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Rob Key, Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum convinced James Anderson to retire in 90-minute meeting

Published at :May 14, 2024 at 7:42 PM
Modified at :May 14, 2024 at 7:42 PM
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James Anderson will retire with the second most test caps at 188 behind Sachin Tendulkar’s 200.

James Anderson, the veteran England pacer, who recently announced his retirement from test cricket, was convinced to do so by ECB director Rob Key, test captain Ben Stokes, and test coach Brendon McCullum.

Anderson stated on Saturday that he will retire from international cricket following England’s first Test against the West Indies in July, and Key has now revealed how the team management decided that his time was up.

“When we made the decision and we thought, ‘OK, we need to go and meet Jimmy and discuss the future’, Brendon came to the conclusion that the right thing to do was to fly over to England [from New Zealand],” Key told the BBC’s Test Match Special podcast.

“The three of us went up to see him: myself and Brendon caught the train up from London, and Stokesy was in Manchester, getting ready to fly out to America for a family holiday. We all met Jimmy in a hotel near the station and we had a conversation for about an hour and a half, which Baz led. I don’t think Jimmy was expecting it, but I don’t think it was completely unexpected,” Key added.

Anderson is the leading Test player and wicket-taker for England with 700 wickets in 187 tests. He is the only pacer to take 700 wickets in tests and has played the second most tests behind Sachin Tendulkar’s 200.

He knew that the time was coming: Rob Key on James Anderson announcing his retirement

Anderson, who will turn 42 in July, made his test debut at Lord’s in 2003 against Zimbabwe. He will now play his career’s 188th and final test against the West Indies from 10th July at the same venue. However, he has not ruled out the possibility of extending his playing career with Lancashire.

Meanwhile, Key said that Anderson had decided to play one final Test.

“In the back of his mind, he knew that the time was coming, and we discussed lots of different things as well, and the future for Jimmy after playing… we didn’t impress upon him that he had to make the decision there, and then not so long ago, he decided that the Lord’s game was going to be his last.

We just sort of said, ‘Look, I think it’s time for us to move on.’ We’re coming to a stage now where we’ve got to start looking towards the future… people now need the opportunity to learn how to bowl with that new ball, to go through a day’s worth of Test cricket and then realize they’ve got to back it up the next day. Now’s the time that people have to start learning that,” Key added.

England have a few fast bowlers ready to take over from Anderson. Chris Woakes and Mark Wood are both expected to be involved when England plays West Indies and Sri Lanka this summer, while Gus Atkinson, Brydon Carse, Matthew Potts, Josh Tongue, and Ollie Robinson are all centrally contracted.

Jamie Overton, Matthew Fisher, and Saqib Mahmood all played test cricket in 2022, while Key also mentioned Dillon Pennington, Olly Stone, and Sam Cook as contenders.

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