England's legendary Test pacer James Anderson is the first pacer to reach 950 wickets.

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) — The lone survivor of England’s last test tour of Pakistan 17 years ago is feeling blessed to be back.

James Anderson has worked hard on his fitness for the last five-six years to still be spearheading England’s bowling attack at the age of 40, and prolong a test career that started in 2003 against Zimbabwe at Lord’s.

“I’m very fortunate that I’m naturally quite fit,” he said on Tuesday. “I feel very fortunate that I’m still here, very fortunate to be able to be back in Pakistan after so long.”

The fast bowler didn’t play in any of the three tests on that 2005 tour that Pakistan won 2-0, but he’ll be front and center in the attack without long-time partner Stuart Broad when the latest three-match series starts on Thursday.

“We’ve had an amazing welcome,” Anderson said. “All the guys are really excited to be back here, even the guys that weren’t here 17 years ago understand how big a tour this is in terms of world cricket, not just the two teams that are here.”

Foreign teams avoided touring Pakistan after the 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus and Pakistan hosted England in test series twice in the United Arab Emirates. England is now trying to figure out how the pitch will behave.

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