Can’t see any other fast-bowler matching up to Anderson’s 700 Test scalps: Stuart Broad

New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) Retired England fast-bowler Stuart Broad lauded his long-time bowling partner James Anderson for reaching the milestone of 700 Test wickets and believes that no fast bowler can match up to what the right-arm pacer has achieved in terms of wickets in the longer format.

Anderson reached the landmark of 700 Test wickets by dismissing Kuldeep Yadav on day three of the fifth and final Test against India at Dharamshala, becoming the first fast-bowler to do so. He is now third on the all-time list of wicket-takers in Tests behind Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne.

“We all know it means absolutely nothing, but we still always do it. It’s a phenomenal achievement and not one I can see another fast bowler matching. When people talk about Jimmy, they mention the dedication and the mental resilience to keep driving forward, and obviously, you don’t play until you’re 41 without that but this is now the time we should just marvel at his skill, really, because that is what it has taken to get that many wickets in different conditions, challenging the best batters in the world for more than 20 years.

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“He’s found ways to deliver at the top level and is still trying to get better, which is extraordinary when you think about it. It’s a shame in a way that he will not be able to remember joining the elite company of Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan for slightly better reasons in the sense that his moment came in a bit of a thumping at the end of a long tour for England,” wrote Broad in his column for Daily Mail on Sunday.

Broad, who claimed 604 Test before he retired from the game in July last year, admitted that a part of him wished for Anderson to take his 700th scalp in the start of England’s Test home summer at Lord’s against the West Indies.

“Selfishly, part of me was hoping he’d be on 699 coming back to Lord’s this summer and that I could be there to witness it with so many other England fans. Given our close working relationship over the years, I’d have loved to be one of the 10 guys walking off behind him, giving him a clap. You really cherish moments in a career when teammates do special things,” he added.

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Addressing the question of Anderson’s future as a Test cricket-playing bowler, Broad admitted he has no idea when the pacer will call it quits. “I will never forget Alastair Cook’s double hundred at the MCG. Or Jimmy’s 500th wicket, that of West Indies’ Kraigg Brathwaite at Lord’s in 2017. How long will he go on for as a Test bowler?

“It’s a question people will naturally ask but I honestly have no idea. Jimmy’s an addict, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. He’s so invested in cricket. Someone who will feel very emotional when he eventually finishes. It’s all he’s known. And I think even when he chooses his moment, he’ll still find it very hard to walk away.

“It’s so ingrained in him that he sometimes gives the impression that he wants to retire at the traditional UK age of 65. What he will be thinking of is a new target. Does he aim to get to 800 and match Murali? Is he looking to get past Warne’s 708? He will know when the time’s right to go, and only he can make that call.

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“Is it possible that he would play in the next Ashes away? Yes. Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes would want him to go on for the next 18- 24 months, but he will be 43 then and I don’t necessarily think he’ll be looking that far ahead,” he concluded.

–IANS

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