Long Time, Jimmy! James Anderson dismisses his retirement plan

Recently turned 41, James Anderson is the leading wicket-taker for England in Test. He dismissed all retirement rumours and affirmed his body is in a good place and would continue playing.

Dillip Mohanty
Dillip Mohanty

Last Updated: 2023-08-04

A Continued Hunger

Ashes 2023. Fifth Test, day four. 41-year-old James Anderson is steaming in from the Vauxhall end with the same glare in his eyes that a 20-year-old Jimmy possessed when he made his Test debut two decades ago against Zimbabwe at Lord’s in 2003. Now, he has doubled in age, has got more experience than any fast bowler in the World and his arms are still pumping with the red Duke’s ball to win more and more games for England. The hunger to take wickets and win games for England is still present.

A few moments prior, his long time England mate Stuart Broad walked out with Anderson to bat for one last time in cricket having announced his retirement from the game a day before at the age of 37. The question was asked again on the eve of Jimmy’s 41st birthday but the right arm swing bowler made it clear that there is still a lot left in the tank.


Interview with Sky Sports

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I feel like I've been bowling with so much control. My body's in a good place. My skills are as good as they ever have been.

James Anderson

Speaking to host broadcaster Sky Sports during the fifth and final Ashes Test, Anderson said: 
"I'd like to [make my own decision]. But I've tried not to listen to the talk, because, for me, that question has been there for the last six years, and even longer than that. As soon as you get into your 30s as a bowler, it's 'how long have you got left?' And for the last three, four years, I feel like I've bowled as well as I ever have. I feel like I've been bowling with so much control. My body's in a good place. My skills are as good as they ever have been."

So I don't feel like I'm bowling badly, or I'm losing pace, or on the way out. I feel like I can still offer a lot for this team. Unfortunately we all know, as professional cricketers, that you go through lean patches, whether you're a batter and bowler. You just pray that it's not in the most high-profile series that you can play in!

But for me, I try and look at it objectively. I look at how I've bowled in the game. Yes, I've not got the wickets that I wanted, but I'm still trying to do a job for the team, still trying to help the guy out at the other end as well, trying to create pressure and create something in the game.
The selection side of it is a completely different issue. If Stokesy [Ben Stokes] and Baz [Brendon McCullum] say you've not got the wickets we would have liked, I'm absolutely fine with that. But in terms of retirement, I have no interest in going anytime soon. I just I feel like I've got a lot more to give.”

Recent Performance

Anderson had a prolific 2022 as he picked 36 wickets in nine Tests at a terrific average of 19.8. The calendar year included a Test in Australia, home series against New Zealand, South Africa & India and finally the tour of Pakistan where Anderson picked up 8 wickets in 2 Tests on the flat decks of Rawalpindi and Multan.

Anderson finished 2023 with 15 wickets in six Tests at an average of 39.66 with only five wickets across four Ashes Tests. The next Test match England will feature in will be played in Hyderabad, India as the Poms prepare for a marathon five-Test series in the subcontinent followed by the home summer where England will be hosting West Indies and Sri Lanka for 3 Tests each. Anderson will turn 42 while the third Test against West Indies will be played.

James Anderson Bowling Averages and Strike Rate.png

Now the big question that arises for Anderson: Can he gather himself together and put a prolific performance in India? The Indian head coach Rahul Dravid recently pressed on the fact about making result-oriented pitches in order to create the best opportunity for the hosts to collect important WTC points. Anderson was part of the previous six Indian tours and definitely knows what result-oriented surfaces in India mean.

No doubt Anderson is the greatest fast bowler to play Test cricket, at least in this generation. The numbers reveal it all. Most Tests played as a fast bowler and most wickets ever taken as a pacer in the 146-year-old rich history of Test cricket; but his performances in the 2023 Ashes which was played at home, weren’t close to the fact. The people responsible for selecting the team will however, definitely take notes of this performance. Selector Luke Wright, men’s managing director Rob Key, performance director Mo Bobat, player identification lead David Court alongside the captain-coach duo would be definitely be in touch with Anderson before that marquee five-Test series in India.
With Stuart Broad’s departure from all forms of cricket, it could be a tempting choice to pick Anderson for the tour. The senior pro is anyways playing the mentor-cum-player role guiding the new fast bowlers to make them more acclimatised. Whether Anderson gets any game time on the tour depends on a lot of factors.


The management would be closely monitoring the recovery of Jofra Archer and Olly Stone, two premium quick bowlers who can bowl yorkers, bouncers and can also swing the ball hitting the 140 kph+ mark regularly. Mark Wood is already back in the mix, looked very fit in the recently concluded Ashes picking up 14 wickets in six innings. Chris Woakes found his spot back in the XI and was declared the player of the series with 19 scalps to his name in the 3 games.

Pace and bounce could be the ultimate weapon on flat Asian decks and with the emergence of bowlers such as Josh Tongue, Matthew Potts, Matt Fisher, Saqib Mahmood along with Wood and Jamie Overton who is back on the fringe makes the selection even more curious as England are known to play 2 or 3 spinners in the subcontinent. 

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You are a fool if you're writing off Jimmy Anderson. The hunger is still there. He's already thinking about how to get back to his best. I think, especially with Broad going, I would like that experience in India

Nasser Hussain

Anderson has a decent record in India with 34 wickets to his name in 13 matches with an average of 29.32 and a strike rate just over 66. He has no five-wicket haul in India. On their recent Test expedition to India, Anderson started the series with five wickets across two innings but was replaced by Stuart Broad for the next Test and then made a comeback for the final two games in Ahmedabad.

James Anderson

Test Matches

 In IndiaIn Asia
Strike Rate66.263.3
Best (INNS)4/406/40
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In a recent episode of ICC Review former England captain Nasser Hussain said 
"You are a fool if you're writing off Jimmy Anderson. The hunger is still there. He's already thinking about how to get back to his best. I think, especially with Broad going, I would like that experience in India"

Sure the hunger is still there and the desire is a great thing to have as an athlete and which could be a huge driving force for someone like Jimmy Anderson. But with this call, Anderson has literally handed the keys to his career to the selection committee; whether we will see more of the greatest pacer in the game at the highest level remains to be seen.

But as Anderson mentions, there is a huge break between the fifth Test win against Australia and the squad announcement for the India squad and Jimmy himself would ponder over his future. Until then, he is hungry, desiring to take more wickets and available for his country.

Dillip Mohanty
Dillip MohantySports Editor

Dillip has over two decades of experience in creating sports content. As the Sports Editor of SportsBoom, Dillip brings in a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. Dillip has worked with leading sports broadcasters and sports web content portals in Asia. He is an adept storyteller and has a special liking for data stories. He has a keen interest in data analysis and uncovering insights from large datasets. He loves to tell the story with rich and compelling data visualisation.