Jimmy Anderson: Officer Class? No. World Class? Most Definitely

Jimmy Anderson prefers beer to wine. He happier with a tinny than a Tempranillo. In fact, he probably only knows two varieties of wine: white and red. It won’t get him far in ECB circles. But his career has certainly endeared him to England supporters and connoisseurs of vintage cricketers around the world.

Jimmy today surpassed Glenn McGrath’s record total of 563 test wickets. He’s taken them at an impressive average of 27, despite struggling early in his career: he didn’t average under 30 until his eighth year as an international bowler. Take those early struggles out of the equation and his record would be simply remarkable. He’s indisputably England’s best swing bowler of the modern era, and possibly our best all-rounder seam bowler since Bob Willis or Ian Botham in their pomp.

I like to use the wine analogy because Jimmy really has improved with age. Every year I expect his powers to diminish but if anything he seems to keep improving. Since his 31st birthday he’s put up extraordinary numbers. In his last five years as a test bowler he’s averaged 22, 23, 24, 18, and 21 while picking up 223 wickets.

As a bowler who has never relied on pace – although he was quite nippy in his youth – age has not withered Jimmy one bit. Instead his skills have improved with experience. Like Alastair Cook, his longevity is incredible. In fact, Anderson’s feats are arguably even more impressive as his job is far more demanding physically.

Although most will remember Jimmy as the sultan of swing on overcast days in Notthingham, my memories of him wiping the sweat from his brow and running in again and again in unforgiving places like the UAE are just as strong. In fact, it was his performances in the West Indies when he first started leading the attack that really made me think ‘this bloke can bowl’. He needed swing to be great, but he never needed swing to be very good.

Yes Jimmy has had his critics over the years. Some have questioned the dissent he occasionally shows; plenty have questioned his record outside England with the Kookaburra ball. However, I don’t think England fans are trying to argue that Jimmy is the best seam bowler ever – just like sensible cricket observers never claim that Alastair Cook is the best opening batsman of all time. Longevity is impressive but it doesn’t improve averages. Sadly Jimmy isn’t as good as McGrath or Malcolm Marshall, just like Cook isn’t as good as Sunil Gavaskar, Graeme Smith, or Matthew Hayden.

However, nobody can deny that Anderson is very, very, good. I accept he’s rarely bowled well in Sri Lanka or South Africa, but his average everywhere else is more than respectable. Indeed, the fact he’s taken 22 wickets at 21 in the UAE, where there’s less swing on the cricket field than there is swing music in public (and the pitches have about as much life as Mars) proves he’s far more than a one-trick pony.

The thing I love so much about Jimmy is his style. We’d call it panache if he was a batsman. His action isn’t strictly orthodox, as he doesn’t look at the wicket when he releases the ball, but it’s certainly aesthetically pleasing. His run up is relatively short and rhythmical, his action is smooth and economical, and he’s probably the most athletic fast bowler England have ever had. In terms of fielding he’s right up there with Phil DeFreitas and Chris Lewis. His natural athleticism is why he’s been able to play so long, and why he’s still so fit at the age of 36.

I really hope that Anderson gets as many plaudits today as Alastair Cook enjoyed over the last week. Although mild mannered Alastair has always been the nation’s sweetheart in many ways, Jimmy’s achievements are just as great if not more so. After all, he has now taken more test wickets than any other seam bowler in history. That means he really is a record breaker by international standards.

Whereas Cook is 5th on the all time leading run scorers list, with an average significantly lower than the players immediately above and below him (sometimes by more than ten runs), Jimmy’s record is comparable with anyone from the recent past. And his average is better than Anil Kumble’s, Kapil Dev’s, and only a smidgeon lower than Shane Warne’s. One could therefore argue that Jimmy is a true great of the game, even if it’s true that he’s better at home than overseas.

But here’s some food for thought. If one looks at the stat books, you’ll find that most bowlers are better at home. Murali averaged 45 in India and 75 in Australia; he would’ve killed for Jimmy’s statistics away from home against these toughest of opponents. Meanwhile, Shane Warne averaged 43 in India and 40 in the West Indies. Very few resumes are perfect.

