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Anderson eyes McGrath tally

09 September 2017

Cricket Network

Cricket Network

England quick will be "the best fast bowler ever" if he passes McGrath's mark, says former England skipper

James Anderson said he hoped to get "somewhere near" Australia great Glenn McGrath's tally after joining Test cricket's 500-wicket club at Lord's on Friday.

Anderson became the first England bowler to the landmark and just the sixth in history when, having started the West Indies' second innings with 499 Test wickets behind him, he clean bowled opener Kraigg Brathwaite.

The 35-year-old Lancashire swing king was just the third paceman to take 500 Test wickets behind McGrath (563 Test wickets) and West Indies great Courtney Walsh (519).

Anderson is the only active cricketer in the '500 club', with the spin trio of Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan (800 Test wickets), Australia's Shane Warne (708) and India's Anil Kumble (619), in common with McGrath and Walsh, all retired.

"I'm just trying to stay fit and stay on the field," Anderson, set to be England's spearhead during their upcoming Ashes defence in Australia, told Sky Sports after stumps.

"I'm loving playing cricket at the moment. I just want to keep playing as long as possible," he added.

"If I keep on playing for the next couple of years I might get somewhere near (McGrath's tally)."

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Ex-England wicketkeeper Alex Stewart says Anderson will be "100 per cent the best fast bowler ever" if he passes McGrath's record of 563 Test wickets.

"He's a great of the game," Stewart told BBC Radio 5 live. "His longevity is remarkable.

"If he plays for another four years he will get another 130 to 150 wickets.

"Once he goes past McGrath, he is 100 per cent the best fast bowler ever and he deserves that.

"Every delivery as a fast bowler you put nine times your body weight through your hip, knee and ankle.

"He looks after his body well and has a great appetite for the game. We are talking about a world great. He is up there with McGrath, [Curtly] Ambrose and Walsh.

"His skill levels are second to none. I was still playing when he made his debut. He looked a good player but I never thought he'd get 500 wickets.

"He is a shy lad by nature, a fierce competitor, and he is getting better and better. He thinks he can play until 40.

"He will still be able to bowl over 80mph, and with his skill levels he can cause problems for a few years yet."

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Nasser Hussain, the swing star's first England captain who witnessed Anderson's 500th Test wicket live at Lord's in his current role as a Sky commentator, paid tribute to an "incredible talent".

"He was a boy from nowhere," said Hussain. "He came in after another disaster of an Ashes tour and he was like a breath of fresh air.

"He was so different from anything I'd seen before," the former Essex batsman added.

"I didn't know him then and I don't really know him now, to be honest but he's an incredible talent.

"What we see is the end product. What we don't see is what we don't see -- those years when he had to put out the cones in 2004-05 for that bowling attack, the injuries he's had and all the pain he's gone through.

"He won't tell you much about it because he never does but he's been a credit to his country."