James Anderson said Wednesday he was willing to miss England's upcoming Test against Ireland if that means he has fully recovered from a groin strain in time for the Ashes.
The 40-year old, the most successful fast bowler in Test history with 685 wickets, sustained the injury during last week's opening day of Lancashire's County Championship match against Somerset.
It stoked fears of a possible repeat of the start of the 2019 Ashes when Anderson, having come back from a torn calf, bowled just four overs in the first Test before breaking down.
His absence left a huge hole in England's attack as Australia won by 251 runs.
Anderson missed the remainder of a series that ended in a 2-2 draw.
Recent scans were sufficiently positive for Anderson to be included in England's 15-man squad for the one-off Lord's Test against Ireland, starting on June 1.
But England may decide it is in their best interests to spare Anderson from Ireland duty before the Ashes opener at Edgbaston a fortnight later.
"I think I will be fit for the Ireland game," said Anderson.
The swing bowler, speaking at an event for England sponsors Radox, added: "Whether I play or not is probably another matter really. I definitely don't want to risk it.
"I am desperate to be fit for the first Ashes Test. If that means missing the Ireland Test, so be it.
"I feel good. I had a scan on the second day of that game (Lancashire v Somerset) - it was a little groin strain. It's a 10-day recovery period, and I'm rehabbing already, running next week. "It was the best result of a bad situation. That situation (in 2019) was a different injury, a more serious injury." Anderson, who has taken 16 wickets in four County Championship matches this season, said his groin problem may have been a blessing in disguise given a packed Ashes schedule of five Tests in just over six weeks.
I was disappointed to have to pull out of a game but, with what's to come in the summer, it was actually a pretty good result," he said.