The other remarkable thing about Anderson is that he might eventually become England’s most capped player. That honour, at the moment, belongs to Cook with 161 caps. Jimmy has now played 143 matches, far more than any other English bowler. In fact, the only other bowler who comes close is Stuart Broad on 123. All the other cricketers in England’s top ten are batsmen for obvious reasons. If Jimmy is still playing in eighteen months time he’ll probably go past 600 test wickets and become England’s most durable cricketer in the process.

Being an England supporter isn’t easy as you know. We suffer more ups and downs that most. We’ve had Ashes whitewashes to endure, defeats to Ireland and the Netherlands in major tournaments, plus pompous officials whose policies and attitudes sometimes make one ashamed to be English. What’s more, we’ve had no truly great cricketers to celebrate in recent years.

Whereas other counties have had a Glenn McGrath, a Shane Warne, an AB de Villiers, an Allan Donald, a Sachin Tendulkar, a Rahul Dravid, a Murali, a Sangakkara, a Kane Williamson, a Richard Hadlee, a Curtly Ambrose, a Brian Lara, a Wasim Akram, or a Younis Khan, we’ve had cricketers who are very good but far from being all-time greats. And that’s pretty sad really.

James Anderson is the closest thing we’ve had in decades. So we should cherish him every single day.

Love ya, Jimmy.

James Morgan

2018-09-11T16:47:56+00:00September 11th, 2018|Player Spotlight|45 Comments


  1. Honest Observer September 11, 2018 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    I find it somewhat baffling that Jimmy Anderson still can’t be called a world great. He is THE master of his art, and probably the greatest swing bowler of all time, let alone England’s best of the modern age.

    • James September 11, 2018 at 5:12 pm - Reply

      I think Brian Statham, Alec Bedser and one or two others might argue with that. Trueman also swung the ball at higher pace. I’d even suggest Jimmy wasn’t the best swing bowler of the modern era (Dale Steyn at his best wins that one), but he’s outlasted Steyn.

      He’s done a great job for England, even if he, perhaps, isn’t quite an all-time great for me. He doesn’t get into my “best pace attack I’ve seen”.*

      *Tests: Lillee, Marshall, Ambrose and Wasim; ODI’s Imran, Hadlee, Wasim and Garner

    • david thomas September 12, 2018 at 9:02 am - Reply

      Terry Alderman was a brilliant swing bowler in England – perhaps the best I’ve seen in English conditions.

      • Willie mohan September 14, 2018 at 11:58 pm - Reply

        Met Alderman on a booze cruise in Perth WA in 2010, top bloke,

  2. muffin September 11, 2018 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    I am quietly pleased that I saw him playing a long time ago as a teenager in a Roses match and said “this chap is at least as good as any bowlers England have at the moment”. I was right, wasn’t I?

    • James Morgan September 11, 2018 at 4:52 pm - Reply

      You were indeed. I remember his debut as a 19 year old (was he that young?) in an ODI in Australia at the back end of yet another Ashes shellacking. He immediately looked the part, and a good deal more penetrative than the senior bowlers who’d been whacked to all parts on that tour. You could immediately tell he had something special. Just a shame that Troy Cooley tried to mess with his action (the only blemish on his CV at the time). He basically lost two years of his career due to that. Imagine how many wickets he may have taken if the coaches had just let him be from the start.

      • david thomas September 12, 2018 at 9:07 am - Reply

        My memory is that he bowled 10 overs straight at about 90 miles an hour (though I’m not sure they had the speed gun then so I could be wrong about that bit) and looked like he was going to be a champion. He struggled early in his career but he has ended up a wonderful bowler.

  3. Vashtar September 11, 2018 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    Fantastic bowler,model professional and State School Hero!

    Sadly we will probably not see his like again.

