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‘Go on long holiday’: Ravi Shastri’s stunner on Ranchi spectator’s ‘…when James Anderson retires’ poster

Anderson handed England an early breakthrough on Day 2 of the Ranchi Test as he dismissed India captain Rohit Sharma in the third over of the innings

No other player in world cricket epitomises or has epitomised ‘age is just a number’ than James Anderson. Even at 41, the England fast bowler has remained a vital cog in the Test side, picking wickets every time the team needs a breakthrough, and breaking milestones at will. In fact, two of his present teammates – Shoaib Bashir and Rehan Ahmed – were not even born, while Yashasvi Jaiswal, India’s youngest player in the squad, was only a year old when Anderson made his debut. The age factor has always sparked questions about when Anderson would bid adieu to the sport, but the evergreen bowler has always silenced the talk around it, only adding to the amazement of how threatening he still has been.

Ravi Shastri has his say on a poster in James Anderson’s retirement

On Saturday, after Anderson had taken the new ball to kick off the proceedings for the second innings in fourth Test against India after England amassed 353 in the first innings, the cameraman caught a Ranchi spectator with a poster on the right-arm pacer. It read: “I will start to study when James Anderson retires.”

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Former India head coach Ravi Shastri, who was in the commentary box, quickly reacted to the scene in stunning fashion, saying that it wasn’t happening anytime soon.

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“You’ve got to wait, young man. You are not studying soon, go on a long holiday. It is not happening any time soon,” he said.

Moments later, the broadcasters highlighted Anderson’s first-class record: 1110 wickets in 294 appearances since his debut in 2002. Shastri had nothing but respect for the England great. He said: “Got to respect and admire the individual for his sheer longevity. To be around for so long and continue playing at the top level is superb.”

Anderson handed England an early breakthrough on Day 2 of the Ranchi Test as he dismissed India captain Rohit Sharma for just 2 runs in the third over of the innings. It was a delivery outside off and Rohit prodded forward and got an edge that carried straight to wicketkeeper Ben Foakes. Rohit, who had scored a century in the third Test against England in Rajkot last week, was dismissed for the fourth time by Anderson, which is now the second-most by a seamer after Kagiso Rabada of South Africa.

It was Anderson’s 697th wicket as the 41-year-old edged closer to becoming the first fast bowler in Test cricket history to amass 700 wickets. Only Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralidaran (800) and Australia legend Shane Warne (708) have now wickets than Anderson. The next best by an active cricketer is Nathan Lyon (517) of Australia and India’s Ravichandran Ashwin (502).


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