England pace bowler James Anderson has stated that retirement from cricket is the last thing on his mind, despite the fact that he is 40 years old and wants to “keep doing” what he does best.
On Saturday, Anderson added another feather to his cap by dismissing South Africa’s Simon Harmer, passing Australian legend Glenn McGrath for the most international wickets.
It was Anderson’s 950th international wicket, which he would go on to surpass by one at the end of the day to help England secure an innings win over South Africa in the second Test at Old Trafford.
Anderson is five wickets short of matching India’s Anil Kumble’s total and will then be joined by Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan, both of whom have more than 1000 scalps.
The 40-year-old bowler took six wickets as England won their sixth game in the ICC World Test Championship (WTC).
Anderson is the highest-taking pace bowler in Test cricket, with 664 wickets, and the third-highest wicket-taker ever, trailing 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.
“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.