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Once He Gets Past Me, Anderson Will Never be Beaten, Says McGrath

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: August 27, 2018, 4:43 PM IST
Once He Gets Past Me, Anderson Will Never be Beaten, Says McGrath

James Anderson (Image: Reuters)

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Just seven wickets shy of becoming the most successful fast bowler in the history of Test cricket James Anderson received lavish praise from former Australian great Glenn McGrath.

McGrath finished his career with 563 wickets in 124 Tests and has held the record for most wickets taken by a paceman since 2005 when he went past Courtney Walsh's tally of 519. Anderson, who currently sits on 557 wickets could well eclipse McGrath's record during the ongoing home series against India.

The Australian even insisted that once he claims the record, Anderson will "never be beaten".

"Records are nice and I've been very proud to have taken more wickets than any fast bowler in Test history, but any high is there to be beaten and I will be equally proud of Jimmy when he goes past me because the fast bowlers' union has to stick together, whichever country we come from," McGrath wrote in a column for Daily Mail.

"It is only a matter of time now before he gets there and I will be getting in touch with him as soon as he does to say well done. I have an awful lot of respect for Jimmy. Good luck to him. I believe once he goes past me he will never be beaten."

Likening the Englishman to the Pakistani great Wasim Akram, McGrath said that Anderson's ability to swing the ball both ways require a lot of skill and very few bowlers have been able to achieve that.

"I've always said Jimmy was class, ever since I played against him in what became my last Test series in 2006-07. I noted how he swung the ball both ways conventionally, because it's a real art form," said McGrath.

"Not many have been able to do that. I can only really think of Wasim Akram, who is another great of the game, who could do that as skilfully.

Anderson, who is England's highest wicket-taker in the five-day format has often been criticised for his inability to pick wickets when conditions are not suitable for fast bowling. Out of his 563 scalps 361 have come at home further highlighting the theory. However, McGrath said that over the years Anderson has developed his skills and now has become lethal in all conditions.

"When the ball is swinging he's as good as anyone out there, but when it isn't he comes back towards the pack a little bit. That was certainly the case early in his career but he's developed his skills as he's gone on and become much more effective overseas," said McGrath.

"When Jimmy plays at home with the Dukes ball he's second to none, but he has had to learn how to operate overseas with the Kookaburra ball that, to me, is not nearly as good to bowl with. It took him a while but he's done that now."

"Once Jimmy goes past me it will be interesting to see where he wants to set the bar. With the nature of the game these days, and the amount of Twenty20 cricket, I believe no fast bowler will ever go past him."
First Published: August 27, 2018, 1:19 PM IST
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