    • Willie Mohan September 15, 2018 at 12:46 am - Reply

      I bet you loved it when he rocked up to the ground still wearing his miners helmet with his copy of Das Kapital in his back picket

    • Willie Mohan September 15, 2018 at 12:48 am - Reply

      Aye lad, state school indeed, where he had only bread and dripping for lunch

  4. James September 11, 2018 at 5:16 pm - Reply

    So, in the Oval test, Cook goes past Sangakkara and Anderson goes past McGrath. Both the England players have been great servants to the game, but I think Sanga and McGrath will be remembered longer.

    • Willie mohan September 15, 2018 at 12:00 am - Reply

      Only by those English fans who have this strange penchant for denigrating their own

  5. James September 11, 2018 at 5:23 pm - Reply

    Looks like Alastair Cook agrees with you. “then to see Jimmy pass Glenn McGrath’s record was brilliant. That was the hardest bit, him and Broady are the ones I’ve played the most with, to know I’ll never stand at slip and drop another catch off them is sad. We’ve lived in each other’s pockets for 12 years. Been a privilege to play with England;’s greatest cricketer,”

  6. Down at Third Man September 11, 2018 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    Memories can be unreliable but …

    It was a wet morning at Lord’s. Start of play was delayed. Trying to keep my ten year old occupied we slipped confidently past the security guards up the stairs and into the balcony of the indoor nets – the Saffers were in the gym pumping iron. Well that kept him interested for a quarter of an hour.

    Looking down on the nets themselves, Duncan Fletcher was putting this new lad Jimmy Anderson through his paces. The first ball started on off stump and half way down veered off to the left crashing into the canvas at the back of the net with a huge thump, missing the off stump by a meer six feet.

    The second ball started middle stump and half way down veered off to the right crashing into the canvas approximately six feet down the leg side. We watched for half an hour. Spell bound. Every outswinger swung dramatically and late never getting close to the stumps. And every inswinger going down straight sheered off alarmingly never remotely threatening those stumps.

    “Well young man – if ever someone can get this guy to control that swing we shall have just witnessed an incredible talent in the raw state.” If memory serves he was dropped very shortly afterwards.

    Four years later we were to meet the man that gave Jimmy his break at Lancashire as a 17 year old, the late Jim Kenyon. He was a good picker. And pushed his cause with all his renowned persistence.

    I once heard Jimmy interviewed and he had the good grace to mention Jim and the part he’d played in getting his break. That’s quality. That’s very East Lancs.

    I don’t think it was Duncan Fletcher who did it, but tonight we should all be grateful to whoever it was who helped Anderson control that ball. Perhaps it was some old timer at Burnley C.C. That’s how cricket works.

    • Nigel September 12, 2018 at 8:17 am - Reply

      “if ever someone can get this guy to control that …”

      I had a thought somewhere along those lines watching Rahul’s wicket yesterday.

  7. d'Arthez September 11, 2018 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    The number of Tests these days help modern players to achieve these records, so most runs and most wickets are meaningless metrics, since they’re a function of scheduling. England simply play more Tests than other teams – so if you keep getting selected, you’re more likely than a player from say New Zealand, or Pakistan to break such records (eg. Kane Williamson has played 36 Tests (he did not miss any) since the “Difficult Winter, while England have played 59; he would have to average about 79 from those Tests, to get the same volume of runs of Cook, who averaged 43 in that period, and about 95 to get to the same volume of runs as Root). Just to keep up with Root, Williamson has to bat as well as Bradman, while Root “merely” has to average the same as say Kallis (not saying that that is easy, but it is easier than batting as well as Bradman!). While Jimmy averages about 4.2 wickets / Test, Southee and Boult need to average 7 / Test just to keep up in crude volume. That is, return records similar to Sydney Barnes!

    And if anyone is wondering, a New Zealand bowler would have had to play every Test since 8 December 2000 to rack up the same number of Tests as Jimmy (and Jimmy has missed 57 Tests since his debut). Which strikes me as a tad unrealistic.

    The obvious issue with regards to being world class is that you have to perform outside of your home too. Otherwise you’re just good at home, and cannon fodder abroad (a charge that R. Ashwin still has to deal with as well). Jimmy has 5 5-fers outside of England (from 60 Tests). That is inferior to even the likes of Srinath, Hoggard, Ntini (who was not world class, just a very good bowler, especially at home). Even the much maligned Ishant Sharma does better on that metric than Jimmy. I have yet to meet anyone who would argue that Ishant Sharma is world class.

