There has to be life after James Anderson, says Andrew Strauss on veteran pacer’s retirement

London, May 16 (IANS) Former England captain Andrew Strauss said veteran fast-bowler James Anderson, who is all set to retire after the Lord’s Test against West Indies in July, is one of the great bowlers of all time, but also stressed upon the need for the side to have a life after him in their bowling line-up.

On Saturday, Anderson announced he would retire following the Lord’s Test against the West Indies, starting on July 10, bringing an end to a long-standing and illustrious career in the longest format of the game, earning 187 caps for England since his debut in 2003.

Earlier this year, Anderson became the third bowler after Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan to reach the landmark of 700 Test wickets – the most by any fast-bowler – earlier this year during England’s fifth and final match of their India tour at Dharamshala in March.

Anderson and Stuart Broad retiring in less than a year means England have really large shoes to fill in terms of their Test bowling line-up. “We’ve only got a certain number of fixtures (18, including Anderson’s farewell against West Indies) between now and the next Ashes, and even Jimmy himself would admit that next Ashes is looking like a stretch.”

“It’s the right time to get some games into some new players and obviously a huge hole to fill. If you think about (Stuart) Broad going last summer and now Anderson, it’s very hard to replace them overnight.”

“They were both utterly dependable and were senior bowlers, so you need to invest time and effort, and other people need to step up and take those leadership roles. So I think it is the right time. Often, you don’t fully appreciate what you’ve lost until it’s gone – but there has to be life after James Anderson,” Strauss was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

Strauss was the captain when Anderson became the leading wicket-taker in the 2010-11 Ashes triumph in Australia. He also revealed about his conversation with Anderson and wishes for him to be given a great send-off in his farewell Test at Lord’s.

“It was just to congratulate him and have a chat about what his plans are moving forward. Rightly, he’s going to take stock and he wants to get through this game well, and finish on a real high. I really hope he gets the send-off he deserves at Lord’s.”

“People have been talking about this moment for years – in a way, we got lured into thinking it was never going to come. It’s been an extraordinary career with extraordinary resilience and will to keep going. Playing sport at the highest level is not an easy thing, and bowling’s even harder. He’s one of the great bowlers of all time,” he added.

“He was just utterly dependable. He was one of those bowlers that you knew what you were going to get, every time. He had a great competitive fire and instinct, and extraordinary skill.”

“Any captain would love to have him in their team. The other thing is that he kept fit: he never – or at least, very rarely – got injured. It’s quite depressing to think that he made his England debut before I did. I’ve been retired for 12 years now!” he concluded.

–IANS

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