James Anderson: England bowler ‘praying’ his career is not over after being dropped for West Indies tour

England bowler James Anderson prepares to catch a ball
James Anderson is England’s most capped Test player, with 169 appearances

England’s leading Test wicket-taker James Anderson says he is “praying” his international career is not over after being dropped for the West Indies tour.

Speaking on the Tailenders podcast, Anderson, who has taken 640 wickets in 169 Tests, said it was a “shock” and he felt “frustration and anger” initially.

“I’m praying this isn’t the end,” he said.

“But if I never play for England again, I know I’ve got amazing people around me to support me and that’s really important.”

Seam bowler Anderson said he is determined to impress with Lancashire when the County Championship starts in April and regain his England place this summer.

“I’ve got one more go at digging deep,” he said.

“I’ve got a lot left to offer – I’ve still got the hunger and passion to play

“It was a shock and a disappointment to get that call but having processed it, it’s important I try to focus on stuff I can control and that’s showing people what I can do with the ball in my hand.”

England’s interim managing director Andrew Strauss said the decision to drop Anderson and Broad “does not mean the end” of their international careers.

Broad, who is England’s second-highest Test wicket-taker with 537 in 152 matches, said in a column for the Daily Mail that the decision had left him “confused and angrier with each passing day”.

Anderson said the two had exchanged texts in which they got “some initial frustration and anger out”.

He added that “another frustration” was that a “five minute phone call” with Strauss in which he learned he was dropped did not “really clear much up”.

During England’s heavy 4-0 defeat in the Ashes this winter, Anderson took eights wickets in three matches at an average of 23.37 – the lowest average of all of England’s bowlers in Australia.

“Obviously it was a difficult tour of Australia, but I was happy with the way I bowled, I put in some decent performances out there,” he said.

In the aftermath of the Ashes, England head coach Chris Silverwood, director of cricket Ashley Giles and assistant coach Graham Thorpe all left their roles.

Strauss has temporarily taken over from Giles and Paul Collingwood is England’s interim head coach for the West Indies tour.

England’s first Test series at home this summer is against world champions New Zealand, starting on 2 June.

“There will be a new director of cricket and new head coach in the summer, so I hope that whatever decision is made it’s talked about in the way that it should be,” added Anderson.

“Trying to stay away from the noise on social media has been difficult, but among the noise there have been some amazing messages.”

Anderson also thanked his wife Daniella for “being amazing through all this” and said his children are “delighted I’m not going to the West Indies so they can spend more time with me”.

Anderson, who will turn 40 in July, said he still feels in “great shape” and that he has “got even better” over the last four years.

Since turning 35, Anderson has taken 160 wickets in 44 Tests at an average of 21.72.

He said: “I know I’m not slowing down or losing anything.”

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