England in New Zealand 2012-13

More records in sight for Anderson

With the wicket of BJ Watling in Hamiton, James Anderson became England's leading international wicket-taker and the 'dream' is still sinking in

Andrew McGlashan

February 19, 2013

Comments: 70 | Text size: A | A

James Anderson now has the most international wickets by an England bowler, New Zealand v England, 1st ODI, Hamilton, February 17, 2013
James Anderson has led England's attack for the last five years © Associated Press
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Players/Officials: James Anderson | Sir Ian Botham
Series/Tournaments: England tour of New Zealand
Teams: England

When James Anderson last played in New Zealand during the 2008 tour any talk of him becoming a record-breaking England bowler would have sounded extremely far-fetched. After a sparkling start to his international career in 2003 injury, lack of form and some misguided attempts to change his action had repeatedly interrupted his career.

His Test match average stood at its highest point - 39.20 - and he had just come off the back of a one-day series against New Zealand where his four wickets cost 67.50 with an economy rate of over seven an over. Then, in Wellington, Matthew Hoggard's Test career was ended with his omission and Anderson took his place.

Five years later and he is part of a constant debate of where he sits among the world's leading pace bowlers. The consensus is that Dale Steyn pips him - and watching Steyn on recent form does not leave much room for debate - but to be vying for second spot behind him is certainly a notable place to sit.

On Sunday, in Hamilton, with his sixth ball in competitive cricket since the Test series against India before Christmas, Anderson became England's leading international wicket-taker when he bowled BJ Watling with a wonderful inswinger - a worthy delivery to claim a record. It is a slightly contrived landmark, adding together all three formats, none the less one that highlights Anderson's rise to one of England's finest bowlers even if globally he remains some way down the list.

"It's a huge honour," Anderson said. "Overtaking someone like Ian Botham is a massive achievement for me, and I'm very proud of it. It is hard to believe, and I also still can't believe I've been playing for 10 years.

"It's still all a bit of a dream come true, and I'm delighted to be still here playing - and I hope I can keep taking wickets for years to come."

Anderson's wickets have been more evenly spread than Botham's between the two traditional formats - currently 288 in Tests and 223 in ODIs, with Twenty20 chipping in 18 - a sign of the volume of one-day cricket played during Anderson's career and that his Test career went through that reasonably prolonged dip from 2004-2007.

Anderson has Botham's English Test record of 383 wickets in his sights. He needs another 96 to overtake the mark. There is a strong chance of him claiming the 12 he requires for 300 during the forthcoming series against New Zealand. If he averages four wickets per Test (marginally higher than his current ratio of 3.74, although that has risen to 3.96 since his recall in 2008) during the 22 matches scheduled from now until August 2014 he will be very close.

"If I stay fit for long enough and play for long enough, I think I can," was Anderson's simple response. "I hope then the wickets will just tot up and I can look back at them fondly at the end of my career."

Of more immediate importance for Anderson is leading the attack in the remaining two one-day internationals and shaking off his winter rust ahead of the Test matches. It was a testament to Anderson's skill that his first over in Hamilton, which brought the wicket of Watling, was of such high quality after a two-month lay-off and no warm-up matches.

But his lack of recent bowling did show towards the end of the match as he dropped too short in his ninth over and Brendon McCullum latched onto him and carried his team to victory.

"Obviously there are things we need to work on," he admitted. "I thought we bowled well up front but were then probably a little bit rusty when it came down to the later overs. So that's something we're trying to brush up on. It's tricky not having that match practice before a series. But we have to cope with that these days."

Anderson's break during the India one-day series was part of the rotation system England are now using in an attempt to keep key players fresh ahead of a hectic 2013 and beyond. So far, unlike Australia, England's management have largely kept rotation as part of the limited-overs formats although have used it occasionally in Tests.

Anderson missed the 2010 tour of Bangladesh (along with Andrew Strauss) then Stuart Broad was given downtime for the return visit later that year with both decisions taken with a view to the 2010-11 Ashes. It worked for Anderson, who claimed 24 wickets down under, but less so for Broad who has battled frequent injuries over the last two years. Anderson and Broad were also pulled out of the final Test against West Indies, at Edgbaston, last year after England had wrapped up the series.

With five matches across two series against New Zealand, followed by the Champions Trophy and back-to-back Ashes it is possible that someone, most likely one of the fast bowlers, could be rested again during the home visit of New Zealand.

"I think it's one way to prolong your career," Anderson said. "The rotation system has worked pretty well so far; the players have been pretty happy with it. Obviously you want to play as much cricket as you can, because you're not going to play forever. But the management, who make these decisions, have got our best interests at heart."

But with records in sight, and Anderson in the prime of his career, his phlegmatic attitude towards watching others claim wickets for England, particularly with the red ball, will be tested.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Green_How on (February 22, 2013, 8:31 GMT)

@Meety - I am close to giving up on you but if you really think Mitchell Johnson bowled well in the 2009 ashes i guess i need to give you a hand. Darren Gough was the leader of a poor England bowling attack in the 1990s and performed a similar role to Peter Siddle. No England fan would have dared compare him to one of the greats of that era, which is what you appear to be doing with Siddle. Seriously mate the aussie fast bowlers have not been a strength of the team over the past 5 years and the test results of Australia back up that argument. Unfortunately your not going to acknowledge it so i guess there is no where left to go on this 1. Siddle is not in the same league as Anderson and neither is Johnson or Hilfenhaus, take off your canary yellow glasses and see the bigger picture.

