Jimmy Anderson: I’ve no time for the Aussies

England’s premier paceman tells Jack Pitt-Brooke he doesn’t care about post-match drinks with the opposition this winter - he is solely focused on a historic series victory

“I don’t not get on with them...” says Jimmy Anderson of the Australians, emphasising the negative, trying to explain as precisely and safely as possible just what he thinks about the opponents of this summer and this winter.

Anderson is not one to stir things up but he is not a man for platitudes either, for faux-chumminess or for pretending that affection exists where it does not. This is simply not a relationship that means very much to him.

At the end of the last Ashes series the England and Australia players, in keeping with tradition, had a drink  together. Anderson, though, admits that he could not easily enjoy it, unable to suddenly see these adversaries as mates when they would be adversaries again in three months’ time.

“We had a beer at the end of the  series but it was quite strange. Because you’re thinking at the back of your mind that you don’t want to give too much away because you’re going to see them in a few weeks. So it was quite odd.”

This is not told with any real animosity or edge, just a shrug. As Anderson explains, he does not have the time to get to know the Australians. But he does not give the impression that this is a desperate worry for him.

“It is difficult,” Anderson explains. “It doesn’t really happen with any country. Unless you play with them in county cricket or the IPL or whatever, it’s hard to build a relationship with the opposition. Because the schedule is that tight, that you’re just going from game to game, playing against each other, there’s no time in between just to chat.”

Anderson is simply being serious and being himself, which is why he has no time for the affected disdain the Australians tried with the England players back in the 2006-07 series. “At the start of that series they were ignoring us. You would walk past people that you knew would just blank you, they made a point of doing that.”

So it is not much of a surprise, then, when Anderson says that Darren Lehmann’s criticisms of England’s style of cricket hardly keep him awake at night. “To be honest, I’m not interested what Darren Lehmann thinks about what style of cricket we play.”

The priority this summer was to win, which England did, and while Anderson would rather England had played better, it was not for the sake of impressing the Australia coach.

“We didn’t play well, and we were scrapping like mad to try to keep  ourselves in games and to try to win games. At the end of the day, we won a Test series and that’s what we set out to do. As much as we’d love to entertain everyone, hit sixes and bowl people out quickly, it doesn’t always happen like that. And sometimes you’ve just got to try to win any way you can.”

For all the suggestions of a PR problem with the England team, after their strangely subdued third straight Ashes win, Anderson insists that the team “don’t play to get the acclaim or praise of the media”, and that starting the  series as favourites slightly took the edge off their victory.

So there is a chance this winter for England to win their fourth consecutive series, for the first time since the late 1880s. It would be a remarkable achievement for this team, of which Anderson is the spearhead. Successful sides can only last for so long and while it might be hard to envisage the same standards lasting indefinitely, Anderson does want this great outfit to continue together for at least a few more expeditions.

“I hope so,” Anderson says, before admitting that he does not know the long-term plans of Graeme Swann, Kevin Pietersen or Andy Flower. “But I hope [we go on together] because I think we’ve got something really  special. We’ve got a lot of experience but we’re by no means over the hill yet, the core of the team. I’m hopeful there’s a few more series in us yet.”

There is a new young set emerging, with Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Gary Ballance, Ben Stokes and Steven Finn all on the Ashes tour, all aged between 22 and 24. “The more young guys that we can get in the squad, not necessarily playing all the time, but if you can get them in and around the squad, and used to the international scene, that will obviously make the transition easier in the future. But it is useful to have guys who’ve got experience to help the other lads through.”

Anderson remembers his first tour to Australia – aged 20, for the one-day series after the 2002-03 Ashes – and how he was not made to feel as welcome as he might have been.

“It was a very different team then. It wasn’t as easy to come into the side, you were thought of as a threat rather than as a new member of the team. We were aware of it and it doesn’t help the team.”

Now Anderson is on the other side he is determined not to allow the same thing to happen. “Things have changed. A few guys who were around then have drawn on that experience to try and make things easier now for the guys coming into the team, to try and help them settle in a bit easier. We know what works in a successful team and you need it to be a settled dressing room, and I think making people comfortable when they come into the team is a huge part of that.”

The experience that runs through the England team was arguably the decisive factor this summer. “There were some very tight Tests in there that could have gone either way, it could quite easily have been 2-1 to them,” Anderson says, admitting that England were “saved by rain” at Old Trafford, “looked like losing” at Durham before they won and that Australia were “in control” at The Oval before the  contrived finish.

“We have had experience of not only winning tight Tests, we’ve managed to hang on for draws in quite a few in the last few years. You can draw on that experience, especially when you’re in tight situations. I think we did that quite a lot, and also the fact that Australia are quite a young side and probably not used to winning those tight Tests.

“We were put under quite a lot of pressure by them. But we managed to win those crucial moments, it just got us over the line.”

This winter will be different, though, and Anderson – who will be using the Slazenger V100 Ultimate TAS bat Down Under – is aware that England will have to improve.

“We know we’ll have to play better if we’re going to win in Australia.” The standard has already been set – the  3-1 win in Australia in 2010-11 – and Anderson acknowledges England have not played quite that well since. To get back to that level, before anything else, they will have to start stacking up first-innings scores again.

“The amount of runs we got is something we’re going to have to emulate – it will be very difficult – but it’s something we’ve got to strive for. [Alastair] Cook and [Jonathan] Trott didn’t perform as well as they would have liked [this summer], and they will be trying to turn that around for Australia. I think it will be really tough, I think it will be a close series.”

James Anderson will be using the Slazenger V100 Ultimate TAS bat during this winter’s Ashes, part of the new 2014 Slazenger range available to pre-order in November. For more information, visit Store.slazenger.com

News
i100
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsAll just to promote a new casino
News
i100
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
News
i100
Sport
Tom Cleverley
footballLoan move comes 17 hours after close of transfer window
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
News
Boris Johnson may be manoeuvring to succeed David Cameron
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering