The great farewell - Yorkshire CCC head coach Ottis Gibson pays tribute to "legend of the game" James Anderson

OTTIS GIBSON believes James Anderson deserves “the best possible send-off” as the legendary bowler plays his last Test.

Anderson will make the last of his 188 appearances against the West Indies at Lord’s, starting on Wednesday.

It marks the end of an era, with Anderson having taken more Test wickets (700) than any other pace bowler.

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Gibson, who worked with him during two spells as England bowling coach before being appointed Yorkshire head coach in 2022, said that Anderson warrants the fondest farewell.

Ottis Gibson, pictured during his first spell as England bowling coach, with a young James Anderson at a nets session in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 2007. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images.Ottis Gibson, pictured during his first spell as England bowling coach, with a young James Anderson at a nets session in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 2007. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images.
Ottis Gibson, pictured during his first spell as England bowling coach, with a young James Anderson at a nets session in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 2007. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images.

“Jimmy deserves a good send-off; he’s been magnificent,” said Gibson.

“It seems, from what you read, that he doesn’t want to go; he’s been asked to leave almost.

“He got a seven-fer last week (for Lancashire), and he still feels he can take wickets; he’s still taking wickets.

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“But England made their decision, and you must respect that. Whatever, he deserves the best possible send-off.”

Anderson, who turns 42 on July 30, was told in April by Brendon McCullum, the England Test coach, that this would be his final summer in international cricket.

Rob Key, the managing director of England men’s cricket, admitted that Anderson had not been expecting the decision, with the player confirming that the Lord’s Test would be his last, giving England time to blood new players as they build towards the next Ashes series.

Anderson warmed up for his valedictory Test with figures of 7-35 for Lancashire against Nottinghamshire at Southport last week.

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He will be staying on with England for the rest of the summer as a fast bowling mentor.

“I’ll be watching the first Test from afar when I can,” added Gibson, who will have his hands full with Yorkshire playing three T20 Blast games during the scheduled five days at Lord’s.

“Obviously I worked with Jimmy before; he’s such a legend of the game, and stuff like that, and I’ll be hoping that he does really well and has a good match.

“But there’s some guys I know in the West Indies team who I also want to do well. I gave Kraigg (Brathwaite) his debut, for example, so I’d like him to do well also.”

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Gibson, 55, played for and coached the West Indies, whom he led between his two spells working in the England set-up.

He is expecting a keenly-fought series, with the Lord’s Test followed by matches at Trent Bridge (July 18-22) and Edgbaston (July 26-30).

England, third in the International Cricket Council rankings, will be strong favourites, with West Indies languishing in eighth.

However, West Indies achieved a famous victory on their last Test outing, beating Australia by eight runs in Brisbane, and are often at their best with something to prove.

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“The West Indies went to Australia with a very inexperienced team and they won a game over there,” said Gibson.

“You could see the Aussies taking them for granted, almost, disrespecting them - not the players themselves, but past players and the media and so on.

“To see the way that they played there showed that there is still a lot of talent in the West Indies, a hell of a lot of talent.

“If England take them for granted, give them a cause… the one thing we’ve always thrived on in the Caribbean is when people write you off, and give you a cause, something to get your back up about, and then you’ll see the real fight, and so on.”

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West Indies have made no bones about their desire to win the series, let alone compete, and Gibson said: “Everybody is trying to make a name for themselves, so I’m expecting the young lads from the Caribbean to come in and showcase their skills and showcase the talent that we still have in the West Indies.”

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