Belfast Telegraph

I'm hungry to battle on and regain urn in 2019, says Anderson

 

By Jonathan Liew

James Anderson hopes the pain of England's 4-0 defeat against Australia will spur him on to an Ashes swansong in 2019.

Anderson will be 37 during the next Ashes series, and in all likelihood has played his last international cricket in Australia. But he insisted the hunger is still there to retain his place and regain the urn next year.

Certainly, if Anderson is beginning to feel his age, it has not been visible in his performances. Despite delivering a total of 223.3 overs - the most he has ever delivered in a Test series - he was England's leading wicket-taker by a distance, with 17 wickets at an average of 28. Not that it made the swill of defeat any harder to chug down.

"All the guys are hurting as much as I am," Anderson said. "We all thought we could challenge Australia. It's tough - we've known for a few weeks that they're going to lift the urn, but seeing them do it was tough.

"I do think it's been closer than 4-0. We have been on top in some games, if not all of them. We've just not capitalised on key moments. Getting to 60 or 70 with the bat is not good enough. With the ball, it's all very well bowling for 15 or 20 overs. But 25 to 30 overs can be the key overs for a bowler, that's when you've got to try to stay at your best. I don't think we've done that."

Attention turns to the 2019 Ashes, where England will attempt to win for the fifth consecutive time on home soil. Anderson said the prospect of avenging this defeat made him more determined to nurse his body through the next 18 months.

"That feeling should make you want to win the Ashes back in 2019, and I'm going to do everything I can to be available," Anderson said. "I don't pick the team, I can't say I'm going to be there. But I'm still as hungry as ever, so I'm going to have a few weeks off, get my fitness back to 100% and then move on to the summer. I'd really like to be around in 2019."

As for what happens in the interim, Anderson insisted that the sort of purgative change that followed England's last Ashes defeat was not required here.

"We've improved over the last 18 months," he said. "We've made strides in the right direction.

"We're hurting, and we know we've got to improve in many areas. But it doesn't feel like a series where there should be a big upheaval. It doesn't feel like a completely disastrous series."

Australia captain and man of the series Steve Smith admitted that winning the Ashes in England - where Australia have not won since 2001 - was on his "bucket list".

"The more we play together, the more we're going to get better," he said. "England in 2019 is a long way away, but it is a real challenge for us. I don't know who would be favourites."

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