James Anderson welcomes hard graft and targets five more years for England

Published: Wednesday 28th October 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

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 – and an economy rate of two.

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 3% seam movement, which was pretty depressing from a bowler’s point of view.

“So if I bowled 100 balls, three of them would seam.”

Anderson is undeterred, however, and tireless apparently as he assesses not just what is ahead next week but far beyond too.

“I think I’m noticing the quality of beds more now, and how my back pulls up after a dodgy night’s sleep,” he added with a smile.

“People keep mentioning the age, and everything, so you do think about it.

“(But) I feel fit and strong – and I’m really enjoying it.”

Succeeding in harsh desert climes is giving him an extra kick.

“I’m loving it at the minute, loving bowling, loving playing, enjoying taking wickets and the challenges we’ve got ahead.

“Why can’t I play for another five years? 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.

“It is pretty brutal,” said Anderson, who like all his team-mates is regretting the one batting collapse – on the third morning in Dubai – which is the only difference between the two sides to date.

“We’ve played nine good days of cricket and one horrendous session when we shot ourselves in the foot. That has put us in this position where we are 1-0 down.

“(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.”

As for his own lot, hard-earned wickets are giving him at least as much pleasure as those which come easier at home or in seam-and-swing conditions elsewhere.

“It is a real test of your skills, and it is quite good fun,” he added.

“If you have a good day out here you feel you get more out of it personally. There is more reward.”

He will have even more to smile about if England can avoid those occasional but so costly batting lapses.

Asked to rationalise the latest, he senses it is largely down to experience.

“We know we can bat out here,” he said.

“It was just that one session. For me, from the sidelines, it looked a bit frenetic – like the beans were going and guys were a little bit nervous out there.”

Anderson is one of just four players in the current squad with the benefit – albeit in a 3-0 trouncing – of having played Test cricket in the UAE before.

He added: “We’ve been here four or five weeks, and it’s some of the guys’ first experience of these conditions.

“You’ve got to cut them a little bit of slack.

“There will be times when you might have a collapse like that, and now we’ve got to learn from that.

“If we do see that sort of thing happen again, we can nip it in the bud.”

:: James Anderson is speaking on behalf of Waitrose, Official Sponsor of the England Cricket Team. For exclusive player content visit waitrose.com/cricket

Published: Wednesday 28th October 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Local business search