Not every day does a fast bowler claim 600 international Test wickets. On Tuesday, England international James Anderson became the first-ever paceman to reach the milestone. Since then, the cricketing world has been showering praises for the veteran bowler.
The 38-year-old Lancashire player dismissed Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali at first slip on the fifth and final day of the third Test at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. This was Anderson's 156th Test match in England's whites, which is absolutely an amazing feat, given that fast bowlers are more prone to injuries than others.
Ever since Anderson debuted in 2003, injuries had been a regular friend of the bowler. Yet, he overcame all obstacles and achieved unprecedented greatness. He is now the fourth overall bowler to dismiss 600 batsmen in Tests. All the first three players to have achieved this feat were spinners.
Before Anderson, Australia's former pacer Glenn McGrath was the leading wicket-taking fast bowler in world cricket. McGrath has 563 wickets to his name after playing 124 Tests. Anderson passed the record back in 2018.
Interestingly, McGrath seems happy that a fast bowler has finally taken 600 wickets. In his excitement, the former cricketer compared the 38-year old veteran English paceman to a legend of the sport, Sachin Tendulkar. The retired Indian batsman is the highest run-getter in both Tests and one-days.
According to BBC, McGrath said, "I didn't have the skill level that Jimmy has. When he's swinging that ball, both ways, in control, there's no one better. He's set the bar a bit like Sachin has. No one is ever going to catch Sachin in Test cricket for the amount of runs he's scored and the matches he's played. Jimmy's done the same for fast bowling."
Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan leads the list with 800 wickets, followed by Australia's Shane Warne with 708 dismissals. Third on the list is Indian former player Anil Kumble. Anderson is the only active player with 600+ wickets to his name.
Apart from Tests, Anderson has also represented England in 194 one-day internationals and 19 Twenty20 internationals. Across all formats, he has taken 887 international wickets. In terms of all-time highest wicket getters across all three formats, Anderson is sixth on the list.