Jimmy Anderson – The Greatest England bowler ever
124 Test matches, 477 wickets and an average of 28.27 in an era when bat dominated bowl, when cricket pitches have been a graveyard for bowlers, are just mind-boggling stats for any bowler, James Anderson, the England fast bowler achieved these feats and is still going strong. Special stats from a special player, the man who leads from England’s next highest wicket taker, Sir Ian Botham by a margin of 96. Botham is the greatest all-rounder England had ever produced while Anderson is arguably England’s best bowler in history.
He bowls outswingers; bowls inswingers and bowls these two with an equal amount of ease even when the ball is new. It is an incredible skill as normally bowlers can swing the ball both ways when it becomes old but the same cannot apply to a new ball.
A Bowler Who Gives You Breakthrough When You Really Want
Captains are always in search of a bowler who can give them wickets when they desperately need it, and Jimmy is that kind of bowler who satisfies his skipper. “He was the one that the ball always got thrown to at any point in a Test when you needed a wicket and, nine times out of 10, he delivered.”, his ex-team mate Graeme Swann said.
It is always a beautiful sight that how Anderson sets up batsmen. He does this with sleight-of-hand tricks and late movement. Batsmen have to adjust the shot at last moment since he moves the bowl so late.
Accuracy and Ability to Handle Pressure
Anderson was called up for England’s World Cup squad in 2003 as cover for Andy Caddick. He was the youngest bowler in the squad. He got a gigantic task against Pakistan at Cape Town, to bowl a Yorker to Yousuf Youhana (now, Mohammad Yousuf), that too the first ball the batsman was facing.
A pressure situation for any bowler and Anderson was only 21-years-old then. Yousuf was one of the Pakistan’s best batsmen along with Inzamam-ul-Haq so getting him on the first ball need some doing. The young man was spot on; he nailed it, he uprooted the Pakistan batsman’s stumps with a perfect Yorker.
Nobody has doubts on the English spearhead’s ability to swing the bowl or get you quick wickets; he was not just a bowler rather is a complete team man. Though he is not a technically sound batsman, he uses his willow to good effect when the team needs.
He batted 53 balls to save a Test against Australia at Cardiff in 2009. Five years later, the southpaw tried his best for an England draw against Sri Lanka in Headingley only to get dismissed when barely two balls were left in the match. He batted along with Moeen Ali for 80 minutes and faced 55 balls (didn’t score a run, though). He burst into tears when he couldn’t help his team securing a draw and was agonizingly close doing so. That day, the world realised Anderson is a fighter and a complete team man.
He could only play 3 Test matches this year due to groin injury. However, he came back into the squad to play South Africa in the ongoing series and bagged a fifer (5-72) in the second Test at Nottingham.
If he continues to play as he plays now, then eclipsing 519 wickets of West Indian legend Courtney Walsh would be a reality and as a result of doing the same, he will become the 5th highest wicket taker of all time in Tests.