McGrath, Steyn better bowlers than me: James Anderson
Anderson feels he is yet to match Glenn McGrath and Dale Steyn's calibre. (Getty Images)

England fast bowler James Anderson, who recently went past Glenn McGrath’s wickets tally to become the most successful fast bowler in Test cricket, has rated the former Australian pacer ahead of him. Anderson’s record-breaking achievement was lauded by many current and former across the globe, including McGrath, who was considered one of the best fast bowlers the game has ever seen.

In his column for Fox Sports, Anderson, 36, highlighted how he always looked up to McGrath during his early years.

“He was a much better bowler than me,” Anderson said. “This is not false modesty. I may have gone past his wicket tally, but I honestly believe McGrath’s bounce, relentless accuracy, aggression and ability to move the ball made him superior. He had everything.”

Besides McGrath, Anderson, considered one of the best fast bowlers of the current era, also called South Africa’s Dale Steyn a better bowler than him. In 2015, Steyn recorded his 400th Test wicket making him the quickest to get there, but his progress has been hampered by injuries. Since then, he’s played a handful number of Tests for South Africa picking up just 21 wickets.

“Of the modern era, I’d happily tip my hat towards Dale Steyn. With his express pace, control and swing, he’s better than me, too,” Anderson wrote.

Anderson had a fruitful series against India, picking up 24 wickets in five matches. At lord’s he picked up a five-for to set up England’s huge win. About McGrath, he mentioned how he’s picked up plenty of watching him play, or at times, just by listening to him. During a 14-year-long career, McGrath picked up 563 wickets before retiring in 2007.

“I also loved McGrath’s attitude. He had plenty of a snarl on the field — a bit like me, I suppose — and was super-competitive. He hated giving away runs or not taking wickets. We’ve shared a beer a few times and he’s a cracking fellow. I listened to the way he prepared for games and it really helped me.

“I heard him say once that he practised for when the ball didn’t swing. So if it did swing, it was a bonus. That philosophy has been a big part of my development. You so often see bowlers pick out a lovely new ball from the bag at nets and it looks great when it swings in the air and nips off the seam with batsmen playing and missing. But you have to simulate match situations.”

Perhaps McGrath’s best compliment towards Anderson was him tipping the England pacer to go where no fast bowlers in history has gone before – 600 wickets. Anderson looks extremely for a fast bowler his age and feels there’s no reason why he can’t go for it, while dismissing any plans of immediate retirement.

“McGrath reckons I can go past 600 Test wickets — I’m on 564 — and I don’t see why that is not possible because I feel fit, enthusiastic and surprisingly fresh for a 36-year-old after five Tests in little more than six weeks,” he said. “But I remember McGrath saying he went into the 2006-07 Ashes in Australia with no plans to retire but, by the end of that series, he knew his time was up.

“Maybe it could happen to me just as suddenly but, right now, I have no plans to follow Cooky into retirement.”