James Anderson has been one of the biggest weapons for England in Test cricket over the past decade. The 37-year-old swing bowler has made the most of his longevity and helpful bowling conditions at home to pick up 587 wickets in 152 Test matches, which has made him the most successful fast bowler in the history of five-day cricket.
But age is catching up and Anderson knows he might have to call time on his glorious career sooner than later. While Anderson has been a prolific wicket-taker for England otherwise, his performance against arch rivals Australia in the traditional Ashes series has left a lot to be desired.
Anderson has picked up 104 wickets in 32 Tests against the Aussies at a rather disappointing average of 34.56. His strike rate of 67.7 in these matches is poor to say the least. While he has been part of Ashes-winning sides, he has never been a thorn in Australia's flesh as such.
In fact his long time opening bowling partner Stuart Broad has much better stats against the traditional rivals. The Aussies currently hold the Ashes, after they managed to draw the series in England last year and that is motivation enough for Anderson to give 'The urn' one last shot.
England are slated to take on Australia in Australia in late 2021 and Anderson hopes to be around for the tour down under.
"Looking at the bigger picture, I want to be around when we go to Australia for the next Ashes, so to be able to do that, I've certainly got to do things slightly differently," Anderson was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
"It might mean missing the odd game here or there to make sure that I'm in the best possible situation," he added. "I want to keep bowling and keep my form, but I also want to look after my body as much as I can as well. I'm a bit more open to it now than I was, say, two or three years ago."
Anderson was rested for the second Test against West Indies, which England won. It will be interesting to see if he returns for the final match of the series, which is the decider, to be played at Manchester from Friday, July 24.