James Anderson OBE is closing in on 500 wickets in Test Matches for England.
Anderson, widely known as Jimmy, has sailed past Sir Ian Botham’s England record of 383 scalps in the game’s longest format, and in the summer of 2016 went beyond 450.
The 34-year-old is rated as one of the world’s best pace bowlers, with his mastery of seam and swing rivalled by few others. In fact, no other current bowler has more wickets than Anderson, nicknamed the Burnley Express.
When he does reach the 500-wicket mark, he will join former Lancashire team-mate Muttiah Muralitharan on the list alongside Shane Warne, Anil Kumble, Glenn McGrath and Courtney Walsh.
Anderson is a three-time Ashes winner, the first of which coincided with him being named as one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year in 2009.
He also won the County Championship title with the Red Rose in 2011. Despite all of his achievements in international cricket, it was one of his proudest moments.
Anderson debuted for Lancashire during the final month of the 2001 season. He went on to take 50 first-class wickets in his first full domestic campaign the following summer, including nine in a landslide Championship win over Somerset at Blackpool’s Stanley Park.
That form earned the then 20-year-old a place on an England Academy (now known as Performance Programme) tour to Australia during the winter.
And, after a few injuries in the main England party, he was awarded his one-day international debut against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground that December.
He bowled wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist, capping a remarkable rise which had seen him play only three one-day matches for Lancashire prior to that day.
Less than four months earlier, he had even been playing Lancashire League cricket for Burnley.
His performances Down Under earned him a place in England’s World Cup squad in early 2003, with him taking a stunning 4-29 against Pakistan at Cape Town.
Anderson has since featured in the 2007, 2011 and 2015 World Cups. 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 10 wickets in a first-class match for the first time, putting Worcestershire to the sword. In all, throughout his career, he has taken 10 wickets in a match on six occasions, including three times in Tests. Anderson’s international career lost momentum for a while through form and injury.
He suffered a stress fracture of the back, ruling him out of the majority of the 2006 summer, and it came immediately before a forgettable Ashes tour.
But he bounced back and enjoyed a productive 2008 against New Zealand and South Africa under the guidance of his future Lancashire coach Peter Moores.
Having got the Moores era at Lancashire off to a flying start with 10 wickets against Sussex at Hove in early 2009, he picked up the aforementioned Wisden honour and went onto win the 2009 home Ashes series.
He also took 24 wickets against the Aussies in a 3-1 away series success in 2010/11 and was the leading wicket-taker. It was England’s first Test series success Down Under in 24 years. Not content with that, 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.
He took 12 wickets in the away Test series win against India later in the year, scooping the Man-of-the-Series award in the process as England’s 2-1 success was their first series win there since 1985.
Not only is Anderson England’s leading Test wicket-taker, he is also top of their list in all international cricket, and he went beyond Botham’s tally of 529 during an ODI against New Zealand in February 2013.
He was part of the 3-0 home Ashes win in 2013, but England went Down Under and lost 5-0 during the winter immediately afterwards - the same scoreline as 2006/7.
But it was sweet revenge in the summer of 2015 when England won another home series 3-2.
Later in the summer, Anderson recorded his best innings figures in a Lancashire shirt - 7-77 in a Championship match against Essex at Chelmsford.
At time of writing Anderson has not played a limited overs international since March 2015, although has not retired from either white ball format. His haul of 269 ODI wickets puts him top of England’s all-time list.