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The fact is that I’ve to deal with and accept retirement – James Anderson
By SMCS - Jul 10, 2024 7:16 am
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England pacer James Anderson believes that he’s bowling well and he “could still do a job” as he prepares to play his final international match at Lord’s with his 188th and final Test match this week. The legendary pacer, who will turn 42 at the end of this month, will play his final game against West Indies with the best individual bowling figures of this County Championship season – returning 7 for 35 in the first innings for Lancashire against Nottinghamshire in his first game since the Dharamsala Test in early March as well.

James Anderson
James Anderson

“I still feel as fit as I ever have, like I’m bowling as well as I ever have. I still think I could do a job,” Anderson said. “But at the same time I understand that it has to end at some point. The fact that it now is just something I’ve got to deal with and accept. It’s difficult to say. I’ve not really got a choice.”

However, the veteran bowler, who made his Test debut under Nasser Hussain way back in 2003 at this very venue, was about to end his career following an appraisal meeting in a Manchester hotel with Ben Stokes (Test captain), Brendon McCullum (coach) and Rob Key (ECB’s Director of Cricket) in May. In that meeting, the trio informed James Anderson that they planned on picking fast bowlers who are likely to play in the 2025 winter Ashes tour of Australia as well. Before that meeting, Anderson said that he hadn’t thought about how he’d end his England career.

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“I wouldn’t say it was a surprise, because when the three big dogs invited me to a hotel in Manchester for a chat I didn’t think it was just a normal appraisal,” he said. “I had a suspicion that that was going to be the case. I think they were surprised at how calm I was and I was probably surprised at my reaction. I wasn’t overly emotional or angry about it. I saw their point of view and appreciated them taking the time to lay it out for me. Since then I’ve come to terms with it and made peace with that decision. I’m just looking forward to one more game and then see what’s ahead.”

James Anderson
James Anderson bowled an unplayable delivery

After this farewell Test, James Anderson will mentor the remainder of the summer before deciding if he wants to continue playing first-class cricket for Lancashire or engage in a more permanent coaching role on the winter tours of Pakistan and New Zealand as well.

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“That’s way too far ahead,” he said. “We’ll just see how these next two months go. I think they want to see if I’m any good at it, whether I fit into what they want from a coaching group, and then I’ll see if I enjoy it. Coming off the back of seven-for last week, obviously I feel like I’m still bowling as well as I ever have. If I feel like I can still contribute to Lancashire or they need me, then I’m sure that’s a conversation we’ll have in the next few months,” he added.

“I’m trying not to think too much about the game itself yet, or how I’d feel about it,” he said. “The big thing for me this week is wanting to play well, bowl well and get a win. I’m sure the emotions during the week will change, but right now that’s what I’m trying to focus on to stop myself crying,” James Anderson concluded.