Anderson in 'best shape of his life' and could play into his 40s

By Sports Desk February 10, 2021

James Anderson has the capacity to extend his record-breaking Test career into his 40s, according to England coach Chris Silverwood.

The evergreen Anderson was in majestic form, claiming three crucial second-innings wickets thanks to a masterful display of reverse-swing bowling, as England romped to a 227-run victory over India in the first Test in Chennai.

Now 38, Anderson's 611 Test wickets make him the most prolific pace bowler in the history of the longest format and, despite his advancing years, Silverwood believes the Lancastrian is in the form of his life.

"Could he play into his 40s? It's his choice," he said. "He is in the best shape of his life. He has worked extremely hard on his fitness and is in great shape and bowling beautifully.

"As long as he is fit and strong and healthy and wants to play he throws his hat in the ring.

"We have a very good science and medical team. I feel very lucky to have the staff I have working in that department.

"But Jimmy is a shining light. He is the best form of his life from a physical point of view and that is reflected in his bowling."

Nevertheless, Silverwood suggested the veteran might have to make way for Saturday's second game in the four-match rubber, with long-time new-ball partner Stuart Broad waiting in the wings.

Ben Foakes will take on wicketkeeping duties after Jos Buttler flew home for an allocated period of rest and Silverwood again defended England's rotation policy – something he views as a necessity in a year where his side face a home series against India, an away Ashes and the T20 World Cup.

"I'm not reluctant to change a winning team if it's the best thing to do for the players and the team and the longevity of it," Silverwood said.

"You run the risk of the result being different, but you could play the same team and the result would be different because we know India will come back hard.

"It is hard to leave a player like Anderson out, he is a class act. But Stuart Broad didn't play in the last game and we've many bowlers here who we could play at any given point.

"But no, I'm not reluctant to change the team because I think it's the best thing for us to do over a long period.

"I don't see it as weakening; I see it as an opportunity for people to come in and show what they can do."

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