England’s bowling attack has easily been out-bowled and out-gunned by Australian bowling line-up in the 2013-14 Ashes series. Apart from Stuart Broad, the rest of the bowlers have been off the boil. James Anderson, their lead bowler, has not been in great form for a while either and that is not helping England’s cause. Shrikant Shankar believes that Anderson needs to get his mojo back and quickly.
James Anderson has been England‘s best bowler since the 2007 World Cup. He has led the bowling attack very well and has contributed heavily in their success in the recent past. He is second in the all-time list of the highest wicket-takers for England with 334 [as of December 13, 2013] and only behind Ian Botham‘s tally of 383 wickets. He was the leading wicket-taker in England’s phenomenal 3-1 win in the 2010-11 Ashes series with 24 wickets next to his name. His two five-wicket hauls helped England to script a nerve-wracking famous win at Trent Bridge in the 2013 Ashes as well.
But ever since, his form has taken a hit. He has taken only 17 wickets in his last 12 innings. In fact, he looked a bit tired during the remainder of the 2013 Ashes. While Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann helped England to win the series 3-0, Australia did not get the rub of the green going their way at crucial moments of that series. In Australia, however, it has been a completely different story till now. Led by the fiery Mitchell Johnson, Australia is looking like a team that carries luck with them. Actually, apart from Broad, the others have simply not turned up for England.
After Johnson’s tally of 17 wickets in the 2013-14 Ashes series, Broad is second on the list with 11 wickets. Anderson has only taken five wickets. He hasn’t looked up to the task at hand. In the meantime, England trail 2-0. Most of the times, Anderson has struggled to generate traditional late swing or reverse swing for which he has become famous for.
He has looked like a bowler who has lost a little bit of zip. He has not hurried the batsmen, nor caused them discomfort. While both Johnson and Broad — leading wicket-takers from the Ashes 2013-14 are bowlers who get the ball to bounce more off the surface of a pitch, Anderson is a bowler who swings it in the air. And he has lacked that swing. But for a bowler of his age and experience, he must have found a way to tackle that problem.
Now England, desperately need their strike bowler to get back into the wicket-taking form that made him who he is. Swann is also going through a rough patch. So, it is imperative that Anderson delivers the goods right from the start of the third Test in Perth at Western Australian Cricket Ground (WACA), or else the Ashes will slip away from England’s grasp.
(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)
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