If not rested for the series-deciding Test against New Zealand in Edgbaston, James Anderson will on Thursday become England’s most capped Test cricketer ever in the history of the game. He will surpass former teammate and friend, Sir Alastair Cook, who made 161 appearances in the whites for his country.
Today, Anderson is widely regarded as one of the world’s best-ever pacemen, certainly the best that England have had to offer to the modern-day game. But back in the day, despite making a successful start to his career in 2003 against Zimbabwe, he felt doubtful of his capabilities and longevity at the highest level.
The 38-year-old pacer revealed that it took him some years as a Test bowler to be really feeling comfortable and secure about himself.
“I thought I wasn’t good enough. I thought it was a huge step up from county cricket. I remember Nasser (Hussain, the then England captain) didn’t have a fine leg for me and I went for quite a few runs. My first ball was a no-ball as well so there were a lot of nerves there and I did feel like this was maybe a step too far for me at that point.”Anderson was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.
As Anderson grew in experience and put in some strong performances against quality oppositions, he could tell himself he belongs to the Test arena.
“It took a few years (to overcome that insecurity and uncertainty in his head). I think putting in some performances against the better sides in the world – no disrespect to Zimbabwe – but playing against teams like South Africa and Australia and India,”
“Once you put in performances against the top teams in the world, that’s when you can feel like you can actually perform at that level.”he said.
Heading into his 162nd Test, Anderson boasts of quite a few milestones, being England’s highest wicket-taker (616) – which is fourth-best overall behind Muttiah Muralitharan (800), Shane Warne (708) and Anil Kumble (619). He is also the most capped fast-bowler in the history of Test cricket.
In recent times, Anderson has shown his unwavering passion for the game in recovering from multiple injuries and taking his craft to another level across conditions as a bowler. He has time and again expressed his desire to continue playing for England despite speculations outside of his retirement.
“I’m proud of the fact that I’ve overcome little hurdles throughout my career and they’ve made me stronger. The stress fracture (during a developing stage) was like hitting the reset button I guess. I’d gone through a lot of changes in my action before that and that stress fracture was probably a Godsend.”
“It made me go back to my old action and since then I’ve felt really comfortable and got more consistent. That’s really helped me and makes me feel proud I got stronger from that and never looked back,”Anderson added.