Jimmy Anderson puts focus on England series win rather than 500th wicket

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West Indies cricket team Since you’re here… Share on Twitter Cricket Sportblog Jimmy Anderson Support The Guardian features England cricket team Share on Facebook When Glenn McGrath brought up his 500th Test wicket at Lord’s in 2005 by teasing an edge to third slip off Marcus Trescothick, the great Australian fast bowler had a pair of gold-stitched bowling boots run on to the field by the 12th man to mark the occasion.Jimmy Anderson, sitting three away from becoming just the third seamer to the milestone after McGrath and Courtney Walsh, has no such plans for the third Investec Test against West Indies, instead preferring to focus on the series decider.“I am a bit of a believer in fate so if it’s meant to be this week, then it will happen,” said Anderson, speaking before his 129th match for England. “As long as we get the win I am not too fussed. I know I am talking about it but I really don’t want to think about it.”Anderson’s insouciance, compared to the indulgence of McGrath’s cobbler, stems from having been on the brink of such feats before – chiefly the 384th wicket in his 100th Test that broke Sir Ian Botham’s England record in Antigua two years ago – and perhaps the fact that it should have come last week at Headingley.England’s 35-year-old attack leader was instead left grumpy after the tourists chased down 322 on the final day to set up this Lord’s finale. He says he and his team-mates were outplayed for the first half of the match and the bowlers strived too hard for wickets after the batsmen, bar Ben Stokes, blundered in the first innings.The challenge this week is correcting those mistakes to make it two series wins from two for their captain, Joe Root, and, for the attack in particular, sending their bowling coach, Ottis Gibson, off to his new role in charge of South Africa with a farewell victory. Who replaces the popular Bajan before this winter’s Ashes series remains an open question – the deadline for applications is the end of September – and Anderson, like the management, believes the new coach should be tactically minded first, given that the technical side of bowling is best addressed before a player actually reaches international level.Anderson, who insisted any talk of himself assuming the role was tongue in cheek, said: “It is [an appointment] for the next generation – me and Stuart Broad could probably finish off our careers without a bowling coach in the side. It is very important for the guys coming through, someone who can prepare them for playing Test cricket.”Certainly Gibson is emotional at the departure following his second spell in the England camp and speaking before his final match, mentioned the privilege of helping mentor the country’s two leading wicket-takers. He says his grandchildren will also be told about his throwdowns to England’s record Test run-scorer Alastair Cook in years to come.In terms of the next generation, Gibson identified Warwickshire’s Olly Stone – who bowled 90mph-plus on T20 Finals Day after returning from a serious knee injury – and Durham’s Mark Wood as the best talents coming through. The surface has just been scratched with the latter, who continues to battle against his fragile body.The hope is that such talents will still see a future in Test cricket after what seemed like a watershed moment in the game this week, with the television rights for the next five years of the Indian Premier League sold for £1.7bn, taking the Twenty20 competition past international cricket in terms of value per match for the first time in history.“If you look at it logically then why would you put yourself through five days of hard work [compared to four overs in a Twenty20]?” said Anderson. “But I’d like to think that certainly in county cricket the majority, then their ambition is to play Test cricket.“It is nice to see someone like [England one-day wicketkeeper] Jos Buttler, who could easily decide not to play four-day cricket, but he is still doing so for Lancashire when he can – he wants to play Test cricket. As long as guys like that are leading the way that Test cricket is still important, then hopefully the game will be fine.”One beneficiary of the new money in the IPL will likely be Stokes, who after securing a £1.7m deal this year and going on to be player of the tournament will re-enter the auction for 2018 with up to six weeks of availability after England announced that their summer fixtures will start on 24 May against Pakistan.The Durham all-rounder’s lack of availability for the one-off Twenty20 international against West Indies at Chester-le-street, after England opted to rest him before the one-day series, has caused some disquiet in the north-east, where they are still smarting from their enforced relegation and 48-point punishment last autumn.Speaking about this, the England head coach, Trevor Bayliss, said: “It was a collective decision between the management and the player in that Ben needed a break and it is just unfortunate that it is a one-off T20 at Durham.“We need him fresh and ready to go for an important one-day series against a strong West Indies side. The fact that the game is at Durham is a coincidence. We’re mindful we’ve got a busy winter coming up and finding a gap is difficult.” Sign up to the Spin – our weekly cricket round-up Share on Messenger Share via Email Share on LinkedIn Topics Share on WhatsApp Read more Reuse this contentlast_img

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