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James Anderson on the cusp of huge milestone

Despite growing speculation regarding his career, Anderson has made it clear he is not contemplating retirement anytime soon.

cricket Updated: Aug 13, 2020 06:51 IST
Hindustan Times, Delhi
England's James Anderson.
England's James Anderson.(AP)

A historic feat awaits James Anderson as England hope to clinch the series against Pakistan in the second Test starting in Southampton on Thursday. Anderson, who had a lacklustre opening game of the series has a chance to wipe it off and holds the potential to do it in some style. Anderson is 10 wickets away from becoming the only fast bowler in history to claim 600 Test wickets, and overall, only the fourth to the landmark.

That said, Anderson’s record at the Ageas Bowl isn’t that flattering. Of his 154 Tests, Anderson has played only four at the venue, picking up 16 wickets with a best of 5/53 against India in 2014. In the previous two Tests Anderson played in Southampton, the fast bowler had figures of 3/62, 2/49 and 0/42 against the West Indies not too long ago. With two Tests left in England’s home summer, Anderson has four innings to get there.

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Despite growing speculation regarding his career, Anderson has made it clear he is not contemplating retirement anytime soon. Anderson pointed out that although he is “frustrated” with his performance in Manchester, the 38-year-old quick is keen to get back in rhythm ahead of the second Test against Pakistan.

“No, there’s not, absolutely not [if he is considering his England future],” Anderson said in a video posted by Sky sports. “It’s been a frustrating week for me personally because I have not bowled very well. I felt out of rhythm. Probably for the first time in ten years, probably got a little bit emotional on the field. Started getting frustrated, let that get to me a little bit and probably reminded me when I first started playing, when you actively get frustrated, little bit angry, try and start bowling quicker and quicker and that doesn’t help on the field.”

Anderson returned figures of 1/63 and went wicketless in the second innings during the first Test. One of his spells on the opening day in Manchester, in particular, was ordinary in which Babar Azam hit him for six boundaries off 24 balls. Besides, repeated injuries have also cast a shadow of doubt over the England great’s future, who is the leading Test wicket-taker among fast bowlers.

Earlier this year, Anderson had said he was looking forward to playing the 2021 Ashes in Australia, expressing his eagerness to partner Stuart Broad. Injuries may have slowed him down a bit but Anderson has stuck to his promise and is keen to tour Australia next year, which promises to be a challenging assignment.

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