James Anderson: ‘Nothing to celebrate’ about reaching 700 wickets


Anderson, 41, achieved the feat on the final morning of the series, when he had Kuldeep Yadav caught behind to become only the third bowler in all of Test cricket to reach the 700 mark.

Each of the other two, however, were spinners – Sri Lanka’s Muthiah Muralidaran (800) and Australia’s Shane Warne, whose former world-record mark of 708 could yet be in Anderson’s sights next summer.

“It was a nice moment and nice to do it at a picturesque ground,” Anderson told the BBC Tailenders podcast. “My dad was here so we had a drink, which was nice. He was more excited than I was.

“Maybe I would’ve felt more excited if we’d have won the Test or the series. It’s been a long series, and I don’t know how I feel.”

Given the changing nature of Test cricket, Anderson’s landmark may never be reached by another seam bowler, but the man himself said that the discussion about his place in the sport’s history was “irrelevant” to him.

“I don’t get anything out of that,” he said. “I don’t get anything out of what other people say. That’s not why I play cricket. I don’t play cricket to get the milestones. I want to win games. I love playing for a team and that’s when I get the biggest buzz.

“That’s why I’m probably a little bit flat now, because we’ve lost 4-1 in this series. But I really enjoyed this tour. I’ve been on tours to India before where little cracks start appearing in the team and that’s not happened this time.

“We’ve stuck together really well, we really enjoy being together as a group and there is more to come from this team. Obviously we’ll come in for some criticism because we did have moments where we didn’t play particularly well but India are really good.”

England do not play another Test until the visit of West Indies in July, by which stage Anderson will be weeks away from his 42nd birthday. But, having claimed ten wickets at 33.50 in India, Anderson is adamant he has got the form and fitness to keep competing for his England place.

“I’m really excited for the summer,” Anderson said. “I want to make sure I’m playing well and earn my place in the team.

“I’m not getting any worse,” he added. “I’m definitely in the best shape I’ve ever been in. I like where my game is at, and I still have that enjoyment of turning up every day and trying to get better in the nets. My place in the team is not a given so I’ve got to work hard to prove I’m worth a place in the summer.”

Reflecting on the moment of his 700th wicket, Anderson said that his victim had predicted that he would be the landmark victim.

“Kuldeep edged one down to third man for a single,” Anderson recalled. “As he got to the non-striker’s end, and as I was walking back to my mark, he said, ‘I’m going to be your 700th wicket’. He wasn’t saying he was trying to get out, he was just saying he had a feeling. We both laughed at it.”

Anderson’s 699th wicket had been Kuldeep’s team-mate, Shubman Gill, with whom he had exchanged words on the second day.

“I said something to him like, ‘Do you get any runs outside India?’ and he said, ‘It’s time to retire’,” Anderson said. “Then two balls later, I got him out.”

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