Anderson to retire after first Test against West Indies at Lord’s

Anderson has picked up 700 Test wickets

James Anderson has announced that he will retire from international cricket after the first Test against the West Indies at Lord’s, bringing down the curtains on a remarkable career. Incidentally, Anderson made his Test debut against Zimbabwe, at the same ground, in 2003. 

The Guardian, on Friday, said that Brendon McCullum, England’s Test coach,  had made his intentions clear to Anderson,  over a round of golf, that the think tank are looking at building a new pace attack ahead of the Ashes in 2025-26. 

“Hi everyone. Just a note to say that the first Test of the summer at Lord’s will be my last Test,” Anderson wrote in an Instagram post. “It’s been an incredible 20 years representing my country, playing the game I’ve loved since I was a kid. I’m going to miss walking out for England so much. But I know the time is right to step aside and let others realise their dreams just like I got to, because there is no greater feeling.

“I couldn’t have done it without the love and support of Daniella, Lola, Ruby and my parents. A huge thank you to them. Also, thank you to the players and coaches who have made this the best job in the world.I’m excited for the new challenges that lie ahead, as well as filling my days with even more golf,” he added. “Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years, it’s always meant a lot, even if my face often doesn’t show it.”

Anderson is the first-ever pace bowler to reach the coveted landmarks of 600 and 700 Test wickets. The pace bowler made his domestic debut way back in 2000 for Lancashire. In his maiden first-class season, in 2002, he went on to take a five-for versus Lancashire’s arch-rivals, Yorkshire, and plucked 50 wickets that season. He is fondly remembered for dishing out a yorker to prise out Mark Ramprakash LBW. 

On the back of a suggestion from Marcus Trescothick, he linked up with an injury-hit England side for the tri-series in Australia in 2002-03. He impressed in that tournament with his ability to swing the ball at around 88-89mph. He subsequently showed his class and quality with a four-for against Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup game played in Cape Town. His outswinging yorker to Mohammed Yousuf is still talked about.

On his Test debut against Zimbabwe, Anderson bagged a five-for. However, he soon found it tougher to adjust to the longest format of the game. His action was changed by Troy Cooley, which didn’t help his cause either. After a chastening experience in Australia, in 2006-07, where he finished with only 5 wickets to his name, he found some of his rhythm in the home Test series versus India, where he plucked a five-for at Lord’s.

It was somewhere in 2010 that Anderson found his mojo in the Test arena, repeatedly running through the Pakistan line-up. He then played a major role in England’s historic Test series win in Australia, bagging 24 wickets at an average of just over 26. The highlight of his performance was his spells in Adelaide and MCG. He followed that up with crucial performances in Sri Lanka, the UAE and India in 2011-12 and 2012-13 respectively. 

In 2013, with a medley of new and old-ball swing, he also took a 10-for in a match on a rather dry surface at Tren Bridge, powering his side to a famous win over Australia. He recorded his best Test figures of 7 for 42 against the West Indies, in 2017. During the later part of his career, Anderson also found considerable success away from home, exemplified by how he bowled in India and Sri Lanka (2021), alongside in New Zealand and Pakistan (2022-23). For a brief period, he was even ranked as the No. 1 Test bowler in February last year.

The downward slide started in the Ashes last year, where he ended up with just five wickets. Although he bowled better in India, at the age of 41, he was clearly at the fag end of his career. A couple of months later, it was time to hang up his boots. Lest we forget that Anderson is also England’s highest wicket-taker in ODIs, with 269 scalps. His best ODI figures of 5 for 23 came against South Africa at Port Elizabeth, in 2009.