Former great Glenn McGrath has said that once the exceptional James Anderson gets past his record as the highest fast-bowling wicket-taker of the game, the England veteran is unlikely to be beaten by anyone else.
McGrath, who bagged 563 scalps, retired in 2007 as the most successful speedster in cricket. Now Anderson with 557 wickets, stands very close to excelling this feat. Anderson is 36 and still has atleast another couple of years left in him, this is why, McGrath believes, that once England's biggest matchwinner gets past him, he'll finish with figures that aren't likely to second by anyone.
"Records are nice and I've been very proud to have taken more wickets than any fast bowler in Test history, but any high is there to be beaten and I will be equally proud of Jimmy when he goes past me because the fast bowlers' union has to stick together, whichever country we come from," McGrath told Sportsmail, "It is only a matter of time now before he gets there and I will be getting in touch with him as soon as he does to say well done. I have an awful lot of respect for Jimmy. Good luck to him. I believe once he goes past me he will never be beaten,"
Showering rare praise on an Ashes rival, McGrath said that Jimmy impressed from the first time he saw him.
"I've always said Jimmy was class, ever since I played against him in what became my last Test series in 2006-07." he said, "I noted how he swung the ball both ways conventionally, because it's a real art form. Not many have been able to do that. I can only really think of Wasim Akram, who is another great of the game, who could do that as skilfully,"
Over a long career that he's had, Anderson has been able to amass respectable numbers away from home too. McGrath thinks its the experience and learning put to good use over 141 Tests in different conditions that have helped him take 144 Test wickets at 28.57 away from home.
"When the ball is swinging he's as good as anyone out there, but when it isn't he comes back towards the pack a little bit. That was certainly the case early in his career but he's developed his skills as he's gone on and become much more effective overseas. When Jimmy plays at home with the Dukes ball he's second to none, but he has had to learn how to operate overseas with the Kookaburra ball that, to me, is not nearly as good to bowl with." McGrath said on Anderson's evolution over the years.
"It took him a while but he's done that now. Once Jimmy goes past me it will be interesting to see where he wants to set the bar. With the nature of the game these days, and the amount of Twenty20 cricket, I believe no fast bowler will ever go past him," he added.
What has been absolutely magnificent with Anderson is his fitness and longetivity. Having made his debut against Zimbabwe in 2003 at Lord's, Anderson has bowled 31,065 balls, which is the most number of deliveries by a pacer in the history of Test cricket.
"Being a fast bowler is the toughest job in the game and people do not see the hard work off the field that goes into spending as much time at the top as Jimmy has. We put ourselves through a lot more pain than anyone else." giving credit to Anderson's physical and mental strength," McGrath said, "So for Anderson to still be at the top of his game after 15 years in international cricket and with so many overs under his belt just shows his work ethic and his physical and mental strength,"
(Inputs from Cricbuzz)