James Anderson: He’s not got a ‘knack’ for taking wickets – he’s just good at it

We’re still holding out for an England win with James Anderson leading the charge, but we’re not relishing the headlines if he manages it. We have two fairly major problems with the coverage of Anderson’s return.

Firstly, it is being portrayed as a return to form on top of a return to the side. Anybody who watched James Anderson bowl last year (as we did) knows that he never lost form. Virtually the only bad game he had was against South Africa last winter, which was fairly understandable being as he’d been standing around doing practically nothing for the preceding few weeks. He was only dropped from the Test side in the first place to accommodate Simon Jones. We weren’t sure about that at the time and it has taken a while for us to be convinced of Jones’ quality. However, Anderson wasn’t a bad bowler then and nor has he been since.

Secondly, it is often said that he has the ‘knack’ of taking wickets; that he can get people out with bad balls. This is only a whisker away from saying that he’s blessed with outrageous good luck, which is, if you consider it rationally, complete testicles. If a bowler consistently takes wickets, it’s with good reason – it’s because they’re talented. James Anderson bowls at a decent pace and he swings the ball a lot. He gets wickets with some deliveries which seem too full, but it isn’t a sudden blizzard of fortune that causes the batsman to edge the ball or miss it – it’s the swing.

So, to confirm: James Anderson – not lucky, just good.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

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