    McGrath, who lost the volume record, had more in England (8 from just 14 Tests). Also McGrath had superior bowling averages EVERYWHERE compared to Jimmy. To some extent McGrath may have had the advantage of bowling with Warne et al,, but that cannot be the sole cause for the massive differences in effectiveness at home and away.

    And even though Jimmy improved his average in the last few years substantially, he is still more or less pretty averagely effective outside of England. 6/42 in Bridgeport and 5/43 under the lights in Australia are the only 5-fers he has managed since the Difficult Winter.

    Also it does help that England (and Australia to a lesser extent India, since all the international stars bar Pujara are still stuck with playing the IPL) can splash the cash on players, so that they don’t have to risk injury in FC cricket (Botham played 300 FC games (non-Tests); Anderson has not even breached 100. Or have to risk injuries in ODI cricket or T20s, never mind what those forms of the game do to the techniques of batsmen and the mindset(s) of bowlers. Many a bowler has their mindset ruined by limited overs forms of the game.

    Very good bowler, especially in England, but outside of England his record is short of world class. And I don’t think he should be in an all time England XI either (neither should Cook); England have produced better bowlers who simply could not have played 143 Tests, unless they would have represented England for 3 decades (Sydney Barnes would have needed to play all Tests from his debut to the Nottingham Test of the 1934 Ashes to get tot he same number of Tests; he would have been past 60 years of age by then).

    • James Morgan September 12, 2018 at 7:38 am - Reply

      I don’t think many are arguing that Jimmy was the best ever seam bowler, but the only stat that really lets him down is that low number of 5-wicket hauls away from home. By every other metric he’s world class. If we look at wickets per match and strike rate (which takes his longevity out of the equation) he’s still very impressive.

      Test Strike Rates:
      Murali 55
      Warne 57
      Kumble 66
      Anderson 56
      McGrath 52
      Walsh 58
      Kapil Dev 64

      Wickets Per Test
      Murali 6
      Warne 4.9
      Kumble 4.7
      Anderson 3.9
      McGrath 4.5
      Walsh 3.9
      Kapil Dev 3.3

      I agree that if someone like Boult played 150 matches they might take a similar number of wickets to Jimmy, but is Trent Boult not a world class bowler? If not he’s very close.

      Personally I wouldn’t choose Anderson in a ‘best ever XI’ or even a ‘best ever 2nd XI’, but then neither would I pick Kumble or Walsh. But both Kumble and Walsh are indisputably greats of the game, and the fact that Jimmy equals Walsh and beats Kumble / Kapil Dev statistically suggests to me that he really is up there.

      Jimmy isn’t as good as McGrath, Ambrose, Wasim Akram etc, who could all claim to be in a best ever XI, but he’s still a legend and probably a great judging by his statistics. It’s just that away from home 5-fer statistic that puts doubts in the mind. But as I say in my article, very few bowlers have perfect CVs. I don’t think this is a similar situation to Cook, for example, who has far more holes in his resume and statistically doesn’t compare to the people around him in the ‘all-time’ tables.

      • Simon H September 12, 2018 at 8:11 am - Reply

        “both Kumble and Walsh are indisputably greats of the game”.

        Are they? This is not to get at either player of course. If Walsh was a great, what’s left to describe Marshall, Garner, Holding and Ambrose, all of whom were better?

        • James September 12, 2018 at 8:27 am - Reply

          That’s slightly harsh on Walsh, who spent the early part of his career doing the “uphill into the wind” bowling while his (then) more illustrious colleagues (Marshall, Holding and Garner at the start of his career) bowled at the other.

        • James Morgan September 12, 2018 at 8:46 am - Reply

          All those bowlers were greats for sure. No doubt about it. Walsh was the workhorse but he was still bloody good, and also a great character. Was he world class? Certainly.

