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Is this the end of the road for the James Anderson? Not quite

Why it’s not the end of the road yet for James Anderson
Anderson’s exclusion was less of a surprise given England often manage his workload. But, his form over the first two Tests begs the question – is this the end of the road for the great Jimmy Anderson?

Some think it is. The pacer is now 40 years old, and will turn 41 in less than a month’s time. In the Ashes so far, he has taken just three wickets over the two games having bowled close to 80 overs. But, are those of this opinion being too judgmental and reactionary?

The statistics would say yes. There is no doubt that Anderson has been disappointing over the last two weeks, where he has averaged over 75 with the ball. He has never averaged more in a series since 2008. But, one must not forget what the 40-year old did not too long ago against New Zealand.

Earlier this year, England drew 1-1 against New Zealand in an away Test series. The recency bias may make this sound like a shocker, but it was the evergreen Anderson who took the joint-most wickets (10) for his side across the two Tests. In the series, only Neil Wagner took more wickets than him, and no bowler averaged less than his 16.80.

In December, 2022, Anderson took eight wickets in two Tests against Pakistan on flat highways. Once again, his average of 18.50 was the best for any bowler in the series.

In his last 17 Tests, he has taken 68 wickets at a scintillating average of 19.85. What makes it even more incredible is the fact that he has been around the 40-year mark all this while.

Anderson expressed his disappointment at the Edgbaston pitch
After the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston where the talisman managed to notch just one wicket in 38 overs, Anderson expressed his disappointment regarding the nature of the pitch.

“If all the pitches are like that, I’m done in the Ashes series. That pitch was like kryptonite for me. There was not much swing, no reverse swing, no seam movement, no bounce, and no pace,” wrote Anderson in his column in The Telegraph.

But, he could not produce an impactful performance in the second Test either. He again took to his column in The Telegraph to clarify that his performance not being up to the mark is not because of his age, but due to other factors. Earlier, he admitted to feeling the rustiness while bowling and accepted that he has not been at his best. Moreover, he said that it is more of a lean patch and it is partly also due to the pitches not suiting him much.

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