Anderson key in England fulfilling number 1 ambition

June 16, 2011

by Nev1

When James Anderson broke onto the scene in 2003 at Lords against Zimbabwe it was thought at the time that we had our own version of Richard Hadlee. The young Lancastrian could swing the ball, at pace, with a beautiful side on action. He claimed 5 wickets in the first innings, all with unplayable out-swingers.

He backed this up with a one-day hat-trick in the same year, in a World Cup match against Pakistan in Cape Town. Pundits and experts alike were already talking about the fast bowler overhauling Ian Botham’s 383 wickets in Test match cricket.

However, the next six years of Jimmy’s career were stark contrast to where he finds himself now, as number 3 bowler in the world. A combination of injuries and lack of form left the boy from Burney wondering if he will ever make it at the top level.

Anderson could still manage infrequent spells of bowling where he looked dangerous, but the amount of rubbish thrown in at times, was also hugely concerning. The ECB and their coaching staff had changed Anderson’s natural side on action into a robotic like front-on action, where biomechanically it was a ‘yes’ but in all other circumstances it was a ‘no’.

However, in the past three years Anderson has really come of age. He has yet again found his natural out-swinger to the right hand batsman that was sorely missing in his troubled times. He also possesses much better control of his line and length, and this is a big reason why England call him their spearhead.

There were still some question marks over Anderson’s ability to bowl with the kookaburra ball in Australia (mainly the Australian media) before England Ashes tour last winter. Anderson silenced these critics in style in being the main reason Australian batsman struggled in a 3-1 series defeat. He captured big wickets with the new ball, of the likes of Watson and Ponting, and when the pitches flattered out with an older ball, he managed to get it to reverse swing, giving the Australian lower order all kinds of headaches.

Anderson has proved he is a high quality Test match bowler and England will be delighted to have him back in their ranks for the start of the third Test match today at The Rose Bowl against Sri Lanka. A draw will be good enough to see England win the series as they go into the game with a 1-0 lead.

However England will be pushing for a win in Southampton, as they have stated their main aim over the next 12 months is to become the best playing Test match nation in the world.

In order for them to achieve this, I believe Anderson must stay fit. He provides England with the variety in their attack that was evidently missed at Lords. A good attack must have a balance of options, and in Anderson they have that pitch up swing bowler that is so important in English conditions, especially when India arrive. The only swing they see in India is that of the ball of Sachin’s bat. I’m expecting Tendulkar to find life much tougher this summer then he has done in recent times, especially with a fit Anderson charging in.

Scoop 16/06/11

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