Jimmy Anderson - Fast paced to top spot!
The final wicket of Indian tail-ended batsman Mohammed Shami in the fifth and final Test of Pataudi Trophy 2018, between India and England at Kennington Oval not only sealed a 4-1 series victory for the hosts, but also took the wicket-taking English bowler James Anderson to the top spot among the seam bowlers in the list of all-time Test wicket-takers.
With that wicket of Shami, Anderson went past the legendary Australian bowling giant Glenn McGrath's tally of 563 wickets and placed himself in the clear fourth position behind spin troika of Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralidharan (800), another Aussie legend Shane Warne (708) and Indian Jumbo Anil Kumble (619).
It just took around eight months and 11 tests for Jimmy (fondly mentioned as) since he surpassed another seam bowling giant, the legendary West Indian Courtney Walsh (519) in December 2017.
Hitting the purple patch
After the injury-ridden year of 2016, the England new ball bowler is back to his pink of form. Since the beginning of English summer in 2017, he has scalped 97 wickets in just 21 tests giving away a measly 19 runs per wicket.
If the summer of 2017 yielded an outstanding figure of 38 wickets in seven Tests against touring South Africa and West Indies; the recently concluded summer fetched a rich return of 33 wickets in the same number of Tests, with first Pakistan and then India being the teams at the receiving end!
Even if we go a bit farther into past, to be precise since the conclusion of the disastrous Ashes campaign of 2013-14, the English strike bowler's overall wicket tally reads an impressive 224 in 52 matches giving away just above 21 runs in return of each scalp.
Though the buzz around the recently concluded series was more about "Anderson vs Kohli" battle, the English bowler was unlucky as the dropped catches by his teammates earlier in the series denied the chance of getting the prized wicket of Indian Captain. But Jimmy made sure he got his share of wickets from the other Indian batsmen.
India has been always Jimmy's favourite team whenever he has played them in his backyard. His claims against the current World No. 1 Test team have been really impressive boasting 110 wickets in 27 matches at an average of under 26. The other team against whom he has three digit wicket tally is Australia (104) in 34 matches with a modest average of 34.5.
In the second Test at Lord's against India, Anderson joined Lanka's Muralidharan in taking 100+ wickets at a single venue. In that Lord's test, his match figures read 23.2-10-43-9 which shows the command the swing exponent holds on the Mecca of Cricket.
Anderson is just two matches behind Shane Warne in the list of the number of Tests (145) played by the front-line bowlers (With all respect to South African Jacques Kallis who has 166 matches in his name but I believe he was more of an all-rounder than a full-time bowler).
As Glenn McGrath himself had mentioned in his recent interview before the Oval Test, it would be really next to impossible thing for any Test bowler to go past Jimmy once he became the top wicket-taker among speedsters. The main reasons behind that prediction are Jimmy's form and fitness which are in top gear at present and are likely to propel the Englishman for another couple of years, with his wicket tally likely to go past Anil Kumble's 619.
Published 13 Sep 2018, 04:06 IST