Writing in The Daily Mail, former Aussie paceman Glenn McGrath backs Jimmy Anderson to reach 600 Test wickets.
McGrath’s record of most Test wickets by a fast bowler is under threat from Anderson as the Englishman heads into the fourth Test against India in Southampton. Anderson needs just seven more wickets to surpass McGrath’s tally.
McGrath conceded that his record (which has stood for over a decade) should easily be eclipsed by Anderson, and the lanky Australian is certain that no bowler will be able to replicate the feat.
‘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,’ wrote McGrath.
Anderson’s longevity at the highest level of the game has drawn him praise from many professionals in the game, including McGrath who added that ‘being a fast bowler is the toughest job in the game and people do not see the hard work off the field that goes into spending as much time at the top as Jimmy has. We put ourselves through a lot more pain than anyone else… so for Anderson to still be at the top of his game after 15 years in international cricket and with so many overs under his belt just shows his work ethic and his physical and mental strength.’
Anderson has shown no signs of slowing down and, at 36 years of age, he achieved the highest ranking by an England bowler in Test history ― while proclaiming that he still feels 32! England coach Trevor Bayliss believes Anderson has plenty more years in him at the highest level, declaring the Englishman could still be playing until 40!
McGrath was slightly sceptical about Bayliss’ prediction: ‘I’m not sure how keen he will be on that but there’s no reason why he can’t go on for some time yet if he still has that passion and drive… he looks in fantastic shape, running around like a young fella, and hasn’t put on any weight. He is clearly as hungry and strong as ever. The fact that Trevor would even suggest reaching 40 and still playing is a big compliment.’
McGrath believes that Anderson could be eyeing Indian spinner Anil Kumble’s 619 Test wickets tally and will have a good chance of breaking into the top three on the all-time list.
‘So can Anderson get somewhere close to the three great spinners above me in the all-time wickets table? I reckon that once he’s knocked my tally off the next goal will be 600 wickets and that would be an incredible feat. Then you have Anil Kumble on 619 which is feasible but I’m not sure how close Jimmy can get to Shane Warne on 708 or Muttiah Muralitharan on 800. Even someone as great as Anderson will find that a bit of a struggle.’
The fourth Test starts on Thursday 30 August at noon SAST.
– Report by Anitha Madikizela
Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images