England’s record-breaking bowler on getting mobbed in the Maldives, sitting out the beach cricket, and why he’d never holiday in Australia
The last person you want to go on holiday with is a fellow cricketer. I spend so much time with them: we basically live together for months at a time. Graeme Swann and I took a couple of family trips together — Tenerife, nothing major — but that was the exception. If I had to go on holiday with a recent England captain, it would probably be Alastair Cook. Nasser Hussain is quite grumpy, Andrew Strauss is quite tight, so Alastair, yes. He’d buy the drinks, so it’d be much more fun. Kevin Pietersen? I’m not sure I’d get invited.
I feel fortunate that the countries where we play cricket are reasonable holiday destinations. It’s meant my kids have experienced a lot at an early age. We’ve just been to the Caribbean, it was Australia last Christmas, and we’ve got South Africa in the winter. Generally, if I’ve been somewhere to play, I don’t want to go back for a holiday. There are other places I’d rather tick off. Australia is an amazing place, but it’s not top of my holiday list. The fans there are passionate about their sport and quite brash when they’re winning. I’m sure it’s meant in good spirits, but it can be hard work.
When I’m away on holiday, I like to lie in, then go to the beach or pool, then work my way through the drinks list. I’m not a great sightseer. I certainly wouldn’t look for a game of beach cricket, either. In the Caribbean, I had a day off, and the kids and a few friends were playing. I was just sitting on the lounger, watching them. Maybe I felt self-conscious.
I’d go on holiday with Alastair Cook. He’d buy the drinks. Kevin Pietersen? I’m not sure I’d get invited
Most of the time, I can go about my business without being recognised. Obviously, in countries where cricket is a bit more popular, it’s different. The Maldives was the strangest. I went for a quick break and wasn’t expecting anyone to really be into their cricket. It turned out they were really keen. They weren’t intrusive, but they asked loads of questions. I was telling Alastair Cook this when I got back, and he said that when he visited, he got dragged into playing some beach cricket.
We had a caravan near Windermere, in the Lake District, for most of my childhood. We lived in northwest England, so the Lakes were a popular destination. Having young kids now, I like to go back to places that I visited as a kid: the Lakes and north Wales, around Abersoch. Great beaches, great fish and chips.
I’m lucky that most of the places I stay in are really nice, but there have been exceptions. On tour in Antigua, years ago, we stayed in a hotel with rats. Someone left some chocolate by the bed and it had a bite out of it in the morning. We soon left. Another that stands out was a hotel in Multan, Pakistan. It wasn’t prepared for a lot of visitors, so when a 30-man group turned up, they had to get their friends and family to help out. They didn’t speak English and didn’t really know how to work in a hotel. That was an interesting week.
I’m not allowed to ski because of the insurance. I haven’t been since I was 15, on a school trip. That’s something I’d like to do when I finish playing. And I’d like to see America, the lesser-known spots. Perhaps get a big RV and do it that way. That would be fun. It can be frustrating going on tour and not really getting to see a place, so we’d do it properly.
James ‘Jimmy’ Anderson, 32, plays cricket for Lancashire and England. He recently became England’s record wicket-taker in Tests, overtaking Ian Botham, and will lead the attack when the Ashes series starts on July 8. To celebrate the launch of his first wine collection, he is hosting a series of wine dinners with Hotel du Vin this summer (£65pp; hotelduvin.com/ events). He lives in Cheshire with his wife, Daniella, and their daughters, Lola, 6, and Ruby, 4