Ian Botham expects James Anderson to sail past his record of 383 wickets

James Anderson became the fourth Englishman to enter the illustrious 300-wicket club in Tests © Getty Images

London: May 22, 2013

Sir Ian Botham is confident James Anderson will far exceed his England record of 383 Test wickets after the Lancashire seamer broke the 300 barrier during last week’s series-opening victory over New Zealand at Lord’s.

Lancashire paceman Anderson took seven wickets in England’s 170-run first Test win to become only the fourth England player to reach the landmark and the 30-year-old ended the match with 305 wickets ahead of this week’s second and final Test of the series at Headingley.

“I’ve been impressed with Jimmy for years,” Botham said Tuesday at the re-launch of Unibet in the UK where its ‘Unibet Summer of Sport’ ad campaign featuring Botham, Gavin Hastings and Goran Ivanisevic was unveiled.

“I think he’s magnificent. He’s been the leader of the pack for a long time and will be for a long time to come. He gets better and better,” former seam bowling all-rounder Botham added.

“I think he’ll get 384 (Test wickets). I think he’ll go sailing past (my record),” the ex-England captain predicted.

“If I can get Jimmy to have a glass of wine with me, we’ll open a very good bottle of wine and enjoy it when he goes past it, because I can’t think of a better person to take the mantle over.”

Anderson was well supported at Lord’s by the mercurial Stuart Broad, whose seven second innings wickets were mainly responsible for New Zealand being skittled out for just 68 as England won with more than a day to spare.

Botham said the current new-ball duo were a complementary pairing and backed them to have a major influence when the team began its bid for a third straight Ashes series win over Australia later in the English season.

“It’s a good combination. You’ve got the tall bowler who hits the back of a length, Stuart Broad, and you’ve got the swing bowling and the skills of Jimmy Anderson at the other end,” Botham explained.

“That’s the combinations that work for years and years – (Dennis) Lillee and (Jeff) Thomson (for Australia), myself and Bob Willis, Broad and Anderson. There’s no secret recipe. They’re just a good combination.
“It’s a perfect build-up for England. New Zealand caused them problems in the (northern hemisphere) winter, on the surfaces we played (in New Zealand), which were very flat.

“England started a little slowly here (at Lord’s) in this Test match, but got better and better and the way the bowlers came out on that final day, it was obvious they wanted a day off. They were magnificent.
“The runs will come, we know that, (Kevin) Pietersen’s to come back into the side. But if the bowling department continue that form, look out Australia.”

Botham reserved some of his greatest England performances for the ‘old enemy’ notably during the 1981 Ashes, and relishes all sporting contests pitting ‘the Poms’ against the Aussies such as the British and Irish Lions rugby union side’s forthcoming tour of Australia.

“That will be a tighter series than the cricket, of that I’m sure,” he said. “I’m going down for the third and final Test in Sydney (on July 6) and I’d be very surprised if the series has been won by then.”