Arguably, the best red-ball bowler produced in world cricket, James Anderson is the leading
wicket-taker in Test cricket presently, amongst seamers.
The Lancashire-cricketer has set high standards when it comes to skills and longevity, since
making his ODI debut in 2002 against Australia at Melbourne.
Anderson soon made his mark in the longest format, after receiving his maiden Test cap during
the Zimbabwe series in 2003. Since then, he had been a regular feature for England in all
formats of the game.
He soon became the most successful bowler in Test cricket for England after surpassing Ian
Botham’s tally of 383 wickets. Then, he went on to become the first English bowler to take 500
Test wickets, after dismissing Kraigg Brathwaite during the 2017 series against West Indies.
A year later, Anderson registered his name in the history books as he castled Mohammed
Shami to scalp his 564th Test wicket and overhauling Glenn McGrath’s tally. Thereby, becoming
the most successful seamer in the history of the game.
During the game against Pakistan at Southampton in 2020, Anderson went on to create a
benchmark for himself by scalping his 600th Test victim.
His tally of 156 appearances for ‘The Three Lions’ is the second-most by any Englishman, only
behind Alaistair Cook’s tally of 161 games. (As of January 2021).
Overall in Tests, Anderson has an enviable average of 26.78 and a strike-rate of 56.2. With as
many as 27 five-wicket hauls, he holds the record of second-most fifers in Test cricket amongst
seamers after McGrath.
Together with Stuart Board, ‘Jimmy’ has forged a daunting alliance, especially in the overcast
condition at home, with the new ball. The Broad-Anderson duo have 1100+ wickets among
themselves. Thereby, proving to be the best new-ball partners in the history of Test cricket.
The Burnley-born also showcased his skills in white-ball cricket, with his economical bowling
with the new ball. But, Anderson’s lines and lengths were found out when it came to death
bowling in the limited-overs format.
Anderson boasts a magnificent tally of 269 wickets in 191 games for England in ODI cricket,
with an impressive economy of 4.95, with the best figures of 5/23 and an average of 29.22.
Across all formats, Anderson has picked up a whopping 887 wickets, which is the sixth-best
overall, and third-most amongst fast bowlers. Such figures are monumental for any fast-bowler,
especially looking at his career filled with injuries.
Anderson’s longevity can be credited to the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) workload
management principles. Since the 2015 World Cup, Anderson hasn’t featured in any
international white-ball competition, owing to cultural changes in England cricket in the
aftermath of the celebrated tournament.
With the change in culture under the directorship of Andrew Strauss and captaincy of Eoin
Morgan, England cricket in the limited-overs boasted attacking batsmen and defensive bowlers,
coupled with a long batting order.
Therefore, his performances in Test cricket hasn’t been affected due to gruelling schedules of
modern-day all-format cricketers and the Lancashire bowler has coped up well with fatigue and
Anderson is best known for making Virat Kohli his bunny during the 2014 Indian tour. Kohli’s
horrid tour consisted of Anderson enticing him to play outside the off-stump, in the fifth stump
line. One of the top batsmen of the world, Kohli, kept on nicking the ball towards the slips, as
Anderson got the better of the batsmen in each innings of the five-Test matches in the series.
The crown jewel for Anderson and his brilliant career has to be the compliment received from
Sachin Tendulkar. The Master Blaster, who faced the likes of McGrath, Courtney Walsh, Wasim
Akram, Shaun Pollock and many other legends, once revealed that the only bowler he found
difficult to cope was none other than Anderson.
As a matter fact, Anderson holds an impressive record of dismissing Tendulkar most number of
times in his career. Anderson has also been part of the three victorious English sides in Ashes.
Tracing his career, he found it difficult to break into the England side due to injuries and the likes
of Andrew Caddick, Matthew Hoggard, Steve Harmison, Darren Gough and Simon Jones in the
However, Anderson made quite a reputation for himself in the sporadic appearances made
during his early years.
Anderson found a permanent place for himself in the England lineup with the departure of
Ashes-winning class of 2005.
His best figures came against New Zealand at Trent Bridge in the 2007 series where he scalped
seven Kiwi wickets for just 43 runs. The seamer’s career-best figures of 11 wickets in a match
came against Pakistan in the 2010-11 season.
The Lancashireman’s accolades include ‘Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year’ in 2009 and
‘Freedom of Burnley Award’ in 2012. At age 38, Anderson is in the twilight of his career and a
number of records left to shattered. All in all, the crafty English seamer will go down as one of
the greatest produced in the game of cricket.