In cricketing terms, he should have retired a while ago, he’s arguably outstayed his welcome, but England fast bowler James Anderson is like fine wine, as they say, he gets better with age.
There are not many other sportsmen that this could be said about, giving this some thought and I would say Juventus forward Christiano Ronaldo is the only man who you can say this about. Jimmy is the other.
Born in Burnley, Jimmy Anderson has turned from a spiky-haired youngster who would have issues with injuries and his action, to a world-beater with the ball. Our Jimmy is no mug with the bat either.
Starring in an Ashes test with folk legend Monty Panesar in a stubborn last-wicket stand to thwart old enemy Australia and save the game on that occasion. An 81 against India, his highest in first-class cricket left the cricketing fraternity pondering on the thought of England having a new all-rounder in the making.
As the Burnley Brian Lara got older, and more greys appeared on the head, what else came abundantly clear was Jimmy was getting smarter with the way he bowled. In his heyday, he could run in at close to 90 mph more consistently. These days towards the mid-eighties is the norm.
Anderson has now almost turned wizard-like with ball. When Ronaldo takes a free-kick in football, no one else can make the football talk like he does. In cricket, the same can almost be said of James Anderson.
Reverse-swing and making the old ball talk was only a skill that many thought Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis could do, but Anderson has mastered the reverse-swing art too. It must be a Lancashire bowler thing.
As impressive as that is for the now 38-year old Lancastrian, the challenge is if he can do it on a dry spinning pitch? The football equivalent of doing it on a cold night in Stoke. With 600 wickets to his name (the most by any fast bowler in world cricket), one would come to a resounding conclusion, yes he can!
In fact, in the ongoing series with India, James Anderson now holds more records. In the previous test series against Sri Lanka, the 38-year old became the oldest man to take a five-wicket haul and has the distinct record of being the man who has taken the most wickets in test cricket after reaching 30.
For a player who changed and remodelled his action, only to go back to it in the process, this is some achievement. James Anderson, you are a legend of the English game, no the world game.
There won’t be a fast bowler who can quite do it in all conditions as you have. World cricket salutes you, it won’t be long till her Majesty will be calling for a Royal Visit. Sir James Michael Anderson arise!
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