James Anderson sets new bowling record - can it be bettered?

JOHANNESBURG - With 564 wickets, England paceman James Anderson (known as Jimmy) has set a new record for the most Test scalps by a fast bowler.

Anderson improved on retired Australia fast bowler Glenn McGrath’s mark that had stood since 2007.

Is it a mark that can be bettered?

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Anderson has been hailed for taking 564 Test wickets.

He is behind three spinners on the overall tally, but this week the 36-year-old king of swing brought more attention to the art of fast bowling.

With T20 Internationals firmly entrenched in cricket, and more series featuring only limited-overs competition, managing bowlers for the Test matches is becoming more fundamental.

According to Vincent Barnes, Cricket South Africa (CSA) High-Performance Centre manager, " Jimmy’s been managed by England, by the ECB over the past few years, he doesn’t play any white-ball cricket. That’s the reason, the hunger stays there to play, the desire is always there to want to go out to the field and play as much as you can because he only plays red-ball cricket.”

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For South Africa, Anderson’s feat brings up the question of Kagiso Rabada.

The 23-year-old is second behind Anderson on the ICC Test Bowler rankings.

 Ashwell Prince, a former Protea player, says:  “If KG [Radaba] can stay fairly injury-free and look after his body, he’s definitely started young enough, then the other question would be, as you say, does South Africa play enough Test cricket that he would get there, but if they do, then I think he, it’s something for him to aspire to.”

Glenn McGrath, who held the record before Anderson, said he doesn’t believe that mark of 564 Test wickets will be surpassed by a seamer for the next decade. It’s a view that Barnes agrees with.

“It’s an obscene amount of wickets for a fast bowler, and in my personal opinion, I don’t think it’s going to be broken by a seamer. In this day and age, players play all formats, a lot of the fast bowlers around the world at the moment, their focus is on white ball cricket, so I don’t think that record is going to be broken,” says Barnes. 

In July, Rabada broke the record for the youngest cricketer to reach 150 Test wickets, surpassing spinner Harbhajan Singh’s long-standing mark.

 According to Barnes: “You’ve got Kagiso Rabada now who’s young and who could possibly break that record, if you look at the way he’s going about his career, it is, he’s got 30-odd games, with 151 wickets, and he’s also got a fantastic strike rate, and if you look at it if he were to play for that length of time, he would easily break that record, but Kagiso Rabada plays T20 and One-Day International cricket for South Africa, it’s really about player management.”

South Africa’s next Test series is against Pakistan in December and January.

Meanwhile, at 36, Anderson shows no sign of slowing down, he is already looking ahead to playing against Sri Lanka next month.