England's highest ever wicket-taker James Anderson insists he has never been fitter and vowed to follow Ryan Giggs' lead by maintaining his best form in the twilight of his career.
The 33-year-old will begin his 16th summer of county cricket when Lancashire take on Nottinghamshire on Sunday keen to prove recent injury troubles are behind him.
He has had an indifferent past few months by his own high standards but was not helped by a calf complaint over the winter which followed a side strain that prematurely ended his Ashes participation last summer.
Questions have inevitably been raised as to how long Anderson - who has taken 433 Test wickets for England - has left at the top.
But the Burnley-born bowler claims former Manchester United winger Giggs serves as an inspiration to continue until at least 2019.
He told the Daily Telegraph: "We are fitter now than ever so why not? Look at guys who have played sport for a long time like Ryan Giggs. He was comfortable at 40 and did not look out of place when he retired.
"Where I am at the minute is I feel as fit as I have ever been. I feel I can still get it down the other end. I guess it is an extra incentive to keep going, to prove people wrong. You spend all your career trying to prove people wrong. It is the same now.
"In the back of my mind I think I can get 500 Test wickets and what has helped me during the last three or four years has been thinking about staying as fit as possible so I get on the field.
"Then I can contribute to us winning games. If I do that and stay in the team it means I will get wickets. I would like to play the 2019 Ashes. I will be 37 then."
As for his plans after retirement, Anderson was adamant he wanted to give something back to the sport.
He said: "I want to stay in cricket. The game has been amazing to me. So I want to stay but whether that is coaching full-time I am not sure. It is a full-time job on the road travelling away from your family if you do it at international level.
"Mentoring sounds more feasible. Dipping in and out trying to pass things on. I worked for Sky during the World Twenty20. That was a great opportunity to try it. I have a good analytical brain so if I can get it across in the right way that could be a possibility as well."
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