Anderson 'desperate to get out there and play' despite coronavirus fears

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James Anderson, England's leading wicket-taker in Test cricket and One-Day Internationals, during the CNN Sports interview.

In an interview with CNN, James Anderson, England's leading wicket-taker in Test cricket and One-Day Internationals, said that while he is "desperate to get out there and play," he thinks it's only natural for players to have worries about restarting cricket during the global coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking on Instagram Live with CNN Sport’s Amanda Davies, Anderson discussed how cricket would have to adapt to avoid the spread of COVID-19, which includes the idea of banning players from using saliva to shine the ball.

Anderson conceded he doesn’t know if he's "going to make it to the next Ashes series" in 2021 and outlines a possible retirement from the game after the next scheduled series in Australia.

Anderson on the return of cricket and adapting to the coronavirus pandemic:

"It's just a human reaction to be nervous about this situation. We've got players in our team who have pregnant wives and the worry there is if they bring something back. So I think what the ECB is doing is trying to make sure we really, really tick every box that we can to make sure the safety of the players and staff is paramount and make sure everything is in the right place so if and when we do join back up as a team before we start playing, we are as safe as we can be."

Anderson on the sport returning and discussions with his family:

“We’ve talked about it briefly. And I think as long as all the safety measures are in place, then I’ll be happy to go back and play. I mean, it’s really difficult for lots of players in different situations. For me, I don’t know how long I’ve got left. I’m getting towards the end of my career, so I’m desperate to go out there and play.”

Anderson on the proposed idea of banning players from using saliva to shine the ball:

"It's a massive thing for me because to get the ball to swing, you need to be able to polish the ball and repair it when it gets scuffs on it... It’ll be interesting to see what they do, but I certainly haven’t heard anything.”

Anderson on his future in the sport and possible retirement:

“To be honest, I don’t even know if I’m going to make it to the next Ashes series. For me, it’s about the next game and what I can control. I don’t like looking too far ahead. You don’t know when you’re going to get your next injury as a bowler, especially for me over the last few months and last couple of years! I love playing cricket and that’s what I’m going to do for as long as I possibly can. If we can win in Australia, that would be amazing and -- it’s hard to say because it’s so far ahead -- but if I managed to play in that and we won, obviously I’d have to see how my body was at that point, but it might be a nice way to go out.”

Anderson on how long he feels he can continue playing:

“As long as I’ve got that love for it, I’ll keep going. I don’t know when, retirement for me, it could be six months, it could be six years, who knows. You obviously start to think about it because you get to a certain age. This is when sportsmen and women are meant to retire, in their 30s. As long as my body’s feeling good, why should I stop just because this is when people should retire. I love seeing people go into their 40s and still performing at the top level. Why can’t I do that?”

Anderson on the idea of playing in front of no fans:

"We're lucky (in England) that most Test matches are sold out, certainly the first few days, we get big crowds so motivating yourself isn't an issue. You just get out there in front of a packed house and it's quite easy to get up for a game. I think we might have to lean on each other as players if there's no crowd there, no atmosphere, we hear the sound of leather on willow echoing around the ground rather than the applause." — CNN Sport


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