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‘Sayonara Jimmy’: Boycott calls for England to plan beyond Anderson

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NEW DELHI: Renowned England cricketer Geoffrey Boycott made a fervent plea for England’s selectors to look beyond sentimentality and start planning for the future without 41-year-old pace maestro James Anderson.

Boycott’s remarks come in the wake of Anderson’s milestone achievement of 700 Test wickets during the recently concluded series against India, where the veteran claimed 10 wickets across four matches.

“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,” Boycott asserted in a recent column for The Telegraph.

Boycott stressed the importance of preparing younger seamers to take over from Anderson, especially with the upcoming Ashes series in Australia on the horizon, where Anderson will be 43. He advocated for providing opportunities to emerging talents like Josh Tongue and Matthew Potts, who have recently made their international debuts.

“England cannot keep wrapping him in cotton wool and picking him on sentiment forever,” Boycott remarked.

“In a year-and-a-half England’s next big challenge will be going to Australia to try and win back the Ashes.”

While acknowledging Anderson’s expertise, Boycott emphasized the need for England to move forward, saying, “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.'”

Boycott didn’t hold back in his criticism of England’s current bowling lineup either, describing it as lacking in potency and unable to intimidate opponents. He singled out the inexperienced spinners Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir, an “ineffectual” Mark Wood, and an unfit Ben Stokes for scrutiny.

“It would not frighten anyone: 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,” Boycott criticized.

The former cricketer also lamented England’s batting struggles against Kuldeep Yadav, expressing surprise at their inability to counter the spinner’s deliveries.

“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,” he said.

Boycott concluded by casting doubt on England’s ability to learn from their defeat to India, suggesting they might revert to their usual form against weaker opponents.

“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,” Boycott remarked.

(With inputs from ANI)

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