Ben Stokes has one final wish as James Anderson plays his last Test

England's greatest pacer will make his last appearance against the West Indies

By Web Desk
July 09, 2024
James Anderson with Ben Stokes. - AFP

England captain Ben Stokes has expressed his wish to see legendary fast bowler James Anderson take all 20 wickets in his 188th and final Test.

Anderson, 41, will make his last appearance on the field against the West Indies, Stokes believes that Anderson's skills remain world-class but the time has come to prepare for the upcoming Ashes series in Australia next year.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Stokes reminisced about Stuart Broad's retirement and his desire to go out on top. He suggested that Anderson should have a similar approach.

"I hope he takes all 20 wickets if I’m being honest. I listened to Stuart talk about his retirement and wanting to go out on top and there was one thing he said that even made me think about when the time comes for me to go. He said: ‘I didn’t want a new player to come in and go I thought Stuart Broad was meant to be good. I thought: ‘Yeah that is a good thing to think about.’"

While acknowledging Anderson's continued excellence, Stokes opened up on the importance of making difficult decisions for the team's future.

"Jimmy’s skillset is obviously still good enough for international cricket. But we have to make big decisions and we have got the Ashes to think about in 18 months’ time. Nobody will ever say, ‘Oh is that Jimmy Anderson? I thought he was meant to be good’ because he is still incredible."

Stokes also said that decision-making should not be influenced by external opinions but should focus on what is best for the team. "A decision maker can't make a decision based on what other people might think about it. I base my decisions on what I think is best for the team here and now but with this one there was Australia in mind."

"It is a tough place to be when you make these decisions because they are big calls but we have to go with what we think is right for the team going forward. We have got to be big enough and brave enough to make those decisions," he maintained.

It must be noted England have confirmed their playing XI for the first Test against West Indies. Gus Atkinson and Jamie Smith will appear in their debut Test.

Playing XI: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (C), Jamie Smith, Chris Woakes, Gus Atkinson, Shoaib Bashir, James Anderson.