England seamer James Anderson admits he is fortunate to still have the passion for Test cricket but feels it is unlikely there will be many more playing beyond their 40th birthday.
Anderson made his debut against Zimbabwe in May 2003 and has gone on to claim 657 wickets in 172 Tests.
He is set to lead the England attack in the first Test against South Africa this week but thinks there will not be too many more bowlers playing the long form of the game at the highest level into their forties because of the changing nature of the sport.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) August 15, 2022
Graham Gooch was the last England Test player to play in their forties when he made his final appearance at the age of 41 in November 1994.
But you have to go back to 1961 to find the last seamer to represent England when Les Jackson made the last of his two Test appearances at the age of 40 – 12 years after his debut.
However, Anderson believes it is unlikely Test bowlers will extend their careers into their forties.
“Maybe Broady (Stuart Broad will play after 40) but definitely not after that because no-one will be stupid enough,” Anderson said.
“Everything that has gone in the world with franchise cricket, the Hundred, short forms of the game, I can’t see anyone wanting to play Test cricket for this long.”
Anderson was dropped for the tour of the West Indies in March before returning to the side for the series against New Zealand and the one-off Test with India, where he claimed a 32nd five-wicket haul of his remarkable career.
After coming back into the side, the Lancastrian insists his love for the game remains.
“I feel proud I’ve got to where I have. I feel fortunate as well that I’ve still got the love for the game and the desire to get better and still do the training and the nets and whatever else that comes with it,” he said.
“Because with a lot of people that’s the first thing that goes and that’s when you start slowing down and winding down. But for me, I feel like that passion is still there.
“So I feel fortunate for that. I feel fortunate that my body’s still functioning properly and allowing me to do the job that I love.”
However, Anderson admits he has contemplated retirement.
“Probably (I thought about it) the last three tours of Australia!” he joked.
“The biggest one is when you get an injury. The only time I’d ever think ‘can I be bothered going through the whole rehab process?’ A few years ago, I had quite a few calf issues.
“That’s when you’ve got to think about whether you want to do it or not. Do you go through that rehab process again to come back.
“But fortunately the people around me, family and friends, the lads in the dressing room, medical team, have all helped me stay on track.
“But, playing-wise, when I’m fit, I love every minute of it even when it’s hard and we’re up against it. It’s an amazing game to play.
“There’s nothing better than Test cricket for me so I will do that for as long as I possibly can.”