Jimmy Anderson, the England veteran and pace-bowling great, feels his "body is up to the challenge" of continuing to play Test cricket, despite a lack of clarity about what the future has in store for him.
Anderson was omitted from England's squad for the tour of West Indies in March, where England suffered a 1-0 defeat in the three-match Test series. Fellow veteran Stuart Broad was also overlooked, as the management opted for a fresh approach.
In an interview with Manchester Evening News, Anderson stated that his selection in England’s Test squad is "out of my control" and that his focus would remain on "bowling as well as he possibly can".
🏴 James Anderson is now the second most-capped player in Test history, moving to 169 matches.— ICC (@ICC) January 5, 2022
Only Sachin Tendulkar (200 matches) is ahead of the Englishman.#AUSvENG | #WTC23 | #Ashes pic.twitter.com/e8bD0TNzjz
"I've stopped trying to make sense of it and just put it to one side," said Anderson. "It was completely out of my control. I've got to focus on what I can control and that is bowling as well as I possibly can.
"It feels a bit strange at the minute. I'm still centrally contracted but I've not had too much feedback from them because a lot is up in the air in terms of director of cricket and head coach. I have just been working with Glenn [Chapple, Lancashire's head coach] and Sam [Byrne, physio] here, just trying to figure out what the best way forward is."
The pacer, who will turn 40 in July this year, became the third-highest wicket-taker in Test history in August last year, surpassing India's Anil Kumble. He remains committed to continuing his playing career, and despite reaching the point in his career where he has to carefully manage his workload, is not yet thinking too far ahead.
"For the last few years, I have been thinking about that [life after cricket] anyway; it is just natural to think about that when you get to a certain age," he said. "People keep asking you the question of how long you are going to go on for. I don't think that has changed much really.
"My focus has always been, if I can still perform and my body is up to the challenge then I will keep doing that. I'll have to take it season-by-season. If the England call doesn't come, I will still play here this season. I have never looked too far ahead in my career. It's always game-by-game and series-by-series and season-by-season."
Anderson added that, following Chris Silverwood’s departure in February, hiring a "really good" new head coach would be crucial for England ahead of the new season.
"They [England] just need a really good coach," he added. "It's not about me [but] the team needs a coach in place ASAP. It's not that far until the start of the international summer so I think the sooner the better."
England are set to play New Zealand from 2 June, with the first Test at Lord’s.
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