England v Australia, 1st Investec Test, Trent Bridge, 5th day July 14, 2013

England not dependent on Anderson - Cook


Alastair Cook has stated that there is no bowler in world cricket he would rather have in his side than James Anderson, but insisted that England were not over-reliant upon him.

Anderson delivered a 13-over spell on the final morning to break the back of the Australian resistance and then, despite an attack of cramp, was forced back into service to claim the final wicket. He finished with 10 for 158 in the match and bowled a total of 55.5 overs earning England a 14-run victory and himself the Man-of-the-Match award.

Cook did admit, however, that Anderson had carried a heavy burden in this game and accepted that workload concerns were an issue with the second Investec Ashes Test beginning at Lord's on Thursday and nine more Ashes Tests to come before the end of January.

"Jimmy was outstanding," Cook said afterwards. "He always wants one more over, though 13 was probably quite a lot in that first hour.

"But no, I don't think we're over-reliant on him at all. He's a world-class bowler and you sometimes use him in these situations when you know there's a time-frame. He had an amazing rhythm in this game.

"Stuart Broad and Steven Finn have done outstandingly well for us over a huge amount of time, but it just happened to be Jimmy's day and Jimmy's game. Sometimes it happens like that.

"When a bowler hits a rhythm you just keep asking him if he's feeling alright. That's why you do the training in the gym: when your captain needs you to do it you are physically fit to do it. We know his skill but his heart to keep running in on a hot day on a flat wicket was outstanding.

"No, there's no bowler in the world I'd rather have. Not in any conditions. These were very subcontinent conditions and he was outstanding. He swings it both ways on an immaculate length and makes it very hard to score.

"You do worry about his workload in one sense but, when you're out in the middle, that is kind of irrelevant. You have to think about what is best for the team at that precise time. You can't be thinking about what will happen in two months time.

"It's the job for our backroom staff and us as a team to make sure we recover well because back-to-back Test matches are hard physically. We have to come back for Thursday ready."

Cook scored Test runs galore in Australia two years ago but his first Ashes Test as captain was something different. "I always said I would be the only England captain not to go bald, but after days like today, it might not help that," he said.

Asked by Sky Sports whether it had been his best performance in an England shirt, Anderson said: "Yeah I'd say so. We knew it wasn't going to be easy at the start of the day, but I thought the lads stuck to it and stayed calm when it was getting tough.

"I'm just delighted to get the win. I had the nerves going a little bit but I love bowling here, it's been good to me over the years and I'm happy that I could pick up some more wickets.''

Asked if he could maintain the same levels of workload across the series, he said: "If I'm bowling 13-over spells it's going to be difficult! But it's Ashes cricket. I love playing Test match cricket and the Ashes is right up there, and that's why we do the hard work in the gym - to get out there and bowl long spells.''

Australia's captain, Michael Clarke, was proud of his team in defeat but credited England's victory to the efforts of Anderson and Ian Bell, who made the only century of the match.

"I think the boys can certainly hold their head high. It was a wonderful game of cricket. Credit to England. England fought hard really hard throughout the five days and I think the two best performers of the Test match were Ian Bell making a hundred and Jimmy Anderson getting five-for in each innings, so they deserved the win."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dean on July 15, 2013, 20:02 GMT

    @Vleis, I don't think anyone is basing Jimmy being a fantastic bowler on one good performance. To be fair he pretty much does that every time he plays at TB and has been outstanding in every series he has played in the past few yrs with the possible exceptions of SAF last yr & to a certain extent NZL earlier this. I think your attempt at comparing Philander with Anderson is some what Flawed. Anderson is the leader of the attack & has a completely different role to what VP has with SAF. I would also add that in the last 2 yrs JA has played 9 test matches in Asia where we all know seamers tend to struggle. VP is still to play a test match there & to date has only played tests in the far more seam friendly environments of SAF,Eng,Aus & NZL.

  • H on July 15, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    @Vleis and I didn't say England were a poor batting or bowling unit ;). Just that, in my view, South Africa were the best batting unit in the world, even back then. If we had a chance, it was with Swann out-bowling Tahir, which he didn't.

    And I wouldn't say Jimmy's the best in the world. Steyn's head and shoulders above everyone, Philander included. I'd argue Anderson might have a claim to being next in line, although Philander and Siddle's records are superb too.

    I also don't think Cook meant that he was the best in the world, just that there's no bowler in the world he'd rather have. That speaks to his confidence in Jimmy. Smith would undoubtedly say the same about Steyn (who is the best in the world).

    It reminds me of when Saker said Jimmy was the most skilful bowler in the world. There's an argument he can do more with the ball than Steyn. What makes Steyn so amazing is his ability to do what he does at a pace Anderson can only dream of.

