‘I want to play as long as I possibly can. I'm still hungry to play the game. If I keep bowling the way I did this week, the opportunity to retire will be taken out of my hands’
England pacer James Anderson on Monday dismissed his retirement rumours, saying he is still hungry to play more Test cricket.
The bowler also said that he still wants to play the 2021-22 Ashes in Australia. The 38-year-old is the highest wicket-taker for any pacer in Test cricket.
Ever since the resumption of cricket, Anderson has looked out off colour, and has taken just six wickets from three Tests (two against Windies and one against Pakistan).
"It's been a frustrating week for me personally. I've not bowled very well and felt out of rhythm. For the first time in probably 10 years, I got a little bit emotional on the field. I got a bit frustrated and let it get to me a little bit. It reminded me of when I first started playing, when you get frustrated and a little bit angry, you try and bowl quicker and quicker and it doesn't help," ESPNCricinfo quoted Anderson as saying.
"Yes, I absolutely want to play in the Ashes. But it's not like that's a focus of mine. I want to play as long as I possibly can. I'm still hungry to play the game. If I keep bowling the way I did this week, the opportunity to retire will be taken out of my hands. It will be a selection issue. I think the frustration for me this week was the sort of whispers that go around after one bad game. I don't think that's really fair," he added.
Anderson also admitted that he was not himself in the recently concluded first Test against Pakistan, and said that if he keeps on bowling this way, then his retirement call might just be taken out of his hand.
"Everyone has a bad game every now and then. That's how I look at it. I'll work hard to try and put things right if I get a chance next week if I get the chance. I didn't bowl that badly. But I feel like, in the second innings, in particular, a chance when down and I let it get to me. I'm normally pretty good at thinking if you've created a chance then that's a positive thing. It's obviously frustrating when a catch goes down but if you're creating chances, you must be doing something right," Anderson said.
"But I let it get to me a bit. I got a bit too emotional; a bit too frustrated. I just felt I wasn't bowling to the standards I set myself. I just don't want every time I have a bad game for there to be whispers going around that I'm going to pack in. For me, it's about trying to find a way of dealing with that, dealing with the outside noise. I've done that really well in my career, but it's a little bit different now," he added.
Anderson is poised on the brink of a couple of personal milestones as he needs just 10 more wickets to reach 600 mark in Tests. He is just seven Tests away from being the most capped English Test player as well.
"600 wickets is not a huge thing for me, really. The other milestones I've gone past haven't been, either. I want to be contributing to this team; that's my sole focus. I want to be bowling well and contributing to England winning games of cricket. That's been my focus throughout my career. I think that focus has served me well," Anderson said.
"If I get 600 wickets then great; if I don't, then I'm happy with what I've got. I know I can perform better than I did this week. I want to keep getting better and keep helping England win games of cricket," he added.
England beat Pakistan in the first Test by three wickets as the hosts chased down 277 after being 117/5. Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes played match-winning knocks of 75 and 84 respectively.
Both sides will now lock horns in the second Test at Ageas Bowl, Southampton from August 13.