LONDON: England fast-bowler James Anderson ranks alongside South Africa’s world number one Dale Steyn and possesses more skill, said his captain Alastair Cook on the eve of the fifth Test against India.
Anderson needs eight wickets to move past Ian Botham’s English Test record of 383 and whether or not he achieves that at the Oval starting on Friday, Cook is in no doubt that the 32-year-old belongs alongside the very best.
“It’s an amazing achievement,” Cook told a news conference on Thursday in which he confirmed that Anderson’s opening partner Stuart Broad would be fit for the series decider despite sustaining a broken nose in the last Test.
“If he does it in this game, it will mean England are in a very strong position. No disrespect to Steyn in terms of actual skill, but the way that Jimmy can swing the ball both ways I don’t think Dale does that quite as well as Jimmy, although Dale has the advantage of being able to bowl quicker.
“You would put both of them in the same class.”
Not thinking beyond the game: Cook
England have emerged from a dismal sequence of 10 Test matches without a win to come from 1-0 down against India to lead 2-1 after emphatic victories in Southampton and Manchester.
Cook has also returned to form with the bat but said England would not be relaxing — or looking for a draw to clinch the series victory.
“We are not going in with any other mind-set other than it’s a game to win,” he said.
“We are not thinking if we survive this we will win the series, we need to have the mind-set we had after Lord’s when we came out fighting.
“Just because we won a couple of games, we won’t relax at all. The atmosphere has lifted a bit but we have to earn the right to put in a good performance.”
England thrashed India by an innings and 54 runs inside three days in the fourth Test at Old Trafford on Saturday. Broad took six wickets in the first innings and was unable to bowl in the second due to his injury. Anderson had five victims in the match.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2014.
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