With the Ashes series in England about to kick off, one of England’s leading wicket- takers of all time and self-proclaimed Apple fan James Anderson took some time to fill us in on his new iPhone app and life on tour.
FIRST OFF, YOU HAVE A NEW iOS APP ON THE APP STORE, WHAT IS IT CALLED AND WHAT DOES IT DO?
It’s called ‘Jimmy 613’ – 613 being my England Test number. It’s a free app with a range of hints and guidance for cricketers, some fun stuff about me off the pitch and the chance to download a bowling masterclass as an in-app purchase.
HOW DID THE APP COME ABOUT? WAS THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS SIMPLE OR DIFFICULT?
I enjoy technology and have a few gadgets, especially on tour. I also have some fun on Twitter so the app was an opportunity to take that a stage further. Development was a collaborative effort – agreeing to a plan and then reviewing the app in stages and making refinements.
WHAT SORT OF AUDIENCE DO YOU THINK IS GOING TO GO FOR THIS?
I think with the main focus on cricket at the moment, then that’s probably the area we’re looking at. But in the future, hopefully, more things will be added. Not just the cricket videos and things like that, but the fashion stuff – there’ll be more of that. The more I do, the more can go on the app. And maybe that’ll be something that will interest people.
BESIDES YOUR OWN, WHICH iOS APPS DO YOU MOST ENJOY USING AND WHY?
I like news and sport apps – helps me keep up-to-date on tour. Shazam is great. I’m always hearing songs that I like on the radio so it’s good to quickly find out what they are. Also I have a lot of catch-up apps so if I miss any TV I can get it on my mobile when I’m on the move.
WHICH TECH ITEMS AROUND THE HOUSE CAN’T YOU LIVE WITHOUT? WHICH ARE THE FIRST PACKED WHEN YOU HEAD OVERSEAS?
I love my iPad. Even around the house it gets a lot of use but it’s definitely the first thing I make sure I have with me to go overseas. FaceTime is great to have when I’m away as it’s so easy to keep in touch with my family. My Xbox would be the other item I don’t go on tour without. It’s very popular with the rest of the team, so it’s important you take your own to get the necessary practise in!
WHO ARE THE BEST AND WORST VIDEO GAME PLAYERS IN THE ENGLAND TEAM?
It’s pretty simple. The majority of the lads have got kids, so the only chance we get to play is on tour. But you’ve got the single guys – Stuart Broad is excellent, on FIFA mainly. Call of Duty is the other one we play a lot. Stuart Broad is in a different league on that.
Unfortunately, the guys that have got families – young families – generally only get the chance to play out there. So by the end of the tour we’re brilliant.
I got pretty good by the end of the last tour to India, but by the start of the New Zealand Tour I’ll be back to square one, unfortunately.
IF YOU COULD ONLY HAVE ONE, WHICH WOULD YOU PREFER: TWITTER OR FACEBOOK? AND WHY?
I prefer Twitter. I just think it’s a great way of letting people know what you’re doing. With the app, for example, it was good to be able to let people know it was available and direct them to it. But my Facebook page is growing daily so that’s also a great way to communicate with fans.
YOU DON’T WORRY ABOUT GETTING INTO TROUBLE, AND SAYING THE WRONG THING?
Yes, but I think that’s just common sense, really. As a sportsman you know what you can and can’t say, and you’ve got to treat it like you’re doing an interview, when you’re talking about cricket. I try to stay away from putting anything about cricket on Twitter, or commenting on anything controversial, to be honest, because I think that just gets you into trouble.
I treat it like an interview and just try to have a bit of fun with it. Just try and let people know what I’m up to, and the things I’ve got going on.
ON THE SPORTING SIDE OF THINGS, HOW IS TECHNOLOGY INVOLVED IN THE WAY YOU TRAIN AND PERFORM?
It’s a key part of what we do. All the coaches have iPads so they can film us during practice and give us on-the-spot feedback. Also we get a lot of information through Dropbox. The coaches will send us footage of opposition players so we can study them in the lead-up to a game.
It’s improving all the time. There is something called ‘pro batter’ where you can face actual bowlers. It’s like a big screen with international bowlers running in at you and then a ball pops out of a hole in the screen.
The DRS (Decision Review System) is a technological innovation that’s a big part of cricketing life now. But in the Test series in India it wasn’t used, and it seemed really odd – it shows how quickly we’ve become used to it.
DO YOU THINK IT’S BEEN A GOOD THING?
Yeah I think it’s been great. I really do. At the end of the day, as cricketers you want the correct decision, and there were decisions that went against both teams in that series, and it just makes sense to have it.
As you say, everyone’s become used to it, everyone else around the world still uses it, you still use it in one-day cricket as well. And there were times in the one-day series that we’ve just played where DRS would have been helpful.
So yeah, I think hopefully the Indians will come around to everyone else’s way of thinking and use it. Eventually.
SINCE THE AUSSIE BATSMEN CAN’T FACE SWING BOWLING, HOW MANY FIVE-WICKET HAULS WILL YOU COLLECT IN THE UPCOMING ASHES?
I’m not sure about that! I think Australia has been showing some good form. Guys like [Michael] Clarke and [Shane] Watson will be important for them and one thing we know about Aussies is they don’t roll over without a fight so I expect it to be a tough series.