Daily Star

Seams obvious

Handing Anderson Ashes coaching role a no-brainer


JIMMY ANDERSON won’t want a fuss.

The prospect of a farewell Test at the ‘home of cricket’ will probably fill him with dread, if truth be known.

But that’s going to be a bit difficult, because there are few bona fide English legends in the current world of sport.

So Anderson had better get used to all the love, tributes and attention coming his way between now and his final Test match at Lord’s on July 10.

And the bloke known as the ‘Burnley Express’ only has himself to blame...

For becoming the first fast bowler in history to take 700 Test wickets.

For inspiring some of the greatest moments England have had in the last two decades.

And for showing the sort of longevity mere mortals can only dream about, having played an astonishin­g 187 Tests since making his debut in 2003.

The numbers surroundin­g Anderson are almost impossible to fathom.

Almost as difficult to understand is the fact he hasn’t been given a knighthood.

Instead of being tapped on the shoulder from the King, Anderson has got one from England coach Brendon McCullum.

And it’s the right decision. McCullum wants to build a new bowling attack he hopes will win back the Ashes when England head to Australia in 2025.

But this shouldn’t be the end for Anderson when it comes to internatio­nal cricket.

It should signal the start of a new chapter, because if McCullum wants to find a bowling unit capable of taking down the Aussies, is there a better man to coach it than Anderson?

His knowledge, insight and experience of how to take wickets at the highest level of the game is unrivalled.

“I feel excited about what the future might hold,” said Anderson, “whether that is potentiall­y to stick around with the team this summer in a different sort of capacity. It would be nice.

“But I am not 100 per cent set on what I am going to do next.”

McCullum needs to be smart and make the decision for him.

Because Anderson is the most skilful cricketer England has ever produced.

He will go down as a giant of British sport and deserves to be mentioned in the same conversati­on as Sachin Tendulkar, Sir Viv Richards, Shane Warne and Sir Don Bradman when it comes to discussing all-time cricketing greats. It would be total madness not to tap into what Anderson still has to offer the game.

In the meantime, his long goodbye has begun.

A farewell that will culminate in a final Test against the West Indies at a ground fit for cricketing royalty like him.

A ground where no Englishman has taken more wickets than him. The same ground where it all began for Anderson 21 years ago.

He’s been around that long, he’s played alongside some internatio­nal team-mates who weren’t even born when he won his first England cap.

So it promises to be an occasion to savour for those fortunate to have a ticket, just a couple of weeks before Anderson turns 42.

Sportspeop­le like him come around once in a lifetime.

And we will miss him like no other cricketer ever before when he’s gone.

But the point is that off the field, at least, we don’t have to.

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 ?? ?? ■ END OF ERA: Anderson in the nets and (inset) with McCullum
■ END OF ERA: Anderson in the nets and (inset) with McCullum

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