James Anderson, 33, has become one of the world’s leading fast bowlers, particularly in Test cricket, on the back of being an integral part in three Ashes winning campaigns, the first of which led to him being named as one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year in 2009. He is England’s most prolific bowler in Test cricket after beating Sir Ian Botham’s record of 383 wickets.
Soon after the Burnley-born player made his Red Rose debut in the final month of the 2001 English domestic season, it was pretty obvious that he would be destined for great things.
He claimed 50 first-class wickets in his maiden full season of county cricket, 2002, taking nine in a thumping four-day win over Somerset at Blackpool.
Anderson was subsequently selected to go on an ECB Academy (now Performance Programme) tour to Australia that winter. And, after a few injuries in the main England party, he was awarded his one-day international debut at the Melbourne Cricket Ground that December.
He bowled wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist, capping a remarkable rise seen as he had only played three one-day matches for Lancashire prior to that day and had even been playing Lancashire League cricket for his hometown club less than four months before.
His performances in nine one-day matches Down Under earned him a place in England’s World Cup squad in 2003, where he took a stunning 4-29 against Pakistan at Cape Town.
Anderson has since featured in the 2007 and 2011 World Cups in the West Indies and India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
He was awarded his first central contract by England shortly after taking five wickets on Test debut against Zimbabwe at Lord’s in the summer of 2003, also adding to his growing reputation with a one-day hat-trick against South Africa.
In 2004, Anderson took ten wickets in a first-class match for the first time, putting Worcestershire to the sword. It was a return that also helped him break the 100 career wickets barrier.
But, unfortunately, his international career was starting to lose momentum, and he was forced to carry the drinks on a winter tour of South Africa.
Anderson enjoyed success in an away Test series against New Zealand in early 2008 – England were coached by Peter Moores – and he took 42 wickets in all forms of international cricket against the same opponents and South Africa during that summer.
He was subsequently awarded the aforementioned Wisden honour prior to the 2009 English summer, and celebrated with a stunning ten-wicket match haul as Lancashire got the Moores era off to a spectacular start against Sussex at Hove.
That was followed by arguably his best series to date – another Ashes campaign. He finished as the leading wicket-taker with 24 as England won 3-1, succeeding Down Under for the first time in 24 years.
And not content with that, despite a disappointing third World Cup, he terrorised the Indians with 21 wickets in the summer of 2011 as England became the best Test team in the world.
His Championship appearances for Lancashire came against Warwickshire at Edgbaston and Yorkshire at Liverpool, and he picked up a winner’s medal from Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace later in the year.
Anderson, Lancashire’s beneficiary in 2012, started the summer by being awarded the Freedom of Burnley.
It prepared him for the summer’s Test series against West Indies and South Africa, in which he took a combined total of 18 wickets (nine in each).
That was followed with some outstanding bowling on the tour to India, Anderson spearheading the attack with 12 wickets – and the man-of-the-match award at Nagpur – in England’s 2-1 series win, their first in India since 1985.
2012 was also the year that Jimmy passed Brian Statham’s long-standing record of most Test wickets by a Lancashire bowler (252), having reached 288 at the end of the India series.
He followed that by overtaking Botham’s record for most England wickets when he reached 529 wickets in the first one-day international against New Zealand at Hamilton in February 2013, and then claimed his second five-wicket ODI haul in the next game at Napier.
He became only the fourth England player to reach 300 Test wickets when he dismissed New Zealand’s Peter Fulton in the opening Test of the 2013 home series at Lord’s, one of his favourite and most successful grounds.
And it would have been a major career highlight to have bowled the first ball in the third Test of the 2013 summer Ashes series at the newly redeveloped Emirates Old Trafford. Although it wasn’t his best Test, he still finished the series with 22 wickets as England won 3-0.
Unfortunately, England’s return series Down Under in the winter of 2013/14 ended in a disastrous 5-0 defeat.
Anderson won the Ashes again after England beat Australia 3-0 in the summer of 2015 and become just the twelve player in history to take more than 400 wickets in Test Match cricket. He also recorded his best figures in a Lancashire shirt taking 7/77 against Essex at Chelmsford in September.
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