James Anderson: I still have the 'hunger and passion' to play for England

James Anderson said it was a 'shock' to find out that he wouldn't be part of England's upcoming tour against the West Indies.

England's leading Test wicket-taker, James Anderson, is 'praying' he has not played his last game at international level.

The seamer, who has taken 640 wickets in 169 Test matches, was left out of the upcoming West Indies tour alongside Stuart Broad.

Mark Wood, Chris Woakes, Ollie Robinson, Craig Overton, Saqib Mahmood and Matthew Fisher are the seam bowlers who have been selected in front of the pair. In addition to this is all-rounder Ben Stokes.

Shane Warne revealed he was not surprised by England's decision to leave Anderson out, claiming he should only be selected for when conditions suit his swing bowling.

Anderson, 39, was speaking for the first time since being dropped on the BBC's Tailenders podcast. On it, he insisted that he still has 'the hunger and passion to play' for England.

"I'm praying this isn't the end," he said.

"But if I never play for England again, I know I've got amazing people around me to support me and that's really important."

"I've got one more go at digging deep," he said. "I've got a lot left to offer - I've still got the hunger and passion to play."

"It was a shock and a disappointment to get that call but having processed it, it's important I try to focus on stuff I can control and that's showing people what I can do with the ball in my hand."

Sir Andrew Strauss - England's interim managing director - said the decision to drop Anderson and Broad does not mean their international careers are over.

Despite England's humiliating 4-0 defeat to Australia in the Ashes this winter, Anderson had a bowling average of 23.37 - the lowest out of any England bowler in the series - and took eight wickets in the process.

"Obviously it was a difficult tour of Australia, but I was happy with the way I bowled, I put in some decent performances out there," added the Lancastrian.

Chris Silverwood has since departed as England's head coach, while Graham Thorpe and Ashley Giles also left their respective roles as assistant coach and managing director of cricket.

Paul Collingwood is the interim head coach for England going into their tour against the West Indies in March before taking on New Zealand in the summer.

Paul Collingwood

Anderson is hopeful that he will be part of England's plans once they have appointed a new director of cricket and head coach.

"There will be a new director of cricket and new head coach in the summer, so I hope that whatever decision is made it's talked about in the way that it should be," added Anderson.

"Trying to stay away from the noise on social media has been difficult, but among the noise there have been some amazing messages."

In Wisden Trophy cricket, the prize for which England and the West Indies play in Tests, Anderson has played 22 matches and taken 87 wickets at 22.60, with a best of 7-42.

In the Caribbean itself, he has 36 wickets from 10 matches at 24.8, with a best of 7-77. Even as a veteran, he still looks potentially a very big miss for England.

In his absence, the team will play a warm-up match, scheduled for March 1-4 and then three Tests while in the West Indies.

1st Test: March 8-12 at North Sound, Antigua

2nd Test: March 16-20 at Bridgetown, Barbados

3rd Test: March 24-28 at St George's, Grenada

Read more: What happened to Shane Warne after he was banned from cricket in 2003?

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