Time to talk about James Anderson the bowler, not the 39-year-old

James Anderson has said in a virtual press conference that he does not view the upcoming Test series against India and the Ashes down under as his England swansong, and there is no reason that he should. Of course, Anderson’s achievements and prowess as a bowler at an age where many of his predecessors looked somewhat worse-off are to be lauded.

It is, without wishing to state the obvious, unusual for a cricketer in their late thirties to continue putting the considerable strain on their bodies that fast bowling exacts. Anderson is, again somewhat clearly, extraordinary. However, given we all know this, why must every question, milestone and ripper be followed with the Lancashire legend’s age?

Jimmy seems to improve with the passing of every series he plays. Since 2013, he averages 22.7 with ball in hand, pushing his career average of 26.7 inexorably in the right direction. He has dispelled the myths of being a home-conditions specialist, most recently with that extraordinary spell in Chennai earlier this year that ended with Shubman Gill’s stumps in the air.

In the conference, Anderson reiterated how much he has relished working on his fitness in the gym and his bowling in the nets, despite a relative lack of recent red-ball practice given the hectic white-ball calendar. Ultimately, it must be frustrating for England’s best ever to have his achievements constantly given a sell-by date given his condition resembles someone far younger.

Ahead of the India series, it is perhaps time to sit back and enjoy what Jimmy is doing right now. He is England’s most potent bowler, their go-to wicket-taker. Whether or not he has just turned 39 is irrelevant, as is his future with the Three Lions. There is something so British about wondering when something good will end, rather than enjoying it while it still is.