Sat in the stands nursing a calf strain, which has ruled him out for the rest of the Ashes series, England’s record-breaking fast bowler James Anderson takes time out to speak to SAM PILGER to discuss his career, his longevity in the game and plans for the future...
How do you explain how you have stayed at the top of international cricket for so long?
I’ve been very lucky. For a fast bowler, my body has helped me out, as I’m still slim and athletic. I keep in shape and stay in the gym. Mentally, I have found it pays not to look too far ahead otherwise you lose focus, but I am happy with where I am.
Have you changed anything about how you look after yourself?
I have tried to be healthier, and look after myself better than I did 10 or 15 years ago. I watch what I eat, but I am probably not as strict as a footballer has to be. But whatever you do you can’t stop getting old. Just the other day I was with the physio after I had pulled my groin, and he said, “Sorry, that’s just old man’s groin!” I just need to be careful and look after myself.
Glenn McGrath has said you should be aiming to reach 600 Test wickets; is that an ambition of yours now?
I am honestly not motivated by the amount of wickets I will finish on at the end of my career. For me, the buzz I get from cricket is when I win. There is nothing better than getting through a Test and celebrating with your friends. That is why I keep playing this game; to experience that amazing buzz when you win a Test after five days. I love to see the look on the faces of new players when they win their first ever Test, because it is a great feeling for us all.
What do you use to motivate yourself now?
I want to inspire the next generation of players. I want to show them what a great game cricket is. I don’t really care what people think of me; that doesn’t matter. It is all about getting people to love and enjoy this game like I do.
“An absolute freak…The greatest ever England cricketer,” is how Alastair Cook described you. How do hope you will be remembered in the game?
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