England bowler James Anderson has dismissed suggestions that he will retire after “one bad game” against Pakistan at Emirates Old Trafford and is determined to show he can still perform at the highest level.
With 590 Test wickets to his name, Anderson is England’s record wicket-taker and fourth on the all-time list, behind only Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne and Anil Kumble.
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However, at the age of 38 and having taken just six wickets at 41.16 in three Tests this summer, there has been speculation that the series against Pakistan could be his last.
“Absolutely not,” Anderson told reporters. “It’s been a frustrating week for me personally because I’ve not bowled very well, I’ve felt out of rhythm.
England vs Pakistan
August 13, 2020, 10:30am
“Probably for the first time in 10 years I got a little bit emotional on the field, started getting frustrated and let that get to me a little bit.
“It reminded me of when I first started playing, when you get frustrated and a little bit angry then you start trying to bowl quicker and quicker, and that obviously doesn’t help on the field.
“For me, once we get down to Southampton, it is a case of working really hard over the next couple of days, see if there are any technical issues that I can sort out and just try and work hard and hope that I get the nod for the next game so I can try and show people that I’ve still got what it takes to play Test cricket.”
While Anderson admitted he was not at his best last week in Manchester, he was disappointed that one below-par performance led to murmurings of his retirement, and the Lancashire seamer admitted there was a different kind of pressure on him at this stage of his career.
“I want to keep playing for as long as I possibly can,” he said. “If I keep bowling the way I did this week, the opportunity to retire will be taken out of my hands! It’ll be a selection issue.
“I’m still hungry to play the game, I think the frustration for me this week is that after just one bad game, whispers go around, and I don’t think that is really fair.
“Something that I have done well throughout my career is deal with the pressure that comes with playing, whether that is pressure of expectation, pressure of the match situation – I feel I’ve dealt with that pretty well throughout my career.
“This week I probably didn’t do that very well. That is something I need to look at and go away, personally look at that and whether I play in the next game or the game after that or if it is in the winter then whenever I play next, I’m ready to be able to cope with that.”
In the more than 17 years since his Test debut, Anderson has had to get through plenty of difficult moments and suggestions it might be time for him to go appear to have fired him up to get through his current dip in form.
“I don’t think it is the toughest period of my career, I’ve had quite a few tough periods as you’d expect over a decent-length career,” he added.
“I just think it is a different way of thinking maybe. It was one bad game and I’m sure I’m going to have another bad game in my career, I just don’t want every time I have a bad game there to be rumours going around that I’m going to pack in.
“I want to be contributing to this team and that is my sole focus really. I want to be bowling well and contribute to England winning games of cricket. That has been my focus throughout my career and that will continue to be my focus for the rest of my career because that has served me well.
“The milestones; if I get 600 wickets then great but if I don’t then I’m happy with what I’ve got. I know I can perform better than I did this week and I want to keep getting better and help England win.”
With Ben Stokes missing the two remaining Tests against Pakistan for family reasons, Anderson’s chances of making his point out on the field may have increased.
However, Sussex’s Ollie Robinson has been called up to add to England’s wealth of fast bowlers and given the form of Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad, Anderson’s spot appears most under threat as Joe Root’s team aim to wrap up the series at the Ageas Bowl.
“I’ve never counted my chickens and thought I’m definitely playing the next game,” he added. “I’ve always worked hard whether I was at the peak of my powers or when I first started, I’ve always had the attitude of work hard in practice, keep improving and then play well in the actual game itself.
“Those are the things I’ve always tried to do and that doesn’t change this week or in the next year or three years or whatever it might be. For me, that is what I’ve got to do.
“Selection is out of my hands really, I’ve got to work hard and show that I’m bowling well. It’s one bad game, everyone has a bad game. I’m sure I’ll have more bad games so for me, I just need to keep a positive mental attitude, focus on the next game and put everything else behind me.
“When you’re playing well, you can’t dwell on that either, you have to put everything else behind you and focus on the next one.”
Stokes to miss remainder of Pakistan series
England all-rounder Stokes will miss the remainder of the #raisethebat Test series against Pakistan for family reasons.
Stokes will leave the UK later this week and travel to New Zealand. He will miss England’s two Test matches against Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl on Thursday, August 13 and Friday, August 21.
The England and Wales Cricket Board, along with the Stokes family, requests that all media respects the family’s privacy at this time.
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