England is slated to play a three-match Test series against South Africa in August and September and it will witness 40-year-old James Anderson represent the hosts. Former England captain Sir Andrew Strauss has come out to praise the longevity of Anderson, who was once a teammate of his on the international stages.

Anderson made his England debut in an ODI match against Australia in Melbourne on December 15, 2002. He made his Test debut for the Three Lions the next year against Zimbabwe on May 22.

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Strauss, 45, who is a former England captain and opener, has played many matches alongside Anderson in his career but retired in 2012 when he was 35 years old. Strauss made his England debut in 2003, a year after Anderson.

“A decade from retiring seems obscene quite frankly,” Strauss said.

“But the most bizarre thing of all is that Jimmy Anderson made his England debut before I did. I’ve been retired 10 years now. That is crazy,” he added.

Strauss also recalled a conversation in 2015, when he became the director of the England and Wales Cricket Board, where they were thinking about managing the workload of Anderson and Stuart Broad.

“I remember in 2015, when I took over as Director of Cricket, we were talking then about managing the workload of Jimmy especially but Broad too because we felt they were coming to the senior end of their careers,” he revealed.

“For Jimmy to keep his standards and fitness levels as high as he has, to keep improving his skills as he has over the last six/seven years. That’s the difference when you look at good cricketers and greats,” he added.

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Strauss also feels that Jimmy Anderson is ‘incredibly competitive’ and termed him as world class.

“Look at Jimmy, he’s still incredibly competitive, is at a genuinely world-class level, and it’s a privilege to watch him bowl, in English conditions especially,” he quipped.

James Anderson has played in 172 Test matches in his career, claiming 657 wickets. He has also played 194 ODIs and 19 T20I matches, taking 269 and 18 wickets respectively.