James Anderson Thought He ‘Wasn’t Good Enough’ on His Test Debut

James Anderson Thought He 'Wasn't Good Enough' on His Test Debut
16.06.2021,12:06 41 0

Not too many players have played top-class cricket for such a long period of time as has James Anderson who broke Alastair Cook’s record of 161 Tests when he played the second Test versus New Zealand art Edgbaston recently. Having spent 18 years in Test cricket since his 2003 debut versus Zimbabwe at Lord’s, Anderson has now revealed that he had much self-doubt when he began his international career.

First Over in Test Cricket Went for 17 Runs

The Zimbabwe openers scored 17 runs from Anderson’s first over he bowled from the nursery end at Lord’s. Dion Ebrahim hit him for two fours and a three when Anderson’s strayed in line and bowled very close to the batsman’s pads. Recalling the day, Anderson said, “I thought I wasn’t good enough. I thought it was a huge step up from county cricket.” Anderson added, “I remember Nasser [Hussain] 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 Took Five-For on Debut

But it did not take long for Anderson to settle. In his third over, he bowled Mark Vermeulen through the gate. He switched ends to bowl from the Pavilion end and took four more wickets in that innings, wiping out the tail in the last 20 deliveries. His returns of 5 for 73 became the first of six notations on the Honours Board at Lord’s. He went on to become the most successful pace bowler ever, with 616 wickets, and is still going strong. He has been quoted as saying to the media, “I think I cleaned up the tail in that game. Until you play against the best players in the world, and you’ve got them out, only then do you feel like you can compete and belong there.”

Teething Troubles

However, the process was far from smooth after Anderson had found himself out of the squad following a Test series versus South Africa in the second half of the summer that year. When Vaughan skippered England in 2004 and 2005, Anderson was back in contention for a place in the Test squad, becoming part of the four-man seam team that helped England regain the Ashes. In 2005-06, he suffered a stress fracture that resulted from a change in his action partially effected by the ECB. Speaking about the issue, Anderson said, “I’m proud of the fact that I’ve overcome little hurdles throughout my career, and they’ve made me stronger.”

Beginning of Partnership with Broad in 2007-08

However, the key moment came on the tour of England in 2007-08 when Anderson and Broad replaced Hoggard and Harmison and became match-winning partners with the new ball.  Anderson was grateful to the then coach Peter Moores who showed faith in two young pacemen, allowing them to replace senior bowlers who had played a key role. “He brought us in and gave us that responsibility, showed that faith in us. We still look back on that with great fondness and we’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

Numbers that Reveal a Successful Test Career

Anderson has since taken 554 wickets at 25.17 that compares favourably with the 62 wickets at 39.20 that he took in his first 20 Tests. Anderson was instrumental in three successive Ashes triumphs between 2009 and 2013.

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