Anderson to retire after Lord’s Test against West Indies

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James Anderson has announced he will retire from international cricket after England’s first Test of the summer at Lord’s, against West Indies, bringing the curtain down on a legendary career where it all began 21 years ago.

Anderson, who turns 42 in July, made his Test debut at Lord’s in 2003 against Zimbabwe. He has gone on to take 700 wickets – the most by any pace bowler in Test history. His eventual tally of 188 caps will be the second most in Test history, with just Sachin Tendulkar ahead of him on 200.

In a personal statement released on Instagram, Anderson confirmed he would represent England one last time, although speaking later to the BBC’s Tailenders podcast, he did not rule out the possibility of extending his playing career with Lancashire.

“Hi everyone. Just a note to say that the first Test of the summer at Lord’s will be my last Test,” Anderson wrote on Instagram.

“It’s been an incredible 20 years representing my country, playing the game I’ve loved since I was a kid. I’m going to miss walking out for England so much. But I know the time is right to step aside and let others realise their dreams just like I got to, because there is no greater feeling.”

“I couldn’t have done it without the love and support of Daniella, Lola, Ruby and my parents. A huge thank you to them. Also, thank you to the players and coaches who have made this the best job in the world.

“I’m excited for the new challenges that lie ahead, as well as filling my days with even more golf.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years, it’s always meant a lot, even if my face often doesn’t show it.

“See you at the Test,

“Go well

“Jimmy x”

Anderson had previously harboured ambitions to play England’s six Tests this summer against West Indies and Sri Lanka and even refused to rule out being around for the 2025-26 Ashes, by which point he would be 43. However, following a face-to-face meeting on the golf course with Test head coach Brendon McCullum in April, and further conversations involving managing director Rob Key, Anderson was informed the team needed to look beyond him this summer with a view to building to that tour of Australia.

The news of that meeting, initially reported in The Guardian on Friday, ultimately brought confirmation from Anderson 24 hours later. He was due to feature as part of the BBC’s live coverage of England Women’s first match of the summer against Pakistan at Edgbaston on Saturday but has subsequently pulled out.

Speaking to Tailenders, Anderson confirmed that his discussions with McCullum had come up as part of his annual appraisal, at the six-month mark of his one-year contract.

“I feel like I have talked about it for ten years with every coach I have had, asking ‘how long you going to play for’,” Anderson said. “Looking ahead, could a 43-year-old me make the Ashes in 18 months time? I sort of came to the decision ‘probably not’. From my point of view it feels like a stretch at this point in my career, and from their point of view there are 15 or so Tests before the Ashes so it gives them time to get other guys Tests and experience before that Ashes series.

“I feel good about it, I have had an amazing career. Stuff about retirement has been hanging around for years now, ever since I turned 30 and grown even more since I turned 40. I just feel really lucky that I have managed to get to this stage, still playing at this very high level.”

Anderson reached the 700 Test-wicket mark earlier this year in the fifth and final Test of England’s tour of India. Though he has long been the lynchpin of the English attack, he bowled just 110 overs in seven innings in that series after a tough Ashes campaign last summer in which he took just five wickets at 85.40 in four Tests. Anderson is currently on a one-year central contract which expires at the end of the summer.

Regarding his county career, however, Anderson admitted he was “not 100% set” on hanging up his boots, and could yet feature in the latter half of Lancashire’s Championship campaign.

“There are games at the end of the season that I’m not ruling out at this moment,” he said. “That’s a conversation I’ve got to have with Lancashire and see what they want to do.

“It is part of the thought process. I’m not 100% set on what I’m going to do next. That will be a conversation further down the line with Lancashire and see what they want to do, see if I’ve actually got the desire and willingness to do that as well. Again, that will be later in the year.”

In a statement released by the ECB alongside Anderson’s, chair Richard Thompson said:

“I don’t think we’ll ever see a bowler to match Jimmy again. It has been an honour as an England fan to watch him, and to marvel at his skill with the ball.

“To still be bowling at the top of his game at 41 is remarkable, and he is a true inspiration and role model for peers and younger generations alike.

“His final Test promises to be an emotional one, and having been there for his first Test in 2003, it will be an honour to watch his final one at Lord’s in July.

“English cricket owes Jimmy Anderson a send-off like no other.”

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