The longevity of England’s maestro, who became the first pacer to reach the milestone, is a testament to his ability, stamina, and expertise.

That’s what James Anderson, who turns 42 in July, needed to get there, though. Additionally, no other player in this game can truly shed light on the secret to reaching that milestone, as he is the only fast bowler to do it as a result of skill, perseverance, and sweat.

Only spin gurus Shane Warne (708), and Muttiah Muralitharan (800) have ever reached this enchanted milestone. On Day 3 of the fifth Test, at 9:43 a.m. on Saturday, Kuldeep Yadav defeated Ben Foakes to become Anderson’s 700th victim in history.

The delivery, in which Anderson appeared to roll his fingers across the ball to slightly slow down the pace and cause it to slant across, was a minor but appropriate illustration of the subtleties that go into making Anderson the bowler he is. Of course, Anderson has rendered batters of far higher caliber appear incompetent against his swing and flawless command of line and length.

However, ‘Mount 700’ is more about the years of hard work and longevity that have allowed Anderson to continue in a format that tests your stamina more than any other than it is about any one wicket. In order to put Anderson’s length of Test cricket career into perspective, consider that when the Englishman made his debut against Zimbabwe in May 2003, he was just eight years old in Kanpur and still a few years away from learning to spin. Anderson led England off the field on Saturday, but Shoaib Bashir wasn’t even born yet!

In India, Anderson played his debut Test match back in 2006. The fact that he has made five more journeys to India over the course of eighteen years—one of the hardest locations to tour, especially for an overseas fast bowler—is a tribute to his extraordinary will and determination. During his early years, Anderson was mostly classified as an all-around swing bowler who could only succeed on flatter pitches outside of England. Even still, there appears to be a clear predilection for bowling in English conditions, as seen by the fact that 434 of his wickets have come in 105 home Tests at a strike rate of 52.4, while the equivalent figures outside of England read 266 scalps in 82 Tests at a strike rate of 64.3.

Although Anderson has the most wickets of any non-Indian quick here (44 in 17 Tests), it’s also fair to suggest that more deadly foreign pacers have touched down in India. For example, Courtney Walsh claimed 43 wickets in just seven Tests in India with a strike rate of 38.7, significantly higher than Anderson’s 66.2. The second outstanding fast bowler of the last twenty years, Dale Steyn, claimed 26 wickets at 37.1 in six Test matches played in India.

Although Anderson has the most wickets of any non-Indian quick here (44 in 17 Tests), it’s also fair to suggest that more deadly foreign pacers have touched down in India. For example, Courtney Walsh claimed 43 wickets in just seven Tests in India with a strike rate of 38.7, significantly higher than Anderson’s 66.2. The second outstanding fast bowler of the last twenty years, Dale Steyn, claimed 26 wickets at 37.1 in six Test matches played in India.

However, as Anderson developed and became the spearhead of England’s offensive, he added more elements to his toolkit so that, in the absence of traditional swing, he could undoubtedly be more effective.  Although it wasn’t a quality that pacers bred on England’s green surfaces naturally possessed, reverse swing developed over time and served him well on the successful 2010–11 tour of Australia as well as on trips to India in 2012 and 2021. A few years into his career, he also introduced the wobble-seam release to his repertoire, so that even after the ball stopped swinging, he would still be relevant. When there is no support in the air, Anderson’s seam position is properly canted towards leg slip for the inswinger and first slip for the right-hander. Nevertheless, this technique helps to generate movement off the pitch.

His fitness is another quality that deserves to be praised endlessly. Anderson’s lack of breakdowns may have been influenced by the fact that he was never a tearaway fast and that, since 2015, he has only played one format of cricket and avoided limited-overs cricket. Even at an age when nearly all cricket players have retired, it still requires a great deal of dedication and attention to detail to continue putting in those additional hours at the gym. Anderson is one of the squad’s fittest players, as England captain Ben Stokes stated on the eve of the Dharamsala Test. This is demonstrated by the manner he moves around the field.

As a seam bowler, 700 wickets is incredible, Stokes had stated on Wednesday. “He has had an incredible career thus far, and I don’t see him quitting.” Jimmy and I have been playing for a very long period, and in all that time, I have never seen him look as physically fit as he does now. That he is 41 years old and still demonstrates a daily desire to improve is evidence of his dedication.

Regardless of the genius and rebellion that have characterized Anderson’s remarkable career, he must eventually come to an end. Till then, let’s enjoy the abilities of the rarest of rare bowlers rather than obsessing over how many more games and wickets he has left in him.

By newsparviews.com

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