England v South Africa – James Anderson

James Anderson has expressed sadness at Trent Boult’s request to be released from his central contract to improve his availability in the T20 leagues, and fears Test cricket is struggling in the changing landscape.

Following conversations with New Zealand Cricket, Boult and the board have agreed to a parting of ways which in no way ends the 33-year-old’s international career, but will see it significantly curtailed. Instead of regular appearances for the Blackcaps, he will instead focus on the franchise circuit, including two lucrative new additions in the United Arab Emirates and South Africa.

NZC chief executive David White told ESPNcricinfo he doesn’t think it will have a ripple effect on others within the New Zealand setup. However, Anderson, who turned 40 last month and will earn his 173rd cap in the first Test against South Africa on Wednesday, believes Boult’s decision is a seismic event given the direction cricket is heading. He expects more bowlers in particular to take this route given the rewards on offer.

When asked if he was saddened by Boult’s decision, Anderson admitted he was “because the cricket test will probably bear the brunt of it. The easiest thing for bowlers to do is to play four overs or 20 balls.’re paid just as well, that probably makes sense.That will tempt more people than not.

“He is [a big deal that Boult made this choice] because he’s a top international player and I can definitely see that happening more and more now, especially with the bowlers.”

Boult’s quote about timing and spending more time with family is something Anderson can appreciate. He knows his workload, significantly lightened due to the fact he hasn’t played any white-ball cricket for England since the 2015 World Cup aged 50, has contributed to his longevity. The same goes for his opening partner Stuart Broad, who last represented England in the limited overs format in an ODI against South Africa in January 2016.

“I think Broady will say the same thing: that we were lucky that our white ball careers were pretty much over after that World Cup and we could focus on red ball cricket. It worked out really well. for us. Going forward, I can see it definitely being the other way around – with people picking and choosing their formats, their tours, whatever it is.”

“I’m proud to have gotten to where I am,” Anderson said, reflecting on his feat of endurance. “I also feel lucky to still have the love of the game and the desire to improve and to continue to train and play in nets and everything that goes with it. Because for a lot of people that’s is the first thing that goes, and that’s where you start to slow down and relax. But for me, I feel like that passion is still there. So I feel lucky for that. I have lucky that my body is still functioning properly and allowing me to do the work that I love.”

As for who will be the next player to join this age bracket, Anderson suggested his longtime partner Broad, who is already 36 years old. However, his follow-up to who else has spoken about his vision for the game right now – a time when the future seems far more relevant than the present:

“Certainly not after that because no one will be stupid enough. Everything that’s happened in the world with franchise cricket, the Hundred, the short forms of the game, I don’t see anyone wanting to play Test cricket that long. “

When it comes to future-proofing cricket, although boards should take the bulk of the responsibility for doing so – if they so choose – Anderson believes current players are the ones who should continue to do their part. Ever since Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes took over as head coach and captain of the England Test team, much has been said about how their style of cricket makes the longer format more appealing.

While most of that talk has come from England players, much to the derision of others, notably the Proteas who are motivated to burst the so-called ‘Bazball’ bubble, in the style of four wins at the start of the summer. against New Zealand. and India revived the good feeling around the format. It’s a responsibility Anderson feels shouldn’t be ignored.

“Even though we didn’t play that way, I still think Test cricket is an amazing format. We’ve had some brilliant runs and games, not just involving ourselves and between other teams around the world who were brilliant to watch. So hopefully people will see that and want to be a part of it, growing up wanting to play test cricket.

“But, yes, our job and 100% responsibility as cricket testers is to promote the game and encourage as many people as possible to watch and play it when they get older.”

Vithushan Ehantharajah is associate writer for ESPNcricinfo

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