Hailing from Burnley where people mostly talk football, James Anderson took up the unlikely job of bowling fast despite not having a local icon to look up to. Anderson, to his own admission, is a big fan of football and supports Burnley Football Club.
Anderson made his international debut in 2003 at Lord's against Zimbabwe, just days after he became the youngest Lancashire bowler to pick up the first-class hat-trick. His victims included the then England skipper Nasser Hussain.
Anderson's opening over in Tests was a forgettable one. The right-arm fast bowler conceded 17 runs in that over. Who would've thought this bowler would be the first fast bowler to pick up 600 Test wickets 17 years later?
At 39, he still maintains a probing line and length with utmost accuracy, which has been the hallmark of his bowling. He still bowls at high one-thirties regularly, hardly showing signs of exhaustion. He swings the ball and still makes the batter run to his tunes.
Despite giving away so many runs first up,
Anderson got five wickets in that innings, four of them being bowled.
Test debut, five-wicket haul, name on the Lord's honours board- the start couldn't have been better.
But soon after his debut, he realised that Test cricket is not a bed of roses. He was raw, exciting but inconsistent, so much that it took five years and 29 Tests to reach 100 wickets, with an average in the mid-30s.
Fast forward another five years, he was celebrating his 384th Test wicket, passing Sir Ian Botham's tally of 383 to become the highest wicket-taker for England in Tests.
Five years later, Anderson bettered Glenn McGrath's tally of 563 wickets, becoming the highest wicket-taking fast bowler in Tests. By this time, his bowling average had remarkably come down to 26.84.
In August 2020, Anderson became the first-ever fast bowler to bag 600 wickets in Tests. And very recently, he reached the milestone of 1000 first-class wickets and became the first bowler in the 21st century to achieve the feat.
It's not easy being the spearhead of a Test bowling attack at the age of 39. But Anderson seems to get better with age.
Since he turned 30, he has taken 349 wickets at a stunning average of 23.82.
James Michael 'Jimmy' Anderson, one of the greatest cricketers of all time, was born on July 23, 1982, in Burnley.