World Test Championship

Life begins at 40: Jimmy Anderson issues warning to Test batters

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England great James Anderson has issued a warning to Test batters all over the world by declaring he has no plans of slowing down and still has the passion to perform at the highest level.

Anderson is gearing up to play the 173rd Test match of his illustrious career at Lord's when England host South Africa this week, with the contest set to prove crucial in deciding who reaches next year’s World Test Championship final.

The right-armer has taken the most wickets (657) by any England player in Test history and the most scalps by any seamer, with spin duo Muttiah Muralitharan (800) and Shane Warne (708) the only players in front of the veteran.

And while many expect Anderson to start slowing down now he has turned 40, the experienced England pacer said he still has the desire to keep improving and take even more Test wickets for his country.

"I don't feel old or like I am slowing down or anything," Anderson said.

"The last few weeks I have been working hard and training, trying to work on my bowling again and keep that ticking over, then the last couple of days I have felt in great rhythm and hopefully I can show that on the field."

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Anderson has responded strongly to being dropped by England for their tour of the Caribbean against the West Indies earlier in the year, with the seamer seemingly picking up a fresh lease of life in recent times under new coach Brendon McCullum.

The evergreen quick picked up the 32nd five-wicket haul of his Test career during England's most recent Test triumph over India in Birmingham and has the third most wickets (40) of any player during the current World Test Championship period.

Anderson said he has been enjoying being able to perform under McCullum and he will continue to keep playing at the top level while he remains at the top of his game.

"I don't feel old or that I'm slowing down. I don't have any personal goals I just want to keep enjoying my cricket," he said.

"During the Tests earlier in the summer I felt really invigorated by the way we were asked to bowl as a bowling group. It was a change of mindset. 

"I loved the aggressive nature of it and I'm looking forward to being a part of it."

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Just how England's aggressive mindset stands up against the World Test Championship pacesetters remains to be seen, with South Africa coach Mark Boucher deciding to hold his cards close to his chest when asked about how his side would try and combat their opponents during the Lord's Test.

"I don't know, I'll tell you on the day," Boucher said.

"We've got to be adaptable in Test cricket. It's just about finding a way to try and stop their momentum and maybe change it." 

South Africa have lost just two Test matches during the current World Test Championship period and Boucher wants his team to carry that momentum through to the series against England.

"We believe we've been playing a nice brand of cricket and played some tight series recently where we have come out on top," he said.

"We want to be smart, play aggressive cricket but you've got to be smart with that as well.

"The bottom line is this game is between bat and ball and we've got to make smart decisions at certain times of the game, and we are focused on trying to do that.

"England will probably do the same, they have their brand they want to play. We've just got to try and match it on the day and try find ways to negate it."

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