England captain Alistair Cook insists seamer James Anderson is just as good as world number one Dale Steyn of South Africa.
Cook has even gone as far as to say that Anderson is more skilled: “The way that Jimmy can swing the ball both ways, I don’t think Dale does that quite as well as Jimmy, although Dale has the advantage of being able to bowl quicker”, said Cook.
“You would put both of them in the same class”, he added.
The Jadeja saga
Anderson hit the headlines for the wrong reasons earlier in the series with India, after he was accused of pushing Ravindra Jadeja. Despite the threat of a four-Test ban, Anderson was eventually cleared, but admitted to directing foul language towards an opponent.
Now, he requires just eight wickets to surpass Sir Ian Botham’s Test record of 383. That record is bound to be broken in the near future, and could even happen in the next few days, with the fifth and final Test against India getting underway at The Oval on Friday.
Extra pressure will be on Anderson, seeing as Stuart Broad may not be at his best, playing on with extra protection despite nursing a broken nose.
Both have been instrumental in England’s upturn in fortunes, with Anderson awarded man-of-the-match for the third Test.
The Three Lions have finally got themselves into position to win their first series in a year, and Anderson had rarely been at fault for their struggles.
The fourth Test saw them triumph by an innings and 54 runs, with the Lancashire bowler sealing five dismissals.
However, even with England back on track, it will be extremely difficult for Anderson to displace Steyn from the summit of the world rankings, where he has been since earlier this year.
31-year-old Steyn has taken 142 Test wickets, alongside 77 in ODIs, but it is his pace that marks him out as the world’s greatest.
South Africa’s place outside cricket’s recognised ‘Big Three’ – of India, England, and Australia – has often meant that Steyn’s achievements can sometimes slip under the radar.
Nonetheless, Anderson’s efforts to make his presence felt have been noticeable over the years. The Burnley-born star was visibly quieter in his earlier years, but has worked on a bad-boy reputation that has made him far more intimidating to Test batsmen. That has certainly aided him in his quest for the top spot, even if England’s results have not been those of a fearless band of men.