India-England Test Series 2018
James Anderson is one cricketer, who like wine, gets better as time progresses. The 36-year-old is definitely England’s oldest swinger in town, but the in-form veteran has been taking wickets at a faster rate than ever. The year 2017 was his best year on record and now in 2018 too he has been exceptional.
England may be struggling to gain consistency in Tests since quite some time now, but Anderson is of another breed. He has been one player that has been very consistent. Accuracy, swing, consistency and pace, Anderson bears all qualities.
The world class cricketer, who took 19 wickets in the 2017-18 Ashes, has already bagged 17 in the ongoing Test series against India.
With two more Tests to go, Anderson could well pick up a flurry of wickets and thus put England into a strong position to dictate proceedings. England lead the 5-match series 2-1 and could seal the trophy with a win at Southampton in the 4th Test starting Thursday.
Anderson is closing on former Aussie legend Glenn McGrath in terms of Test wickets. Once he goes past McGrath, he can possibly look to target Anil Kumble. The veteran pacer has 557 wickets and needs six more to equal McGrath.
The senior opening bowler is his side’s best bet in shaping up a win at Southampton and singing the tunes of victory.
McGrath spot on with his judgement
Australian cricket legend McGrath lavished praise on Anderson, who is in line to break his record. McGrath retired from the game in 2007 with 563 career Test wickets, a record for a fast bowler, but is set to be overtaken by the England veteran who is just seven wickets behind, and said Anderson is unlikely to be caught.
“I have an awful lot of respect for Jimmy,” McGrath told the Daily Mail. “Good luck to him. I believe once he goes past me he will never be beaten.
The former champion bowler seems spot on with his judgement as it is a difficult task for any pacer to be this consistent as Anderson has been.
Anderson a long duration champ
If one looks at Anderson, there is a feeling that he is growing younger day by day. Such is his approach to the sport. One should enjoy his longevity, and in the current scenario, he is at his best. Anderson was terrific in the first two Tests against India and his ruthlessness was seen at Lord’s.
Yes, the conditions helped him, but still one needs to ask the right questions. Anderson did that consistently. He has maintained his fitness level and is taking good care of his body.
He was a month out of action earlier this summer due to a shoulder injury. Having rested a longstanding problem which came up in England’s second Test win over Pakistan in early June, he returned to take two wickets for Lancashire’s second string last month – and since then he has not looked back.
Is there anyone who can catch Anderson?
Anderson’s form means he is the best in the world in Test rankings at the moment. He has amassed a career-high points total of 903. It will take time for the others to play catch up with his intensity at the moment. Anderson also became the first English bowler since Ian Botham in 1980 to cross the 900-mark.
The pacer is likely to surpass McGrath’s record in the final two Tests against India. What is interesting is that the conditions at the Ageas Bowl is likely to help him immensely and that could see him surpass the Australian here itself.
The paceman has been climbing up the leaderboard since he passed Botham’s tally of 383 wickets against West Indies in April 2015 to become his country’s most successful bowler.
Anderson a true legend of all time
McGrath’s mark of 563 is the most wickets taken by a paceman in 141 years of Test cricket. Now Anderson could be the player with the most scalps. This itself shows how big a legend the 36-year-old is. The statistics claim that he has bowled 31,065 deliveries, which is the most by any pace bowlers in Test cricket history.
The 4th Test will be his 142nd match and skipper Joe Root knows how big a game changer he is. One would hope to see him achieve the record soon to mark a special achievement for a player that is always hungry to play more.
The supreme swing bowler is currently fifth in the all-time standings, with McGrath behind spin kings Anil Kumble, Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan.
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How Long will he play?
England looks in no rush to find a successor. The effort of Anderson shown on the field means he could be well set to continue for a few more years at least. His fitness is key and if he cracks the code, the vintage pacer could go on to weave his magic in the near future.
He is one bowler who just loves to run in and keep bowling. He never looks tired and puts that extra bit all the time. England could protect him for certain series and keep him fit against the big guns. Since the start of 2016, he averages under 20 in Test cricket. What more can one say?
Former West Indies legend Courtney Walsh went on until 39, and later said he could probably have gone on further. England coach Bayliss, for his part, believes Anderson could even hit 40. Such is the aura he has set for himself.