Timeless James Anderson targets ‘mind-blowing’ milestones as 1000 first-class wickets loom

Timeless James Anderson targets ‘mind-blowing’ milestones as 1000 first-class wickets loom

There may be absences; there may be new faces. But some things remain reassuringly constant.Barring a late injury, James Anderson will play his 24th Lord’s Test this week. It comes almost exactly 18 years after his first. His record at the ground – 103 wickets at an average of 23.89 with six five-fors – would please most players as full career statistics.If he does play this week, and there is every reason to think he will, he will equal Alastair Cook‘s England record of 161 Test caps. It was an outstanding achievement for Cook. For a fast bowler to equal it is… well, it’s ridiculous, really.It’s not the only milestone which beckons for Anderson, either. He is also eight short of a thousand first-class wickets. In the grand sweep of history, that may not seem especially remarkable. He remains more than 3,000 wickets short of Wilfred Rhodes’ first-class tally, after all. At this rate, Anderson will need to play until he’s 100 to match that. You suspect even he might think that beyond him.But in the modern game, it is a staggering achievement. It may be that another spinner or two reaches the milestone in the coming years. But there is every chance Anderson will be the last seamer to do so. The modern schedule, dominated as it is by limited-overs cricket, simply won’t allow.Consider Rhodes’ record: in a career as a left-arm spinner that stretched over three decades, he played 17 seasons in which he featured in 35 first-class games or more. Anderson has never played more than 16 in a season and only played more than 11 on three occasions. He’s never had the chance to bowl on an uncovered wicket, either.

Anderson is no stranger to breaking new ground as a bowler, of course. He’s shrugged off record after milestone with the same “it’ll be something that I look back on when I finish” stock answer. But even he appears struck by the magnitude of these landmarks.”1,000 wickets does seem like a lot,” he says with a touch of bewilderment. “In this day and age I don’t know if it’s possible to get that many first-class wickets any more. With the amount of cricket that’s played, there doesn’t seem to be that longevity in bowlers any more, and there’s loads of T20 cricket and whatever else going on around the world. It feels a lot.”He seems equally overwhelmed with equalling the appearances record of Cook.”It does make me feel proud,” he says. “I never imagined in a million years I’d get to this point. Certainly for a bowler to play this amount of games is… I don’t know what the word is. But it’s a bit mind-blowing to me.”I feel really honoured that I’ve managed to do it because it’s such an amazing thing to do. I absolutely love Test cricket. I’ve got a huge passion for it. Growing up, all I wanted to do is play Test cricket for England and I’m honoured I’ve been able to do it for this long.”He has, he says, been “lucky” with injuries. But, like the miracle of childbirth, it seems the good memories have served to block out the bad. Because a list of Anderson’s injuries is long and painful. Remember the stress fracture? And the broken ribs? And the side strains, shoulder issues and knee problem? We’re still waiting for the broken ******* arm but, short of that and nits, he’s pretty much had it all.

News Source: espncricinfo

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