James Anderson recently created history in English cricket as he overtook former England captain Alastair Cook’s record of 161 caps in the second Test match against New Zealand at Edgbaston. Not only is he the highest wicket-taker in England cricket but he is now also the most-capped individual. With 617 Test wickets, he is the leading wicket-taker amongst active cricketers and no other fast bowler in the history of the sport has taken more wickets than this lad from Burnley.
It is truly remarkable as at the age of 38, Anderson keeps getting better, keeps defying the conventional logic and has become an outlier in this sport. So what makes Anderson so consistent? Let’s find out.
ALWAYS HUNGRY FOR MORE
Ever since James Anderson made his Test debut all the way back in 2003 at Lord’s against Zimbabwe, he has constantly tried to improve. He famously said that back in 2003, he felt that he wasn’t ready to deliver at the Test level and he knew that there were plenty of aspects of his game that he needed to improve on. He slipped in and out of the team throughout his initial tenure and it wasn’t till the New Zealand tour of 2007-08 that he became a regular in the England setup. He had a few important roles to play before that series but it was in New Zealand that he came of age and since that tour, Anderson has claimed 554 Test wickets at an outstanding average of 25.17.
MAINTAINS REMARKABLE FITNESS LEVELS
The biggest challenge for any fast bowler is how they handle their body and stay injury-free for the longest part in their career. It is easier said than done as over the years, many promising fast bowlers who had the potential to be genuine greats were sidelined for long periods due to major injuries and never recovered. This is where James Anderson can consider himself slightly lucky. Apart from a stress fracture in his back in 2006, Anderson hasn’t had to fight against any major injury setback. He has kept himself remarkably fit and that has been the true reason for his greatness and his unreal consistency.
STICKS TO WHAT HE KNOWS BEST
Talking about the stress fracture in his back, he injured himself when the England Cricket Board’s (ECB) plan to remodel his action to prevent him from future injuries backfired horribly. Anderson looks back at the time as a crucial moment in his illustrious career. He decided to get back to his old action and that move in hindsight did wonders for him. Not only did he get back to being comfortable in his action, but it also helped him gain an insane amount of consistency and has made him the bowler he is currently.
The question which springs to mind now is that with him turning 39 this year, what is the realistic timeline for him to call it a day on this wonderful career? No matter whenever he decides to hang his boots, he will always remain one of the true greats of this sport and till that day, fans should soak up his brilliance as much as they can as we are witnessing a modern-day great at his very best.
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