Sport

Coronavirus won’t end my career – Anderson

England
bowler James Anderson is determined that the coronavirus will not end
his illustrious career as he focuses on keeping fit by taking part in
“virtual” training sessions with his team-mates.

Anderson, 37, whose 584 Test wickets are the most taken by any
paceman in the history of the game, is nearing the end of his playing
days.

But the Lancashire veteran says despite having no cricket to play
until the end of May at the earliest, the idea of not bowling
professionally again has not crossed his mind.

“I’ve not actually thought about never playing cricket again,” he
said during a conference call on Thursday.

“I feel like we will play
again and I will play again at some stage. 

“I’m still hungry to play, I’ve still got ambitions to play for England.

“So I think 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 of it.”

With Britain under a coronavirus lockdown, Anderson is keeping fit by
working out on-line with team-mates including fellow pacemen Stuart
Broad and Mark Wood. 

“A few of the lads are training together virtually,” he said.

“I did a workout with Stuart Broad and Mark Wood yesterday.

“We’ve all got Pelotons – the bikes. You can compete against each
other. Stuart came out on top this time, with me a close second and Mark
Wood in third.” 

Anderson made the most recent of his 151 Test appearances against
South Africa in Cape Town in January before a broken rib ended his tour
prematurely.

That followed an Ashes campaign last year in which he bowled just four overs because of a calf problem.

England left Anderson out for
their recent tour of Sri Lanka, curtailed by the coronavirus, in a bid
to get him fit for the English summer.

“To get injured again was a big frustration,” he said. “But it was
lucky in a way that it was a broken rib. If it was a muscle injury it
would have taken much longer to recover.”

The England and Wales Cricket Board last week put cricket on hold
until 28 May – just a week before the scheduled start of the first Test
against the West Indies.

Anderson believes even if that return date is feasible, the timescale could be tight unless players can train outdoors in May.

He is also wary about the prospect of matches being played behind
closed doors, saying the game has to be played in front of fans.

Although he has long been a red-ball specialist, Anderson said he
would be prepared to play white-ball cricket again, even in the new
Hundred competition.

Anderson has an ambassadorial role with the Manchester Originals, one of the franchises, but no contract. 

“I want to be playing cricket and if that is the only cricket going
on, if it’s the Hundred or the T20 Blast, I’d love to be involved in
that,” he said.

“If there wasn’t any red-ball cricket this summer, it would be a long, long time for me to be ticking over in the nets.” 

Despite the frustrations as a cricketer during the coronavirus
lockdown, Anderson said it was important to look at the bigger picture.

“People are sacrificing a hell of a lot for us to try and keep us healthy,” he said. 

“I think us sacrificing some of, and maybe all of, the cricket season
and staying inside for a bit, I don’t think that’s a huge sacrifice.”

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