One last time: James Anderson opens up before his final Test for England

Retiring James Anderson says he is bowling as well as ever ahead of his last Test at 41

England veteran James Anderson has revealed that he is ‘happy with where things are’ ahead of his final Test at Lord’s, starting 10 July, Wednesday. This will be his 188th Test match for England in his 22-year-long career.

Anderson is set to retire as the most prolific fast bowler in Test history with 700 wickets, surpassing all his contemporaries.

The 41-year-old pacer emphasised his focus on securing a win but acknowledged that emotions are likely to run high as the week progresses.

"I'm trying not to think too much about the game itself yet, or certainly how I'd feel about it," Anderson said in the pre-match press conference.

"I'm trying to be as focused as I can. The big thing for me this week is wanting to play well, bowl well and get a win. That's what I'm trying to focus on really. I'm sure the emotions during the week will change, but right now that's what I'm trying to focus on to stop myself crying.

Anderson's recent performance, taking 7/35 for Lancashire against Nottinghamshire in County Cricket, led to questions about whether he was retiring earlier than he should.

"It's difficult to say. I've not really got a choice,” Anderson replied. "It was important for me that I try and put in some good performances to finish with. Every time I've had a chance to go back to play for them, I've tried to give it my all and that's exactly what I did last week.

"Coming off the back of a seven-for last week, obviously I feel like I'm still bowling as well as I ever have. I knew it had to end at some point, whether it's now or a year or two years. The fact that it's now is just something that I've got to deal with and accept."

With the next Ashes series 18 months away, Anderson was asked if that influenced the England management's decision to move on from him.

"It's always difficult to answer that sort of question," he said. "You never know what's going to happen. It's 18 months away. It's a long time. Throughout my whole career, I've never really focused on too far ahead. I've always tried to take it series by series and focus on those little goals. as my career has gone on.

"It's really impossible to say. I probably thought before the last away Ashes that I wouldn't make [it] 18 months before that because of the way the game is and the age I was getting to. I can completely understand the decision and the way the team and management want to go. As I've said, the last couple of months I've made peace with that and I'm excited to see what the future holds."

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Anderson will remain in the England dressing room this summer as a team mentor but has yet to decide if he will retire from County Cricket as well.

"I hadn't really thought about it just because, as I said, I felt as fit as I ever have been in India," Anderson said.

"I thought that playing this summer would be achievable. Obviously, as a senior bowler, you don't play every Test anyway, you get rested and stuff like that. I thought that was achievable and then think about stuff after that. That's the way I've always approached it."

The fast bowler also confirmed that England men's managing director Rob Key, men's Test head coach Brendon McCullum, and captain Ben Stokes held a meeting with him at a hotel in Manchester to discuss his future. Anderson revealed how he handled the situation.

"I wouldn't say it was a surprise because when the three big dogs invited me to a hotel in Manchester for a chat, I didn't think it was just a normal appraisal," he said. "I had a suspicion that that was going to be the case. I think they were surprised at how calm I was when I reacted. I think I was probably surprised at my reaction. I wasn't overly emotional about it or angry about it or anything.

"I saw their point of view and appreciated them taking the time out to lay it out for me, the reasoning and stuff like that. Since then, I've come to terms with it and made peace with that decision. Just looking forward to one more game and then seeing what's ahead."

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