ANI Photo | “Can’t keep him wrapping in cotton wool, picking him on sentiment”: Geoff Boycott on James Anderson

Legendary England cricketer Geoffrey Boycott called for the Three Lions’ to find replacements for 41-year-old pace veteran James Anderson, saying that the selectors cannot be “wrapping him in cotton wool” and “picking him up on sentiment forever”.
England’s ageless pace wonder recently completed 700 Test wickets during the series against India which concluded recently. The veteran picked up 10 wickets across four matches.
In his column for The Telegraph, Boycott said that Anderson deserves all the adulation he gets to be still around and has played 187 Tests, but owing to his age, he is being used too less. He urged England to find young seamers to pick up the baton from Anderson as England’s next key assignment will be the Ashes series against Australia, in Australia and by then, Anderson will be 43 years of age. He urged England to give more chances to younger pacers like Josh Tongue and Matthew Potts, who recently made their international debuts within the last year or two.
“Jimmy Anderson deserves all the adulation and plaudits for staying fit to play 187 Test matches and reach 700 wickets but, because of his age, he is used too sparingly,” said Boycott.
“England cannot keep wrapping him in cotton wool and picking him on sentiment forever. In a year-and-a-half England’s next big challenge will be going to Australia to try and win back the Ashes. Fast bowling is physically very demanding and eventually takes its toll on every bowler’s body. Jimmy will be 43 by the next Ashes and I do not see him being able to do the hard yards on tough, bone-hard pitches and in hot weather.
“England have to find some young seamers who can bowl 20 overs and come back the next day ready for more. They need to be given matches before the team is selected for Australia. For example, Josh Tongue played at Lord’s against Australia and took five wickets and has never been seen again. Matt Potts has 23 wickets in six Tests but has not played since the Ireland game last summer,” he added.
Boycott called Anderson a “great craftsman” who can help with his experience at one end as the team goes through a transition but before the Australian challenge, England should move on from the legendary pacer.
“Jimmy remains a great craftsman and he can give experience at one end while some new boys get bedded in at the other but before the Australia trip, it will be time to nicely say: ‘Sayonara Jimmy, thank you for the memories. We have loved watching your skill but it is time to move on,” he said.
Later, he went on to slam England for their bowling line-up, consisting of inexperienced spinners Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir, an ageing Anderson, an “ineffectual” pacer in Mark Wood and an unfit-to-bowl all-rounder Ben Stokes, saying that it was no wonder that England faced a 4-1 loss to India in the series as the bowling was not scary enough.
“It would not frighten anyone (the bowling attack): two raw kids in Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir with little first-class bowling as spinners, an ineffectual fast bowler in Mark Wood who just bangs the ball into the track with little movement, a great seamer in Anderson who was used sparingly because he is at the end of his career and an all-rounder Ben Stokes who was unfit to bowl until a bit in the last Test. No wonder it was 4-1,” said Boycott.
He also went on to say that England was lucky that Virat Kohli was unavailable in the series due to the birth of his child and KL Rahul missed the remainder of the series after the first Test due to injury.
“Inexperienced kids were never going to out bowl experienced Indian spinners in India. If anyone thought that then it was daft, wishful thinking. England were lucky that Virat Kohli was unavailable for all the series and KL Rahul only played one Test,” said the English legend.
Boycott said that he was amazed at how English batters had no answers for Kuldeep Yadav’s spin, saying that though his bowling could have been mysterious, England should have found out a way since they were international-level players after all.
“I was amazed how many of them could not read the wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav and by the end of the series were still no wiser. A bowler can be a mystery to you the first couple of times you have to face him but at the international level, batsmen should be able to find a way to work him out,” said Boycott.
“Too many never looked comfortable against him and were reduced to staying back and trying to play him off the pitch,” he added.
The former batter opined that England will not learn from this big series loss to India, “(Ben) Stokes says they will learn from this tour. I am not convinced. They will go back home and revert to type and beat ordinary West Indies and Sri Lanka teams and India will be forgotten as a distant memory,” he concluded. (ANI)

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