After Alastair Cook’s heroic exit from international cricket, James Anderson says he has no plans to retire after becoming Test cricket’s most prolific seamer but concedes that the inclination to call it a day could strike at any moment.
Anderson broke Glenn McGrath’s record Test wicket tally for a fast bowler by claiming the final scalp of Mohammed Shami in England’s fifth-Test triumph over India on Tuesday, which propelled him to 564 career Test wickets.
But the swing bowler insists he will put his personal achievements to one side and focus on staying fit and producing more devastating performances before relinquishing his place in the national side.
“I don’t really think about it – I play my best when I focus on what’s ahead of me; the next game, the next series – whatever it is,” said the 36-year-old.
“I’ll go away now – we’ve got a decent break before Sri Lanka – and try to get myself in as decent as condition as possible to cope with the rigours of bowling seam in Sri Lanka, which can be tough.
“Then we’ll just see how it goes. I read something that Glenn McGrath said – he went into the 2006 Ashes with no intention of retiring and then by the end of it, he thought his time was up.
“That could happen to me, who knows? I don’t like looking too far ahead. I don’t think it helps certainly me or the team.”
Only the departing Alastair Cook has more Test caps (161) than Anderson’s 143 but the bowler doesn’t feel he needs to rest up in order to prolong his career.
“The stage I’m at, I don’t play one-day cricket so I think I have enough time in between Test series to be able to prepare myself well and get myself in good physical shape,” he said.
“We came into this five-Test series with question marks over whether the bowlers would get through. We’ve got two 30-plus bowlers – will they need resting and will they get injuries – and we’ve done it.”
“We pride ourselves on working hard and we get the chance when we get that time off; Stuart and I don’t play white-ball cricket so we have that time to be able to get ourselves in the right frame of mind, the right physical condition to be able to cope with whatever’s ahead of us.”