Quite effortlessly, James Anderson has been swinging the red ball, getting that banana curve more often than not, leaving batsmen clueless and audience jaw-dropped. He can move it away, nip it back in, reverse it and as Sachin Tendulkar recently analysed on his social media handle, he can make the smartest of cricketers go one way and swing the cherry the other way.
He is a conjurer to say the least, one who has defied all the odds. The first and only fast bowler to play 150 Test matches is now the first of his kind to scalp 600 Test wickets. What else could we say to this genius?
He can crack the toughest of codes, break the sturdiest of walls, make the best in the business dance to his tunes. Resilience, patience, consistency – He’s got it all, but for that to have lasted so long, in a day-and-age like this, Anderson didn’t just aim for the sky, he reached out and touched it.
600 Test wickets for James Anderson 💥
The list of pacers with most Test wickets!
— Stat Doctor🩺 (@stat_doctor) August 25, 2020
Over the years, we saw many people talk about his inability to perform outside of England, his lack of enthusiasm when the weather conditions aren’t sufficing his strengths. He’s slurped and burped all those allegations time and again, stepping back on the pitch to make that beautiful red cherry do the talking.
James Anderson and Stuart Broad – A pair made in heaven
Griffith-Hall, Roberts-Marshall, Botham-Willis, Wasim-Waqar, Lillee-Thompson, Lee-McGrath, Pollock-Donald and perhaps a few more, three or four at best, can be considered when we actually talk about the great fast bowling pairs in history.
Not everyone gets inducted there, it’s a rare, exclusive and finite list, one that truly falls under the “Cricketing Royalty” category. Not many in the modern day come close to making a cut there, but all of the names mentioned above would gleefully, with open arms, would welcome James Anderson and Stuart Broad in there.
This was a match made in heaven, perhaps different to the other iconic pairs, maybe the renaissance version of it. If Anderson’s resilience doesn’t get you, Broad’s street-smart skills will. If Broad’s bounce doesn’t get you, Anderson’s swing will. In quite a unique and befitting way, they complete each other and while plenty came in and went out, they remained glued to their positions.
As a fan, watching either one of them operate against your favorite team is indeed difficult. Perhaps it is easy to shout on our screens, “Don’t fish outside off against Jimmy”, only the ones who face that music understand how these both can challenge the intellect of a batsman, and more often than not emerge victorious.
Spotlight follows James Anderson, despite his reluctance
It’s hard to associate Anderson with much of the chit-chatting or aggressive air-punching. He’s more of a glarer, one who tries to shoot a bullet with his eyes, and then uproot the timber with his skill. Above all the things that make Anderson a perfect gentleman, it’s his nonchalance and reluctance to garner any limelight.
Today is not a day where he can avoid, the achievement is way too significant. He managed to deflect his 564-moment’s glory to another giant playing his penultimate Test, Sir Alastair Cook. Do not be surprised if he comes out and says Broad reaching 500 was equally special to him, he’s just a rare kind.
When Azhar Ali nicked it to the first slip, he looked upwards and thanked the almighty perhaps alongside a gentle wave to his dugout, some high-fives and hugs from his teammates. He kept it simple, tucked inside a moment that has occurred only three times before in Cricket history, and made it look like just another day at the office.
View this post on Instagram
Over the years, if there was one thing we understood of the man from Lancashire is this, he craves for those challenges which most people run away from. He thrives in scenarios where most of them would cripple. He sails against the tide, perseveres and eventually, conquers.
Path to greatness has no shortcuts, and there are no two ways. There’s plenty of long-distance walks, mountains to scale, caves to crawl through and demons to fight. In comparison to the other big names in the fast bowling juggernaut, Anderson took his time to reach certain landmarks. But a fact that he lodged in this stranglehold nearly two decades ago and continued to endure more than any other name speaks volumes of his mental strength.
ALSO READ: Afghanistan players to miss CPL play-offs
Opinions are subject to an individual’s way of reading the game, which most certainly can differ from another. There are plenty out there who do not categorize him among the great speedsters, “Perhaps not quite there,” or “A bit of stretch,” is what we would listen.
Everyone has their own reasons to back or not back, compliment or not compliment an individual. Even in the list of those who couldn’t care, Anderson would be right at the bottom as he needs no validation.
When people expected him to announce retirement a few weeks ago when he called for a press conference, Anderson quite heroically mentioned he has his eyes on the Ashes next season. The hunger is not immortal, but it’s far from finishing soon.
— CricXtasy (@CricXtasy) August 25, 2020
The next big triple figure might be out of his reach, even by his standards of endurance. In the hypothetical scenario of him reaching there, it is imperative to point out that not many would be surprised. In his case, that’d be just another chapter in one of Cricket’s longest and everlasting story.
It seems highly likely that Anil Kumble might step aside from the Bronze podium to make way for Anderson. Not to forget, if he really gets there, he will also have one leg on the gold podium among fast bowlers, with the second best over 50 wickets away from him.
After all, James Anderson is not a quitter!