James Anderson says he is “absolutely loving” playing under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum as the England seamer continues to star at 40-years-old.
Anderson turned 40 last month but has showed no signs of slowing down, having picked up 24 wickets at an average of 17.66 this summer since being recalled to the side. And when asked if he feels like he has “a new lease of life” with Stokes and McCullum encouraging England to play a positive and aggressive brand of Test cricket, Anderson joked he has “smiled more than I ever have on a cricket field”.
Speaking to Sky Sports after England wrapped up an innings victory over South Africa in the second Test at Old Trafford, he said: “Yeah, I do. I’ve really enjoyed the last few months, the way Ben and Brendon want us to play [means] my role has become a little different.
“I’m not a defensive bowler anymore at all. They want me to take wickets the whole time and think about taking wickets the whole time.
“That’s my sole focus and the group’s sole focus and we’re enjoying it. I think I’ve smiled more than I ever have on a cricket field, I’m absolutely loving it.”
He continued: “I think everyone’s clear on their role and they’re clear about what the captain and coach expect of them which is a massive help. It takes away any doubt and allows you to focus on your job.
“It might sound simple, but sometimes things can get clouded. There’s so much to think about from a technique point of view in this game whether you’re a batter or a bowler so having that clarity when you go out in the field makes a huge difference.”
Anderson also reached two major milestones in the win as he picked up his 950th international wicket and his 100th Test match wicket against South Africa.
His exploits mean he now holds the record for the most wickets across all three formats in internationals, having overtaken Australia legend Glenn McGrath who took 949 in his career.