Murmurs of an impending retirement were gradually building on Monday as James Anderson prepared to address the media, but those were quickly put to bed as the England veteran vowed to carry on.
Having just turned 38 two weeks ago, Anderson is no longer the spring chicken he once was in his prime. Hence, talks of an irreversible decline were accelerated after his listless showing in the recently concluded Manchester Test against Pakistan.
Playing on his home turf at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground, the Lancashire man picked up just the solitary wicket across the two innings. It was quite the comedown for a bowler who has become synonymous for tormenting opposition batsmen under the rain clouds of England’s summer.
It has been a lean summer by Anderson’s high standards with the stalwart picking up a total of six wickets in as many innings against the West Indies and Pakistan. For a man who kicked off 2020 with a seven-wicket haul against South Africa in Newlands, the recent displays might represent cause for alarm.
The veteran has failed to grab any wickets in the second innings for three Tests and running now. These diminishing returns do raise questions about Anderson’s fitness levels in particular and whether he can maintain the intensity over the course of five days.
Although the concerns are valid, it is too hasty to suggest that the seamer has lost his golden touch. He beat the bat on several occasions in Manchester against Pakistan and even saw a catch put down off his bowling. The veteran vented his ire by kicking the ground in frustration, as Ben Stokes looked on apologetically as the guilty fielder in the slip cordon.
“It’s been a frustrating week for me personally,” Anderson said on Monday as quoted by the ICC.