There is doubt surrounding James Anderson for England’s first Investec Test against Pakistan next month after he sustained a stress fracture to his right shoulder blade.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has confirmed that Anderson will be missing his scheduled return to action in Lancashire’s Specsavers County Championship match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge on July 3rd.

The four-Test series against Pakistan begins just 11 days later and there is a high chance that his shoulder will have not yet recovered.

Anderson injured his bowling arm during the third Test against Sri Lanka at Lord’s earlier in June and he will have to be assessed by both the ECB and Lancashire’s medical teams before he can return to play for England.

If he is absent from the match it would be a major blow for the team. He is England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker and the world’s No 1 bowler for the first time after his outstanding success in the series victory over Sri Lanka.

Should Anderson be absent next month then England will need to make at least two enforced changes to the team which competed against Sri Lanka as it emerged that Nick Compton is to take a break from professional cricket.

However, pace-bowling all-rounder Ben Stokes, who had to miss the final two Tests against Sri Lanka after pulling up in the first and then having knee surgery, has returned to action as a specialist batsman in Durham’s NatWest T20 Blast victory over Yorkshire.

Furthermore, Mark Wood, who has not played since last October’s Dubai Test against Pakistan and has since had two ankle operations, is also due back this weekend. Wood was part of England’s Ashes-winning attack last summer but he will initially be returning as a specialist batsman only in a tour match which starts on Sunday against Sri Lanka A.