Record-breaking Anderson not done yet, has Sri Lanka tour in sights
James Anderon has his sights set on Sri Lanka tour. (Getty Images)

England fast bowler James Anderson has played down any immediate plans of retirement from international cricket, stating that he will try to get himself in shape before the tour of Sri Lanka.

Anderson, 36, on Tuesday, surpassed Glenn McGrath’s tally of 563 Test wickets by bowling out Mohammed Shami to become the most successful fast bowler in Test cricket as England beat India by 118 runs in the final Test at The Oval. With the win England secured a 4-1 finish to the series.

“When I sit down at the end of my career, when I finish, it will mean a hell of a lot to me to be able to see what I’ve achieved,” Anderson said. “But right now, it’s hard when you put all your energy into the present and trying to perform well for England. That’s all I really focus on.”

The first Test against Sri Lanka begins at Galle on November 6, and with Anderson no longer playing limited-over format, he will look to get himself ready in time.

“I don’t really think about it. I play my best when I focus on what’s ahead of me, the next game, the next series, whatever. Myself and Stuart don’t play white-ball cricket so we have that time to be able to get ourselves in the right frame of mind and the right physical condition to cope with what’s ahead of us. We have a decent break before Sri Lanka, I’ll try to get myself in the best condition possible to cope with the rigours of bowling seam in Sri Lanka, which could be tough. Then we’ll see how it goes.”

Anderson has picked up 42 wickets this year at 20.54 and his performance has been excellent over the last two years. England will play three Tests in Sri Lanka, but there were reports that Anderson, along with Stuart Broad – nursing a hurt rib – might be rested from the tour in order to reserve him for The Ashes next year. The pacer however, feels he is better off playing as much as possible for England.

“I don’t like looking too far ahead. I don’t think it helps me or the team either, when we look too far ahead, whether it’s in a session or a day or a game. If you look too far ahead you take your eye off the here and now and that’s what I like to focus on,” he said.

The Sri Lanka Tests will be followed by three more in the West Indies. Then comes the Ashes, by when Anderson will be 37. Does he see himself playing by then?

“I read something that Glenn McGrath said that he went into the 2006 Ashes with no intention of retiring and by the end of it he thought his time was up. That could happen to me. Who knows?”

Anderson, along with Broad, forms the best fast bowling attack in the world, and the 36-year-old couldn’t be any prouder of how they’ve performed in the just concluded five-Test series against India.

“We came into this five Test series in six weeks with question marks: will the bowlers get through? We’ve got two 30-plus bowlers, will they need resting or will they get injuries? And we’ve done it,” said Anderson.

“We pride ourselves on working hard when we got the chance and we got that time off. Myself and Stuart don’t play white-ball cricket so we have that time to be able to get ourselves in the right frame of mind, the right physical condition to cope with what’s ahead of us.”