James Anderson’s England career set to end in summer after crunch McCullum talks

James Anderson’s record-breaking international career seems set to end this summer following crunch talks with England head coach Brendon McCullum.

Anderson became the first seamer and just the third bowler in history to reach 700 Test wickets, after spinners Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan, in his most recent outing against India in Dharamsala in March.

But, as first reported by the Guardian, the PA news agency understands McCullum made a visit to the UK recently from his native New Zealand and among other items on his agenda was discussing Anderson’s England future.

England Nets Session and Press Conference – Lord’s
England head coach Brendon McCullum spoke with James Anderson (left) about his future (Steven Paston/PA)

With Anderson turning 42 in July and his returns dwindling, having taken just 15 wickets in his last eight Tests at an average of 50.8 over the past 12 months, McCullum wants to modify the seam attack and build towards the future with one eye on the 2025-26 Ashes.

McCullum spoke with Anderson over a round of golf and although it is as yet unclear whether the Lancastrian has featured in his last Test, a swansong on English soil seems the likeliest outcome.

England play three Tests each against the West Indies and Sri Lanka, who will in August visit Anderson’s home ground of Emirates Old Trafford, where the quick has an end named after him.

Anderson’s longevity continues to cause amazement among his peers and his 187 Test appearances is another England record – only the great Sachin Tendulkar, with 200 for India, has more.

Stuart Broad, with 167, is his closest bowling challenger although his long-time new-ball partner departed the scene in fairytale fashion last summer, taking the last of his 604 Test wickets with his final ball to help England claim a 2-2 draw in a thrilling Ashes series.

Stuart Broad, Anderson's long-time partner, retired last year (Martin Rickett/PA)
Stuart Broad, right, Anderson’s long-time new-ball partner, retired last year (Martin Rickett/PA)

Anderson, who made his international debut in December 2002 and his Test bow in May 2003, insisted he would not follow suit and put pen to paper on a one-year central contract last October.

He played in four of England’s five Tests in the 4-1 defeat in India – the first series loss under McCullum and captain Ben Stokes – and was reliable rather than spectacular on unhelpful, slow surfaces.

Anderson, who needs just nine more wickets to leap above Warne’s 708 dismissals and move up to second behind Muralitharan (800) on the all-time list, has given no outward indication that the end of his career could be nigh.

Following the end of the India series, Anderson told his Tailenders podcast in March he was “definitely in the best shape I’ve ever been in” and was relishing a chance to earn his place in the England side.

Anderson has 700 Test wickets to his name (Mike Egerton/PA)
Anderson has 700 Test wickets to his name (Mike Egerton/PA)

“I’m not getting any worse. I like where my game is at and I still have that enjoyment of turning up every day and trying to get better in the nets,” he added. “I’ve got to work hard to prove I’m worth a place in the summer.”

Anderson played in 194 ODIs and 19 T20s before his international white-ball career ended in 2015 – the same year he overtook Sir Ian Botham’s 383 dismissals to become England’s record Test wicket-taker.

Three and a half years later, Anderson overhauled Glenn McGrath’s 563 victims to become the most prolific fast bowler of all time.