I’m determined to get 400 Test wickets, says James Anderson

Image courtesy of: The Mirror

“Just 71 more!”

England pace bowler James Anderson has announced that he has the potential to take his Test wicket tally to 400 within the next two years as long as he maintains his fitness levels and doesn’t fall victim to any major injuries.

Anderson, who has currently taken 329 Test wickets, is second on England’s all-time list and only trails behind the legendary Sir Ian Botham, who claimed 383 wickets during his illustrious career.

“Just 71 more! I don’t know,” Anderson told Alison Mitchell on her ESPNcricinfo Tea Break series. “I’d like to think if I can stay fit, then I can do it.

“Because if I’m still playing in a couple of years’ time, I’ve got to keep taking wickets to stay in the team. At the moment I’m really enjoying playing and being part of a successful team. That’s what makes me happy and why I keep getting out of bed.”

Anderson also admitted that being second on England’s all-time list was “surreal”.

“Even when I started my international career I didn’t think I’d get anywhere near that number of wickets, so being second on the list is still quite hard to believe,” he said.

The 31-year-old, who took 22 wickets in the recent Ashes series against Australia at an impressive average of 29.59, also attributed his recent success to England bowling coach David Saker.

“There are still occasions when I need some technical advice. He’s great at that too,” he said. “Working out a batsman is something I’ve always enjoyed, and I think I’m fairly good at working out someone when I’m out there on the field, but I think actually planning and looking at video footage of people – that’s an area that’s got better over the years and he’s great at that.”

Giving an example on how Saker had helped him, Anderson revealed that the bowling coach had advised him to bowl cutters to Australia opening batsman Chris Rogers during the first Test at Trent Bridge.

“The first cutter I bowled at Rogers, he chipped at midwicket,” Anderson added. “I think he [Saker] once had a slip of the tongue and said, ‘The bowlers are just putting his plans into place!’ He should take a lot of credit because he’s done a great job with us, but it is so satisfying when a plan comes off straight away.”

Anderson is known as one of the most complete bowlers in the game today as he has not only mastered conventional swing, but the art of reverse swing as well.

The secret to achieving reverse swing, according to Anderson, is to “keep the ball in the right condition”.

“If you do one thing slightly wrong, it can take it another six overs to get it reversing,” Anderson said. “If you see us throwing it around the field it’ll be straight from one person to another.

“We’ve got three people who look after it and the rest have to keep their hands off it. Obviously people have to field the ball so they’ve got to keep their hands dry as well. You’ll see us in Sri Lanka, where everyone had towels in their trousers and so on. One problem is Matt Prior, because he is dripping wet the whole time.”

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