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James Anderson comments on England retirement, admits to Ashes dilemma

Anderson comments on England retirement, admits to Ashes dilemma
© Reuters
England's leading Test wicket-taker James Anderson announces he will retire later this summer, admitting a dilemma over the Ashes forced the decision.

James Anderson has acknowledged that being unlikely to remain in the reckoning for next year's Ashes helped him find peace in a decision to announce his retirement from the sport.

Reports began to emerge on Friday that England's leading Test wicket-taker had held conversations with coach Brendon McCullum over his future.

Although Anderson made an impression during the last tour of India, the pace bowler is due to turn 42 years of age at the end of July.

While Anderson remains an effective bowler in English conditions, the result of talks with McCullum is bringing an end to his England career prior to his next birthday.

The first Test match with West Indies - beginning on July 10 - will be Anderson's 188th and final match in an England shirt.

What did Anderson have to say?

In a statement posted on Instagram, Anderson said: "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's James Anderson celebrates his 600th wicket on August 25, 2020© Reuters

"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."

Anderson acknowledges Ashes dilemma

Speaking to the Tailenders Podcast, Anderson revealed that his discussions with McCullum centred around whether he would realistically be able to participate in the next Ashes series at the end of 2025 in Australia.

While naturally wanting to feature, Anderson said: "It was sort of just looking ahead and could a 43-year-old me make the Ashes in 18 months' time and we sort of came to the decision that probably not.

"From my point of view it feels like a stretch at this stage of my career and from their [England's] point of view there are 15 or so Tests before the Ashes.

"It gives them time to give other guys Test matches and experiences before that."

Anderson will now have one Test match to try to take the eight wickets that he requires to join Shane Warne on 708 - the second-most dismissals in Test history.

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