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‘Focus is on stopping myself from crying’

Updated on: 09 July,2024 09:17 AM IST  |  London

England veteran pacer James Anderson says he might struggle to keep his emotions in check as he bids adieu after the 1st Test v WI, starting tomorrow

‘Focus is on stopping myself from crying’

James Anderson during a practice session at Lord’s, London, yesterday. Pic/Getty Images

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‘Focus is on stopping myself from crying’

England great James Anderson said on Monday that he had come to terms with his impending Test retirement even though he feels he is bowling as well as ever as his 42nd birthday approaches. The first Test against the West Indies at Lord’s, starting on Wednesday, will be the paceman’s 188th and final appearance after a record-breaking career spanning two decades.

In early May, Anderson released a statement saying he would retire from Test cricket after the first Test against the West Indies. “Now I’m just looking forward to one more game and then see what’s ahead,” Anderson told a news conference at Lord’s.

‘Bowling as well as ever’

Anderson warmed up for his Test exit with an impressive seven-wicket haul for Lancashire against Nottinghamshire last week in the English County Championship. “I feel like I’m still bowling as well as I ever have,” he said.

“But I knew it had to end at some point. Whether it’s now or in a year or two... I’d love just to be able to contribute somehow this week. Whether it’s one wicket or whatever it is, I’d love just to make a small contribution and win the game.”

Also Read: James Anderson: A burly fast bowler

The normally reserved Anderson said he might struggle to keep his emotions in check while bringing down the curtain on a Test career that started 21 years ago against Zimbabwe at Lord’s. “I’m sure the emotions during the week will change, but right now what I’m trying to focus on is to stop myself crying,” he said.

Looking at the future 

Anderson might have carried on for the rest of the season even though he turns 42 at the end of July. But the decision to retire was effectively made for him when he met with managing director Rob Key, red-ball coach Brendon McCullum and Test captain Ben Stokes in late April. The hierarchy told Anderson they wanted to make changes as they looked to build a squad for the 2025-26 Ashes series in Australia.

“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,” said the bowler, who will serve as a mentor to England’s quicks for the rest of the season. “I had a suspicion that that was going to be the case. I think they were surprised at how calm I was when I reacted. I wasn’t overly emotional or angry about it or anything.” He added: “I saw their point of view and appreciated them taking the time out to lay it out for me, the reasoning and stuff like that.” 

No of wickets claimed by James Anderson in 187 Tests, the most by a pacer

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