James Anderson: 'Mind blowing' to be on verge of becoming England's most-capped Test player
James Anderson, 38, says he does not feel old or tired as he nears becoming England's most-capped Test player and the milestone of 1,000 first-class wickets; seamer looking forward to return of fans and thinks Jofra Archer can come back stronger from elbow surgery
Last Updated: 02/06/21 12:58pm
James Anderson says it is "mind blowing" as he closes in on becoming England's most-capped Test player of all time.
The seamer - England's all-time leading Test wicket-taker with 614 scalps - will equal close friend Sir Alastair Cook's record of 161 Tests if he plays against New Zealand at Lord's from Wednesday and then top that tally if he figures in the second clash against the Kiwis a week later at Edgbaston.
The 38-year-old is also just eight wickets shy of 1,000 in first-class cricket - and says he does not feel old or tired ahead of the Test summer, which also includes five games against India across August and September.
"For a bowler to play this amount of games, I don't know what the word is, but it's a bit mind-blowing to me," said Anderson, who has appeared with his England team-mates in the LV= Insurance launch video 'In With Heart' celebrating England's cricket community.
"It does make me feel proud. I never imagined in a million years I'd get to this point. I don't feel like I've played that many games. My body doesn't feel old or tired.
"I just absolutely love Test cricket, I've got a huge passion for it. Growing up, all I wanted to do is play Test cricket for England and I'm honoured I've been able to do it for this long.
"Touch wood, I've not had career-threatening injuries. To get to 38 and be in that position makes me feel really privileged.
It's a lot of wickets and in this day and age I don't know if it's possible to get that many first-class wickets any more. With the amount of cricket that's played there doesn't seem to be that longevity in bowlers and there's loads of T20 cricket and whatever else going on around the world. I'm just happy to still be here, to be honest.
James Anderson on the feat of 1,000 first-class wickets
"I've been so lucky when you look around cricketers in England who get long lay-offs, like Jofra Archer at the minute. I think about Simon Jones and people whose careers are seriously affected by injury.
"Of course you get injuries and have to bowl when it hurts a bit but I actually get some pleasure out of that. Putting the hard yards in, that's when it means the most.
"Bowling 10 overs on a green seamer doesn't really do it for me. I want to put a shift in for the team when it's tough."
I don’t know what the plan is for the summer. We have been texting quite a bit and we would love to play together but it’s out of our hands. We have to prepare as well as we can to make sure we are in the best shape possible
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Archer will miss the series against New Zealand after undergoing "career-defining" elbow surgery and has vowed not to rush his comeback, though Anderson believes his team-mate can come back stronger and hopes he is "fighting fit" for the T20 World Cup and Ashes this winter.
Anderson said: "It's tough when you have a recurring injury like that but as a bowler it's part and parcel of the job, really. He sounds upbeat and confident that he is going to come back strong.
"It might take a bit of time over the summer to get it right but from an English point of view we need him fighting fit for the winter with the T20 World Cup and the Ashes.
"The reason he has had such an impact in international cricket is his pace so that's something he will be looking to keep hold of.
"He loves bowling quick - it's what he does best - and I'm sure it's what he will want to do when he comes back. Hopefully he gets the recovery he needs and comes back stronger.
"When you have some time out of the game it makes you realise why you love playing it. You get more hungry to play and work as hard as you possibly can.
"When you do come back, it is an amazing feeling, especially in his case where it could be months of hard work. It feels very rewarding when you come back."
I have not played at Lord’s for quite a while, not played in front of fans for quite a while in this country, so it will be great to get back out there. It’s going to be amazing.
Fans will be back for the Tests against New Zealand with crowds of 7,500 at Lord's followed by up to 18,000 at Edgbaston with the game at the latter venue nominated as a pilot event.
Having played all of last summer behind closed doors, Anderson cannot wait to perform in front of supporters once again, adding: "It's going to be pretty special having people there.
"I'm not sure if soulless is the right word, but it's just not international cricket without fans there.
"As players we get the impression everyone has missed it a fair amount. We've missed having fans there and they've missed watching us live."
James Anderson and other England cricket stars appear in the LV= Insurance "In With Heart" film celebrating England's cricket community ahead of the LV= Insurance 1st Test against New Zealand. Watch the video here
Watch the first Test between New Zealand and England live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10am on Wednesday.