'England must move on from James Anderson'

The 41-year-old took his 700th Test wicket during the fifth India-England Test in Dharamsala last week

By Web Desk
March 13, 2024
James Anderson gives thumbs up after picking 700th Test wicket. - Reuters

Former England cricketer Geoffrey Boycott thinks that England are selecting James Anderson based on sentiment and doubts that the 41-year-old fast bowler will be able to cope with the demands of an Ashes series in Australia at the end of 2025.

Anderson took his 700th Test wicket during the fifth India-England Test in Dharamsala, becoming the first seamer in history to reach this milestone. Anderson had an average of 33.50 with the ball in the series, which was the second lowest among England's regular bowlers.

As per Boycott, England are using Anderson “too sparingly”.

“Jimmy Anderson deserves all the adulation and plaudits for staying fit to play 187 Test matches and reach 700 wickets but, because of his age, he is used too sparingly,” he wrote for the Telegraph.

“England cannot keep wrapping him in cotton wool and picking him on sentiment forever. In a year-and-a-half England’s next big challenge will be going to Australia to try and win back the Ashes. Fast bowling is physically very demanding and eventually takes its toll on every bowler’s body. Jimmy will be 43 by the next Ashes and I don’t see him being able to do the hard yards on tough, bone hard pitches and in hot weather.”

Boycott urged England to identify fast bowlers capable of handling larger workloads, with Anderson only surpassing the 20-over mark in an innings twice in four appearances in India.

“England have to find some young seamers who can bowl 20 overs and come back the next day ready for more,” he said. “They need to be given matches before the team is selected for Australia. For example, Josh Tongue played at Lord’s against Australia and took five wickets and has never been seen again. Matt Potts 23 wickets in six Tests but has not played since the Ireland game last summer.”

Boycott concluded that, before embarking on that trip to Australia at the end of 2025, the team management should “move on” from Anderson in Test cricket. “Jimmy remains a great craftsman and he can give experience at one end while some new boys get bedded in at the other but before the Australia trip it will be time to nicely say ‘sayonara Jimmy, thank you for the memories. We have loved watching your skill but it is time to move on’.”

Prior to the Ashes, England will play six Tests against West Indies and Sri Lanka during the 2024 summer before embarking on tours to Pakistan and New Zealand to repeat their schedule from the 2022/23 winter. In 2025, they will welcome India for a series before journeying Down Under in pursuit of their first Ashes victory since 2015.