LONDON: England great James Anderson has said there are moments when he questions his upcoming retirement from Test cricket, although he is happy with his decision “90 per cent” of the time.

The most successful fast bowler in the format’s history, with 700 wickets, Anderson announced earlier this month that the first Test against the West Indies at Lord’s in July would mark his farewell to England duty.

Anderson, who will turn 42 next month, said on Wednesday he had thoughts about playing on, having reached an age where most pace bowlers are long since retired.

“In my head I feel like I could play for 10 years,” Anderson told his BBC Tailenders podcast. “Obviously I realise that is not realistic.

“Some days I wake up and wish I was not retiring but then 90 per cent of the time I’m happy with it.

“Not many people in sport get the chance to retire from sport at over 40. I’m happy I’ve made it this far.”

Only spinners Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan have taken more Test wickets than Anderson.

The England spearhead needs nine more wickets in his final match to surpass late Australia hero Warne’s tally, with Muralitharan way out in front on 800 Test wickets.

Anderson’s decision to retire from Tests followed talks with captain Ben Stokes, head coach Brendon McCullum and director of England men’s cricket Rob Key with team chiefs looking to refresh their attack ahead of the 2025/26 Ashes in Australia.

He could yet remain with England in a backroom capacity during the rest of the season, while Anderson has yet to decide whether he will continue to represent Lancashire, with an end at the county’s Old Trafford headquarters in Manchester named after him.

The past few years have seen repeated speculation about Anderson’s future, with the swing specialist saying much of the talk had proved a mental burden.

“There’s probably been two or three moments on the field, if the opposition are 500 for three, I’ll be thinking, ‘do I really want to still be doing this?’” he said.

“They are fleeting thoughts — nothing that has stuck with me for more than an over.

“I don’t know how much of that was me and how much it was the external noise that comes with ageing. For the last six years, or even longer, it’s been, ‘how long can you go on for?’

“That in itself, certainly for the last couple of years, has been quite draining.”

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2024

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