England captain Alastair Cook has renewed debate over who the best pace bowler in the world is, by saying James Anderson is more skilled than Dale Steyn.
Cook, speaking ahead of England’s fifth Test against India, set to start today at The Oval, hailed the leader of his attack, saying that at the moment there are none better in the game.
‘He is the most skilful bowler in the world,’ Cook said. ‘There have been some very good bowlers I’ve played with but, for pure out-and-out skill, there is no doubt. He is the best bowler England have ever produced.’
Cook went on to acknowledge Steyn’s status in the game, but said Anderson’s consistent ability to swing the ball both ways gives him the edge.
‘No disrespect to Dale Steyn, but the way Jimmy can swing the ball both ways – I don’t think Dale can do that quite as well as Jimmy, but Dale has the advantage of being able to bowl quicker. Dale has been the No 1 bowler in the world for quite a long time in terms of the number of wickets he takes. He always picks up wickets. And those two are in the same class.’
At the moment, Anderson has 376 wickets from 98 Test matches at an average of 29.86. Steyn, on the other hand, has taken 383 wickets from only 75 Tests, at a far superior average of 22.56. However, Cook believes Anderson’s recent performances against India put him above the South African, regardless of what the stats say.
‘You saw his guts and determination last week at Manchester when he was bowling when he wasn’t very well. That was extraordinary. That pretty much tells me, tells everyone, what a bloke he is and to back it up with his talent and skill means he is a very fine bowler.’