Veteran England seamer James Anderson has predicted that no cricketer in the future will be dedicated enough to play Test cricket for long enough. The 40-year-old thinks the rapid rise of the T20 leagues would prompt players to choose them instead of playing red-ball cricket.
Anderson, who turned 40 on July 30, is gearing up for his 173rd Test, which will be against South Africa, starting Thursday (August 18) at Lord's. The right-arm seamer hasn't played limited-overs cricket since 2015 and has entirely invested himself in featuring in Tests for England.
Speaking ahead of the first Test against the Proteas, Anderson said that franchise cricket has taken over in a way that future generations wouldn't be committed to Test cricket.
The veteran said, as quoted by ESPN Cricinfo:
"Definitely not after that because no one will be stupid enough. Everything that has gone in the world with franchise cricket, the Hundred, short forms of the game, I can't see anyone wanting to play Test cricket for this long."
The Lancashire seamer said Trent Boult's decision to sacrifice New Zealand's central contract is saddening and could prompt more players to take that route.
"It is because he [Boult] is such a high-profile international player and I can definitely see it happening more and more now, particularly with bowlers. Because Test cricket will probably bear the brunt of it.
"The easiest thing to do for bowlers is bowl four overs or 20 balls. It takes nothing out of you. And if you're getting paid just as well, it probably makes sense. It will tempt more people than not."
Following conversations with New Zealand Cricket (NZC), the board agreed to release the left-arm seamer from the central contract. As a result, Boult will have a significantly reduced role and turn his attention more to the franchise circuit. Boult has bagged two additional lucrative contracts in the UAE and South Africa.
"I feel proud to have got to where I have" - James Anderson
As a 40-year-old athlete, Anderson said he feels proud to have a capable body and a passion to keep getting better. In this regard, he added:
"I feel proud to have got to where I have. I feel fortunate as well that I've still got the love for the game and the desire to get better and still do the training and the nets and whatever else that comes with it. I feel fortunate that my body's still functioning properly and allowing me to do the job that I love."
The Lancashire bowler has taken 17 wickets in three Tests in the ongoing summer, including a fifer against India at Edgbaston. He looks primed to lead the bowling attack against South Africa, starting Thursday, August 18, at Lord's.