Stokes: England lucky to have 'relentless' Anderson

By Sports Desk February 23, 2023

Ben Stokes does not see James Anderson stopping any time soon after the "relentless" England seamer returned to the top of the Test bowling rankings.

Australia captain Pat Cummins had occupied the top spot since February 2019, while Anderson was last at the summit in November 2018.

At the age of 40, he is the oldest bowler to reach the top of the rankings since Clarrie Grimmett in 1936.

Anderson took 7-54 across New Zealand's two innings in England's 267-run win at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui last week, and captain Stokes says his side are fortunate to have him.

"Albeit him being 40, I just can't see him stopping," Stokes told reporters ahead of the second Test at Basin Reserve in Wellington.

"Every time he turns out there, he's one of the main guys you throw the ball to when you feel like you need a wicket. He's just relentless with everything that he does.

"We're very lucky to have him. Rightfully so he's back at the top. I know sometimes those rankings don't mean much to people, but in our opinion, he has been one of the best, if not the best, for longer than what these rankings say."

Asked if Anderson cracked a smile at the news, Stokes quipped: "No. I don't think he'll be that fussed by it, to be honest - he'll just keep doing his thing."

New Zealand skipper Tim Southee also lavished praise on Anderson.

"He's phenomenal and has been for a long period of time," Southee said. "To have played as many Test matches as he's had is phenomenal on its own.

"He doesn't look like he's slowing down any stage. I've thoroughly enjoyed watching it from afar and any time you play against them it's a great chance to catch up and talk to them. To see a 40-year-old sitting at the top of the charts is pretty impressive."

Anderson made more history with his performance in the first Test, as he and Stuart Broad dethroned Australia greats Glenn McGrath and the late Shane Warne as the pair of team-mates with the most Test wickets between them while playing in the same side.

Broad and Anderson have taken 1,009 Test wickets combined from 133 appearances together – Warne and McGrath reached their total in 104 matches.

Stokes has named an unchanged team for the second Test, which starts on Friday, with New Zealand striving to salvage a draw.

While Broad and Anderson did the damage with the ball, Harry Brook was named player of the match after making 89 and 54, while Joe Root returned to form with a half-century in the second innings.

Related items

  • Southgate lauds Mainoo talent as England group together for Euro 2024 Southgate lauds Mainoo talent as England group together for Euro 2024

    England manager Gareth Southgate has no doubt over the talent of Kobbie Mainoo after watching the Manchester United youngster flourish this campaign.

    Mainoo was on target in Saturday's FA Cup final victory over rivals Manchester City as Man Utd triumphed 2-1 at Wembley Stadium.

    Having caressed past Stefan Ortega in the first half, 19-year-old Mainoo became the first English teenager to score in an FA Cup final since Steve MacKenzie for City against Tottenham in 1981.

    That match-winning finish capped a fine breakthrough campaign for Mainoo, who has been rewarded with a place in England's preliminary squad for Euro 2024.

    As the Three Lions joined together for their pre-tournament training camp, Southgate reserved special praise for the exciting England midfielder.

    "The curious thing about young talent is how will they cope under pressure," Southgate said in an interview with England's media channels. 

    "You can see the technical ability but it's about how tactically aware they are, how mature, ability to cope with big matches.

    "When you're playing for Manchester United, you're always under the spotlight. He's shown that with them, with us in March.

    "We've never been afraid to put young players in. If players are good enough we're not so concerned about their age. 

    "Kobbie has had an amazing season and it was fabulous for him to finish the season with a goal and a trophy."

    Decisions remain for Southgate, though, as the England boss prepares to cut his 33-man squad to just 26 players ahead of the upcoming tournament in Germany.

    He added: "It will be extremely difficult. It was very difficult to leave players out of this 33 and, of course, there are some younger players coming in with slightly different expectations to this camp.

    "But there are going to be some difficult calls to make. We're hoping that not too many of these calls are decided by injury and we've got the strongest possible squad to pick from."

    England will play warm-up friendlies against Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iceland next week, before starting their group-stage campaign in a June 16 meeting with Serbia.

    Denmark and Slovenia will follow for England, who will hope to go one better than their runners-up finish to Italy in the last European Championship three years ago.