  • Vleis on July 15, 2013, 19:15 GMT

    @ H_Z_O: I didn't say that JA is a rubbish bowler. I think that he is a very good bowler, but it makes me laugh that everyone is banging on about him being the best in the world after one great performance - even his captain is falling into this trap. So, to squash some of the hyperbole, I've presented hard facts. I agree that context is important, but your argument is flawed, as the facts show that during Philander's 16 tests England were #1 longer than SA - i.e. hardly a poor bowling unit (or batting unit). Besides, sometimes being the lone world class bowler of the pack can be beneficial - e.g. Hadlee, Muralitharan, etc.

  • H on July 15, 2013, 18:18 GMT

    @Vleis As good as Philander is, do you think maybe, just maybe, the fact he bowls with Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel helps him? Bowlers hunt in packs, and even guys like McGrath benefitted from guys like Warne.

    Likewise the fact he never has to play a Test match against Amla, De Villiers, Kallis or Smith? That's why a lot of stats analysis falls flat, people neglect context. There is no doubt Philander's a class bowler, but I'd love to see how he does when Steyn and Morkel aren't there. As yet he's never played a Test without them.

    Would Jimmy's stats be better if he had Steyn and Morkel instead of Broad or Finn? What about if he had South Africa's fielding unit, which boasts some of the best in the world? England's fielding's been declining of late, including, interestingly, back during the series against South Africa. We dropped Amla repeatedly and he's good enough without being given lives.

    South Africa are #1 for a reason. But that doesn't mean Jimmy's a rubbish bowler.

  • Vleis on July 15, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    Rather than comparing Steyn to JA, let's compare JA to SA's #2 bowler. Philander's played 16 tests (half at home) and has a bowling average of 17.1. Jimmy has a high bowling average, but is much better now than he was earlier in his career, so let's compare Vernon's figures to JA's most recent 16 tests (half at home). JA's average is 27.4, which is more than 10 runs per wicket worse than Philander's! If you need more convincing, let's compare how they did in the battle for #1 in the world last summer. Vernon did not have his best series, but took 12 wickets at 23.7...whereas JA took 9 wickets at 40.7! So, when the #1 spot was on the line, JA got thoroughly outplayed by Vernon....in his own country. And let's not even get started about their batting. Cook may want JA in his team above all others, but he is wrong.

  • Dean on July 15, 2013, 15:11 GMT

    @The big Boodha, Just so you are clear about one thing Denbach never has & never will be anywhere near the Eng test side!

  • Dean on July 15, 2013, 14:59 GMT

    @Capt Meanster, I will agree that we have been lucky that Jimmy has stayed fit over the past few yrs & picked up few injuries. However your comments regarding the rest of our attack never picking up injuries is laughable. Tremlett got injured in the UAE 18 mths & was not even able to start playing CC again until 3 months ago. Swann missed the whole of the series in NZL earlier this year. Finn was only fit enough to play 1 of the 4 tests in Ind before Xmas, Broad broke down on several occasions during last year & even when he was playing in 2012 he was nowhere need 100% neither was Bresnan! If we go back a few yrs to 2009 Onions was pretty much a first choice player but he suffered a bad back injury which kept him out of all cricket for well over a yr & has never been able to ball with the same pace since returning hence why Eng have been reluctant to pick him since.

  • Harmon on July 15, 2013, 14:51 GMT

    @SICHO: I don't know what to say. It seems you misread my comment and thought I was saying that Eng can do well even without Jimmy and that you were telling ME how SA have other good pacers too in the absence of Steyn. I can only ask you to re-reead what I said in my prev comment. I am quoting the relevant part of my comment here ---"Without Anderson, England's attack is worse than what SA would be without Steyn."---

  • Dean on July 15, 2013, 14:47 GMT

    I think some posters have short memories. Jimmy was always going to be the go to man at this venue, look at his stats there 47W in 7 games @16.36. This will not be the case in every match. Swann took 10 for at Hedingly & Broad 7-44 in the 2nd inns at Lords against NZL, and who can forget Monty's phonemanal series in Ind only a few moths ago! Yes there are some questions surrounding the 3rd seamer & whether it should be Finn, Bez or Onions, but Eng are far from one trick pony in the bowling department.

  • David on July 15, 2013, 14:15 GMT

    @SICHO- That's not true about SA. Steyn produced all the most important breakthroughs against England and Australia in the recent series. Take him out of the side and Morkel does nothing. His figures (and Philander's) have sometimes been better than Steyn's, but they look very playable without Steyn. JA is England's best, but he's not as good as Steyn, and two years ago Broad found a groove against India and Pakistan that JA has never matched. If it doesn't swing, and he doesn't need much swing, JA can look a little innocuous, and has flat Tests - Headingley against NZ. On that occasion Finn was the go to man. It's not that England's attack is better balanced, but that Steyn can overcome any conditions, and that's what makes him very special. More so than Anderson.