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Anderson would consider vegan diet in bid to stay at the top

The England bowler believes he can still be the best in the world.

James Anderson believes he can still be the best bowler in the world despite missing most of the Ashes series through injury (Steven Paston/PA)
James Anderson believes he can still be the best bowler in the world despite missing most of the Ashes series through injury (Steven Paston/PA)

By Rory Dollard, PA Cricket Correspondent

James Anderson believes he can still be the best bowler in the world at the age of 37 and is willing to try anything that will help him keep going at the highest level, including veganism.

Anderson has spent the last few weeks on the sidelines with a calf injury that reduced him to a peripheral role in the Ashes, bowling just four overs on the opening day of the series before being ruled out.

After 16 years of international cricket, 149 Test caps and an English record of 575 wickets he would be forgiven for thinking that a glorious career was coming to an end.

But the same drive that has seen Anderson surpass the haul of every other seamer to play Test cricket is spurring him on again, and he is currently weighing up ideas that will help him get even better
rather than mulling over his retirement date.

“I’ve still got a real hunger and desire to play cricket. I still love the game and still feel like I can be the best bowler in the world,” he said.

“When I start this rehab, I’m going to try and investigate every possible avenue of what do I need to do at my age to keep myself in good shape.

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James Anderson still believes he can excel in Test cricket (Steven Paston/PA)

“I feel as fit as I ever have, it’s just the calf keeps twanging. So I’m going to look at every possible thing I can to make sure I can play for as long as possible. I’ll look at how other sportspeople have done it throughout their careers to keep going into their late 30s.

“Whether there’s anything specific I can do, diet, gym programme, supplements, whatever it might be.”

Asked if that included adopting a vegan diet, an approach previously taken by the likes of Venus Williams, Lewis Hamilton, David Haye and Jermain Defoe, Anderson said: “I’m open-minded. I’ll give
anything a go if it prolongs my career.

“I actually have chatted that through with my wife, but she’s not keen.”

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Stuart Broad has impressed Anderson during the current Ashes series (Martin Rickett/PA)

One of the reasons Anderson is so eager to get going again – be it in the first tour of the winter to New Zealand, or the subsequent trip to South Africa – is the chance to join Jofra Archer in an England line-up.

Anderson has spent the majority of his career partnering Stuart Broad but fans are already keen to see how the prolific pair might dovetail with the World Cup-winning pace star.

“It’s been great to see Jofra taking to international cricket the way he has and Broady has been fantastic all Ashes series. He’s shown his class all the way through,” Anderson told the PA news agency.

“I’d love to be a part of this bowling attack because I think we could have something special there.”

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Jofra Archer will outlast Anderson and Broad in the England set-up (Mike Egerton/PA)

Archer will outlast both of the senior men, who will each leave enormous shoes to fill when they finally take their leave.

Anderson has been batting off questions about his swansong for years – with his steadily improving record doing so more eloquently than words ever could – but insists he will know before anyone else when the time comes.

“Going through rehab can be tough mentally if there were any doubts that’s when they’d come, but the fact I want to do it and am keen to get going again means I’m still hungry,” he said.

“I’m realistic. If I’m not good enough and feel I’m detracting from the team and I’m too slow then I’m not going to embarrass myself or drag the team down. I’ll only keep playing if I think I can be one of the best bowlers in the world and if I think I can help this team win games of Test cricket. I’m not just blinkered thinking I’m going to just eke out as many games as I can.”

James Anderson was speaking on behalf of ‘The Test Experts’ Specsavers, Official Test Partner for England cricket ahead of the final Test of the Specsavers Ashes Series at The Oval.

PA

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