          I personally don’t think the Kumble was in the same league as some of the other spinners we’ve seen but he’s India’s leading wicket taker and certainly left his stamp on the game. He was one of a kind, a different type of bowler, and he’ll have his place in history. So will Jimmy.

      • James September 12, 2018 at 8:38 am - Reply

        James, I just looked up Dale Steyn’s figures for comparison. 421 test wickets in 88 tests, at 4.8 wickets per test, a strike rate of 42, and an average of 22.64. In terms of sheer numbers, ahead of Anderson (by some distance) on all your metrics. It is, though, fair to point out that wickets per test is often also a measure of the quality of your bowling partners. For example, Murali took a lot of wickets per test, because he was the stand out (apart from Vaas, probably the only test quality) bowler in that side. Steyn had several fine bowlers with him, including Ntini, Nel, Morkel, Kallis, Philander, and now Rabada, which makes his numbers all the more remarkable. To me, Steyn is the only modern day quick who would have had a chance of selection for the 1980’s West Indians (that being my benchmark for a great fast bowler).

        • James Morgan September 12, 2018 at 8:54 am - Reply

          I completely agree James. It’s important people don’t think I’m saying that Jimmy is / was the best in the world, or would make an all time XI. I would definitely rate Jimmy behind Steyn and McGrath, plus others from the recent past like Donald, Pollock, Ambrose, Waqar etc.

          However, he very much deserves to be where he is in the all-time league tables. Nobody looks at Kumble, Walsh or Kapil and says ‘they don’t deserve to be there” or “they weren’t all that”. There were hugely respected world class bowlers. All I’m saying is that Jimmy doesn’t look out of place in that elevated company. And I think that says a lot.

          I’d place Jimmy in the same bracket as guys like Morkel, Gillespie (in his prime), Zaheer Khan, Walsh, Craig McDermott, guys like that. World class operators. Had any of those guys managed to stay fit, and bowl at their very best for a decade, they too would’ve climbed the tables. But Jimmy actually did it. And keeps improving.

          • d'Arthez September 12, 2018 at 3:24 pm - Reply

            Morne Morkel would have had to play every Test since his debut, probably well into 2021 or even 2022 to get to the 143 Test mark. Feature of scheduling. Why elevate players because they get more chances to play, to the detriment of a boatload of others who do not get the same number of games?

            Morne Morkel missed all of 26 Tests (out of 112 South Africa played) since his debut, which is slightly less percentage wise than Jimmy Anderson (57 out of 200). Given injuries and the occasional game where he has to sit out, he merely would have had to be on top of his game for about 20-25 years to get to the same number of Tests. That is not one decade, that is asking something that is physically impossible for players from all but the Big 3 teams. He’d have to be a freak of nature like Mohammad Amir (picked when he was 17, I think), to even stand a realistic chance to play 143 Tests.

      • James September 13, 2018 at 5:34 pm - Reply

        Point taken (even if I had Lillee and Marshall ahead of McGrath in my all time team!).Your point about Anderson’s lack of 5for’s away from home is also a fair one. However, he was still a go to bowler away from home, because (unlike most of the England bowlers on flat decks) he didn’t leak runs like a sieve. The longevity is also impressive.

        I also agree about Cook, who can’t (to my mind) hold a candle to the last man he overtook, Kumar Sangakkara. I’ve just had a look at the list of players who scored over 10,000 runs. There are 13 of them, and only 2 (Cook with 45.35 and Mahela Jayawardene with 49.84) who average under 50.

    • Jackie Litherland September 12, 2018 at 7:56 am - Reply

      The problem with your argument is that playing so many Tests has a downside as well. England players don’t get enough rest from the toughest form of the game. Hence you will get lower averages. Jimmy always wanted to play in ODIs and T20 but was deliberately not selected – see above because of workload. Bowlers are more vulnerable than batsmen but the latter develop problems of burn out. But I respect Jimmy because he didn’t buckle to the likes of Flower who constantly singled him out for criticism. Jimmy is a bit of a grump but thank goodness. Unlike KP who couldn’t handle Flower. He’s not only talented but also wasn’t the coach favourite. He’s tough. Unlike Harmison who was harried continuously by the media for his homesickness. The latter was a marvellous bowler too but sensitive to criticism. It takes a certain bloody mindedness to withstand the English system crawling with nepotism and media vindictiveness. And he’s deadly with the new ball and the old.

