Former England captain Michael Atherton believes veteran fast-bowler James Anderson could be “at the mercy of the selectors” over his future in Test cricket after the end of the Ashes.
Anderson, 41, is England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker with 690 scalps and came into the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval on the back of taking just four wickets in the series at an average of 76.75. In the ongoing match, Anderson has taken only one wicket.
“He’s pretty clear he wants to keep on playing and that is every cricketer’s right. It’s the one thing you have in your control and (Stuart) Broad has chosen a good moment I think (to retire from the game).”
“Anderson said he still has the desire to keep going and that is the key thing. You know it in your heart and head if you still have that desire. If he has, fair enough. But you do leave yourself at the mercy of the selectors then and I don’t think sentiment then comes into it,” said Atherton to Sky Sports.
Anderson has expressed previously that he has no intentions to retire from the game. Atherton also thinks that Anderson’s case to continue featuring in the Test side is not being helped by his below-par showing in the Ashes.
“He’s just had no impact. Five wickets all series, missing the Headingley Test but playing the others. What’s been a puzzle is the lack of movement for him. This is one of the most skilful craftsmen we have ever seen hold a red Duke’s ball in his hand and it’s just not done anything for him. It hasn’t swung, it hasn’t found much reverse swing.”
“Bazball in the last couple of years has generally been played on pretty flat pitches to aid the strength of England — quick scoring and chasing runs down in the fourth innings. It doesn’t necessarily play to Anderson’s strengths. But even so, without that movement, to take just five wickets in this series is certainly not the standard he would expect from himself,” he added.
England’s next Test assignment after the Ashes is a five-match series trip to India from January 25 to March 11 next year, with Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Rajkot, Ranchi and Dharamshala being the venues.
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