There will never be another like James Anderson, says Moeen Ali ahead of veteran pacer’s retirement

London:  England all-rounder Moeen Ali said this week at the Lord’s is all about celebrating the career of veteran fast-bowler James Anderson ahead of his last Test against the West Indies on July 10, adding that the cricketing world will never see another player like him.

Anderson is the leading wicket-taker among fast bowlers in the history of Test cricket with 700 scalps in 187 matches, a feat he reached during the Dharamshala Test against India earlier this year. His international career will end against the West Indies at Lord’s, coincidentally the same venue where he made his Test debut against Zimbabwe in May 2003.

“This week at the Lord’s is about celebrating his massive achievements with the ball. New guys will step up, but there is no point talking about who will fill Jimmy’s boots because they will never be. Quite simply, 700 Test wickets with one game to go, there cannot be another Jimmy, especially the way the sport is going.”

“It is a massive shame it has to end because, even now, coming up to 42, he can still bowl as well as he ever has. Just look at that seven-wicket haul for Lancashire last week. If he played for the whole summer, he would get a load more wickets,” wrote Moeen in his column for The Guardian on Monday.

Moeen also went on to talk about how he considered himself lucky to be sharing the same dressing room with Anderson when playing Test cricket for England.

“There were times during my Test career, sitting in the dressing room reflecting on things quietly when I almost could not believe how lucky I was to be in the same England team as Jimmy Anderson. He really is a once-in-a-generation cricketer and, in my mind, the greatest seam bowler of all time.”

“Jimmy always had this reputation for being grumpy and as a newcomer, who had watched him on the television growing up, I was a little bit intimidated before we met; not scared but a bit unsure what he would be like. But right from day one, even having played with so many players by this stage and been so close with Graeme Swann, who I had come into the side for, he was really good with me.”

Moeen signed off by expressing happiness over Anderson remaining with the Test side as the fast-bowling mentor after his retirement Test at Lord’s. “Then you remember he is England’s record wicket-taker in ODI cricket (269). Jimmy was a serious white-ball bowler but that decision by Eoin Morgan to move on in 2015 meant he could focus solely on Test cricket.”

“Even though he has always worked seriously hard at his game, there was a period in his thirties where he would barely bowl in the nets before a Test because he knew exactly what he was doing by this stage. Both aspects contributed to his incredible longevity.”

“It would be silly if English cricket let that knowledge go to waste and it is good Jimmy will mentor the Test bowlers for the rest of the summer, even after this last match at Lord’s. Who knows, perhaps it won’t be his last. As someone who has retired from Test cricket more than once, my advice would be never say never.”


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