England pace spearhead James Anderson believes he can continue playing international cricket until he is in his 40s and ruled out any possibilities of retiring after the upcoming Ashes later this year.
Anderson, 35, is three wickets shy of taking 500 Test wickets and the feat will make him only the third pacer after Australia’s Glenn McGrath (563) and West Indies’ Courtney Walsh (519), and sixth player overall, to reach the mark.
Anderson said there’s “no reason” he couldn’t play on to 40 or beyond, refusing to rule out playing in the 2021-22 Ashes in Australia, by which point he would be 39.
“I wouldn’t rule it out, no. I’m very fortunate to have the body I have,” Anderson said in an article on the Cricket Australia website.
“For a fast bowler, not much stress goes through my body. A lot less than a lot of other fast bowlers. It’s just a case of looking after myself. If I can keep fit, keep my speeds up, there’s no reason why not.
“I played here with Glen Chapple when he was 40 or 41 and he was as good as he ever was then. For me, just playing Test cricket, not one-day cricket, there’s no reason why I can’t extend my career a little bit,” he added.
Anderson further said that the key to his continued success lies in finding new ways to take wickets.
“I can’t bowl at 90mph any more, (but) if you look at most bowlers in the history of the game — the two guys (fast bowlers) who got 500 wickets, McGrath and Walsh, weren’t bowling at 90 at the end of their careers.
“What you lose in speed you make up in other areas,” he added.
England face a must-win third and final Test at Lord’s next week to secure a series win after the West Indies’s pulled off a shocking win at Headingley, which Anderson feels will be a great test before the Ashes in November.
“It’s very rare that you get to play with the series level and the decider at Lord’s,” he said.
“I doubt that it’s ever happened in my career. But it is a great opportunity for us as a team to see how we cope with that pressure, especially with the winter ahead.
“We’ve got guys in the team (who) are under pressure looking ahead with what’s to come in the winter, so it will be a really good test for us,” he added.