      • Simon H September 12, 2018 at 8:15 am - Reply

        This would be true if they played as much other cricket in-between Tests as other players, but they simply don’t. To pick just one example, John Snow played 346 FC games and bowled 61k deliveries; Anderson has played 234 and bowled 47k.

    • Mike September 14, 2018 at 7:57 am - Reply

      In the last 5 years, Anderson has the best bowling average in the world. Honestly, if you are saying he isn’t world class your post lacks any integrity whatsover.

      • d'Arthez September 14, 2018 at 4:14 pm - Reply

        Yeah, if you leave the mark at more than 152 wickets in the last 5 years. Because then you exclude Rabada (who still has a long way to go to be considered world class in my book; he certainly has the potential).

        And if you do not consider his rather average returns on the road (with a minimum of 50 wickets, Starc, Morkel, Maharaj, Lyon, Broad, Hazlewood, Ashwin and Ishant Sharma are ahead of Jimmy), sure. All of those other bowlers averaged on the right side of 30, with Starc and Morkel averaging less than 25.

        But if averaging 30 is a sign of being world class to you, be my guest. For me the minimum requirement of being world class is that a player would walk into every team, irrespective of where they are playing. And that is not the case for Jimmy.

  8. Marc Evans September 11, 2018 at 11:08 pm - Reply

    It is unfortunate for Anderson and Cook that their achievements will always be set against the fact that they’ve played so many test matches because, through no fault of their own, they’ve been present in an era of bowling and batting mediocrity. This has allowed Anderson and Broad to remain unchallenged users of the new ball for years and Cook to remain unchallenged as opener, even through poor runs of form.
    Even when he’s not been taking wickets, in recent years Anderson’s been niggardly giving runs away, no mean feat in this era of faster scoring, so making life easier for his colleagues to get wickets as batsmen take more liberties against them. I would still be tempted to rest him this winter, as his record in Sri Lanka is not that great, so he can be fit and raring to go for the ashes next summer.
    World class is a difficult thing to measure as technically it implies that the player would be an automatic pick for any side in the world. I don’t know whether Anderson would have had similar opportunities playing for Australia or South Africa and it has taken many years for him to reach his present level.

  9. MickR September 12, 2018 at 4:47 am - Reply

    speaking as an Aussie, if I ever had doubt about Jimmy’s capacity and ability, that was lost as I sat in 46 deg heat at the SCG in January and watched as he never gave in. So much for him needing English conditions and the Duke ball. The same conditions sent Joe Root to hospital (that’s not a criticism). But it does Jimmy a disservice to put him at a level below McGrath and Marshall. He’s up there with the best of them. You never knock class.

    • Marc Evans September 12, 2018 at 11:37 am - Reply

      It is always diffficult to compare different bowling types. Anderson being a swing bowler, McGrath, seam and Marshall pace. All 3 were clever, accurate and knew their craft.
      Swing is, I feel the most difficult bowling art to master, so I would rate Anderson the most skillful of the 3.
      McGrath was clearly the most accurate and the master at finding a batsmen’s technical flaws.
      Marshall had the advantage of natural pace which made him the most destructive by far.
      Another thing to consider is who they had to share the new ball with. Anderson, once established as an England opener had Broad, another prolific wicket taker. McGrath never really had a prolific opening partner, Brett Lee probably being the best, but he did have Warne to bowl with for much of his career. Marshall, on the other hand had a bevy of other quirks which meant he could be used in short spurts to keep his pace up, but this meant he bowled fewer overs.
      Then, you have to judge who they had to bowl against. Which era had the most proficient batsmen. That is clearly not today’s era. Probably McGrath’s era with the likes of Lara and Tendulkar was the most diffficult of the 3 for a bowler.
      I’m sure I’ve missed other considerations but I think to make judgements on relative merits you have to see them live, but over a 40 year plus period it’s difficult to keep perspective. It’s all a swings and roundabouts scenario (if you’ll excuse the pun). Personally I favour McGrath, how about you?

