James Anderson is still feeling butterflies for the first test of the summer, 18 years after England’s bow
It’s the news all England fans wanted to hear: Jimmy Anderson is still feeling butterflies. At 38 years old and with two memorable landmarks in his sights, the greatest bowler in English history is as up for it as he was on Test debut 18 years ago.
When the series against New Zealand kicks off on Wednesday at Lord’s – scene of his first cap and first five-for, against Zimbabwe in 2003 – Anderson will match his old buddy Alastair Cook’s record in England of 161 Test appearances.
Eight additional wickets, and he will also tick 1,000 in first-class cricket – the first seamer to get there since Martin Bicknell in 2004. But while only 14 of Bicknell’s final catch of 1,061 came in Tests, Anderson boasts 614, more than any seamer who played the game.
Jimmy Anderson admits he still gets butterflies for the first test of the summer
Anderson will match Alastair Cook’s record in England of 161 test appearances when playing against New Zealand in Lord’s
These are monstrous numbers, testifying not only to his longevity and fitness, but also to his skill and knowledge. They also say something about his wish at the start of a different penalty schedule: two tests against New Zealand, five against India and five in Australia – all before the end of January. So yes, he still cares.
“Two weeks ago there were butterflies entering the game for Lancashire at Old Trafford against Glamorgan,” he said. ‘I’m sure it will be the same on Wednesday. Something incredibly special is emerging for the first test of summer at Lord’s. ‘
Only seven players have won more Test caps than Anderson, and all were batsman or batting all-rounders. If he plays in nine of England’s 12 games between now and the end of the Ashes, only Sachin Tendulkar will be ahead.
He will also become the first sailor to play 1,000 wickets in premium cricket since Martin Bicknell with eight scalps remaining
If he plays in nine of England’s 12 games between now and the end of the Ashes, only Sachin Tendulkar (above) will be ahead
“I feel proud of it,” he said. ‘I never thought I would get to this point in a million years. For a bowler to play this number of games I find it a bit baffling because I don’t feel like I’ve played that many. My body doesn’t feel old or tired. It’s just unbelievable. ‘
And the milestone of 1000? ‘It’s a lot of wickets, and at this time I don’t know if it’s possible to get that many first-class wickets right now. With the amount of cricket being played, there doesn’t seem to be such a long life in bowlers anymore, and there is tons of T20 cricket and what else is going on all over the world. ‘
Anderson, who appeared with his teammates in the LV = Insurance launch video ‘In With Heart’ honoring the English cricket community, admits the selectors’ decision to end his one-day career following the 2015 World Cup debacle was crucial.
‘I was a little irritated. But looking back it was an absolute godsend as I certainly wouldn’t be playing right now if I continued playing one-day cricket. ‘
Anderson admits selectors’ decision to end his one-day career following the 2015 World Cup debacle was crucial
And he probably wouldn’t be pressuring now to play all seven home tests in a summer when he turns 39 five days before the start of the India series in early August.
‘I’d like to, but it’s probably not that realistic. With the depth we have in the bowling group, it makes sense to keep everyone fresh. But I would like to play these first two against New Zealand. I know they are back to back, but there is a little pause after that. Five tests against India may be a different story. ‘
Rest and rotation have become two of the nouns most commonly used in this English team, which is perhaps why Anderson and Stuart Broad – who teamed up for just one of six English winter tests in Sri Lanka and India – recently wrote have exchanged.
As Anderson puts it, “If we pick our strongest team, we’d like to think we’re both in there. And yes, we would like to share the new ball. ‘
Anderson and Stuart Broad recently exchanged texts ahead of Wednesday’s test
Regardless of how many caps he adds to his count this summer, he’s looking forward to doing it in front of spectators after the spookiness of England’s six empty Tests against the West Indies and Pakistan last summer.
“It’s going to be quite special to have people there,” he said. “For the past 12 months … I’m not sure soulless is the right word, but it’s not international cricket without fans.”
Someday it won’t feel like international cricket without Jimmy Anderson.
James Anderson and other English stars appear in the LV = Insurance ‘In With Heart’ film honoring the English cricket community ahead of the LV = Insurance 1st Test against New Zealand. Watch the video here: https://csm.app.box.com/s/nmoh7oodluq8vu2tk1k0termbicmx0bb