At 33, Anderson is now effectively operating as a Test specialist and his status as the England’s record wicket-taker, not mention the fifth most prolific seamer in history, makes him an obvious cheerleader for the longer format. But it is still instructive to hear him defend the primacy of Tests.
When he won his first cap in 2003 the first Twenty20 international was still two years in the future, but the landscape has shifted irrevocably and the short form now appears more attractive with fans, sponsors and – arguably – players in some territories.
Nobody involved in the sport can have missed the stellar crowds in Australia’s Big Bash League, or ignore the pay cheques on offer in the Indian Premier League and beyond. But Anderson, who will spearhead his side’s push for a series-clinching win against South Africa in Johannesburg this week, is happy to make the alternate case.
Although his name was linked to next month’s Pakistan Super League, few elite players seem less likely to trawl the T20 tournaments for a final pay day than Anderson, who will report back to Lancashire in April having declined to chase an IPL deal.
He was quoted as saying:
“My heart is with playing Test cricket for England so that is what I’ll concentrate on doing for the foreseeable future, There is a slight worry (over Test cricket) with the domestic T20 competitions doing so well. But speak to players and there is a still a passion to play Test cricket. It’s a real test of someone’s character and skill, to perform in this form of the game. It still excites me, I love it, I prioritise it in my head and my heart and I’m not the only person who feels like that in the world.”