The final Test between England and India turned out to be memorable one for two grand reasons. England’s top run getter – Alastair Cook’s farwell game and the announcement of a the new leading wicket taker when it comes to pace bowling– James Anderson. Anderson achieved the landmark feat after getting Shami out on what was the last ball of the series and went beyond Australian legend's record by registering 564 wickets to his name last evening.
The former Australian pacer was all praise for Jimmy Anderson, just as he had said before the Test, that there is no stopping him if the England bowler goes beyond his record. McGrath believes that Anderson has it in him to be the first ever fast bowler to take 600 wickets in Test cricket.
"If he can raise the bar to 600 wickets, that's an incredible effort."
"I have a lot of respect for Jimmy. He's been an incredible bowler for a long time. To have played well over 140 Tests and just keep running in, day in, day out, and remain at the top of his game, yeah, I'm very proud Jimmy's got there."
"You always wonder whether anyone's going to get there," said McGrath. "There was probably two guys I thought about - one was Jimmy and the other was Dale Steyn.”
‘The Pidge’ also spoke about how Anderson’s endurance and mental strength assisted him in his ever so long career which made him bowler that he is today.
"Being a fast bowler is the toughest part of the game and injuries do play a part. To think that Jimmy's played for so long and continued at the top of his game shows his work ethic, his physical and mental strength and everything else that goes into it.
"When it comes to the art of swing bowling, there is no-one better. I think of somebody like Wasim Akram, who is one of the greats of all time, and he could just do anything with a ball.
The 48 year old sprung comparisons between former great Wasim Akram and modern day great Jimmy Anderson.
"Wasim swung it both ways, was a left-armer and had power through the crease.
"Jimmy is different. He's taller and right-handed, but the way he swings a ball - both ways at will - is what sets him apart. It's definitely an art form and when the conditions suit - like they often do at Lord's when it's overcast and the ball is swinging - no-one comes close to him.
"Most guys hit the deck, get the ball in the right area and hope for a little bit of swing. We don't see people with the skills of Anderson too often."
On being asked if there was any fast bowler out there who could breach the wall that has recently been constructed by Anderson, here’s what McGrath had to say.
"If there is anyone out there, they have got a long way to go," he said. "I don't think we'll see it happen in the next decade.
"Just to play enough games to get anywhere near it is tough in itself. Other than Jimmy [143 Tests], no other fast bowler in the history of the game has played more than 132 Tests [Walsh].
"Also, the nature of cricket these days is that there is so much more Twenty20.
"The game is quicker, it's faster. And will bowlers play enough Test cricket in the future to get anywhere near the mark?"
About the Author
Comes from the United Arab Emirates, is a sports junkie and a journalist, who has been following cricket as well as football since childhood. Played cricket in academies, school, and university levels. A fanatic follower of one of Europe's biggest ever football clubs - Manchester United.