England v India, 5th Investec Test, The Oval August 14, 2014

Anderson 'most skilful in world' - Cook


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'Anderson most skilful bowler in world' - Cook

Alastair Cook has hailed James Anderson as "the most skilful bowler in the world" and the best "England have ever produced".

Anderson comes into the fifth Test of the Investec series against India requiring just seven more wickets to equal Ian Botham's England record of 383. Cook, the England captain, admitted that Anderson might not have the pace of South Africa's Dale Steyn but suggested his ability to swing the ball both ways rendered him almost as dangerous.

"He is the most skilful bowler in the world," Cook said. "There have been some very good bowlers I've played with but, for pure out-and-out skill, there is no doubt. He is the best bowler England have ever produced.

"No disrespect to Dale Steyn, but the way Jimmy can swing the ball both ways - I don't think Dale can do that quite as well as Jimmy but Dale has the advantage of being able to bowl quicker. Dale has been the No. 1 bowler in the world for quite a long time in terms of the number of wickets he takes. He always picks up wickets. And those two are in the same class.

"Anderson will soon be the leading wicket taker in Test matches for England. That is quite a glowing reference. It's an amazing achievement. If he does it in this game, it will mean England are in a very strong position.

"You saw his guts and determination last week at Manchester when he was bowling when he wasn't very well. That was extraordinary. That pretty much tells me, tells everyone, what a bloke he is and to back it up with his talent and skill means he is a very fine bowler."

Cook also confirmed that Stuart Broad would play despite sustaining a broken nose during the Manchester game.

"We think he's going to be absolutely fine," Cook said. "You don't get a partnership like he and Jimmy Anderson have had without being a world-class bowler. They've taken over 500 wickets together. Any captain would want those two in the team if possible, so it's great news for us as a team that Broady has come through that blow."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 17, 2014, 17:15 GMT

    Steyn is a"3 trick pony"....To.right handers...Outswinger with the new ball,reverse inswing with the old ball and an all out spell of aggression at top pace touching 150 at times...He is just a different bowler from Jimmy really. ...Anderson swings the new ball out with a variation in swinger to the right hander interspersed with the odd bouncer...He sets batsman up rather than blasts them out...One area he edges Steyn is bowling to lefties....overall though he doesn't have that option of all out pace which Steyn can crank up....on all conditions and match situations plus their career records,Steyn edges Anderson.

  • Dam on August 16, 2014, 9:58 GMT

    BTW, Mitchell is no where near as skillful as Jimmy, but no doubt i would rather face Jimmy on his day then Mitchel on his day. Anyone who actually played cricket would realize that.

  • Dam on August 16, 2014, 9:52 GMT

    IMO, GrumpiusMaximus makes the most sense here.....onya mate

  • Dam on August 16, 2014, 9:21 GMT

    @ Sohail: Lilllee, thomson, lee, pascoe, johnson, tate, Mcgrath, Gillespie, harris, cummins, pattinson ill stop there WI: Marshall, Holding, Garner, Ambrose and many more. ..... ....... just saying.

    There is no doubt though pakistan bowling is freakish, gt wonder why India produce none at all.

  • Sello on August 16, 2014, 8:59 GMT

    Here we go again. Let's face it, what Anderson can do, Steyn can do it better! I thought skills were suppose to get you wickets, at a faster rate and lower cost. Anderson does not fit in that category. Can someone explain to me where those 'skills' were when he couldn't buy a wicket in Australia not so long ago? Or at The Oval where Amla got a triple and Steyn took a 5-fer? I mean if he had any 'skills' they were suppose to get him wickets like Steyn, Harris and Johnson. Anderson isn't 'more skilled' than Steyn, maybe in the sledging category, I'd agree with that. The only skill a bowler needs is to get wickets and EVERYWHERE, not in green pitches taylor made for you. Besides, Steyn has taken more wickets than any English bowler in the history of the game, and at a better everything (tied with Botham right now)! Taking wickets against teams pathetic against swing doesn't make you 'more skilled'.

  • sam on August 16, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    @SohailMirza Probably you didn't see the pace battery of WI. Anyway on the current discussion, Anderson can swing it both ways and reverse swing it both ways at 85+ mph. That's a lot of skill. His conventional inswinger (not his reverse one) though is not late enough. It almost starts from the time he releases the ball. And he doesn't extract seam movement (the more difficult one for batsman to play as it comes after the ball pitches) like say Broad or Morkel or Aussie fast bowlers. So whether he is the most skillful is debatable but he is very skillful. Anyway, English players always hype their fellow players.

  • Bruce on August 16, 2014, 6:57 GMT

    Heard the English commentators last night defending Cook's statement by saying that he was referring to pure 'skill' and not necessarily effectiveness..? No quite sure how someone can be less skilful, but more effective - you can get lucky in a one-off game or even for a short period, but over 10 years...? Don't think so Mr Cook - the stats don't lie over that period of time. The real difference between the two stands out when conditions don't suit swing, Anderson has nothing, whereas Steyn can call on his other skill, pace, to continue knocking batsmen over. Hence the difference in their strike rates, Anderson 58 and Steyn 41 - ultimately the difference between a very good bowler and a great one..

  • Tim on August 16, 2014, 0:21 GMT

    Most skillful? That's code to say he's slow and unaggressive. Anderson is a long way off the very best bowlers in the world. When conditions aren't totally in his favour he can be useless. Sure he can swing and seam it both ways on a green top. That's not going to scare the best batsmen going round on 90% of the worlds pitches.

  • Chaitanya on August 15, 2014, 22:42 GMT

    This is laughable really - not only is Steyn's overall average much superior (and among the all-time greats I might add), but also his record home and 'AWAY' is equally impressive....unlike Anderson whose 250+ wickets have come at home and whose away average is a pathetic 35+....C'mon guys: Anderson's just among the very best in English conditions and that's all....not 'world' class!

  • Android on August 15, 2014, 22:39 GMT

    @Alan Thomas. You really should put things in perspective before making ridiculous comments. The match u referring to happened in 2006. Steyn was playing his SEVENTH game and really still learning his trade. Before this game he had only taken 24 wickets at an average of around 35, a strike rate of 52 and only 1 5w haul. In addition to that, he came up against Jayawardene & Sang a playing their 82 & 61 test matches, both averaging close to 50 and playing in their home conditions. Fast forward 8years and I'm sure u'll agree the Steyn of today isn't the same one who played that game. And talking bout today, didn't england recently lose at home to Sri Lanka & didn't SA then beat that very same SL team in Sri Lanka a month or so later?

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