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James Anderson: ‘Farewell to Jimmy and to part of ourselves’



James Anderson: ‘Farewell to Jimmy and to part of ourselves’

There are other records, too. Anderson hasn’t played a one-day international for England since 2015 and is still their leading wicket-taker on 269. His 113 not-outs in Test cricket is a massive 52 more than anyone else has managed. Has there ever been a more beloved tailender? Shuffling to the middle, thoroughly hacked off the batters have let him down again, crowd singing Jimmy’s name before he has faced a ball.

Even if the time feels right for England to move on, there is still the question of how and to whom. Since Anderson’s retirement was announced, Josh Tongue and Jamie Overton have been ruled out for the long term and Brydon Carse has been banned, once again showing that one of Anderson’s greatest abilities has been his availability.

England’s attack will be formed by the experienced Chris Woakes and Mark Wood (35 and 34 respectively), and promising youngsters like Gus Atkinson, Matthew Potts and Dillon Pennington. There might be a way back for Ollie Robinson and hopefully Jofra Archer can return to Test cricket. In terms of wickets, Stokes is England’s most successful active seamer.

Anderson will stay on with England in a mentoring capacity. For a little while, when the clouds are grey, the air heavy and the ball new, it will be hard not to think that England’s best option is sitting in the dressing room in a tracksuit. Anderson’s 7-35 at Southport last week, in what could be his last match for Lancashire, was a greatest hits spell and maybe a question to England as to whether they really understand what they are about to let go.

The reality is that in a few days Anderson will be England’s past, leaving us with the memories of an unparalleled career.

The yorker to Mohammed Yousuf, the Cardiff rearguard, shushing Mitchell Johnson, taking Brad Haddin’s edge to win an Ashes nipper, bowling Mohammed Shami to go past Glenn McGrath and send great mate Alastair Cook into retirement, a magical over of reverse swing in Chennai and countless others, all of which built Anderson’s legacy and intertwined him with our own lives.

It’s time to say goodbye. Not just to James Anderson, but to part of ourselves.

Oh, Jimmy, Jimmy.

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