Posted by Meety on (February 21, 2013, 22:59 GMT)

@mikey76 on (February 21, 2013, 16:15 GMT) - the fact is Anderson does NOT bowl leg cutters at 145kph, Steyn does & that = skill NOT physics! The ability to bowl faster & maintain skill & accuracy is a skill. For whatever reason, Anderson is only able to professionally do his thing at around 130kph, whilst Steyn does it at 140+kph. Other bowlers can bowl faster than that (Finn is just one example), but they do not have the accuracy of Steyn. @Green_How on (February 21, 2013, 8:02 GMT) - "...but did I really say that?" actually you said "...has claimed a lot of wickets due to the limited quality of other bowlers in the Aussie ranks..." Then you say "... is the inconsistency and a lack of skill of their fast bowlers..." The FACT is, MJ, Siddle & Hilfenhaas outbowled all of England's bowlers in the 2009 Ashes. A large chunk of non-bias/partisan fans acknowledge that Ozzy pace bowling is the strength of the team. So remind me what your point is again?

Posted by mikey76 on (February 21, 2013, 20:10 GMT)

Harmony111. You like other certain people on this thread are bound up in statistics. 12 wickets in 4 tests may not sound spectacular, but it's the way he bowled throughout the series that counts. He hardly bowled a bad ball, had virtually no back up from the other seamers thanks to England's bizarre selection policy on the tour and some of the deliveries he produced on benign surfaces were nothing but hugely impressive. He bowled beautifully in the UAE last winter too without the big rewards. Hopefully this test series against NZ will see him fill his boots, he is bowling very well right now.

Posted by Harmony111 on (February 21, 2013, 16:35 GMT)

@The_bowlers_Holding: Now you are saying he is at least better than Indian fast bowlers who are seen as poor even by the most optimistic Ind fans. Earlier JA was being compared to Steyn. Nice jumping around from one extreme to the other dear.

@Front-Foot-Lunge: I give you hard facts and yet you ignore them and start talking as if JA did something spectacular in the recent India tour. From JA's performance you then moved on to your team's performance as a whole cos you really had not much to say for JA. Is that how you do it all the time? JA is great cos Eng did well? Swann is great cos Cook got runs? Is that how you see it? If you are content with JA's performance in India then it really proves what qualifies as quality for you. 12 wickets in 4 tests is about par, may be 2-3 wickets less than par yet for you that is enough proof of JA's class !!!

Posted by mikey76 on (February 21, 2013, 16:15 GMT)

@meety. The point I was making was that if Anderson bowled at 92mph and not 85-86 he would have a lot more wickets in his locker. Batsmen have less time to adjust to the swinging ball when it's coming at them a yard quicker! I know that's hard to understand for you because you obviously spend every waking minute in Wisdens almanac quoting stats from 1968. You obviously need to get some fresh air. And the Warne comparison is a joke, he was a great bowler and a leg spinner! Im pretty sure if Sydney Barnes bowled 92mph kicking leg cutters he would have had even more wickets, but obviously in Meety world that wouldnt happen!

Posted by mikey76 on (February 21, 2013, 16:02 GMT)

CricJ. While I admire your enthusiasm for Jimmy, to say he is one of the top 3 English bowlers of all time is slightly ridiculous. Off the top of my head Fred Trueman, Sydney Barnes and Alec Bedser would fill a top 3 on most days whilst guys like Botham, Willis, Snow and Statham would probably come ahead of him, and thats not mentioning spinners. He is certainly the best bowler along with Flintoff of the last 10 years, he may become one of the elite in the years to come but he needs to bring his avg down below 30.

Posted by Harlequin. on (February 21, 2013, 13:14 GMT)

The thing I like about Jimmy, is that he has learnt his limitations over the years. Give him a new ball and swinging conditions and he can be as good as anyone - Steyn included. However when the ball is not swinging he isn't nearly as dangerous (this is what makes Steyn better, because his pace can get him wickets no matter the conditions), and instead of still trying to attack, he will drag his length back a bit and play a more containing role. It isn't just his bowling which has endeared him to the England fans; his duckless streak showed his fighting qualities as a batsman, his fielding, catching in particular, was some of the best you could hope for from a quickie, and the way he has mentored some of the up and coming bowlers over the years has been brilliant. An honest servant of the sport.

Posted by Harmony111 on (February 21, 2013, 10:50 GMT)

@cric_J: Your reply completely missed the point. I did not talk of one thing there, I talked of two things. 1. JA's record overall in India/Asia and 2. JA's hauls. You chose to talk only about the latter. In a comment that went unpublished, I had said that JA did well in only 1 test in the last tour of India - Kolkata Test. That's all. And on the basis of ONE test JA has proven himself in subcontinent when his overall record is still less than avg? It only shows how desperate some ppl are and really how avg a bowler JA is that ppl are talking of his 14 tests 42 wickets as proof of his ability. Whether you are Indian or not is not relevant. There are a few among us like you whose heart has been misplaced. Really? 14 tests, 42 wickets, good performance in just 1 test match (make it 2 for that 5 wicket haul) and you think JA has proven himself in subcontinent?