      • James Morgan September 12, 2018 at 2:08 pm - Reply

        Marc, I love your comment about seeing bowlers live. Some guys just have an aura about them. Stats obviously don’t tell the whole tale, and there’s an element of subjectivity in all of this, but one can also tell a lot about a cricketer from watching them on TV for years. I have to admit that I’m often swayed by aesthetics, but I just think there’s something special about Jimmy. He’s just so skilful. And that action is so economical and rhythmical.

        One can also judge players according to how they do against the very best. In England Jimmy consistently troubled the best batsmen – he’s dismissed Tendulkar 9 times, more than any other batsman – so I think that says a lot too. It’s one of the reasons I don’t quite rate Cook as highly as other people. I’ve seen him really struggle against the very best attacks, and it’s no coincidence that a proper and forensic examination of his test record reveals that he scored the majority of his runs when the conditions and opposition were easiest. Other players, on the other hand, were able to rise to the occasion when someone like McGrath had the ball in their hand.

        • d'Arthez September 12, 2018 at 4:08 pm - Reply

          Actually the batsman Jimmy dismissed most often is Peter Siddle. 11 times. Who also happens to be dismissed by Jimmy most times in England (7 times), ahead of Murali Vijay (6 times).

          Bear in mind that the only bowlers to have bowled more at Tendulkar (bowled in number of Tests against India; so some of these bowlers may not even have had a chance to bowl to Tendulkar), are Michael Clarke, Muralitharan, Hooper and Vettori. Two of which were hardly specialist bowlers, and two of which were spinners.

          And if you check which bowlers have bowled the most overs to India, when the team included Tendulkar, lo and behold: Muralitharan bowled nearly 1000 overs to India, Vettori 710, and Warne 551 and Jimmy 544. And in terms of innings in which any particular bowler bowled to India, Jimmy stands on top of the world with 27 innings even ahead of Muralitharan (26 innings).

          In all the Tests Jimmy bowled to India (when Tendulkar was part of the team, he averages about 29.7. Which is good, but Broad has done much better (23.59), while McGrath, Donald, Steyn and Pollock averaged less than 20.

          So Jimmy is the fast bowler who probably bowled most in most innings to Tendulkar, so it is not strange that you end up getting such records. That is to no small extent a function of how much they play against each other.

          McGrath for instance only played 9 matches against Tendulkar (compared to Jimmy’s 14), and dismissed him 6 times (compared to Jimmy’s 9), with the somewhat superior average belonging to McGrath (22 vs 30; roughly both these bowlers dismiss Tendulkar once every three innings; and one can argue about how good Tendulkar was at various points in time over his Test career when he faced either bowler, because the span between his first and last dismissal against either bowler must be about 16 years).

          That is not to say, that Jimmy is bad or anything like that. Far from it. Just another reminder that raw numbers are not the most reliable measure to assert one’s efficacy or lack of penetration, especially when we fail to consider how those raw numbers came about.

          And spare a thought for Neil Johnson. The only bowler who failed NOT to dismiss Tendulkar when he got the chance (1 Test, 2 dismissals for Tendulkar).

        • Marc Evans September 13, 2018 at 10:26 am - Reply

          I think the most charismatic bowler I ever saw was Jeff Thompson in his pomp. No one knew, including himself, where the next ball was going, the anticipation in the crowd was excruciating, partly in awe of the sheer pace (if you watched from a sideways on stand you couldn’t see the ball until It disappeared over Marsh) and partly, like a train wreck, in anticipation of the next batsman he would hospitalise. There was no asthetic beauty attached to it, just an out of control hostility, unmatched by even Wayne Daniel and Sylvester Clarke.
          Just a final point on seeing cricketers live. Warwickshire had what was laughingly referred to as a ‘leg spinner’ in the 70’s called Keith Gardom. He made some brief but entertaining appearances for the first X1, being viewed with the same anticipation as Thompson by the punters, though not for his fearsome pace, more for his unpredictability. He would clearly have been a big spinner of the ball if it pitched, but it rarely did in a dangerous area, except for the keeper, who had to be an acrobat to stop the byes as balls sailed full pitch over his head, wide on both sides, and occasionally grubbed through his legs. I don’t know whether it was stage fright but I have never seen a bowler implode like that. Some of his ‘spells’ eclipsed that memorable Gladstone Small 21 ball over, where he ended up standing at the wicket bowling an off break to finish it off, otherwise it might still be going.

