Darren Gough: Anderson has one more year '“ but falls short of greatness

FOLLOWING the Test retirement of Alastair Cook, focus has now switched to when Jimmy Anderson chooses to step down with England '“ especially after clinching his Test record this week.

Jimmy Anderson this week overtook Glenn McGrath on the all-time leading wicket-takers list (Picture: PA)
Jimmy Anderson this week overtook Glenn McGrath on the all-time leading wicket-takers list (Picture: PA)

Personally, I think Jimmy will go away this winter and play next summer in the Ashes and then that will be it.

To go to South Africa in the winter of 2019 would be a very hard tour to go on. I found it one of the hardest as a pace bowler and really struggled with the pitches, apart from the odd game.

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As for the here and now, Jimmy is the sort who needs to carry on playing. If you rest him now, I think that will be it. He would find it very difficult to get back.

Jimmy has set a record for the number of wickets for a pace bowler and I set off a big debate on Twitter this week as people were asking if he is a real ‘great’.

I find it very difficult to go through the eras and hate doing it. But what I will say about Jimmy is that after watching lots of cricket over the years and seeing some great players, there is no-one who can use a new ball, especially a Dukes ball, like him.

He swings the ball both ways with control and very little change of his action. People sometimes mistake that to say he is the best of all time. But I do feel that is being hugely disrespectful to some great bowlers over the years who would argue their case.

I think Jimmy would not put himself in the same league as a Glenn McGrath. Judging things, it is about your record home and away and Jimmy’s record at home is far superior to his away record.

England's Stuart Broad, left and James Anderson have struggled on tours. (AP Photo/Ross Setford)

I think the real true greats are the ones who have very similar averages home and away.

Jimmy has also had the benefit of a central contracts system and all those guys – the Stokes’s, Cook’s, Broad’s and Swann’s – are going to take all the records now with DRS and everything else.

In 30 years time, you will get some greats such as Trueman who will not even be in the top ten all-time Test wicket-takers for England. It is sad, but just the way cricket has gone. If you play 150 Tests, there is a good chance, if you keep up your strike-rate, that you will get 500 wickets.

Jimmy is 36 and there is all the talk about retiring now. But it is a difficult one. I think that the hardest thing to turn away from now is the money. It is such a massive part of central contracts.

England's James Anderson during day four of the fourth test at the AGEAS Bowl, Southampton. (Picture: PA)

It is probably four times what we were getting 15 to 20 years ago. So to walk away is very difficult.

This situation regarding Stuart Broad is also fascinating for me.

We interviewed Kevin Pietersen on TalkSPORT this week and he spoke about Broad being hopeless in Australia last winter. I would not go as far as that; it just did not suit him.

But look at Anderson and Broad’s record away. Broad averages 32.36 and Anderson averages 32.58. That tells you they are not as dynamic and effective abroad.

In Sri Lanka this winter, they are going to play Anderson and Sam Curran – he has just got player of the series against India and offers a left-arm option and then there is Ben Stokes. Another spinner will have to be found and I think we will play three spinners, especially in Galle.

So given that, I cannot see them going for Broad this tour.

I think Chris Woakes will go, even though his average is 65 away from home. But he will be the all-rounder reserve.

Then, in terms of a strike bowler, it is a case of who they take.

I’d go for Olly Stone or Jamie Overton. Then, it’s about the third spinner; Jack Leach or Dom Bess.

It is difficult regarding Broad. I think he got under-rated for so many years as he was always in the shadow of Jimmy. He eventually got the credit he deserved in 2015 when he got that 8-15 at Trent Bridge against Australia.

But I think it is now obvious to everyone that he is not as quick as he used to be. He has a little technical issue with his wrist where everything is going into the batsman and the right-handers.

I can see the sense of him not going to Sri Lanka. But then it is how is he going to take it? I cannot imagine him being too happy if he does not go.

It would be an interesting non-selection, but I would understand it if it happened.