James Anderson has said the prospect of equaling the England record for Test appearances held by Alastair Cook is “mind-blowing”. If Anderson is selected for next week’s series opener against New Zealand at Lord’s, he will draw level with retired former captain Cook’s mark of 161 Tests. But while his close friend Cook spent his international career as an opening batsman, the 38-year-old Anderson, already England’s most successful Test bowler with 614 wickets — the most by any paceman in the format — has had the far more physically demanding task of leading the attack. And should Anderson achieve his aim of playing in all seven Tests against New Zealand and India this season, he will be behind just a trio of batsmen — India’s Sachin Tendulkar (200 Tests) and the Australia duo of Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh (both 168) — in the all-time list.
“It does make me feel proud,” Anderson told reporters. “I never imagined in a million years I’d get to this point.
“Certainly for a bowler to play this amount of games is… I don’t know what the word is… but it’s a bit mind-blowing to me because I don’t feel like I’ve played that many games.”
Anderson, who appeared with his England team-mates in the LV= Insurance launch video “In With Heart” celebrating England’s cricket community, added: “My body doesn’t feel old or tired.
“I absolutely love Test cricket, I’ve got a huge passion for it. Growing up, that’s all I wanted to do is play Test cricket for England and I’m honoured I’ve been able to do it for this long.”
Equalling Cook’s match tally at Lord’s would be particularly significant for Anderson as the ‘home of cricket’ was the venue for his Test debut, against Zimbabwe, 18 years ago.
“Turning up to Lord’s, since I first did it in 2003…the atmosphere around that ground is something you don’t experience anywhere else in the world,” he said.