          • James September 13, 2018 at 5:40 pm - Reply

            The only other bowler I can think of who could hold a candle to Thommo on pace and unpredictability would be Patrick Patterson. Greg Chappell was once asked who was quicker of Thommo and Holding. Thommo, and he hides the ball as he runs up, so you don’t know where it’s going..

        • James September 13, 2018 at 5:42 pm - Reply

          In terms of rising to the occasion, Greg Chappell averaged 60 in WSC. Facing the Four Horsemen without much of a helmet. I saw Chappell play for Somerset in about 1971 or 1972. Looked a class act even then. Just so much time to play the ball.

          • Marc Evans September 13, 2018 at 7:55 pm - Reply

            The thing about Greg Chappell that I couldn’t stomach was his ignorance. On a number of occasions, after either he or his team had a bad day, I saw him refusing to sign autographs and being downright insulting to the kids who just wanted a few seconds of his time, brushing them aside and sometimes even swearing at them, It coloured my whole view of him, even though he was undoubtedly a great batsman. Strangely big brother Ian, a more obvious target in the rudeness stakes, I never saw being anything but polite to kids. Even more strangely I encountered similar abruptness from Richie Benaud Outside of the commentary box. Jim Laker was always generous with his time, even though he was not a gregarious man.
            Aussies on this blog may think I’m being deliberately selective but it’s what I remember.
            It’s worth any Professional sportsman considering this, as in a historical light it’s usually the kids who drive sporting reputations, as they can assume heroic proportions if dealt with sensitively.

            • Willie Mohan September 14, 2018 at 11:32 pm - Reply

              In 2010 at the baggage carousel at Brisbane airport, I witnessed Richie Benaud being courtesy and patience personified as he dealt with the Barmy Army.

  10. willie mohan September 12, 2018 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    How can Anderson be a beer and skittles, cloth capped player and yet says his best friend is Cook, who its said comes from the right sort of family and according to most on here, is destined to be given a cosy number at Lords, when he isn’t of course riding to hounds, or having the east wing of his stately home refurbished for the regular weekend visit from Harry and Wills. . Bit of a contradiction there

    • Comte September 14, 2018 at 8:26 am - Reply

      Beers and skittles, cloth capped player? I’ve read some garbage on here occasionally but this is in a league of its own.
      And I don’t regard Cook as a toff. But I do recognise a troll when I see one.

      • Willie Mohan September 14, 2018 at 11:28 pm - Reply

        Really Comte, just a few changes in your name would sum you up

  11. Marc Evans September 13, 2018 at 10:02 am - Reply

    Have a lad who served in Afghanistan with Prince Harry, and they got on famously, he even being invited to parties at Windsor, along with a number of other ‘grunts’. There are plenty of ‘Toffs’ who have the common touch. Cook is one of those.

    • Willie mohan September 14, 2018 at 11:25 pm - Reply

      My troop commander was a toff, best bloke I ever knew. Put himself on the line for all of

    • Willie Mohan. September 14, 2018 at 11:42 pm - Reply

      I think you will find that my comments re toffs was very much tongue in cheek. My comments allude to Mr Morgan’s attempts to separate Anderson from Cook. Seeing as he thinks Cook is the epitome of the ECB and all that supposedly entails. Whilst Anderson is just up from pit

  12. bobjames September 13, 2018 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    Can’t wait for “Asia Cup” 2018. Well i like James Anderson his personality he look like a model. He is the best player for me.


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