Botham leads Anderson tributes

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Published: Saturday 18th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Sir Ian Botham gave James Anderson his seal of approval after seeing the seamer move past his record to become England’s all-time leading wicket-taker.

Anderson induced an edge from West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin, who was caught at first slip by opposite number Alastair Cook, on the final day of the first Test in Antigua.

That was Anderson’s 384th scalp in Test cricket on his landmark 100th cap and saw him break Botham’s record which has stood for the last 23 years.

The former all-rounder was overjoyed at the moment, standing to applaud Anderson, and then writing on Twitter: “Great moment for Jimmy and his family….. Congratulations you deserve it …. Awesome !!”

Botham saluted the 32-year-old as he left the field following the conclusion of the match, which ended in a draw, and in his column for the Mirror, the former all-rounder wrote that Anderson is “the complete bowler”.

“He has been a joy to watch for more than 12 years in an England shirt and I’m absolutely delighted for him that he has finally overtaken me to be number one on the Test wicket takers list out on his own,” said Botham.

“Because he has been out on his own for years as the leader of England’s attack and the finest swing bowler of his generation.

“He hasn’t done it the easy way, he has had to work hard for his rewards and he has had to improve along the way to become the complete bowler he is today.

“You don’t take as many wickets as he has by being a one-trick pony who can only succeed in swinging or helpful conditions.”

Botham, whose record was equalled when Marlon Samuels was caught at gully earlier on Friday, is optimistic Anderson can move past 400 wickets and beyond to become an all-time great.

“I’m glad I was here in Antigua to watch him do it. I’ve got a rather large gift for him waiting for him to open back at home, but in the meantime I’ll be sharing a glass with him at some point and having a chat about his fantastic achievement,” he said.

“It has been a privilege to watch him up close all these years and commentate on a career that I believe still has a few more miles in the tank yet. I expect him to go past 400 now and set a record for the ages.”

Bob Willis, third on England’s all-time list of wicket-takers with 325 scalps, sees no reason why Anderson cannot aim even higher if he stays fit and healthy.

“There’s nothing to stop Jimmy going on to take 500 Test wickets,” said Willis in a Sky Sports column.

“I’m sure he’ll want to do that; England play an awful lot of Test cricket and if he can keep mind and body together, he’s capable of achieving something even more special.

“I can’t overestimate the scale of James Anderson’s achievement – it is truly fantastic. It’s quite something for a fast bowler to play 100 Test matches, but an incredible feat for Jimmy to get past Ian Botham’s record.”

Anderson made his debut against Zimbabwe at Lord’s in May 2003 under Nasser Hussain, who was bursting with pride at the Lancashire bowler’s achievement.

He said Sky Sports 2: “I’m very proud of him. It’s an incredible moment really.

“The work he’s done behind the scenes, the hard times he’s had, he’s reaping those rewards.”

Hussain sensed from the outset that Anderson was a huge and unique talent in English cricket.

“When I first saw him, and gave him that first England cap, I knew he was probably the most skilful bowler we would produce,” he said.

“He had something like a young Pakistan bowler. He knew his game – it was all about swing, it was raw … getting the ball down there, and getting wickets .”

Another former England captain Michael Vaughan believes Anderson is one of the best bowlers he has seen.

“I got into cricket in the 80s, he’s the best I’ve seen in my era. I would put Jimmy right up there,” said the Yorkshireman on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott concurred, adding: “He’s right up there with the very best. Jimmy is up there, his performances are up there, that’s all can say.”

Former England team-mate and now Lancashire head coach Ashley Giles said: “This is a tremendous achievement by Jimmy. To maintain such a high level of performance over such a long period of time is testament to his hard work and dedication.

“He is a fantastic ambassador for Lancashire and England and I am delighted for him.”

Published: Saturday 18th April 2015 by The News Editor

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