Nasser Hussain hails retiring James Anderson as 'arguably England's greatest ever'

Nasser Hussain hails retiring James Anderson as 'arguably England's greatest ever'

Former captain Nasser Hussain heaped praise on James Anderson ahead of what is sure to be an emotional farewell this English summer.

Hastened by a frank conversation with England Test head coach Brendon McCullum last month, Anderson announced on Saturday he will end his illustrious international career following the first Test against the West Indies at Lord's starting on July 10, the same month he celebrates his 42nd birthday.

Anderson told his Tailenders podcast it would be "a stretch" to feature in the 2025/26 Ashes so McCullum and captain Ben Stokes will look to the future and integrate younger seam bowling options into the England team sooner rather than later.

But Hussain, who led England when Anderson made his ODI debut in December 2002 and his Test bow in May 2003, insisted the country's record wicket-taker and appearance-maker is still worth his place in the side.

Hussain told Sky Sports: "It's fitting he should end at Lord's. He started (his Test career) at Lord's against Zimbabwe in 2003, he's going to finish at Lord's with 21 years in-between.

"He's been a magnificent cricketer with everything he's done on and off the field; his fitness, his form, his skill, his will to come back from adversity, it will be a very emotional week at Lord's.

"But I think it's a week he deserves, firstly because he deserves to be in that side. He is absolutely in England's best XI still with the Dukes ball.

"He's arguably our greatest ever cricketer, he deserves that week from the fans, for the fans and also for himself."

Anderson's 700 Test wickets are a record for a non-spinner while nine more dismissals in his last outing will take him beyond Shane Warne (708) and up to second on the all-time list, behind only Muttiah Muralitharan.

His 187 Test appearances is also the most by any bowler in Test history, and only the great Sachin Tendulkar, with 200 for India, has more.

Katherine Sciver-Brunt - who brought the curtain down on her own decorated career last year after taking 335 international wickets, the most by any England woman - told the BBC: "He's going to be in mourning, like myself and the rest of the country.

"He was our hero and he'll always be a legend of our game.

"He's got time to sit and reflect on the rest of his life, enjoy his family and his golf and I just urge him to sit back and really take time to do that and look at what he wants to do with the rest of his life."

Anderson is undecided about whether to continue playing for Lancashire once his international career is up but he will pull on the spikes for the Red Rose in preparation to face the Windies.

Lancashire head coach Dale Benkenstein said: "If he feels like he still wants to continue playing after that final Test match then we would be over the moon to have him, but we would understand if he doesn't.

"He has had more than his fair share of overs and blood in his boots, but if he feels like he still wants to contribute and play for Lancs we'd be delighted to have him."

READ MORE: England legend James Anderson confirms first Test against West Indies will be his last