De­ter­mined An­der­son hun­gry for five more years with England

The Herald - Sport - - FINAL SAY - DAVID CLOUGH

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.

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