Dubai: 1090 wickets. 293 Test matches.
Yes, this is the cumulative tally of James Anderson and his younger partner Stuart Broad, the ‘Old Firm’ of England seam bowling which shows no signs of slowing down after dominating the longer format of the game for the last decade and-a-half. At an era when the common refrain is that the sport is getting lopsided in favour of the batsmen across all formats, the pair have really stood the test of time.
Broad became the toast of the game’s fraternity on Tuesday evening when he dismissed Kraigg Brathwaite of the West Indies to reach the landmark of 500 wickets - becoming only the fourth fast bowler in the history of the game and seventh in all to join an exclusive club.
- PHOTOS: Looks can kill: The top female UFC fighters in the world
- Photos: Juventus beat Sampdoria to win ninth straight Serie A title
- Photos: Cricket's Magnificent Seven who makes the 500-plus club of Test wicket takers
- MLB: Major League Baseball's Opening Day off to a flier
- Photos: Afghan women assert themselves with martial arts
- Photos: Mahendra Singh Dhoni turns 39, remains the Pied Piper of Indian cricket
“I’ve done some technical work and changed my run-up in the last 18 months and I think I am feeling the benefits and getting the rewards for that,” Broad told BBC.
“I’m challenging the stumps. I mentally try to make the batsman play as much as possible and I actually judge myself on that so I think that’s a tactical thing that’s taken me to a really exciting level.”
The results are certainly showing as the right-arm seamer has now picked up 84 Test wickets at an average of 23.23 since the start of last summer’s Ashes - the joint most in Test cricket alongside Australia’s Nathan Lyon. His average to get from 400 to 500 Test wickets, 22.7, is the best 100-wicket block of his career.
After taking 10 wickets in the third and final Test, Broad has now jumped to the third position in the ICC Test bowler rankings. He picked up six wickets in the first innings, following it up with four scalps in the second. His effort helped England to win the third Test by 269 runs and wrap up the series 2-1 to regain the Wisden Trophy.
Comparing himself to senior pro Anderson, arguably the greatest England pace bowler in terms of wickets and longevity, Broad, now 34, often says that he doesn’t see himself surviving as long as the Yorkshire hero.
Anderson, on the other hand, feels Broad is bowling better than ever and has his record well within the reach now. “There’s a very good chance that he’ll get more wickets to me if he carries on like this,” Anderson said on the eve of fifth day’s play at the Old Trafford on Tuesday. “I heard him say the other day, why can’t he carry on until he’s my age and that’s absolutely true. He’s in great shape.
- IPL in UAE: We have to be very cautious about allowing fans in stadia, says Ness Wadia
- Cricket: Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore tipped to end IPL drought in UAE
- IPL 2020: UAE to step up preparations after confirmation from Indian board
- Cricket: Fawad Alam, Wahab Riaz included in shortlisted Pakistan squad for England Test series
- Cricket: Sunil Gavaskar would ‘love’ to see Sourav Ganguly continue as BCCI president
- White ball cricket set for return with new Men’s World Cup Super League
“He’s working so hard on his game and whenever he gets the opportunity to play, as we saw in South Africa and against Australia last year, he leads the attack brilliantly. He can go on and get as many wickets as he wants.”
The cricket fratrnity, meanwhile, heaped praise on Broad with erstwhile rival and former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting calling him a ‘tough competitor.’ Legendary West Indian fast bowler Courtney Walsh - one of the few fast bowlers to have claimed 500-plus cricket, recalled Broad bowling to his son when they both were kids and said the next goal should be 600 wickets.
“Congratulations to @StuartBroad8 on reaching 500 test wits hard work does pay off. I still remember you bowling to my son at Bristol when you both were kids.. well done and the sky is the limits next step 600,” Walsh tweeted.
Former Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist said Broad is ‘true champion’.
Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar said on twitter: “Congratulations to England on their emphatic series win. And like I said earlier, Stuart Broad had a spring in his step and was out there on a mission. Congratulations also to him on picking his 500th Test wicket. Terrific achievement!”
ANDERSON-BROAD IN FIGURES
M Inn Wkts Best Economy Five-wkts
Anderson 153 286 589 7/42 2.86 28
Broad 140 258 501 8/15 2.95 18