Mind you I am NOT saying JA is a poor bowler. He is very good in Eng for sure but has not done enough in here. That's the point.

Posted by cric_J on (February 21, 2013, 10:08 GMT)

I totally agree with @front_foot_lunge.Have followed Jimmy right from 2003 and thus know very well how far he has come since.Relly incredible and commendable

Posted by cric_J on (February 21, 2013, 9:57 GMT)

Looks like Jimmy is going to be on a mission to break alot of English bowling records in the next 2 years.He has already got this one.Next would be crossing Gough's best of 234 in ODIs.That should come about soon. and then the big one ofcourse, Beefy's 383 in tests. Since England have 15 tests scheduled for this year, I think Jimmy will certainly cross Underwood,Truman and Willis by the end of the year.That would need only 38 more wickets and bring to rhe second position.And then by 2014, he should get ahead of Beefy.And if he stays fit he could well cross the 450 wicket mark in tests.Whatever some people may say, he definitely is one of the top 3 English bowlers of alltime,atleast for me.

Posted by cric_J on (February 21, 2013, 9:09 GMT)

@Harmony11 ,you seriously need to know that only getting 5 wicket hauls and 10 wicket hauls does not bring out a bowler's skill.It is about the impact created in the middle and moreover creating doubts in the batsman's mind.In the post tea session of India's first innings in the third test at kolkata,Jimmy looked like taking a wicket every bowl he bowled.It was simply a display of high class fast bowling and a treat to watch.It was same in Nagpur as well.And being an Indian I do know very well how much help is provided by the pitches!?There is no doubt that he has proven all his critics wrong which has included me too for a long time ,but no more.

Posted by Green_How on (February 21, 2013, 8:02 GMT)

@Meety - but did i really say that?? The point i was making was that Siddle has probably been Australia's shining light in an era of poor Aussie fast bowlers. One of the key reasons for Australia losing the last 2 ashes series and slipping down the world rankings is the inconsistency and a lack of skill of their fast bowlers, particularly in relation to what England have produced. It says something that the biggest England cheer of the day is when Mitchell Johnson comes on to bowl and Hilfenhaus has never convinced many England fans. I stand by my comment that he is workmanlike, looks good in comparison to his team mates, but does not possess the skills of an Anderson. He therefore in my eyes does not come close (its a game of opinions mate). On the other hand Australia do have some promising seamers and the 1 i do think will come close is Mitchell Starc. Time to ditch the likes of Johnson and Hilfenhaus and concentrate on the future.

Posted by Meety on (February 21, 2013, 7:18 GMT)

Unfortunately, I have to agree with disHarmony111 on ONE point. When the Sachin 100 international tons record was made, he copped a lot of abuse for a meaningless stat. Like, Sachin, Anderson should be happy on a personal level about that milestone. The real issue here is this achievement is a product of longevity (an achievement in itself), combined with the heavy influence of ODIs & T20s. When you do a simple analysis of wickets per match (emphasis is then on Tests), - amongst England's most prolific bowlers, Anderson is 33rd. Botham averaged 2.4 wickets per match to Anderson's 2.0, (incidently Finn is 2.2) & the leader of the pack is of course Barnes with 7.0. Of a more modern era, England's best across formats was Gough (2.4). Since the 20/20 era, Swann is England's best bowler (2.2).

Posted by Meety on (February 21, 2013, 7:00 GMT)

@Green_How on (February 20, 2013, 13:32 GMT) - your comments are also woeful. How can you say that Siddle's co-bowlers were so bad that he got all the wickets? In 2009 Ashes Siddle, MJ & Hilfenhaas were the best bowlers on either side. Siddle has played a large chunk of his tests with Hilfenhaas a bowler who the ICC see fit to rank in the top 10 bowlers inthe world. At times Siddle has bowled with MJ when he was ranked #1. In a Siddle v Anderson (post 2008) comparison, Anderson has a SLIGHTLY better average but a SLIGHTLY worse S/Rate than Siddle. You CANNOT verify relative qualities of the bowling attacks the players have played in unless you manage a massive database. You may be surprised to see that Siddle has more bowling partners with ridiculously LOW S/R & averages than Anderson over the last 5 years. I would say Anderson "pips" Siddle ONLY on a 5 year analysis & only because he has played more matches, (volume adds to certainty).

Posted by Meety on (February 21, 2013, 6:47 GMT)

@Shan156 on (February 19, 2013, 23:26 GMT) - the article itself says it is close! @mikey76 on (February 19, 2013, 22:11 GMT) "... a yard quicker. It makes your strike rate go down appreciably when your quicker. That has nothing to do with ability, it's just physics..." - what a load of GARBAGE! So many things completely WRONG it is hilarious; 1. Speed has NOTHING to do with S/Rate, (Warne had a better S/Rate than Anderson & he obviously was a spinner operating 40kph SLOWER than Anderson ps Sid Barnes was a medium paced spinner check his S/R out), 2. S/Rate has EVERYTHING to do with ability, a poor bowler like Khalid Mashud from Bangladesh had a S/R over 200 for most of his career, because he was hopeless. 3. Physics has nothing to do with S/Rates. S/Rates are a formulae that determine the balls per wicket. Your post is another in a long list woefully inept comments from yourself!

