London: Fast bowlers are precious and they need to be nurtured. The amount of pressure that a paceman’s body endures limits his shelf life on a cricket field and that is why these rare jewels are valued so much in the sport of cricket. Every generation has had their greats. This one has a legit legend in James Anderson. Apart from the fact that he can make a cricket ball look like a frisbee on a day when the conditions are conducive for swing and the fact that he is the highest wicket taker among fast bowlers in Test cricket, good ol’ Jimmy makes the cut due to his longevity.
17-years after making his international debut, Lancashire’s swing sensation is still going strong. Those aging knees might pain and strain at time but Anderson is ever ready to take the red ball in his hand and lead England’s pace attack. He did just that on Thursday at Centurion, and even picked up a wicket on his first delivery.
This was the 150th time that Anderson had worn the white kits with England’s Three Lions embossed on it. He thus became the 9th player in the 142-year history of Test cricket to feature in 150 matches in a career. A look at the 8 names above him will tell cricket fans the story.
Sachin Tendulkar (200), Ricky Ponting (168), Steve Waugh (168), Jacques Kallis (166), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (164), Rahul Dravid (164), Alastair Cook (161) and Allan Border (156) are the other cricketers who reached the milestone before Anderson. All of the above are batsmen and that is what makes Anderson’s achievement so praiseworthy.
Courtney Walsh (132) and Kapil Dev (131) came close and that happened because the duo had careers where they were mostly injury free. Anderson’s has not been that. He has had his share of injuries and has come back stronger every time.
And Anderson is not alone, his new ball partner Stuart Broad (135) is right behind and could very well leapfrog him by the time he hangs those boots. That’s for later though, it’s time to celebrate Jimmy!