Updated February 28th, 2024 at 16:51 IST

'For me, Zaheer Khan was...': James Anderson says he used to 'watch & learn a lot from' India pacer

James Anderson is just two wickets away from becoming the first pacer in the world to reach the 700-wicket mark in Test cricket.

James Anderson lauds Zaheer Khan | Image:AP
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James Anderson, renowned as England's premier fast bowler, boasts remarkable longevity and has amassed nearly 1000 international wickets. He credits Indian legend Zaheer Khan for imparting valuable insights into pace bowling techniques, notably reverse swing.

Also Read: 'Environment was in Hockey India was becoming suffocating': Outgoing Hockey India CEO Elena Norman

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James Anderson learned a lot from Zaheer Khan

Now at 41 years old, James Anderson remains at the helm of England's bowling attack, on the verge of a historic milestone: becoming the first fast bowler ever to surpass the 700-wicket mark in cricket history. Only Shane Warne (708) and Muttiah Muralitharan (800) have taken more wickets than Anderson. 

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"For me, Zaheer Khan was someone I used to watch a lot to try and learn from. How he used the reverse swing, how he covered the ball when he ran into bowl, that's something I tried to sort of develop on the back of playing against him quite a few times here," James Anderson told JioCinema.

Among the current lot of Indian pacers, James Anderson is most impressed by Jasprit Bumrah's ability, calling him a "great exponent" of reverse swing.

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Asked about Bumrah's match-winning performance in the second Test against England, Anderson said, "With someone of his quality you expect that standard from him. You know that reverse swing can play a big part in India and he's a great exponent of it. He's got good pace and is very accurate, very consistent.

Zaheer Khan. Image: AP

"That yorker we saw to Ollie Pope, he's got that up his sleeve as well. It's not a fluke that he's got to number one in the world. He's a world-class bowler and from our point of view we weren't surprised that he put up a performance like that." The seasoned Englishman added, "There are not many better bowlers than Bumrah, Shami and Siraj. They're world-class bowlers. You put Ishant Sharma in there as well, and that's a really strong bowling attack." Anderson's longevity in the game can be ascertained by the fact that his current England teammates such as Shoaib Bashir and Rehan Ahmed were not even born when he made his Test debut way back in 2002.

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Also Read: FACTION FIGHT in Indian hockey, salary issues: Why long-serving Hockey India CEO Elena Norman quit?

Having played 186 Tests and 194 ODIs over the last 22 years, James Anderson's desire to be competitive remains intact. He has picked up 698 wickets in Test cricket and 269 wickets in ODIs. Anderson has not played white-ball cricket for his country since 2015, which is when he featured in his last 50-over game. 

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(With inputs from PTI)

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Published February 28th, 2024 at 16:17 IST