Posted by Meety on (February 21, 2013, 6:08 GMT)

Oh dear! "...The consensus is that Dale Steyn pips him," - what the??? In world cricket, there is only ONE proven great fast bowler currently. That bowler is Dale Steyn. He is a long way ahead of the next best. Anderson & others are (IMO), in a pack a long way behind him. I doubt Anderson will ever get close, (from England I would say Finn is the best placed). No disrespect to Anderson, at this point in his career I would say he is a very skilled bowler in the top 10 in the world, (I think currently ranked 6th or 7th). Anyways, good on him for picking up a 5 for the other day. @ clarke501 on (February 19, 2013, 20:54 GMT) - the article states "pips" Steyn, meaning they are comparatively equals. @Greatest_Game on (February 19, 2013, 23:23 GMT) - I agree with your analysis except to say, you cannot include Phillander (YET), as he has not played enuff games. Wait until he has played 30+ before putting any tags on him, (all would agree that he has had a remarkable start).

Posted by The_bowlers_Holding on (February 21, 2013, 3:31 GMT)

Harmony111- On the last tour the pitches were absolute graveyards for seam bowlers, the first over of the 1st test and the ball was not bouncing above knee high. Anderson was the stand out faster bowler he took 12 wickets at 30, the top Indian 'quick' took 4, he was tight and gave nothing away for long spells. Many Indian fans commented on his performance in the series with praise and reported how they had changed their opinion, maybe you saw it differently but he was far more effective than any other non spin bowler.

Posted by crh8971 on (February 21, 2013, 2:51 GMT)

Anderson has been a very good but but no means great test bowler over a decent stretch of time. The other formats I don't care that much about and only focus on tests when assessing true quality. If Anderson was anywhere near the "superlative bowler of the past ten years" that FFL thinks he is he would have a far better average & strike rate than 30.4 and 58.8. Truth is he has had one great year in 2010 and a few very good ones. His 2012 stats of 48 wickets in 14 tests at 29.5 are solid but would only rank him around the top 6 to 10 mark for pace bowlers. Steyn is a mile out in front, Phillander is excellent and in time I think both Pattinson and Starc will amass far superior records to to Anderson. He has played his team role well and England have been successful when they have had 3 good quicks plus Swan over the past 4 or 5 years but rarely has Anderson carried them single handedly.

Posted by Patchmaster on (February 21, 2013, 1:17 GMT)

I don't remember Stein getting five wickets against NZ in the recent ODI's they played. They are BOTH great bowlers - why do the SA's have to be so against anyone else being good apart from Stein ? We should enjoy watching them BOTH.

Posted by Munkeymomo on (February 21, 2013, 1:14 GMT)

@David Booer. True, but most people who know their cricket will tell you JA is better than Philander atm.

@chilled_avenger. Agreed, it was a foolish comparison. Steyn is fantastic in every format, he really is a joy to watch, and JA is second only in tests. BUT, he is second in tests, which makes him the second best pacer in the world.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (February 20, 2013, 23:50 GMT)

@Harmony111, If that's your 'simple question', then you must have missed JA bowling in India recently, not to mention the last few years of his acclaimed success. The BCCI should have released a DVD of our recent India home series, it could fill in a few gaps in your knowledge. :)

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (February 20, 2013, 23:04 GMT)

I'll put this in very simple terms...if I can't have Steyn give me Jimmy any time any day and I GUARANTEE you 99% of cricket fans around the world would feel the same way. The 1% are those who can't seem to take off their blinders. Sure there are the Finns, the Starcs, the Pattinsons waiting in the wings but they have yet to prove themselves over a long period of time over a vast amount of different surfaces and conditions. No greater recent cricketing moments than the 2 for 3...or is it 3 for 2 (depending on which country you are from) of the Adelaide Test!

Posted by Harmony111 on (February 20, 2013, 21:18 GMT)

A simple question to those who say that JA has proven himself in the continent. his record is 14 tests in Asia for 42 wickets. In India, his record is 7 tests and 22 wickets. No 10 wickets hauls and only 1 5 wicket haul. What exactly has JA proven then?

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 20:44 GMT)

Arguably the world's best swing bowler :D Hail you Jimmy !!

Posted by Mariakutty on (February 20, 2013, 17:10 GMT)

Beautiful swing bowler of modern day cricket.

Posted by The_bowlers_Holding on (February 20, 2013, 17:10 GMT)

Really reading the remarks on here is like listening to 8 year olds arguing about football stickers (if those still exist). Nowhere does it say JA is better than Steyn and thanks for all those spouting out stat after stat -Mitchell Johnson you're having a giraffe. Ever heard of the saying lies, damn lies and statistics. Take IT. Botham his first 200 wickets were at around 21, then with a severe back/food problems his next 180 odd were in the mid 30's an inverse of JA. Anyone who has watched JA since he changed his approach to bowling and stopped trying to bowl the wonder ball every time know how good he is. Not the best in the world but darn good and getting better if anything. And nice to see Sachin still got a mention in a forum about a fast (sorry fast medium) bowler.

