James Anderson admitted was was not sure he would ever play Test cricket for England again after being dropped from the squad for the West Indies tour this winter.
It has been a rocky time for the England cricket team with a thrashing to Australia in the Ashes followed by the swift removal of Chris Silverwood as head coach.
Anderson, the country’s record wicket-taker with 640 to his name, and fellow England legend Stuart Broad were then surprisingly dropped for the series in the West Indies, which they went on to lose.
Joe Root succumbed to pressure and resigned as captain as England set their sights on an overhaul behind the scenes.
Rob Key and Brendon McCullum have both recently been appointed, with Key as Managing Director and McCullum as Test coach, and it’s been reported that the latter’s coaching philosophy is likely to shake the squad out of their downward spiral.
Although there are new names at the helm, there was a very familiar look to the first Test squad announced ahead of the New Zealand series.
Anderson and Broad have both been recalled and there were few surprises.
Speaking exclusively to talkSPORT prior to the announcement, Anderson threw his weight behind the appointments, even though they may have come as a surprise.
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He said: “I’m no stranger to bringing about change within a team environment and I can’t wait to get started.
“You’d probably say that Rob [Key] and Brendon [McCullum] are slightly left field picks for those roles considering the sort of people that had those roles in the past, but I think it’s an exciting time.”
“Certainly with Brendon as Test coach, having played against him a lot and seeing him as New Zealand captain, seeing how forward thinking he was, how attacking he was, it’s just an exciting time.”
The Burnley-born star bore the brunt of the fallout as he was dropped following his team’s 4-0 loss across five matches in Australia.
Anderson had described the decision as ‘out of the blue’ given he was still top ten in the rankings. And now, he’s revealed it did make him question if his 20-year strong international career was over.
“In terms of playing cricket [ever again], no I never thought that. In terms of international cricket, I wasn’t sure. I wasn’t sure what was going on.
“But in terms of still wanting to play the game, that’s what I was thinking to myself, talking to my family, me and Stuart [Broad] had a few conversations as well.
“And I feel like I’m so lucky that I have the body that I have that’s allowing me to bowl at this standard.”
Despite being knocked back by being dropped from the England team, this hasn’t shaken Anderson’s belief in himself, even if the national side’s coaches have lost their faith in him.
And it’s easy to see why Anderson still feels as though he’s still capable of playing on the international stage, with his Instagram being filled full of fitness inspired posts and pictures of his impressive physique.
Indeed, his confidence is still so high that he told talkSPORT that any international team would benefit from having both him and Broad – who was also dropped from the West Indies tour – in their side.
“I feel like we wouldn’t have had the success we wouldn’t have had without the other. I think we have formed a really good partnership.
“But obviously we are individuals, and Stuart is an incredible bowler on his own and for me would get in any international team in the world. And I feel like that about myself.
“We work so hard at our game and we’ve got the quality to offer something to a team.”