    "There are so many aspects to being with this group of people that I love," Southgate continued, looking ahead to the upcoming international tournament.

    "Ultimately we're trying to form a team and a group that have got to push each other and be there for each other. There's a team dynamic that's crucial to winning that we have to find.

    "People will have slightly different roles that they will with their clubs. At their club, all of these guys are pretty much the first choice on the team sheet, so some have different roles in the next few weeks.

    "The challenge of winning the games and the excitement of seeing our fans out there in some of the biggest occasions in world football is why you're in the game really. That's what we're looking forward to."

  • 'Still England's best bowler' – Australia's Lyon stunned by Anderson retirement 'Still England's best bowler' – Australia's Lyon stunned by Anderson retirement

    James Anderson retiring from Test cricket shocked Nathan Lyon as the Australian spinner believes England's veteran would still be their best bowler.

    England great Anderson will call time to his storied red-ball career when Brendon McCullum's side host West Indies at Lord's, starting on July 10.

    The Lancashire bowler leaves the international scene as England's all-time leading wicket-taker in Test cricket, with 700 dismissals in 187 appearances.

    His wicket-taking heroics are the most by any pace bowler in Test history, and Anderson's decision came as welcome news to Ashes rival Lyon.

    "Obviously, Jimmy Anderson is in the conversation of being the greatest fast bowler of all time," Lyon told BBC Radio 5 Live.

    "Good luck to Jimmy and I look forward to playing with him at Lancashire, but I'm glad he won't be coming out to the next Ashes."

    Anderson's hand appeared somewhat forced as England started planning for the future, setting their sights on The Ashes in Australia across late 2025 and into 2026.

    By the time that Ashes series arrives, Anderson will be 43.

    Owing to Anderson's age, England coach McCullum, managing director Rob Key and captain Ben Stokes, want to test the likes of Brydon Carse, Matthew Potts and Gus Atkinson as pace-bowling options.

    With Stuart Broad already announcing his retirement after his last outing against Australia, Lyon could not believe England's decision to let Anderson go.

    "My care factor for England is pretty low, but I was pretty surprised when I did read that they tapped him on the shoulder," added Lyon.

    "I look at James and what he's been able to do for England cricket, it's pretty remarkable.

    "This is just my opinion – I still think he would be England's best bowler."

  • Windies get major boost in rankings ahead of the T20 World Cup Windies get major boost in rankings ahead of the T20 World Cup

    A thumping 3-0 T20 International series sweep over South Africa propelled West Indies up the ICC Men’s T20I Team Rankings into fourth place, ahead of the much-anticipated T20 World Cup.

    Despite missing a few big faces, West Indies managed to sweep the series, and that along with the rise in rankings should provide a significant boost to the confidence of the Darren Sammy-coached side heading into the June 1-29 showpiece to be hosted in the Caribbean and United States.

    With the series win, West Indies (254 rating points), the champions of the 2012 and 2016 editions of the T20 World Cup, are at the fourth place in the list led by 2007 champions India (264 rating points), with 2021 champions Australia (257 rating points) and defending champions England (254 rating points) at the second and third place respectively.

    There were individual bright spots for West Indies in the series, who gained substantially in the T20I Player Rankings. This included stand-in skipper Brandon King, whose 159 runs helped him jump up five places to the eighth position in the Men’s T20I Batting Rankings.

    His opening partner, Johnson Charles, who hit a blistering 69 from 26 balls in a Player of the Match performance in the third game of the series, gained 17 spots to reach the 20th place.

    Meanwhile, Kyle Mayers (31st place in Batting Rankings) and Gudakesh Motie (27th place in Bowling Rankings) were the other beneficiaries from the recently concluded series.

    These results bode well for the Men in Maroon, who will be looking for a record third title during their home T20 World Cup. They are placed in Group C along Afghanistan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Uganda.

    They start their campaign against Papua New Guinea in Guyana on Sunday.

    ICC Men's T20I Team Rankings

    India -264 points

    Australia - 257 points

    England - 254 points

    West Indies  - 252 points

    New Zealand  - 250 points

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.