Posted by bumsonseats on (February 20, 2013, 15:50 GMT)

its nothing to do with steyn i wish if guys want to comment they would keep on topic JA is not saying anything about been better than this or that person. hes talking about his own game. and the writer about his collection of wickets. you will never get a more unassuming man than JA bordering on shyness in fact. so for him to call a fellow professional is so far off the mark its absurd.

Posted by Green_How on (February 20, 2013, 13:32 GMT)

Anderson is 2nd only to Steyn and anyone who doubts that really needs to give their head a shake. It is evident that Anderson has improved massively since 2008 so to trot out stats from before then does not really provide a convincing argument. Sure Philander is a good bowler but lets see if he can maintain his level of performance. Anyone mentioning Siddle discredits themselves immediately, he has been workmanlike bowler who has claimed a lot of wickets due to the limited quality of other bowlers in the Aussie ranks. The fact that Jimmy has played a major role in England claiming the last 2 ashes series, particularly in Oz and was a key man in England getting to the summit of world cricket, should be enough to end any argument. The bitterness and lack of good grace in acknowledging his predigous talent is sad but unfortunately something that is far too common in many of the stories that focus on any England achievement. Grow up lads and put you loyalties aside to salute a great !!

Posted by chilled_avenger on (February 20, 2013, 13:19 GMT)

@cric_J Dale Steyn's ODI records are pretty much similar to Jimmy,the only thing is that Jimmy has played more matches! So you statement that Anderson 'pips' Steyn in ODIs does not hold true. And don't get me started on who's better in T20s!

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 13:11 GMT)

@SamRoy true Philander failed there, but Jimmy hasn't exactly bowled sides out everywhere... the Oval vs South Africa and Ahmedabad vs India (both recently) spring to mind...

Posted by cric_J on (February 20, 2013, 10:53 GMT)

Wonder why some people are calling this a pointless record ?Does being your country's highest wickettaker of all time across all formats mean so little?Maybe so for us but certainly not for Jimmy himself.In fact it brings out his ability to bowl well across 2 different formats rather than doing so in one of them only.Arguably this is one of the areas where he pips Steyn. Also I agree with @munkeymomo that Jimmy is the second best after Steyn in tests.Siddle is miles away from them and Philander needs to prove himself in the subcontinent before getting anywhere near.Afterall this has been the criteria to judge(and criticize) Jimmy for quite some time and it should be same for all fast bowlers.

Posted by SamRoy on (February 20, 2013, 9:55 GMT)

Well I like Philander a lot, but he failed in Adelaide and Brisbane, which were both batting paradises. If he succeeds in Asia we can bring him up for discussion whether he is one of the leading pace bowlers going around. Until then please stop. Oh Morkel has done nothing special in Asia and Siddle only works in bowler friendly conditions. So among pace bowlers, Steyn by far the best, Anderson by far the second best. Oh and among spinners Ajmal by far the best.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (February 20, 2013, 9:04 GMT)

Anderson - A legend, a champion, who has reminded us all again today of his sheer quality. The ability to swing it both ways at will on any pitch in the world long since established, Anderson continues to show why he's been dominating over batsman the way he has for so long. There are some fans who seem just a little jealous, which is sad to see, but understandable given that apart from Steyn, there really is no one like him in the world. Australia and India certainly don't have a bowler like him, and we all remember how it turned out when he went head-to-head in a test series against those teams. Ouch. What a performance today from Jimmy, take another bow Mr Anderson.

Posted by Munkeymomo on (February 20, 2013, 8:42 GMT)

Whether or not this record is pointless, looking at the global list,he should still be proud of himself. He is up there with some legends of the game.

Also I would personally still place him as the second best bowler in the world, ahead of Philander. Anderson has performed well in the subcontinent, Philander hasn't. Until he does, JA is second (and this is the same yardstick measure we were hearing for ages about JA, so it's only fair).

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (February 20, 2013, 5:48 GMT)

LOVE IT!!!...JUST LOVE IT when everytime there is an article or comment about Jimmy, millions of his detractors would show up on cricinfo and what does he do most of the time??? Go out and prove them wrong! I did not watch the NZ inning but a 5 fer in and ODI is pretty rare no?

Posted by Harmony111 on (February 20, 2013, 5:42 GMT)

So when SRT gets 100 Intl 100, it is seen as an artificial record being promoted by companies whose products SRT was endorsing or by SRTs blind,over zealous fans and devotees even though that was a feat no one else had done before and no one else had ever come even close to doing it but here we see well established authors trying to drill into us that JA is so great that he is now Eng's leading Intl wicket taker, NOTE --- ONLY Eng's, not world's. Not to mention that this record by definition is something that would have existed right from the 1st wicket ever to have fallen.

And then the author rates him as 2nd best in the world behind Steyn and even there leaves some room for calling JA the best just in case something goes wrong with Steyn's form.

