JAMES ANDERSON has revealed how last week he became “frustrated and emotional” with his bowling for the first time in a decade.
Anderson, 38, says he reacted to his poor performance in the First Test against Pakistan by trying to bowl faster and faster — and things just got worse.
But England’s all-time leading wicket-taker believes speculation over his future is unfair after one bad match.
He wants to continue playing for as long as possible — until the 2021-22 Ashes tour and maybe beyond.
Anderson had match figures of 1-97 on his home ground at Old Trafford and has six wickets in three Tests this summer, with none in the second innings.
He also had opener Abid Ali dropped in the slips by Ben Stokes, which added further heat to his simmering anger.
Anderson explained: “It’s been a frustrating week for me. I’ve not bowled very well and felt out of rhythm. For the first time in probably ten years, I got a bit emotional and I let it get to me a little.
“It reminded me of when I first started playing — when you’re frustrated and angry, you try to bowl quicker and quicker and it doesn’t help.
“I ran in faster and bowled a couple of no-balls, which isn’t like me, really.
“I felt good going into the game but something was off.
“Fingers crossed, the captain and coach keep faith with me for the next game and I get the chance to show people I still have what it takes to play Test cricket.”
Anderson did not bowl badly but his poor return and grumpy demeanour led to speculation he might be about to call time on his record-breaking career.
He insisted: “I’ve had quite a few tough periods over a decent-length career.
“This was one bad game and I’m sure I’ll have another one. I just don’t want every time I have a bad game for there to be whispers that I’m going to pack in.
“The body feels good and I’ve felt stronger as the games have gone on this summer.
“I’ve dealt well with the pressure of expectation or the match situation throughout my career but I didn’t do that in the last match. I need to work on that.
“It’s trying to keep a positive mental attitude, focus on the next game and put everything else behind.”
Anderson is close to two historic milestones — he needs ten wickets to reach 600 in Test cricket and is seven matches short of Sir Alastair Cook’s England record of 161 Test appearances.
Jimmy joked: “Yeah, that’s all I’m focused on — getting past Cook!
JUST WANT TO BEAT COOKY!
“Seriously, I still can’t believe the number next to my name when the teams go on TV. But I’ve still got a few more left in me.
“If I can go past Cooky, it will probably be the one thing I’ve got up on him!
“And 600 wickets is not a huge thing, either, like other milestones I’ve passed. I want to be contributing to England wins.”
Anderson’s returns this summer look particularly lean compared to Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes, who have been harvesting wickets.
He must wait to discover if he plays in the Second Test against Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl on Thursday.
With Ben Stokes flying to New Zealand to see his family and father Ged, who was seriously ill while in South Africa last winter, England might keep the same balance — which means four seamers.
But Mark Wood and Sam Curran will be considered with Jofra Archer and Anderson most under threat while Jack Leach could be preferred to Dom Bess as the spinner.
However, Essex batsman Dan Lawrence has left England’s bio-secure bubble due to a family bereavement.