Old Trafford’s Pavilion end will become the James Anderson pavilion on Friday (August 4) in recognition of the player who is already England’s leading Test wicket-taker.
The 35-year-old has taken 480 wickets so far in 125 Tests and has looked good in the ongoing series against South Africa, claiming 13 wickets at just 17 apiece.
The right-arm pacer, meanwhile, admitted that he is blown away by the gesture from the club for which he made his debut in 2002 and went on to become one of the legends of the game.
“I’m blown away really by the gesture from the club,” Anderson said. “It’s usually something that happens when people have stopped playing but it’s a huge honour for me especially because of the love I’ve got for this club. I’ve been here for 15 years and longer than that if you count the years I’ve been supporting. Hopefully, my family will be here tomorrow to see it.”
Anderson’s performance at Old Trafford, nevertheless, is a bit interesting. While his average at the ground is better than his career average, he has yet to get a five-wicket haul there. And Anderson said that while he would love to break the duck, winning the series against the Proteas is of utmost priority to him.
Anderson has not won a home series against South Africa, as the Proteas last lost a series in England in 1998.
“We’ve got a series to win and it’s going to be an exciting week for us. We’ve got a lot to play for,” he said.
The last one year or so has been tough for Anderson on the injury front. The England pace spearhead had suffered a stress fracture in the shoulder which ruled him out of the four-match series against Pakistan last summer. He also missed matches against Bangladesh and India towards the end of 2016 but has looked fit in the ongoing series.
“I’ve felt really good this series,” Anderson said. “Barring slipping in the shower or a back spasm overnight, I’ll have played all four games in this series. For me, that’s a positive thing. I’ve had a couple of injuries over the last 12 to 18 months so staying fit is a priority.” Anderson has also been used sparingly at times by Joe Root during the three matches so far in this series.
Anderson has achieved it all in Tests but the fast-bowler is keen to add one more Ashes Trophy to his already impressive kitty. England will tour Australia later this year and Anderson will be keen to repeat his 2010-11 heroics when he played an integral part in the Three Lions’ historic 3-1 win Down Under.
“I’d like to win the Ashes again,” he said. “This team can achieve great things in the next couple of years and I’d like to be a part of it. We’ve been inconsistent recently but we have glimpses of being a very good team. That’s what keeps me going and keeps me hungry to play the game.”