Determined Anderson hungry for five more years with England
THE hard yards of the United Arab Emirates are about to get tougher than ever for England’s seamers – but senior partner James Anderson is loving every minute of it.
Anderson could be forgiven, at the age of 33, with 109 Tests under his belt, for feeling the strain on his second trip to the Gulf to take on Pakistan.
But two Tests in, 1-0 down and with just the final match to come – at potentially the most difficult venue of all – he is so enthused by his job that he believes he could go on for another five years.
Anderson is already England’s all-time leading wicket-taker, and can reasonably expect to go up to sixth in the global list once this winter’s assignments here and in South Africa are done.
He has had to work especially hard for his seven wickets in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but easily tops England’s tour averages with an admirable 19.14.
It is a wonderful effort, and Anderson is ready for more graft on what is sure to be another unresponsive surface when England begin their bid to earn a series draw in the third Test on Sunday.
“It’s renowned for being the flatter of the three,” he said. “Our stat man was very kind to put a few things up on the wall about seam movement and swing percentages at the start of the series – and Sharjah was three per cent seam movement, which was pretty depressing from a bowler’s point of view.”
Succeeding in harsh desert climes is giving him an extra kick, though. “Why can’t I play for another five years? I’m loving it at the minute, loving bowling, loving playing, enjoying taking wickets and the challenges we’ve got ahead. I’m going to keep going till my body can’t take any more.”
The task appears thankless at times for England’s seamers, especially after captain Alastair Cook lost the toss in the first two Tests – consigning the tourists to 151.1 and then 118.5 overs in the field under the sun.
“It is pretty brutal,” said Anderson, who, like all his team-mates, is regretting the one batting collapse – on the third morning in Dubai – that is the only difference between the two sides to date.
“[But] we still feel quite positive because we’ve played some good cricket, and it could be 1-1 or 1-0 to us in different circumstances.” James Anderson was speaking on behalf of Waitrose, official sponsor of the England cricket team. For more exclusive player content visit waitrose. com/cricket.