JA is by no means in the same class as Steyn. In fact, on recent form, Philander too is quite a bit ahead of JA and some might argue that if we talk of stats alone then Philander may be better than Steyn himself. No wonder SA are #1.

Posted by Safalicious on (February 20, 2013, 5:39 GMT)

Anderson is certainly among the best pace bowlers in the world at present, though he is currently competing with Siddle and Morkel for 3rd place. Any sensible selector would have Steyn and Philander on the team sheet first, without question and on any surface in the world. Ajmal and Siddle would make up my bowling quartet with Kallis as the 5th bowler. I would seriously consider Starc as a viable leftie for variation

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 20, 2013, 4:09 GMT)

@ Front-Foot-Lunge. You comment that it is "Interesting to see (Anderson's) average of 26 at the last Ashes completely passed over by one Australian poster here..."

I find it interesting that, amid fulsome praise for Anderson whom you label "One of the superlative bowlers of the last ten years," it is YOU who completely passes over Anderson's weak averages: 40.66 at home vs SA in 2012, 45.16 at home, Ashes 2009, 53.5 vs India in 2008, 74.5 at home vs SA in 2004/05, 82.6 in the 2006/07 Ashes, & his worst, 83.5 vs SL in 2007. Those stats clearly show he's DEFINITELY NOT been "superlative for 10 years."

Every player has good & bad series. Remember that before you quote flattering single series stats, in contrast to overall series stats!

Lest you accuse me of the same, Anderson's series averages vs SA are: 2003 - 39.86; 2004/05 - 74.5; 2008 - 33.93; 2009/10 - 34.25; 2012 - 40.66. Overall in SA - 38.07

And please - I'm a Saffa, NOT an Aussie - you get that wrong at an average of 100%

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 1:50 GMT)

A great bowler and a very quiet, unassuming bloke with it.

Agree with the people who've said that this is a fairly pointless, manufactured 'record' in a similar vein to Sachin's '100th international hundred'.

However to overtake Beefy's 383 test wickets will be a huge achievement, hope that he does it and ends up with somewhere near 500 test wickets by the time he retires.

Posted by Jimmers on (February 20, 2013, 0:58 GMT)

Philander is a superb bowler, but hasn't really been around long enough to be counted with Steyn and Anderson yet. If he carries on at the rate he's started, he'll end up as one of the all time greats, but lots of people start with a burst, then international standard players find ways to work them out. Steyn is the best quick in the world by a large margin, nobody sensible could argue otherwise - I wish there were another 5 like him in world cricket, raw terrifying pace is what makes Tests fizz. Anderson gets his wickets in other ways, but he is a worthy second place

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (February 20, 2013, 0:57 GMT)

It is strange to hear so many jealous fans on here trying to find a way to criticize the bowler who has run riot over all their teams both home and away. I find it a pity Anderson can't be discussed about, by more than a few, without a tinge of envy. No-one's denying how great Dale Steyn is - but Jimmy's a consistent champion in his own right. Lighten up everyone: if you actually enjoy watching the game, how can you really seriously deny you enjoy watching a great master of swing and seam bowling at work?

Everyone who's been watching Anderson over the years remembers him starting promising, then the re-modelling of his action; then his lethal outswing at 89 mph converted to flat, dry decks with the variations of a maestro. And time and again he takes bags of wickets against teams like Australia and India.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 20, 2013, 0:45 GMT)

Andrew McGlashan opens this piece with Jimmy's surpassing of Botham's record - a worthy achievement. He draws a records-oriented portrait of Jimmy, & identifies the demands placed on him by the Eng attack, yet does not identify the basis of Anderson's success. Lacking pure speed, Anderson makes up with skill & guile. An excellent exponent of swing, he marries that with subtle pace variation, outthinking batsmen instead of knocking them over. Bowling within his capabilities, he shows that sheer pace is not all. A thoughtful bowler always outlasts the latest speed demon.

An example of the value of Anderson's approach is Kallis, whose bowling is monitored & strictly limited, yet he continues taking wickets, usually important ones, by outsmarting batsmen - setting them up, then going in for the kill. Now a part-timer, Kallis is still 40 wickets ahead of Anderson & Botham on that list. Jimmy will pass him, & have a very long career, by remaining a smart, anylitical bowler.

Posted by Sir_Francis on (February 20, 2013, 0:34 GMT)

Anderson is a good cricketer but Botham has 95 more Test wickets than Anderson, at a better average. ODI & 20/20 wickets really don't count. Unless you wish to disparage Botham's wickets against weak teams during WSC but that's ballance by his prro performances against good teams (ie WI)

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 0:01 GMT)

Anderson is obviously a really good bowler. But I don't know how anyone can put him second in the world to Steyn, when you have Vernon Philander... I'd pick him in a world 11 above Anderson.

Posted by   on (February 19, 2013, 23:46 GMT)

@Mr_Ronan Bit weird how England beat Australia home and away with those bowlers with poor records then. You should try watching cricket now and then rather than just reading the statistics.

Posted by RandyOZ on (February 19, 2013, 23:43 GMT)

Botham with 383 test wickets, miles behind half a dozen Aussies. Boy England have struggled against us!

