Jimmy Anderson has given no thought to the prospect of having bowled his last ball in Test cricket and will plough on through to 2021 if that is what the coronavirus pandemic dictates.
England’s record wicket-taker turns 38 in July and so could be feeling the indefinite hiatus more than most, not least having played only three Tests in the last 12 months because of injury. However speaking on Thursday, via conference call, Anderson said: “I’ve not actually thought about never playing cricket again. I feel like we will play again and I will play again at some stage.
“I’m still hungry to play, I’ve still got ambitions to play for England. So I think that’s going to keep me driven at home trying to keep fit, so that whenever it is we play again I’m ready to go. Whether it’s this summer or the winter [England play five Tests in India] my plan is to try and get back into that team.
“You need a bit of perspective. People are sacrificing a hell of a lot to try and keep us healthy. Us sacrificing some of – maybe all of – the cricket season and staying inside for a bit, I don’t think that’s huge. When I do get to play again I’m really going to cherish it and enjoy every single moment.”
England’s first Test of the summer against West Indies is slated to begin on 4 June although with no cricket before 28 May – a date likely to be pushed back – Anderson thinks going straight into an international match is unrealistic, not least for seam bowlers short on overs.
Though fully recovered from the broken rib that ended his tour of South Africa early – after taking his 28th Test five-wicket haul in Cape Town at the start of the year – Anderson is unable to bowl off his full run-up during the current lockdown because of a lack of garden space. Instead he has been working on bowling-specific exercises and getting the competitive juices flowing by racing Stuart Broad and Mark Wood on Peloton bikes via an online link-up.
Anderson added: “Working out can be difficult. Generally when we’re training we always have a goal in mind. Without that it can be quite difficult to find drive and motivation. I have been walking around the last couple of days just going through my action in the living room – it’s sort of ingrained. When you don’t do it for a while you miss it and subconsciously your body just wants to do it.
“We’ll definitely need some kind of buildup. You can’t expect to just start the season after a couple of weeks’ notice. Guys who have been sat around for a long time – and some players might have been ill as well – need some sort of buildup. You can’t go from not bowling at all to then having to bowl in a Test match at short notice. Obviously the powers that be will be sort that out if and when that happens.”