Anderson says he considered retiring after West Indies snub

England fast bowler James Anderson said he thought about retiring from cricket after being dropped for the tour of West Indies earlier this year. The 39-year-old and fellow veteran seamer Stuart Broad were controversially omitted from the three-match series in the Caribbean, which ended in a 1-0 defeat and saw Joe Root resign as captain.

New Test skipper Ben Stokes has said the two fast bowlers would always be in the playing 11 if fit but being axed from the squad had left Anderson wondering if he should call it a day. “I definitely questioned it,” he told reporters at an event in Leicester. “I asked myself, ‘do I want to carry on?’ And you do start questioning other things when something like that happens. Is it something that I’ve done around the group?”

Anderson, who is England’s leading Test wicket-taker with 640 victims, said that after he had time to reflect on the situation he realised he wanted to continue playing. “I think the longer time went on the more I just wanted to play,” he added. “I talked it through with my family and they saw it as I did … I’ve still got more to give the game whether it is Lancashire or England.”

Anderson also said he had not fallen out with Root. “I spoke to him before he announced that he was stepping down. So there’s still a huge amount of respect between the two of us, and there’s no animosity.” England have made sweeping changes to their set-up in the last few weeks, with all-rounder Stokes taking over as captain and Brendon McCullum coming on board as Test coach.

“It’s really exciting,” said Anderson of McCullum’s appointment. “He always wants the aggressive option. I’m sure he’ll bring that from his coaching point of view as well. With him and Ben, we’re never going to take a backward step.” Anderson is expected to be recalled for the home series against New Zealand when the squad is announced later on Wednesday but he will not take anything for granted.

“Until that squad is picked I’m not counting on anything. My job is to try and prove that I’m in good form, take wickets for Lancashire… that’s all I’m bothered about.”