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“James Anderson looks the fittest he has ever been” - Rikki Clarke

James Anderson
James Anderson
ANALYST
Modified 12 Feb 2021
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Former England all-rounder Rikki Clarke feels James Anderson is only getting better with age, while adding that the ace pacer's fitness has played an important role in his success and longevity.

James Anderson (38) rolled back the years in a sensational display of reverse swing bowling on Day 5 of the first Test against India, with the visitors winning the match in Chennai by 227 runs.

Speaking to Sportskeeda’s Indranil Basu in an SK Live session on Facebook, Clarke showered praise on Anderson. The 39-year-old opined:

“He’s (James Anderson) getting better with age. He’s never been someone who is unfit, but if you look at him now, he looks the fittest he has ever been. He looks strong and lean. He has got amazing rhythm. He showed in Sri Lanka what he can do with the ball and got the ball to reverse swing in this match (Chennai Test) as well. He’s on the money all the time. Just a class act. All the skills that he has, he is utilizing to the best of his ability.”

When asked about the secret of James Anderson’s success, Clarke replied that the veteran fast bowler’s hunger to get better at everything he does is what keeps him going. He added:

“He always wants to get better - his fitness, his bowling, skills. He wants to be the best he can be. You don’t get over 600 Test wickets by fluke, you have to work on your game. He knows his body and the skills that he possesses. And we are seeing him get wickets when people were saying, away from home, in sub-continent conditions, he won’t be effective.”

Not playing white-ball cricket possibly helped James Anderson: Rikki Clarke

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Rikki Clarke, who played two Tests and 20 ODIs for England, admitted that only playing in the longest format of the game has perhaps worked in James Anderson’s favor. He explained:

“The one thing it (playing only Tests) does is that it takes those overs and time in the legs away. It allows him to focus solely on the red ball. It’s a completely different kettle of fish with the red ball and the white ball. Red ball, you hold the seam up, it swings beautifully. The white ball, you hold the seam up, and it does funny things. It’s quite difficult at times (playing different formats), so may be that’s helped him.”

Clarke also spoke about how James Anderson is someone who is clear about what is best for him and is also quick at correcting his mistakes. Giving an example, he added:

“Roughly around 2004-05, there was a little change in his action, and that caused a back injury. He went away from what he knew, and what worked for him. And then, he said to himself, I am going back to what I know. He made a good decision because, after 600 Tests wickets, he is still there in it. I’d imagine he would be playing until he can’t play anymore. Until there’s a day when his body says no more or form and stuff. But, at this moment in time, he looks supreme.”
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James Anderson looks set to add to his tally of 611 Test wickets when England take on India in the second Test, which starts on Saturday.

Published 12 Feb 2021, 11:53 IST
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