Each year, James Anderson, aged 41, continues to gain new fans who are captivated by his exceptional ability to transcend age limitations. However, even the esteemed English cricketer, known for being the sole pace bowler to have claimed 700 Test wickets, was momentarily speechless when he encountered Freddy Sidhwa, an 82-year-old cricket enthusiast who still participates in the sport every weekend in Dubai. The octogenarian businessman recently traveled to London to compete in the JP Morgan International Cricket Cup, a community event held at the Lord's Cricket Ground. Sidhwa, who specializes in left-arm spin, has been a fixture at the JP Morgan event, where he has dismissed notable players such as Brendon McCullum, Dale Steyn, and Rashid Khan. This year's event featured Anderson, who plans to retire after the first match of the upcoming three-Test series between England and the West Indies.

"I've been participating in this event at Lord's for many years. Due to rain, we could only play one outdoor match this time. But meeting Anderson was a significant moment for me," remarked the Dubai-based Indian businessman. Fast bowlers typically struggle to maintain their performance in their mid-30s. Courtney Walsh, the West Indies legend, was a rare exception who remained steadfast until his retirement at 39 in 2001. However, Anderson has outdone even the formidable West Indian, showcasing exceptional swing bowling in Test cricket, the most physically challenging format, where he has taken 178 wickets in 54 matches at an average of 24.11 since turning 35. Sidhwa was not at all surprised by these statistics.

"It was incredible to witness his fitness. He is retiring now, but he remains remarkably fit," he noted. "I believe he serves as a significant inspiration for everyone, not just cricketers. It was an excellent opportunity to be with him, to converse with him, it was a fantastic experience." There are parallels between Anderson and Sidhwa, who plays every weekend at the Ocean Fair Cricket Ground in the Dubai Investment Park, delivering his slow-left-arm spin with skill and zeal. His unwavering passion for cricket has garnered Anderson's admiration.

"Yes, he was quite astonished when he learned about my age. Not just Anderson, but also Stuart Broad, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Marnus Labuschagne attended the event. It was wonderful conversing with them, sharing a meal, and discussing the sport we love," he recounted. For Sidhwa, who once dismissed the legendary Brian Lara during a charity match in Dubai, playing cricket is the ultimate stress reliever. "If you're stressed about something in your life, you should engage in the sport you love. When you play, the stress dissipates. Any sport can alleviate your stress," said Sidhwa, an early riser who practices yoga at 3 in the morning to maintain his fitness. "You simply need to stay fit and keep playing. If you're physically and mentally strong, there's no stopping you."