‘Swing Maestro’ James Anderson to play his last Test at Lord's - A look at his remarkable career

James Anderson has announced his retirement from international cricket. He will retire after England's first Test of the summer at Lord's, against West Indies, bringing the curtain down on a legendary career after 21 years. 

James Anderson to retire after Lord's Test against West Indies |  ESPNcricinfo
James Anderson (Credit - ICC)

Anderson, who will turn 42 in July, made his Test debut at Lord's in 2003 against Zimbabwe. He has gone on to take 700 wickets - the most by any pace bowler in Test history. His eventual tally of 188 caps will be the second most in Test history, with just Sachin Tendulkar ahead of him on 200. He has witnessed many of his peers & compatriots come and go. While some of them succeeded at the highest level as him, some faded away after initial success. But none of them had the longevity like Anderson.

James Anderson - The swing maestro

James Anderson expects Australia to come back hard at England in Ashes |  The Independent
James Anderson (Credit - ICC)

For a pacer to play with the same consistency for more than two decades is a remarkable  achievement. This demonstrates volumes about his strong discipline, work ethic, and approach to the game. His smooth bowling action can be cited for him remaining injury-free for a large part of his career.

Though not the pace at which he bowls, his skillset to swing the ball both ways and keeping the batters at bay with his tight line & lengths made him unique with other fast bowlers. Bowlers as they get older, tend to lose much of their enthusiasm, resulting in decreasing returns. However, Anderson only grew stronger and deadlier as his career progressed.

Surpassed against the best of each generation

James Anderson to retire after the first Test of the summer | West Indies  tour of England, 2024 |
James Anderson (Credit - ICC)

During his long career at the highest level, Anderson engaged in intense competition with some of the best batters and with great success. During his era, England’s formidable Test opponents in terms of quality and frequency of battles were India and Australia.

Anderson has successfully bowled to some of India's generational batting talents, demonstrating his prowess to manage and execute his plans effectively. Sachin Tendulkar, arguably one of greatest Test batters of all time has come second best in battles with Anderson. The speedster has dismissed the star batter from India the most times in Test cricket (9) while conceding only 209 runs.

This includes some memorable matchups during India's 2007 Test series in England where Anderson, still early into his career, dismissed him thrice. Another famous battle between the two took place when India toured England in 2011. Anderson had the prized scalp of Sachin twice, thwarting attempts made by the latter to reach the elusive 100th ton. 

James Anderson to retire after India Tests? Pacer comes up with shocking  update amidst the Test series
James Anderson (Credit - ESPN)

Fast forward three years, Anderson was involved in yet another fierce rivalry with Virat Kohli, one of the best batters in the modern era. Virat entered the series as India’s best batter, but Anderson claimed his wicket four times, conceding just the 19 runs. Though Anderson had limited success against the batter post that series, the contest between the two best of the game remained the talking point whenever the sides met. In all, the veteran pacer has sent Virat back to the pavilion seven times in 710 balls with the latter scoring 305 runs. 

Anderson’s impressive wicket-taking spree continued against the next generation of India batters as well. Shubman Gill, a young India batter has largely faced trouble while facing the England stalwart. The youngster in his brief career was dismissed six times in Tests by Anderson and has just scored 91 runs.

These matchups are a mere example of James Anderson’s greatness against the best of the bests in cricket at various points of his journey. Anderson has consistently reinvented himself in response to the demands of the game throughout his career.

However, the pacer tasted success in each of the countries he has played in, he was at his finest in England. At home, he played in 105 Tests, picking a whopping 434 wickets at a sensational average of 24.50, taking 24 five-wicket hauls.

Anderson’s key achievements from his extensive Test career

  • James Anderson is the first bowler to mount the 600 and 700 wickets landmark among the fast bowlers in Test cricket.
  • He is currently the third highest wicket-taker in the history of Test cricket behind Shane Warne (708) and Muthiah Muralidaran (800).
  • In 2017, he picked five-wicket hauls on four occasions, the most by him in a calendar year. He averaged a stunning 17.58 in 11 games.
  • 57 are the maximum wickets he has taken in a calendar year. Anderson did so in 2010 where his average was 22.96 from 12 Tests. The other times he picked more than 50 wickets in a calendar year are 52 in 2013 and 55 in 2017.
  • He has the most wickets taken via caught (467) and second most through the mode of bowled (137).

Cover Credits - ICC

Leave a Reply