JAMES ANDERSON: The unsung fast-bowling hero from England.

JAMES ANDERSON: The unsung fast-bowling hero from England.

5 minutes read

If I had a dime for every time a bowler was a silent assassin or an unsung hero in his career, I’d be filthy rich. A notion is associated with every nation, with regards to bowling – India and Srilanka are known for their spinners; Pakistan are known for their knack of reaping fast bowlers time and again; England and New Zealand are known for their swing bowlers; South Africa, West Indies and Australia are known for their pace bowlers. However, there has been a bowler who went against that notion and made a name with his own trade. If India had Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan, Srilanka had Chaminda Vaas. Pakistan produced Saqlain Mushtaq, one of the most smart and innovative spinners the game has seen. Australia gave the world the best Leg Spinner of all time – Shane Warne. England saw the rise of Graeme Swann(he was the best while it lasted) while West Indies have most recently given Sunil Narine(If you ignore the instances of chucking and all). Even though South African hasn’t seen a world-class spinner emerge from its ranks, if I had to name someone, it would be Imran Tahir. Daniel Vettori is the obvious name as far as New Zealand is concerned.

Thus, it is only weird to see that a bowler of a type that is predominant in the country, remains unsung for so long. If you think that in the case of England, a good spinner would be treated in a better way than a fast bowler(who are found in every nook and corner), you are one of many to think that way. If you notice, Except Australia(where Shane Warne is rated higher than the fast bowlers), the best or legendary bowler of every nation has been of the type that is abundantly seen in that respective nation.

ENGLAND – Ian Botham (Pace)
NEW ZEALAND – Shane Bond (Pace)
WEST INDIES – Andy Roberts, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh (Pace)
INDIA – Anil Kumble (Spin)
SRILANKA – Muttiah Muralitharan (Spin)
PAKISTAN – Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis (Pace)
SOUTH AFRICA – Dale Steyn, Allan Donald (Pace)

Coming to my point and keeping in mind the above observation, I find it very surprising to see James Anderson remain the unsung hero of England Cricket for so long. Even though he is regarded as a legend among the England cricketing circles and by his teammates, he is not regarded the same by the masses. A glance at his statistics prove that he has certainly earned the tag of legend. Having played 115 TESTs and taken 451 wickets as a fast bowler is a huge achievement in itself. Believe me, playing the game for 13 years is not easy. Hardly do you see fast bowlers last so long while playing consistently. Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, Glenn McGrath are some of the names that come to mind while talking about longevity.

James Anderson The unsung fast bowling hero from England

James Anderson is predominantly a swing bowler who relies on the off-side channel. He is a kind of bowler who preys on the batsmen’s weaknesses. This makes him more effective in the longer format of the game than in the shorter formats of the game, as is pretty evident by his statistics. The only 2 aspects of his statistics that are worth considering are “Matches” and “Wickets”. Everything else is pretty average. You’ll notice that his Bowling Average is not that impressive. In fact, he doesn’t even feature in the top 75 bowling averages of all time. But, it is his ability to bowl consistently throughout a match, throughout a series and throughout a season that defines him. Anderson is known to trouble the best of batsmen with his consistency in line and length.

MatchesBalls BowledWicketsAvg5 WI10 WMBest
TESTS1152557345128.332137/43
ODIs171958426929.222-5/23
First-Class1953978175826.333867/43
List A2051199434328.152-5/23

James Anderson has been of those rare and lucky breed of fast bowlers who have not seen many injuries in their career. This has allowed him to feature regularly in the English side. Fast bowlers have tormented batsmen since the inception of cricket. However, the top 3 leading wicket-takers of all time are all spinners. Glenn McGrath is the 4th highest(the first fast bowler in the list). Just recently, Glenn McGrath said that James Anderson can overtake his tally and become the 4th highest wicket-taker of all time. If Glenn McGrath says so, it is highly possible.

James Anderson has carried the workload of leading the English seam attack for very long. He has won many a matches for his side. His personality is not scary. But, the scare begins once the ball leaves his hand. I have always admired James Anderson for his bowling prowess. He may not have the express pace, nor does he have a tormenting figure. Yet, many a good batsmen have become his bunnies solely due to his ability.

Yes, James Anderson is undoubtedly the most unsung hero of English cricket and the most unsung fast bowler of all time. But, who cares! He obviously doesn’t. Anderson still has a lot of cricket left in him and is well on course to prove McGrath right. Watching him bowl in Test after Test is like watching the same highlights again and again. Consistency. After all, he is the No. 1 ranked bowler in Tests, as of 5th June.

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