’t know Kohli as a person at all, although I recall Ravi Ashwin having a go at me when I walked out to bat in the Test in Mumbai in late 2016.

Ashwin had taken offence to some comments I’d made about Kohli’s batting in India compared to when he played in England.

They were misconstrued, really, but he saw it differently and said a few words. The umpires stepped in.

It’s great when you can challenge yourself against the top players in tense situations. I’ve always enjoyed it.

If you can dismiss the best in the world, it means you’re doing something right and have the quality needed to perform at the highest level.

The latest ICC Test rankings have me back at No 1 ahead of South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada.

 James Anderson celebrates taking the wicket of Virat Kohli four years ago

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James Anderson celebrates taking the wicket of Virat Kohli four years ago

We’ve been swapping positions for a while now and, considering how rubbish I bowled in the Roses match, being top of the list is a pretty good effort!

It will bring extra pressure when we get to that First Test because people will expect a lot.

But I enjoy that expectation and responsibility — so being No 1 is a good accolade to have.

Although today is my 36th birthday, I feel in a really good place — physically and mentally.

The shoulder problem had been very annoying. I couldn’t shake it off, it was always there in the background, but I feel like I’ve turned a corner.

Having such a lengthy break allowed me to manage and strengthen the shoulder and I reckon I’ve nailed the problem.

 James Anderson thinks he is over his shoulder issues heading into the test

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James Anderson thinks he is over his shoulder issues heading into the test

I was never concerned I wouldn’t be fit for this First Test but now I can focus fully on my bowling without the stress of having to manage my shoulder.

My aim is to get through five Tests in six weeks, which is a heck of a schedule.

Before some England one-day matches over the last month, I’d do work with the physio and strength and conditioning coach, bowl out in the middle with coach Chris Silverwood, have a shower then pop into the TV and radio commentary boxes.

I’ve been at Old Trafford most days, bowling and working in the gym, as well as bowling around 25 overs each in a Lancashire second XI match and the County Championship game against Yorkshire last week.

The standard in the Roses match was quite poor, to be honest, with both teams below par.

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But Jordan Clark took an incredible hat-trick, dismissing Joe Root, Kane Williamson and Jonny Bairstow.

The game finished with Root burgling four wickets — and we’ll never hear the end of that.

Cricket often leaves you scratching your head. That red-ball match produced 744 runs for 40 wickets.

While, two days earlier, a T20 clash on the same pitch and involving many of the same players yielded 351 runs in just 28 overs.

I watched most of that game on my sofa and the final ten minutes behind my sofa!

What a game, what an incredible atmosphere with more than 20,000 inside Old Trafford and the old place rocking.

IT is almost two months since I played for England and I’m 100 per cent ready to take on Virat Kohli.