Despite cricket in England and elsewhere coming to a virtual standstill, pacer James Anderson remains bullish about coronavirus not bringing a premature end to his international career.

Anderson, 37, with 584 wickets, is Test cricket’s most prolific fast bowler.

However, the veteran of 151 Tests is the final phase of his playing career with fitness issues catching up.

He missed the entire Ashes campaign at home last season after picking an injury on the first morning of the series opener. When he did come back in South Africa, it lasted two Tests before a broken rib again pushed him into the background.

With prospect no cricket, domestic or international, in England at least till May end, has Anderson bowled for the last time?

“I’ve not actually thought about never playing cricket again,” Anderson was quoted as saying by cricbuzz. “I feel like we will play again and I will play again at some stage. But with the uncertainty of what’s happening at the moment, I think it would be silly to not think about not bowling a ball this summer. To me at the moment that’s pretty realistic with the situation around the world.”

He continued “But long-term I think I’m still going to play. Whether we get some games in in the winter, I feel like I could play a part. I’m still hungry to play, I’ve still got ambitions to play for England so I think that’s going to keep me driven at home trying to keep fit so that whenever it is we play again I’m ready to go.”

Anderson did make an impressive international comeback, his match haul of seven wickets including a fifer helping England draw level at one-all in the four-Test series which they went on to win 3-1.

“I had mixed emotions in that week. I was delighted with the way I played and I think having missed most of the summer [Ashes 2019], it was nice to put in a performance and get some wickets and get a win as well. To get injured again was a big frustration. But it was lucky in a way that was a broken rib. If it was a muscle injury it would have taken much longer to recover,” he said.

Feeling good about his bowling and fitness, Anderson is targeting to get his Test spot back whenever international cricket resumes. “I’ve been doing pre-season with Lancashire for a couple of months now and feeling really good. I was ready and raring and to go be honest. My bowling was as good as it has been, my speeds were good and fitness felt good. As and when it happens, whether it’s this summer whether it’s the winter, my plan is to try and get back into that England team and hopefully the next time I do I’ll be able to stay fit for a little bit longer,” he said.

With several countries imposing lockdown to combat the deadly coronavirus which claimed over 20,000 lives, Anderson said the crisis has put everything in perspective.

“Something like this puts everything in perspective really. Cricket has been a huge part of my life for quite a number of years, but you see the importance of it, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t that great. What people are sacrificing in the NHS and sadly people are losing their lives to this virus so there’s much more important things in the world. The fact I’ve been able to do this for a long time and I get to play a sport as a job means when I do get to do that again I’m really going to cherish it and enjoy every single moment,” he said.