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Body Up to the Challenge, but Selection Not in My Hands: James Anderson

Anderson is the highest Test wicket-taker among pace bowlers in the world with 640 scalps in 169 Tests.

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England's pace bowling stalwart, Jimmy Anderson, has said that while his selection in the Test squad is not in his hands, his focus ahead of the gruelling English summer season would be to bowl as well as possible to get noticed by the selectors.

Anderson is the highest Test wicket-taker among pace bowlers in the world with 640 scalps in 169 Tests. The 39-year-old was dropped from the three-Test away series against the West Indies, which the Joe Root-led side lost 0-1 recently. Anderson has vowed to wrest back his place in the Test side with a good showing in county cricket playing for Lancashire.

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The England veteran added that his "body is up to the challenge" of continuing to play Test cricket, despite a lack of clarity about what the future has in store for him.

"I've stopped trying to make sense of it (selection) and just put it to one side," said Anderson in an interview to Manchester Evening News. "It was completely out of my control. I've got to focus on what I can control and that is bowling as well as I possibly can.

"It feels a bit strange at the minute. I'm still centrally contracted (with the England and Wales Cricket Board) but I've not had too much feedback from them because a lot is up in the air in terms of director of cricket and head coach. I have just been working with Glenn (Chapple, Lancashire's head coach) and Sam (Byrne, physio) here, just trying to figure out what the best way forward is," added Anderson.

Anderson and pace-bowling partner Stuart Broad were dropped from the away Test series against the West Indies following the team's 0-4 debacle in the Ashes series in Australia. While the drubbing Down Under was not on account of the performance of the two bowlers, experts felt that they were made scapegoats for the defeats.

Anderson, who will turn 40 in July this year, is the third-highest wicket-taker in Test history behind former Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and late Australian spin wizard Shane Warne. He remains committed to continuing his playing career, and despite reaching the point in his career where he has to carefully manage his workload, is not yet thinking too far ahead.

"For the last few years, I have been thinking about that (life after cricket) anyway; it is just natural to think about that when you get to a certain age," said Anderson. "People keep asking you the question of how long you are going to go on for. I don't think that has changed much really.

"My focus has always been, if I can still perform and my body is up to the challenge then I will keep doing that. I'll have to take it season-by-season. If the England call doesn't come, I will still play here this season. I have never looked too far ahead in my career. It's always game-by-game and series-by-series and season-by-season."

Anderson added that, following chief coach Chris Silverwood's departure in February after the Ashes, getting a "really good" new head coach would be crucial for England ahead of the new season.

"They (England) just need a really good coach," he added. "It's not about me (but) the team needs a coach in place ASAP. It's not that far until the start of the international summer so I think the sooner the better."

England will being their summer season with the first Test against New Zealand from June 2 at Lord's.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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