Posted by Shan156 on (February 19, 2013, 23:26 GMT)

@SurlyCynic, who claims that Anderson is better than Steyn? I don't see that anywhere in the article either. Just out of curiosity, who are these other pacemen who you think are better than Anderson? Philander is a great prospect but he is yet to be tested in the SC. Who else? Zak? Past his prime. Morkel? Similar stats to Anderson. Who else?

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 19, 2013, 23:23 GMT)

Of the comments here, half are in response to this paragraph: "(Anderson) is part of a constant debate of where he sits among the world's leading pace bowlers. The consensus is that Dale Steyn pips him … but (Anderson is) vying for second spot ..."

Reliance ICC rankings have Siddle (800) 41 points above Anderson (759), Philander (889) 130 points ahead of Anderson, & Steyn (907) 148 points ahead. Anderson's highest ever rating is 813, above Siddle's 806, but behind Johnson's 825, & nowhere near Steyn/Philander.

Other factors are in play - ave, SR, wickets etc - but clearly, Steyn & Philander operate at a different level. There is no Anderson vs Steyn/Philander "debate" & "consensus" in a reality-based world. All criteria indicate that Anderson currently vies with Siddle for 3rd place. That we CAN debate.

Readers enjoy opinion & debate, but expect the basic premises of News Analysis, such as this piece, to be accurate. If not, debate soon devolves into pointless, derisive argument.

Posted by   on (February 19, 2013, 22:50 GMT)

I love these people who jump to conclusions instead of reading the article properly. And we're not arguing over who's the best test bowlers in the world atm. We know that South Africa has a better pace attack than Englands overall. We know that Steyn is better than Anderson. I disagree that Phillander is better because Anderson is better with the old ball than good old Vernon, who while incredible with the new ball, if you go past that he has nothing. The argument is whether Anderson can be considered the best of the England fast bowlers ever? I say apart from maybe Botham and Trueman, maybe Bob Willis then yes he can. Not many bowlers in the world have that many non slower ball variations and maintain the ability to bowl those deliveries at good pace and accuracy. Plus look how he got better. Couldn't bowl without swing...now he can. Jimmy, I salute you and so should all those that love English cricket. Without you for the last 4 years or so, we would not be where we've got to

Posted by   on (February 19, 2013, 22:12 GMT)

Anderson does not belong with superstars ,he is slightly better version of Chris Old.

Posted by mikey76 on (February 19, 2013, 22:11 GMT)

SurlyCynic, you're also forgetting that Steyn is a yard quicker. It makes your strike rate go down appreciably when your quicker. That has nothing to do with ability, it's just physics. Nobody in their right mind would place Anderson ahead of Steyn but he's certainly better than anything Australia have. Philander? Well let's see how he does in Asia. I think he'll be like Mike Hussey, have a phenomenal first couple of years then plateau once batsmen work him out.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (February 19, 2013, 21:00 GMT)

Anderson is a class act and as a Saffa I am concerned.

I am concerned because I want my SA boys to have great bowling averages (steyn, Vernon, etc) but with Anderson getting ready to play Australia in the ashes, he is going to take so many wickets it going to make my boys look rather ordinary. What to do.

Posted by shillingsworth on (February 19, 2013, 20:54 GMT)

@SurlyCynic - Steyn is better on all measures. Tell us something we don't know. The article doesn't suggest anything else either. You could have saved yourself a lot of time by reading it properly. @WheresTheEmpire - Another straw man argument. He said that the records will be nice to look back on at the end of his career. He didn't say that they were of more interest to him than winning test matches.

Posted by shillingsworth on (February 19, 2013, 20:00 GMT)

@Mr_Ronan - Hussey, Ponting and Katich played in 2009. Your comparison between Anderson and Johnson is another interesting historical perspective but nothing more. Johnson's recent form and fitness have been poor. Anderson's have not.

Posted by WheresTheEmpire on (February 19, 2013, 19:49 GMT)

Agree completely with SurlyCynic on this. When there is a test match on the line, do you want want someone who will win it for you or someone who seems more interested in personal records?

I would choose a Steyn, Warne, Akram, Hadlee, Lillee true champion any day.

Posted by riverbaby11 on (February 19, 2013, 19:44 GMT)

counting wickets across formats to create records ? just like Sachin's 100th century..meaningless. He is an excellent bowler with a of chance of being considered the best english bowler ever ..that should be good enough.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (February 19, 2013, 19:42 GMT)

Steyn: 64 tests, 327 wkts, ave 22.68, SR 41.1

Anderson: 77 tests, 288 wkts, ave 30.39, SR 58.8

Those who argue that Anderson had a poor start to his career and then improved, well, so did Steyn. Most bowlers are like that and very few start like Philander or Amir did.

The fact remains that there is no comparison between Steyn and Anderson, and there are a number of other bowlers I'd also rate higher than him. Anderson is a decent medium pacer, nothing more.

Posted by   on (February 19, 2013, 19:34 GMT)

Jimmy anderson is a really good bowler, esp in seaming conditions. I wouldnt say he is 2nd to dale steyn, because Vernon Philander is clearly better than Anderson. But currently if I were to pick my top 5 Test Fast bowlers, 1. Steyn 2. Philander 3. Anderson 4. Siddle (not for wickets but the effort) 5. Finn/ Morkel..

