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James Anderson has so far taken 700 wickets in 187 Tests. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

London: Stuart Broad has praised James Anderson as “an addict of the art of bowling” as the veteran fast bowler prepares for his final Test.

Anderson, 42 later this month, will face the West Indies in a series opener at Lord’s starting on Wednesday before ending an England career which has so far yielded 700 wickets in 187 Tests — both records among quick bowlers.

Broad, who played alongside Anderson in 138 of those games before retiring from Test cricket after last year’s Ashes, said his long-standing new-ball partner’s excellence was down to a sheer love of bowling.

“He loves the rhythm of running into bowl, the control of the technique of his action, the tactical side of whether he’s bowling away swing, inswing, wobble seam,” Broad wrote in the Sunday Times.

“When you talk about professionals who have had longevity, you often talk about their dedication to training, their discipline in the gym and their diet.”

The 38-year-old Broad, who himself took 604 wickets in 167 Tests, added: “And of course you don’t play to 42 unless you have that but the thing that makes him different is his genuine love of the art of what he does.

“Addict is generally used as a negative word but I’d say he is an addict of the art of bowling.”

Outstanding conventional swing bowler

Anderson’s reputation was based on his ability as an outstanding conventional swing bowler, particularly in home conditions, but Broad said this ignored his skill in deploying reverse-swing.

“He doesn’t get enough credit for his reverse-swing, which has been crucial to his great record in the subcontinent,” Broad wrote. “Because his line and length are so immaculate it makes it lethal.

“(South Africa fast bowler) Dale Steyn was phenomenal and quicker than Jimmy but Jimmy is certainly the best reverse-swing bowler I’ve played with and probably the best I’ve witnessed in the flesh outside of Steyn.

“(His) ability to adapt and learn is why he has been so successful for so long. In professional sport you have to be continually improving because there is always a younger bowler trying to get your shirt.

“It is that genuine love for the art of bowling that has made him want to improve and learn new deliveries. It’s why he will go out at Lord’s this week as England’s greatest ever bowler.”