Having become the first quick bowler to 600 Test wickets, England’s James Anderson has declared that he “still has a lot to offer” and trained his eyes on the next target – 700 scalps.
Speaking at the end of the rain-marred fifth day of the final Test against Pakistan, in which he dismissed Azhar Ali for his 600th scalp, Anderson revealed that he had a chat with skipper Joe Root, who indicated that the bowler was in the team’s plans for next year’s Ashes.
Anderson had brushed aside retirement rumours after the first Test of the series, but admitted that he had gone through a “frustrating week” because he felt out of rhythm in that match. However, he was back in his element in Southampton, claiming his 29th five-wicket haul, and took two out of the four Pakistan wickets to fall in the second innings.
“I didn’t bowl as well as I’d have liked for the whole summer,” Anderson said after England’s 1-0 series win. “But in this Test, I was really on it and I feel like I’ve still got stuff to offer this team. As long as I still feel like that I think I’ll keep going. I don’t think I’ve won my last Test matches as an England cricketer yet. Can I reach 700? Why not?
“I’ve chatted to Joe about this a little bit and he has said he would like me to be in Australia. I don’t see any reason why I can’t be. I’m working hard on my fitness all the time. I’m working hard on my game.”
Next year’s Ashes could be the ninth of Anderson’s career, although he bowled a total of just four overs before limping out of the series last year. With the World Test Championship to fight for, Anderson feels he has enough motivation to make a push for 700 Test wickets, a milestone only Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan have reached in world cricket.
“We’re still in the Test championship,” Anderson said. “There are still series ahead of us and Test matches to win. That’s all I’m really interested in.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) August 25, 2020
“I still love turning up every day at training, putting in the hard yards and being in the dressing room with the lads trying to forge a win for England. That’s all I’ve really ever bothered about, and what I’ll keep trying to do. I’ll keep working hard in the gym and keeping myself available for selection.
“There will be decisions along the way with the selectors and coach and captain around how the team moves forward but as long as they want me around I’ll keep working hard and try to prove I’m good enough to play in this team.”