James Anderson to end England career

James Anderson to end England career

His swansong will be at Lords in July

James Anderson will end his storied England career with one final appearance in July against the West Indies at Lord’s, the scene of his Test debut 21 years ago.

Having been informed of England’s intention to look to the future and integrate younger seam bowling options, Anderson announced on Saturday he will retire from international cricket after the first Test of the home summer which starts on July 10, the same month he celebrates his 42nd birthday.

Anderson made his Test bow against Zimbabwe in May 2003 at the home of cricket and has amassed 700 wickets and 187 appearances, both of which are records for non-spinners in the longest format by a considerable distance.

He might have sought a protracted exit with England playing three Tests each against the Windies and Sri Lanka, who visit Anderson’s home ground of Emirates Old Trafford in August before closing out the summer at the Kia Oval, where many of the Lancastrian’s contemporaries have bowed out.

Close friends Stuart Broad and Sir Alastair Cook both enjoyed fairytale farewells in south London but Anderson has elected to finish north of the Thames as he brings his career full circle.

Anderson, who played in 194 ODIs and 19 T20s before his international white-ball career ended in 2015, wrote on Instagram: “Hi everyone. Just a note to say that the first Test of the summer at Lord’s will be my last Test.

“It’s been an incredible 20 years representing my country, playing the game I’ve loved since I was a kid.

“I’m going to miss walking out for England so much. But I know the time is right to step aside and let others realise their dreams just like I got to, because there is no greater feeling.”

Anderson, who went on to thank his wife Daniella, their children Lola and Ruby and his parents for their support, added: “I’m excited for the new challenges that lie ahead, as well as filling my days with even more golf.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years, it always meant a lot, even if my face often doesn’t show it.”

Anderson, who needs nine wickets to leap above Shane Warne’s 708 dismissals and move up to second behind Muttiah Muralitharan (800) on the all-time list, has not ruled out playing for Lancashire beyond the end of his international career.

He said on his Tailenders podcast “I am not 100 per cent on what I might do next so that will be a conversation with Lancs about this summer and next and see if I have the desire to play on in county cricket.”

Long-time opening bowling partner Broad quit the sport altogether after taking a wicket with his final delivery to seal a 2-2 draw for England in a thrilling Ashes series last July.

But Anderson’s decision, hastened by a face-to-face discussion about his future over a round of golf with Test head coach Brendon McCullum recently, means England’s two most prolific seamers depart the scene within 12 months of each other.

Anderson added: “It is just such a weird thing to think about, retiring from anything really when it has been such a huge part of your life. I feel good about it, I have had an amazing career.

“But the conversations I have had (with England) have been about the future. Could a 43-year-old me make the Ashes in 18 months’ time and I sort of came to the decision probably not, it feels like a stretch.

“There are 15 or so Tests before the Ashes (in 2025/26) so it gives England time to get other guys experience before then. We came to the decision that I will play one more Test match.”

Anderson, who signed a 12-month central contract last October, featured in four of England’s five Tests in India and claimed his 700th wicket in Dharamsala. He has not played professionally since then.

While his recent returns have been underwhelming – just 15 wickets in his last eight Tests at 50.8 – his standing in the game has long since been assured and England and Wales Cricket Board chair Richard Thompson led the tributes.

Thompson said: “I don’t think we’ll ever see a bowler to match Jimmy again. It has been an honour as an England fan to watch him, and to marvel at his skill with the ball.

“To still be bowling at the top of his game at 41 is remarkable, and he is a true inspiration and role model for peers and younger generations alike.

“His final Test promises to be an emotional one, and having been there for his first Test in 2003, it will be an honour to watch his final one at Lord’s in July.

“English cricket owes Jimmy Anderson a send-off like no other.”

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