England great Anderson ‘at peace’ with retirement ahead of his final Test against West Indies - GulfToday

England great Anderson ‘at peace’ with retirement ahead of his final Test against West Indies

James-Anderson

England great James Anderson gestures after taking a wicket. File photo

England great Anderson ‘at peace’ with retirement ahead of his final Test against West Indies

England great James Anderson said Monday 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.

No fast bowler has taken more than Anderson's 700 Test wickets and only India batting hero Sachin Tendulkar has played more matches in the five-day game.

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 England 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," Anderson told a news conference at Lord's.

"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 think I was probably surprised at my reaction. I wasn't overly emotional about it 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. Since then I've come to terms with it and made peace with that decision."

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," said the bowler, who will serve as a mentor to England's quicks for the rest of the season.

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."

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.

Asked what had pleased him most about his lengthy Test career, he replied: "Playing my 188th Test at just short of 42 years old makes me the most proud and I'm still pushing myself to be the best I possibly can."

West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder paid tribute to Anderson by saying: "I'm sure he's got still a lot left in the tank and stuff to prove.

"I always like playing against great players and he's no doubt one of the great players of the game, so I'm looking forward to the contest for one last time."

Anderson has yet to decide whether he will keep playing for Lancashire.

"The likelihood is this week is my last game of first-class cricket this season, but we'll have to see what happens," he said. "It's a difficult one to weigh up because my emotions are all over the place."

Agencies

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