Mitchell Johnson had a prolific 2-3 years, but if you look at him now.. he is not where near the Johnson of 2009/2010.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (February 19, 2013, 19:34 GMT)

One of the superlative bowlers of the last ten years, but will be mentioned for decades to come for his expert skills of at-will-inswing and-outswing bowling, spending the last five years hanging that ball on a thread as Australians and Indian (to name just a few) know only too well. Interesting to see his average of 26 at the last Ashes completely passed over by one Australian poster here, just like the fair-weathered fans who deserted their team in droves (in their own stadiums) simply because they were losing in a cricket match to a far better team. Being thrashed so comprehensively in your own back yard must have been difficult, as must have been the whitewash inflicted on Aus last year, but real cricket watchers follow the game no matter what. There certainly weren't many of those around on the Australian side last Ashes. Or the one before that. And as will be continued in the historic back-to-back series this year no doubt. Take a bow Jimmy.

Posted by Mr_Ronan on (February 19, 2013, 19:19 GMT)

It's funny that English fans routinely mock Mitchell Johnson when he's undoubtedly had a better international career than Anderson. Johnson has taken a combined 429 wickets at 27 across all three formats, and scored 2265 runs at 20. Anderson has taken 529 wickets at 30 and scored 914 runs at just 9. Game, set and match. You cannot argue with those stats. @clarke501 and skilebow...Anderson was very good in the last Ashes. But in 2009 (when none of Langer, Hayden, Martyn, Gilly or Martyn played) he was caned, taking just 12 wickets at 45. So clearly he'll be hoping for a vastly improved performance.

Posted by Whatsgoinoffoutthere on (February 19, 2013, 19:17 GMT)

If Anderson is No 2 and Steyn is No 1, where does that put Vernon Philander?

Posted by   on (February 19, 2013, 19:09 GMT)

@Mr Ronan. Finn took more wickets than Bresnan. He'll be there for the next series. Anderson took 24 wickets in that series - the next highest was 17. The best Aussie was 15. OK, it was a desperately poor Aussie side. But how much better are they now?

Posted by mikey76 on (February 19, 2013, 19:03 GMT)

SurlyCynic, you're missing the point. For a large chunk of his career Anderson had injury and form issues. If you take his form over the last 3-4 years then he can definitely be mentioned in the same paragraph as Steyn. His control of swing, accuracy and skill with the old ball are second to none. The reason he averaged so high against SA was because he had about 6 catches dropped off his bowling!

Posted by KerneelsMerkII on (February 19, 2013, 18:55 GMT)

I like Jimmy, he is a good bowler and a very good all-round cricket. Fantastic fielder and a brave night-watchman. Having said that, to say Steyn merely 'pips' him as a fast bowler is tantamount to saying Bradman had a 'handy' test average. As far as I am concerned Jimmy is some way behind Steyn with the likes of Starc, Philander, Junaid, Finn, Cummings and the like all jostling for position to be second best. As far as I am concerned the fight for second-best is between BurninVernon and Starc.

Posted by skilebow on (February 19, 2013, 18:45 GMT)

SurlyCynic - if you had bothered to read the whole sentence then i think cricinfo is just about fair. Once again stats only tell a part of the story in cricket

Posted by skilebow on (February 19, 2013, 18:43 GMT)

Mr_Ronan - stats only go so far. How did England win the 2009 ashes if all of their bowlers (the only one you didn't mention was flintoff and he was only good in patches in that series) were so poor?

Posted by   on (February 19, 2013, 18:33 GMT)

Jimmy is really under-rated, He is a class act, After his retirement I Hope he gets "SIR SIR" before his name, cuz he is defo better than the other english bowlers

Posted by shillingsworth on (February 19, 2013, 18:30 GMT)

@Mr_Ronan - So Anderson's 24 wickets at 26 in the last Ashes series is of no consequence in comparison with Tremlett and Bresnan, neither of whom played the entire series? How come Anderson 'really struggled' in that series? In previous Ashes series, you're correct in stating that some current English bowlers have found it tough against Hayden, Langer, Ponting, Gilchrist, Hussey, Martin, Symonds and Katich. However, unless any of them are about to make a stunning comeback, I'd suggest that your stats rather miss the point.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (February 19, 2013, 18:02 GMT)

No, Steyn doesn't just 'pip' Anderson. Anderson has a career average over 30 and averaged over 40 vs SA last year (when Steyn was criticised for only averaging 29).

Anderson shouldn't even be mentioned in the same paragraph as Steyn.

Posted by Mr_Ronan on (February 19, 2013, 17:33 GMT)

Anderson has become a good bowler but has really struggled against Australia, averaging 39 over 13 Tests, so it'll be interesting to see how he goes in the Ashes this year. But he isn't alone in floundering against the Aussies. Swann (average of 40 in 9 Ashes Tests), Panesar (ave. 45 in 4 Ashes tests) and Broad (ave 35 in 7 Ashes Tests) have all found it tough going against Australia. Tremlett and Bresnan played massive roles in securing the last Ashes for England but are unlikely to play any part this time.

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Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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