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Anderson McGrath

James Anderson record will remain unbeaten, says Glenn McGrath

Australian fast-bowling legend Glenn McGrath lavished praise on James Anderson, the England bowler on the verge of breaking his Test record for most wickets by a pace bowler.

McGrath had retired with a career-tally of 563 wickets, well ahead of Courtney Walsh's 519. But now, as McGrath puts it himself, it's only a matter of time before his record gets eclipsed as well. Anderson is currently on 557 wickets and is just seven shy of going past McGrath, a feat he could well achieve by the end of the ongoing home series against India.

McGrath was generous in his praise of the masterful swing bowler, comparing him to Pakistan's Wasim Akram. McGrath went on to predict that Anderson's record, once achieved, would remain unbeaten.

"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 wrote in a column for Daily Mail.

Most Test wickets among active fast bowlers
Most Test wickets among active fast bowlers

"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."

McGrath had got an opportunity to view Anderson at close quarters during his final Test series, the Ashes 2006-07. McGrath said he'd noticed something special about the Englishman right since those days.

"I've always said Jimmy was class, ever since I played against him in what became my last Test series in 2006-07. I noted how he swung the ball both ways conventionally, because it's a real art form," said McGrath.

"I've always said Jimmy was class"

"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."

In terms of average, McGrath remains markedly better than Anderson. McGrath got his scalps at 21.64 runs apiece in his 124-Test career as compared to Anderson's average of 26.85 in a career that has already seen him play 17 more Tests than McGrath.

That could perhaps be attributed to Anderson's initial struggles with the Kookaburra ball, which is said to be less likely to swing. "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.

"He has had to learn how to operate overseas with the Kookaburra ball"

"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. 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."

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