James Anderson will be crucial to England’s revival as world-beaters © Getty Images
Over the years, James Anderson has been a fine bowler for England. However, he struggled to pen his mark during Ashes 2013-14. Bharath Ramaraj looks at his comeback into the England One-Day International team after a gap of almost a year, and what lies ahead for the ‘Burnley Bullet’.
In the wonderful world of sport, a sportsman will have to wade through his fair share of marshes and swamps to come out as a true winner. Those beautiful dreams of a sportsman needn’t always come true. He may touch heavenly heights in terms of performance and then, there is every chance of his career going through a period of doom and gloom, where everything seems to be going against him.
Last year, England’s swing merchant, James Anderson was on the top of the world. His virtuoso exhibitions of swing bowling were hailed by one-and-all. However, during England’s tour of Australia in 2013-14 his world crash landed, as he was taken to the cleaners by the opposition batsmen. A few days ago when Anderson made a quiet return to England’s One-Day setup after a gap of almost a year against Scotland at Aberdeen, he would have known that he needed to hit the ground running straightaway by bowling well.
In his comeback game against Scotland, he took a couple of wickets. It has to be said though, it came against a lowly opposition and tougher challenges lie ahead for the veteran swing/seam bower.
It is interesting to note that despite Anderson’s dry run in Australia, his form with the white ball has been excellent in recent times. During England’s tour of New Zealand last year, he took a 5-for. He also showcased his street smartness as a bowler in the ICC Champions trophy semi-final against South Africa when just like a cheetah on the prowl he was preying on the batsmen stealthily.
Anderson on his part has certainly changed his modus operandi in limited overs cricket. If we jog our memory back to 2010-11, he was thwacked all over the park in Australia (ODIs) and during the ICC World Cup 2011. But those days, he was pitching it up even after the white ball would lose its shine. Since then, he has looked to hit back of a length most of the times, and tried to extract seam movement of the track.
Even though his poor form in Australia was with a red ball in hand, Anderson, during this English summer has to show that he has banished those inner demons of his failures Down Under. Here was a bowler who made the ball talk during Ashes 2010-11 by generating seam movement. But looked tired and out of sorts in Ashes 2013-14.
When Anderson is bowling with good rhythm, he can leave you spellbound. During the last few years, he has even shown the ability to generate appreciable seam movement. Hopefully, from England’s point of view, he can step up to the plate during a time when English cricket is going through a rough patch. They certainly need the ‘Burnley Bullet,’ who burst onto the scene with a 90mph boomerang in-swinger to trap prolific County batsman Mark Ramprakash all those years ago to come to the party this summer.
(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)