India vs England: I don’t really think about retirement, says James Anderson
Anderson, England’s most capped (143) Test player after Alastair Cook (161) is fourth in the all-time list of Test bowlers.
James Anderson’s first reaction on breaking Australian Glenn McGrath’s Test record 563 wickets to seal the Oval Test win over India on Tuesday was relief — his parents won’t have to travel to Sri Lanka at the yearend to see him become the most prolific Test fast bowler.
The 36-year-old answered concerns about workload — Stuart Broad is 32 — by ending as the most successful bowler in the series (24 wickets). Ishant Sharma (18) was next and Broad third (16).
Anderson, England’s most capped (143) Test player after Alastair Cook (161), is fourth in the all-time list of Test bowlers. Skipper Joe Root feels he can challenge “the two spinners” — Shane Warne (708) and Muttiah Muralitharan (800) — meaning third-placed Anil Kumble’s (619) mark is taken for granted.
It didn’t look like he would surpass McGrath as India were down to their last wicket. But when Anderson bowled Mohammed Shami, he ran straight to embrace the retiring Alastair Cook. “It’s hard to explain because, and I don’t want to play it down to much, but it doesn’t mean a great deal to me,” a drained Anderson said afterwards. “Today was about winning a Test, about giving Cooky the send-off he deserved. That’s what the focus was on for me. I guess my mum and dad will be happy because they don’t have to come to Sri Lanka.
“I have said this throughout my career that when I finish, it will mean a hell of a lot to me to be able to see what I have achieved. Right now it’s hard when you just put all your energy into the present and try to perform well for England, that’s all I really focus on.”
KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant hit centuries, threatening to steal a win, but Anderson dried up runs at one end to help build pressure through leg-spinner Adil Rashid, who removed both batsmen. “I find it quite easy because when I bowl well I am focussed on the process and the game situation.”
Cook’s retirement leaves a gaping hole in batting, and Anderson quitting would have the same effect on bowling. But he didn’t want to set a date. “I don’t really think about it (retirement). I play my best when I focus on what’s ahead of me, the next game, next series, whatever. I go away now, we have a decent break before Sri Lanka. I’ll try to get myself in the best condition possible to cope with the rigours of bowling seam in Sri Lanka, which could be tough. Then we’ll see how it goes.
“I read something that McGrath said he went into the 2006 Ashes with no intention of retiring and by the end of it he thought his time was up. That could happen to me. Who knows? I don’t like looking too far ahead. I don’t think it helps me or the team either.
“At the stage I’m at — I don’t play one-day cricket. So I have enough time in between series to prepare well and get myself in good physical shape to be able to… we came into this five-Test series in six weeks with question marks — we’ve got two 30-plus bowlers, will they need resting or will they get injuries? And we’ve done it.”
First Published: Sep 12, 2018 16:29:46