James Anderson: India can't complain if we leave a bit of grass on the pitch

England fast bowler James Anderson wants pace and carry on the pitches for the five-match Test series against India, starting at Nottingham from August 4.

At 39, England's James Anderson is the most successful fast bowler in the history of Test cricket with 617 wickets in 162 matches.   -  GETTY IMAGES

At 39, England's James Anderson is the most successful fast bowler in the history of Test cricket with 617 wickets in 162 matches. Last month, he took his 1,000th first-class wicket to help Lancashire skittle Kent for 74 inside a session at Old Trafford. Now as he gears up for the five-match Test series against India, starting at Trent Bridge from August 4, Anderson talks about taking on different generations of Indian batsmen, dealing with pressures of elite sport and more.

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Excerpts:

On facing different generations of Indian batsmen

It’s something I feel fortunate to have done. It’s been a real experience playing against different generations of batters. I think you can see a difference with the IPL (Indian Premier League) generation of players... there's a more fearless approach – they are not scared of playing any shot in any format of the game. Rishabh Pant is an example, reverse-sweeping me with the new ball on our last tour to India. You never saw Sourav Ganguly do that. It is exciting to see. It is a different challenge for bowlers when you face a player who is not afraid to go over the top in Test cricket or play extravagant shots. It is also great for the viewers.

On Indian batsmen standing outside the crease to negate swing

It doesn’t scupper plans. It is something that a lot of batters have done over the years. Maybe it has become more prevalent now. I watched the WTC (World Test Championship) final, and it was evident that a lot of them were trying to do that. That said, it is something that I have had happen to me quite a few times over the years – oppositions come to England where the ball is swinging. In trying to negate the swing, they get further out [of the crease] and take the lbw out of the equation. So, it wouldn’t be something new to me, and I would like to believe I could cope with it – maybe change your lengths, drag it back a little bit and think of different ways to get them out.

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On which Indian batsman will be a prized wicket

India has got a very strong batting lineup. It is very difficult to single players out because they have got quality throughout the squad. We saw that on our recent tour of India. (Virat) Kohli is important because he is the captain, and you can see the influence he has on the team. (Cheteshwar) Pujara holds the innings together, so he is an important wicket. I think if you look through the lineup – the guys who miss out also have huge quality – we have got to try and make a plan for everyone.

On the Nottingham pitch for first Test

I am sure they are going to trim some grass out. They are going to roll it as well. I don't think India can have any complaints if we do leave a bit of grass [on the pitch] because of what we came up against in our tour of India last time. It certainly played into India's hands. They used the home advantage to their benefit. A lot of teams around the world do it. A green pitch brings India's seam attack into the game as well. We want pace and carry on the pitches because we know quite often it is going to swing here, so we want that extra carry.

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On pressures of elite sport and dealing with mental health

I think it affects different people in different ways. Different pressures come with being successful in your sport. Certainly, from Ben's (Stokes) point of view, he has been through a lot in the last few years, and he has played a hell of a lot of cricket. What is positive from all of this is in the last few years, it’s become more okay to talk about it and be open about your feelings and problems. When I started, from a male athlete’s point of view, maybe it was seen as a weakness if you spoke about struggling with pressure. I am grateful it has become okay to talk about it now. I hope Ben gets the rest and the help he needs and comes back stronger.

Watch India tour of England from August 4, LIVE on SONY SIX and SONY TEN 4 channels from 3.30 pm IST

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