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James Anderson to retire from England: Pundits on why now is time to end record-breaking Test career

England's opening Test of the summer against West Indies, live from July 10-14 on Sky Sports, will be the last of James Anderson's international career; Why now for Anderson? What will his legacy be? The Sky Sports Cricket team take a closer look...

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Take a look at some of the landmark moments throughout James Anderson's Test career, with the 41-year-old becoming the first seamer to reach 700 wickets

James Anderson believes "the time is right" to end his international career after announcing the date of his final Test with England.

Anderson has confirmed July's series opener against West Indies at Lord's from July 10-14, live on Sky Sports, will be his 188th and final Test appearance for England after a career spanning over 20 years.

The 41-year-old became the first seamer and just the third bowler in history to reach 700 Test wickets earlier this year, although he has claimed just 15 scalps in his last eight Tests at an average of 50.8 over the past 12 months.

James Anderson (Getty Images)
Image: James Anderson made his international debut in December 2002 before making his Test bow in May 2003

He recently held talks with head coach Brendon McCullum, who wants to modify his side's bowling attack as they look to build towards the Ashes next winter in Australia, with Anderson now set to make one farewell appearance for England's Test side this summer.

What does the future hold for England after Anderson and how will his Test career be remembered? Former England captains Michael Atherton and Nasser Hussain, along with former international Ian Ward - who was Anderson's maiden first-class victim in 2002 - take a closer look at the announcement...

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Nasser Hussain and Michael Atherton have their say on the news Anderson is to retire from international cricket after the Test against West Indies in July

Does the news come as a surprise?

Atherton: "The Ashes are two winters away. There's absolutely no chance of a 43-year-old opening the bowling for England in The Ashes. I know that McCullum and Ben Stokes have always talked about living for the moment, living for now, but they also talk about planning for the future.

"Everything we've heard coming out of the England camp at the start of the year has been about pace, strike-rates, cutting edge in preparation for The Ashes and all the young bowlers that England have contracted have been of that type, so it's not that much of a surprise."

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Ian Ward says Anderson's numbers will never be matched in the future

Ward: "You sort of expected Jimmy to go on forever, but obviously that's not the case in elite sport. This is obviously with an eye very much on going down under to play Australia. I think Rob Key set the ball in motion in a couple of newspaper articles and television interviews, where he said he was looking for a bit more pace in the county game."

Why Lord's for Anderson's last Test?

Ward: "Jimmy himself, I think, would want to continue for a lot longer. If you look at how fit he is now, he's been fit all his career, but you don't play that amount of Test matches as a fast bowler if you're not fit.

"He really did look in terrific physical shape over the winter in India. I think his desire is still there to play. But it would seem that Stokes, McCullum and Key think it's time to look elsewhere. I'm sure Jimmy will be very emotional about this."

Image: Anderson held talks with Brendon McCullum before announcing the date for his final England appearance

Atherton: "Given his career, the 20 years of magnificent performances that we've seen, I think it's perfectly reasonable that he gets that Test match at Lords and hopefully he can get a great send off."

Hussain: "It started at Lord's 21 years ago and it's going to end at Lord's. There won't be a dry eye in the house. I'm pleased, fitness and selection permitting, he's going to get that week at Lord's. He deserves it."

Right to give Anderson a farewell appearance?

Atherton: "I'm not particularly a big one for sentiment in terms of selection, but looking at what we've seen over the last two years, his average and strike-rate is pretty much where it's been throughout his career.

"Although the numbers weren't great in India, just in terms of the performance, it would be hard to argue that he's still not amongst the best swing and seam bowlers that England have. If you're picking a side today, you could make the argument that Jimmy Anderson deserves to be in the side."

Hussain: "Of course he should play at Lord's. It's Jimmy Anderson. Just because he had an average Ashes, that's one year or one summer. Anyone watched the 20 summers before that with the Dukes ball?

"You cannot tell me watching Jimmy Anderson, over the last 20 years, 15 years, 10 years, five years, that's he's not in England's best side with the Dukes ball, but they do have to plan for the future."

Image: Anderson is the third player - and first fast bowler - to take 700 Test wickets

Who could be Anderson's long-term replacement be?

Ward: "There's the Durham seamers, [Brydon] Carse and [Matthew] Potts, while [John] Turner of Hampshire has had a few injury problems. Olly Stone is now back playing for Nottinghamshire, but all of these names I'm reeling off here are very inexperienced.

"That's what Key, McCullum and Stokes wants to get into them, they want to get them some Test experience because they're looking to Australia. You don't want to go and start playing in The Ashes if you've only played in a couple of Test matches.

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England men's managing director Rob Key tells the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast that they need to be flexible with Jofra Archer as they try to guide him back to full fitness from injury

"The names I mentioned are all quick, they can all bowl 85mph plus, and that is what Rob Key stated quite strongly a month or so ago. He did also mention skill set and no one's got a higher skill set than Jimmy Anderson, but they're looking for pace.

"They want to get some experience into some of those younger, less experienced bowlers before going to Australia."

What will Anderson's Test legacy be?

Ward: "He will go down as our greatest cricketer in my view and one of the greatest the world has seen. I don't think we'll see numbers from a fast bowler or a seamer like this in first-class cricket or Test match cricket ever again.

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Atherton believes Anderson has to be considered to be one of his country's greatest sports stars

"His legacy will be that he will probably be, almost certainly, the only seam bowler to take 700 Test match wickets and that is a phenomenal achievement. When you look at the pure numbers, he is arguably the greatest ever."

What next for Anderson?

Anderson has since revealed he has held conversations about remaining with England this summer in a coaching role.

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Sky Sports News' James Cole assesses the news that James Anderson is set to end his Test career with England this summer.

The 41-year-old is open to transitioning to the backroom staff for the remaining five Tests - two against the Windies and three versus Sri Lanka - and he has discussed the prospect with director of England men's cricket Rob Key, plus head coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes.

"I feel excited about what the future might hold," Anderson said on his BBC Tailenders podcast. "Potentially sticking around with the team this summer in a different capacity would be nice.

"We have chatted about it but the chats are ongoing, that's something I'll keep talking to Stokesy, Baz and Rob Key about, what happens after that Test match."

England have not had a designated bowling coach since McCullum took charge of the Test team two years ago, with Anderson stepping into the role on an ad-hoc basis to mentor his younger colleagues.

When are England in action this summer?

England have four T20 matches at home against Pakistan, starting at Headingley on May 22 before continuing to Edgbaston (May 25), Cardiff (May 28) and The Oval (May 30), with the series serving as preparation for the T20 World Cup the following month.

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Here is what you can look forward to next summer on Sky Sports Cricket, including T20 World Cups and The Hundred

Their title defence begins against Scotland in Barbados on June 4, ahead of playing Australia at the same venue on June 8. They then face Oman in Antigua on June 13 and Namibia in the same place two days later, with the top two from the group then progressing to the Super 8s and the tournament running until June 29.

The Test summer begins with a three-match series against the West Indies at Lord's (July 10-14), Trent Bridge (July 18-22) and Edgbaston (July 26-30), with three more Tests against Sri Lanka in August and September. Watch every England match throughout this summer live on Sky Sports.

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