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‘My future is not the elephant in the room’ – James Anderson hits back after Michael Vaughan suggests England need to ‘move on’

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

James Anderson has responded to former England captain Michael Vaughan’s comments that for Joe Root to rejuvenate his England side, they must move on from the veteran seamer.

Vaughan had said in his Telegraph column that the two greatest challenges facing Joe Root’s captaincy are to develop an expanded leadership group from which his successor could emerge and also to “manage” Anderson’s retirement.

“Managing Jimmy’s retirement is going to be key to this team moving forward. His future is the big elephant in the room.

“England cannot move on and be a world force with Anderson at the helm. I love watching Jimmy bowl. He is a poet with the ball in hand. He could still be England’s best bowler for another two years. Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath retired with one or two years of high level cricket still left in them. Just because you can still perform does not mean you should keep going on and on…It is not about sacking Jimmy. It is about what is right for English cricket. The right thing is to transition, but do it respectfully.”

Anderson, who will turn 40 this summer, has had discussion about his retirement follow him around for a number of years, with many questioning whether England should rather focus their attention on blooding a new generation.

But, Anderson has only seemed to improve with age, and in the 16 Test matches he has played since turning 38, he has 51 wickets at an average of 23.41. He also performed exceptionally well in India last year, further proving he is not just a home-track bully, as he averaged just 15.87 with the ball and conceding 1.92 runs an over.

Also writing in the Telegraph, Anderson responded to Vaughan’s comments saying: “I read that my future is the ‘elephant in the room’ according to Michael Vaughan’s Telegraph column this week. It is not the elephant in the room because the captain and coach know exactly what my thoughts are on it. They have told me their thoughts too. They want me around and to carry on. As long as that is the case, it is not an elephant in any room. We are talking openly about it and I wrote last week that everyone’s future is in doubt. It always happens when you get beaten heavily in an Ashes series.

“For me, if I have the chance to play I will do my best and keep having conversations. I will keep talking to whoever about my future. I feel I can still offer something to this team and hopefully I will get the chance to do so.”

With speculation also surrounding whether Anderson will play the final Test in Hobart, or be rested after playing three consecutive matches, Anderson spoke about his pride at potentially his final act in Test cricket in Australia being saving the draw for England by batting out the final over of the day against Steve Smith.

“If I don’t play in Hobart I will be quite proud my last Ashes cricket in Australia was getting the big block out to Steve Smith. There was a bit of chat from the close fielders about my reverse sweep and whether I would get that out. The Shannon Gabriel (“why did he do that?”) thing came up as well but I was just concentrating at that point and delighted when Steve dragged down the last ball and bowled a long hop.

“We shared a smile when he did not land it where he wanted to. I said ‘what was that?’ Tongue in cheek. It was a nice moment.”

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