England pace bowler James Anderson has said retirement from cricket was the last thing on his mind, given that he still has the urge to go on at the age of 40 and wants to “keep doing" what he does best.
On Saturday, Anderson added another feather to his cap, picking up the wicket of South Africa’s Simon Harmer to go past Australian great Glenn McGrath as the fast bowler with most wickets at the international level. It was Anderson’s 950th international wicket, a tally he would go on to better by one at the end of the day to help England seal an innings win against the Proteas in the second Test at Old Trafford.
Anderson is five wickets away from matching India’s Anil Kumble’s tally and will then have only Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan ahead of him, both of whom have over 1000 scalps.The 40-year-old bowler finished the Test with six wickets as England won their sixth game in the ICC World Test Championship (WTC).With 664 scalps in Test cricket, Anderson is the highest wicket-taking pace bowler in the longest version of the game and the third-highest wicket-taker ever after spinners Muttiah Muralitharan (800 Test wickets) and Shane Warne (708 Test wickets).
“I want to kick on. I feel like I am bowling really well. The ball came out really well. And I just want to keep doing what I am doing," Anderson was quoted as saying by Daily Mail after England won the Test by an innings and 85 runs against Dean Elgar’s side on Saturday to level the series 1-1."I could retire tomorrow and I’d be delighted," said Anderson, adding, “Every time I play cricket I think this could be the last time. But I am just enjoying the experience. I’ve talked about how nice it is being part of this group and this sort of shift in mindset that Ben (Stokes) and (coach) Brendon (McCullum) have brought into the group. I am just happy to be part of it," he added.
After being dropped from the three-Test series against the West Indies, Anderson’s career seemed to be doldrums but it got a fresh lease of life when McCullum took over as the Test coach, with the pace bowler being recalled for the three-Test series against New Zealand and the rescheduled fifth Test against India.Skipper Ben Stokes too was all praise for Anderson.
“You know what you are going to get — a man who runs in, gives the batter absolutely nothing and is absolutely relentless in everything he does. I said before this game started that I honestly can’t see when he’s going to stop. You can see him just enjoying every moment he’s out there.
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“He is 40 but he doesn’t act like a 40-year-old. The energy that he runs in and bowls with still is just incredible. He’s a testament to himself and a great ambassador for the game, especially for fast bowlers," said Stokes.
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