May 19, 2024

‘England’s Greatest’: A tribute to retired peaceman Anderson

James Anderson is set to bid an emotional farewell this summer, as England bid farewell to “the greatest cricketer we have ever had”, according to their first international captain Nasser Hussain.

Anderson announced, after a candid conversation with England coach Brendon McCullum last month, that he will end his illustrious international career after the first Test against the West Indies at Lord’s from July 10 – the same month he celebrates his 42nd birthday. .

Anderson told his Tailenders podcast that it would be a “stretch” to appear in the 2025/26 Ashes series in Australia, so McCullum and skipper Ben Stokes will look to the future and incorporate younger bowling options into the England squad sooner rather than later.

But Hussain, who captained England when Anderson made his ODI debut in December 2002 and his Test bow in May 2003, said the country’s record wicket-taker and appearance maker still deserved his place in the team.

“It is fitting that he finishes at Lord’s. He started his Test career at Lord’s against Zimbabwe in 2003, and he will finish at Lord’s with a gap of 21,” Hussain told Sky Sports.

“He was a fantastic cricketer with everything he did on and off the field; his fitness, his form, his skill, his will to come back from adversity, it’s going to be a very emotional week at Lord’s.

“But I think he deserves this week, firstly because he deserves to be in this team. He’s definitely in the best squad in England and he’s still with Duke ball.”

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“He is without doubt the greatest cricketer we have ever had. He deserves this week from the fans, for the fans and for himself as well.”

Anderson’s 700 Test wickets are a record for an off-spinner, while nine more dismissals in his final outing would take him further than Shane Warne (708) and into second place on the all-time list, behind only Muttiah Muralitharan.

His 187 Test appearances are also the most by any player in Test history, and only the great Sachin Tendulkar, with 200 for India, has more.

“He will be in mourning, like me and the rest of the country,” Katherine Scheffer-Brandt – who brought the curtain down on her career last year after taking 335 international wickets, the most of any British woman – told the BBC. .

“He was our hero and will always be a legend of our game.”