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Matthew Hoggard: 'James Anderson is a massive loss for England'

Matthew Hoggard: 'James Anderson is a massive loss for England'
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Hoggard also thinks England's active bowlers will be relieved Australia's Steve Smith is out of the third Test.

Matthew Hoggard is all too familiar with how swiftly the axe can fall in international cricket but the Yorkshireman believes it will be a mutual decision which eventually brings James Anderson's England career to an end.

Hoggard took just one wicket in the last of his 67 Tests on a tour of New Zealand 11 years ago before making way for Anderson in Wellington, where there was a clear changing of the guard as Stuart Broad replaced Steve Harmison.

The pair have since shared 1,000 Test wickets, with the 37-year-old Anderson's 575 placing him at the top of the all-time list among fast bowlers.

When he is not injured, James Anderson is still a lethal weapon for England and Lancashire
When he is not injured, James Anderson is still a lethal weapon for England and Lancashire (Peter Byrne/PA)

He remains critically important to England, averaging 21.6 since the start of 2014, but a calf injury which he suffered on the opening morning of the Ashes series has led to speculation about how much longer he can continue.

Anderson may yet return to contention before the end of the summer and Hoggard hopes the Lancashire seamer will be around for some time to come.

"James is a massive, massive loss to England," Hoggard told the PA news agency. "He's no spring chicken but you can't be a spring chicken when you play so many Test matches and take over 500 wickets.

"He is the leading wicket-taker for a reason – because he's so good. He might come back in and put in a match-winning performance at the Oval and everybody will say, 'He's back'.

"If he continues to perform then he should play. Sport is what it is. You are marked on your last performances. There are very short memories, people forget how good you have been.

"I think the older you get now, the media will be then raising the question more often when is he going to retire if he has a poor game or doesn't perform as well as the media want him to, or he wants himself to.

"He's an honest bloke and he'll know himself whether he's performing or not.

"I'm sure the right decision will be made in the end. When he does go, I'm sure it will be a mutual decision rather than a situation where the management say, 'I'm sorry James, but we're not picking you any more'."

England replacing two of their 2005 Ashes winners with Broad and Anderson was initially queried, but Hoggard quipped: "They're number one and two leading wicket-takers for England ever. It wasn't a bad decision!"

England are 1-0 down in the current Ashes series ahead of the third Test at Headingley, which gets under way on Thursday, but the concussion-enforced absence of Australia batsman Steve Smith would seem to play into the hosts' favour.

Smith has contributed scores of 144, 142 and 92 so far although Hoggard remains wary of the tourists.

Hoggard added: "The series being on a knife-edge is fantastic. We're not going to see Steve Smith in this Test match, I'm sure all the England bowlers are breathing a sigh of relief.

Hoggard was speaking on behalf of England sponsors Specsavers
Hoggard was speaking on behalf of England's official Test partner Specsavers (Darren Staples/PA)

"They don't have to get Steve Smith out and if they get them three or four down, they're into the tail. To lose their main run-scorer is going to be a massive ask for Australia.

"But you've got to be careful of a wounded animal and I think that's what Australia are; they're wounded without Smith and that will just make everybody even more determined to score the runs that they know they're not going to get from their former captain."

:: Matthew Hoggard was at Specsavers Albion Street for an eye and ear check-up ahead of the Third Specsavers Ashes Test at Headingley. Specsavers are Official Test Partner for England cricket.

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