“The big thing for me this week is…” James Anderson on his last Test for England

Jul 9, 2024

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England pacer James Anderson is set to play his 188th and final Test match at Lord’s Cricket Ground this week against the West Indies. The 41-year-old, who turns 42 later this month, is focused on securing a win for his team but acknowledges the emotional weight of his impending retirement.

James Anderson’s focus and emotions

“I’m trying not to think too much about the game itself yet, or certainly how I’d feel about it,” Anderson said during the pre-match press conference. “I’m trying to be as focused as I can. The big thing for me this week is wanting to play well, bowl well, and get a win. That’s what I’m trying to focus on really. 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.”

A record-breaking career

In his illustrious career, Anderson has taken 700 wickets in 187 Tests, becoming only the third bowler – and the only fast bowler – to reach this milestone, after late Shane Warne (708) and Muttiah Muralitharan (800). He crossed this milestone during the fifth and final Test against India in Dharamsala back in March.

Also READ: ENG vs WI – England unveils their playing XI for James Anderson’s farewell Test

Recent form and questions about retirement

Anderson’s recent performance, taking 7/35 for Lancashire against Nottinghamshire in County Cricket, sparked discussions about whether he was retiring earlier than necessary. “It’s difficult to say. I’ve not really got a choice,” Anderson remarked. “It was important for me that I try and put in some good performances to finish with. Every time I’ve had a chance to go back to play for them, I’ve tried to give it my all and that’s exactly what I did last week.

“Coming off the back of a seven-for last week, obviously I feel like I’m still bowling as well as I ever have. I knew it had to end at some point, whether it’s now or a year or two years. The fact that it’s now is just something that I’ve got to deal with and accept.”

Anderson’s decision to retire

In May this year, Anderson announced his retirement following the first Test against West Indies. This decision came after a report by the Guardian suggested that the England team management was looking ahead to the Ashes 2025/26 series in Australia and did not see Anderson making the cut.

Anderson admitted he hadn’t been contemplating retirement before a meeting with England men’s managing director Rob Key, Test captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum. “I hadn’t really thought about it just because, as I said, I felt as fit as I ever have been in India,” Anderson explained.

“I thought that playing this summer would be achievable. Obviously, as a senior bowler, you don’t play every Test anyway, you get rested and stuff like that. I thought that was achievable and then think about stuff after that. That’s the way I’ve always approached it,” the Lancastrian added.

As Anderson prepares to bid farewell to international cricket, the cricketing world will be watching closely, celebrating the career of one of England’s greatest bowlers.

Also READ: James Anderson reveals his favourite Test match for England

For latest cricket news & updates, visit CricketTimes.com.

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