After being named in the lineup for the second Test against New Zealand at Edgbaston, James Anderson has now become England’s highest capped Test cricketer. In the series’ critical final Test, the 38-year-old pacer surpasses his former teammate and skipper Alastair Cook with his 162nd cap. Since his debut against Zimbabwe in May 2003, he has claimed 616 Test wickets.
Before the opening day of play, Anderson received a special shirt with his name and the number 162 on the back, as well as congratulations from his teammates. In Birmingham, England won the toss and skipper Joe Root opted to bat first. The first Test at Lord’s concluded in a tie last week.
Anderson said, “I can’t believe I have got this far. It’s been an amazing journey. I’m lucky that I have got a body that can cope with the rigors of bowling. I do work hard at my fitness and skills. It’s also about having the hunger to turn up every day to try to get better. That’s all I’ve done since I became a professional and that will hopefully continue for a few more years yet.”
Anderson added that Cook called him on Wednesday night to congratulate him. He said, “that phone call meant a lot from such a close mate. To go past him is special.”
Anderson also represented England in 194 one-day internationals and 19 Twenty20s, totalling 375 caps across the three formats of the game. Anderson has taken 616 Test wickets, including 30 five-wicket hauls. Between 1989 and 2013, Sachin Tendulkar set the world record for Test appearances with 200 for India.
Before the end of his career, he may weigh the odds of surpassing Rahul Dravid (164), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (164), Jacques Kallis (166), Steve Waugh (168), and Ricky Ponting (168). Root, the seventh skipper he has played for England, spoke about Anderson’s milestone as very memorable event to watch.
He added, “To see someone break that record is huge; for him to do it as a fast bowler in particular, just shows his skill level and the longevity of his ability over a period of time. His fitness levels, his desire to keep going and to keep putting his body through that – and what a great player for young guys to come in and learn off as well, to talk to about fast bowling and the art of swing bowling. So, it’s going to be a fabulous occasion in many respects and one that I’m very much looking forward to.”