Why England forced James Anderson to retire as all-time great plays final Test

James Anderson plays his 188th and final Test at Lord's

James Anderson plays his 188th and final Test at Lord’s (Picture: Getty)

England captain Ben Stokes has defended the decision to effectively force James Anderson into retirement as the all-time great prepares for his final Test.

Anderson will play his 188th and final Test against West Indies at Lord’s this week after being told by the team’s management that they wanted to start planning for the future.

The 41-year-old has taken exactly 700 Test wickets, almost 100 more than any other Englishman and the third-most in history behind spinners Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan.

Stokes insists Anderson remains a ‘world-class’ performer but says the team need to give emerging bowlers a chance to find their feet as they look ahead to an Ashes tour in Australia next winter.

England’s decision, which was made by Stokes, head coach Brendon McCullum and director of cricket Rob Key, means the first Test against West Indies – which starts on Wednesday – will be Anderson’s last.

Asked if Anderson was still good enough for Test cricket, Stokes said: ‘No doubt about it. He is still incredible. But the decision was made with the Ashes in mind.

‘His skillset will be missed but I look at it this way, the group of bowlers we have now are at the worst they are going to be because they will only get better.

Anderson preparing for his final Test against West Indies (Picture: Getty)

‘Their ceiling is so high, the more game time we can give them we will find ourselves in a very strong position in Australia.’

Anderson’s long-time bowling partner Stuart Broad bowed out of international cricket last summer, taking the final two wickets as England defeated Australia at The Oval to draw the thrilling Ashes series 2-2.

If Anderson takes eight wickets in the first Test of the summer against West Indies he will equal Australia legend Shane Warne’s incredible tally.

‘I hope he takes all 20 wickets if I’m being honest,’ Stokes added. ‘I listened to Stuart talk about his retirement and wanting to go out on top and there was one thing he said that even made me think about when the time comes for me to go.

“I did text him saying did you really have to do that and he replied with sorry mate” 😆

Ben Stokes says he texted James Anderson after he took 7-35 for Lancashire last week 📱

— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) July 9, 2024

‘He said: “I didn’t want a new player to come in and go “I thought Stuart Broad was meant to be good.” I thought: “Yeah that is a good thing to think about.”

‘Jimmy’s skillset is obviously still good enough for international cricket. But we have to make big decisions and we have got the Ashes to think about in 18 months’ time.

‘Nobody will ever say, “Oh is that Jimmy Anderson? I thought he was meant to be good” because he is still incredible.’

Anderson prepared for his final Test by taking 7-35 for Lancashire in a County Championship match …read more

Source:: Metro


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