‘Right time’ for ‘England great’ James Anderson to retire from Tests

England fast bowler James Anderson will retire from Test cricket at Lord’s. Picture: Sajjad Hussain / AFP

England fast bowler James Anderson will retire from Test cricket at Lord’s. Picture: Sajjad Hussain / AFP

Published May 11, 2024


England star James Anderson believes the "time is right" to end his Test career after revealing July's clash against the West Indies at Lord's will be his final appearance in the five-day format.

The 41-year-old became the first seamer and just the third bowler in history to reach 700 Test wickets, after spinners Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan, in his most recent outing against India in March.

But Anderson has decided to call time on his Test career after talks with England head coach Brendon McCullum, who wants to modify his side's seam attack and build towards the future with one eye on the 2025-26 Ashes.

Setting the first Test against the West Indies as his farewell date, Anderson wrote on Instagram: "Hi everyone. Just a note to say that the first Test of the summer at Lord's will be my last Test.

"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."

— England Cricket (@englandcricket) May 11, 2024

Richard Thompson, the chair of the England and Wales Cricket Board, saluted Anderson and said English cricket must give him a "send-off like no other".

"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," Thompson said.

"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."

Anderson thanked his wife Daniella, their children Lola and Ruby and his parents for their support, adding: "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 always meant a lot, even if my face often doesn't show it."

'Utterly remarkable'

It is understood McCullum made a visit to the UK recently from his native New Zealand and spoke with Anderson about his future during a round of golf.

Anderson's former England captain Michael Vaughan said the time was right for the pace bowler to walk away, with the focus moving towards the next Ashes series.

"For England to go down under in 18 months and try to win those Ashes back then they will need some pace, so it is the right time to move Jimmy Anderson aside," Vaughan said.

Anderson, who made his Test debut in 2003, is second only on the all-time list of Test appearances behind batting great Sachin Tendulkar, who played 200 times in the longest format for India.

— England Cricket (@englandcricket) May 11, 2024

Swing specialist Anderson also featured in 194 one-day internationals and 19 Twenty20s before his international white-ball career ended in 2015 – the same year he overtook Ian Botham's 383 dismissals to become England's record Test wicket-taker.

Three and a half years later, Anderson overhauled Australia seamer Glenn McGrath's tally of 563 wickets to become Test cricket's most successful fast bowler.

Anderson struggled during the drawn 2023 Ashes in England, taking only five wickets in four matches.

His long-time new-ball partner Stuart Broad, England's second most successful bowler, retired after the dramatic finale to that Ashes, when Ben Stokes's side won at The Oval to end the series all square at 2-2.

Anderson has taken just 15 wickets in his last eight Tests at an average of 50.8 in the last 12 months.

But that decline could not diminish the respect earned by Anderson throughout his astonishing career.

"For Jimmy to do it day in day out and to put his body and mind through everything he's done over the past 20 years is utterly remarkable. He's England's greatest," Vaughan said.