England great Anderson to retire this summer

The Ashes 2023: James Anderson describes his best wicket in a record-breaking career

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England bowler James Anderson has confirmed he will retire from Test cricket this summer.

The 41-year-old, England’s leading wicket-taker and one of the greatest bowlers of all time, said the first Test against West Indies at Lord’s on 10 July will be his last.

The decision comes after Anderson held talks with Test coach Brendon McCullum, who wants to build a bowling attack for the future.

“I’m going to miss walking out for England so much,” Anderson said in a statement.

“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.”

James Anderson’s first Test wicket for England v Zimbabwe

Anderson made his debut in 2003 and has taken 700 wickets in 187 Tests – the most by any pace bowler in Test history.

He is third on the all-time list of wicket-takers in Tests behind spinners Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka and Australia’s Shane Warne.

It is not clear whether he will continue to play for his county, Lancashire.

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

“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’s always meant a lot, even if my face often doesn’t show it.”

Richard Thompson, the chair of the England and Wales Cricket Board, said English cricket owes Anderson a “send-off like no other”.

“I don’t think we’ll ever see a bowler to match Jimmy again,” he said. “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.”

‘Right time’ for ‘England’s greatest’ to move on – Vaughan

Anderson has played more Tests than any other England cricketer and is second on the all-time list of Test appearances behind only India legend Sachin Tendulkar.

Having struggled in last year’s Ashes against Australia, he played in four of England’s Tests in India last winter and took his 700th wicket in the fifth Test in Dharamsala.

Anderson’s former captain Michael Vaughan said the veteran is “England’s greatest” but the time is right for him to move on, with the next Ashes series to be played in Australia in the 2025-26 winter.

“For England to go down under in 18 months and try to win those Ashes back then they will need some pace, so it is the right time to move Jimmy Anderson aside,” Vaughan said.

Anderson is also England’s record wicket-taker in one-day internationals but has not played white-ball cricket for his country since 2015, instead focusing on the longest format where he has become a great of the game.

He overtook Sir Ian Botham as England’s leading Test-wicket taker in 2015, surpassed Australia great Glenn McGrath’s record among pace bowlers in 2018 and now sits just eight behind second-placed Warne in the all-time list of wicket-takers.

He also formed a record-breaking bowling partnership for England with Stuart Broad, who retired last year.

“To think he’s been bowling for England for more than 20 years is utterly remarkable,” Vaughan said.

“To get over 700 Test wickets as a seam bowler, to get 500-600 as a spin bowler is incredible, but for Jimmy to do it day in day out and to put his body and mind through everything he’s done over the past 20 years is utterly remarkable.

“He’s England’s greatest.”

1 December 2021

More to follow.

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