#NewsBytesExplainer: History beckons as James Anderson returns to action
James Anderson has been a pioneer of England's bowling attack in Test cricket for years. In his 17-year-old career, the 37-year-old has deceived the greatest batsmen with his vicious swing. Anderson was recently seen bowling in a training session, with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) allowing players to commence training individually. He will be eyeing several milestones upon his return.
Anderson's limited-overs career was cut short following the 2015 World Cup as he decided to focus on Test cricket. At present, the pace spearhead owns 871 wickets from 364 internationals at an average of 27.64. He has accounted for 584 wickets in the longest format alone. He is also England's leading wicket-taker in both Test and ODI cricket (269).
Anderson currently holds the fourth spot in the tally of leading wicket-takers. He is 35 wickets away of surpassing India's Anil Kumble, who has 619 wickets to his name. The top two spots are occupied by Muttiah Muralitharan (800) and Shane Warne (708).
Anderson prodigiously stands out among the seasoned crop of fast bowlers. In 2018, he overtook Glenn McGrath to become the most successful Test bowler. McGrath previously held the record with 563 wickets. Besides, West Indies' Courtney Walsh is the only seamer to have claimed over 500 scalps in Test cricket. Anderson could become the first ever fast bowler to enter the 600-wicket club.
Anderson has struggled with a string of injuries lately. An obnoxious calf injury made him pull out of the Ashes last year. He had been spending the off season sans action, having stepped towards recovery ever since. In the South Africa Test series, he snapped up nine wickets at 19.89. The ongoing lockdown would have reinforced his recovery period.
It is interesting to note that Anderson has claimed 204 scalps since April 2015. His bowling average has to improved to 21.44. Notably, 12 out of his 28 five-wicket hauls have been registered during this period.
The ECB has released player guidelines for resumption of cricket in the country. West Indies and Pakistan are already lined up to tour England for subsequent Test series. Previously, director of England cricket Ashley Giles, confirmed a complete risk assessment will be done ahead of the English season. Anderson will be hoping to see some action, so that he could chase the formidable feats.