James Anderson has no plans to follow Alastair Cook into international retirement any time soon, but the record-breaking England paceman knows that could change quickly.
England wrapped up their five-Test series against India by completing a 4-1 victory at the Oval on Tuesday, Anderson removing Mohammed Shami for the final wicket – his 564th in the longest format.
That took the 36-year-old, who was clearly emotional about opener Cook stepping away from the England set-up after the 118-run triumph, past Glenn McGrath to become the most prolific seamer in Test history.
There were concerns about how Anderson would cope with the gruelling schedule of five Tests in the space of six weeks against India, having required a significant rest period following a shoulder injury in the build-up.
But England's star bowler played a full role in the series and is only thinking about preparing for the tour to Sri Lanka in November, not how long he intends to keep going.
"I play my best when I focus on what's ahead of me and the next game, the next series, whatever it is," said Anderson, who acknowledged his outlook could rapidly change.
"We've got a decent break before Sri Lanka so I'll try to get myself in as good a condition as possible to cope with the rigours of bowling seam in Sri Lanka, which could be tough. Then we just see how it goes.
"I read something that Glenn McGrath said, that he went into the 2006 Ashes with no intention of retiring and then by the end of it he just thought his time was up. That could happen to me, who knows.
"I don't like looking too far ahead … if you look too far ahead you take your eye off what's happening here and now and that's what I like to focus on."
Congratulations to @jimmya9 on becoming the most successful fast bowler in the history of the game. It takes dedication, commitment, hard work, skill & mental toughness to achieve what you have. Very well deserved mate. Congrats again & well done. Enjoy. #cricket #ENGvIND #fastbowlingcartel
With a home Ashes series against Australia slated for August 2019, Anderson was asked whether he would be open to reducing his schedule to ensure availability for the biggest matches.
He responded: "At the stage I'm at, I don't play one-day cricket so I think I have enough time in between Test series to be able to prepare myself well and get myself in good physical shape.
"We came into this five-Test series in six weeks with question marks: 'Will the bowlers get through? They've got two 30-plus bowlers – will they be need resting? Or will they get injuries?' And we've done it.
"We pride ourselves on working hard when we get the chance with that time off, and myself and Stuart [Broad] don't play white-ball cricket so we have that time to be able to get ourselves in the right frame of mind, the right physical condition to cope with what's ahead of us."
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