During India’s last tour to England in 2014, James Anderson had made the mockery of visiting batsmen by claiming 25 wickets at a remarkable average of 20.60 in 5 Tests.
As England and India are gearing up to clash in a five-Test series from Wednesday (August 1), Anderson is once again expected to play a vital role. Considering the significance of Anderson in this high-profile series, the ECB had rested England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker for six weeks.
Anderson's break from competitive cricket didn’t only allow him to manage his long-standing shoulder injury but also prepared him thoroughly for another gruelling five-Test series.
"It's been fortunate. You don't get much time to have a pre-season, especially in the middle of the summer, to have a proper break and to build-up to five Test matches in six weeks,” James Anderson told Sky Sports.
"It's going to be pretty brutal so to have this time to concentrate on my fitness, get my shoulder right, I've done loads of bowling as well so I do feel in a really good place. I just hope that I'm in a good enough place to get through those five Test matches," he added.
If Anderson gets through all five Tests, he probably will end the summer with most Test wickets by any fast bowler in the history of the game. The 36-year-old has 540 Test scalps to his name and is just 23 wickets away from Australian pace legend Glenn McGrath's world record.
"To be as close to someone like Glenn McGrath as I am is still a bit surreal. For me, he is the greatest fast bowler that there has ever been. I'm just going to keep playing as well as I can and if I get there, I get there. It's neither here nor there to me at the moment, it might mean a bit more when I do finish playing," Anderson remarked.
During the 2014 series, Anderson was the biggest nemesis of India skipper Virat Kohli, dismissing him 4 times in just 50 balls. Overall, he has taken Kohli’s wicket five times in Tests going back to 2012. However, Kohli turned the table during the 2016 Test series at home as he dominated Anderson and England by scoring 655 runs in 5 Tests at an average of 109.16. No wonder, the fans are eager to see the duel between the two superstars of the game.
“It's a long time ago, a lot of cricket has happened since then and he's certainly improved as a player in that time - and I hope I've improved as a player in that time. You can't pay any attention to that at all, it's about the next six weeks, that's the most important thing. It's not about what's gone on in the past, that's not going to help me get him out this week, it's about what I do and what the team does in the next six weeks,” James Anderson asserted.
"We've got to perform brilliantly, Kohli is an outstanding player, he just gets better and better every year. To be honest, they've got a brilliant batting line-up and we've got to be on top form to be able to beat them," he concluded.