London: Alastair Cook has described James Anderson as “the best bowler England have ever produced”.
“There have been some very good bowlers I have played with, but for pure out-and-out skill and ability, there is no doubt that Jimmy has been the best,” Cook said on the eve of the final Test.
“He will soon have the record for most wickets for England and that is quite a glowing reference to say that he is the best bowler England have ever produced. It is an amazing achievement.”
Anderson needs eight wickets to move past Ian Botham’s English Test record of 383 and whether or not he achieves that at The Oval, Cook is in no doubt that the 32-year-old will be there with the very best.
“It’s an amazing achievement,” Cook said. “If he does it in this game it will mean England are in a very strong position.
“No disrespect to Dale Steyn in terms of actual skill, but the way that Jimmy can swing the ball both ways… I don’t think Dale can do that quite as well as Jimmy but Dale has the added advantage of being able to bowl quicker. If you had those two in your attack...
“Dale has been the No. 1 bowler in the world for quite a long time in terms of the number of wickets he takes. He always picks up wickets. And those two are in the same class,” explained Cook.
“What amazes me is how he keeps trying to improve. He is a very different bowler now from when he started.”
England have emerged from a dismal sequence of 10 Test matches without a win to come from 0-1 down against India to lead 2-1 after emphatic victories in Southampton and Manchester.
Cook has also returned to form with the bat but said England would not be relaxing — or looking for a draw to clinch the series victory.
“There has been a massive turnaround, so the guys can take a lot of credit for the way they have turned it around and if we are sitting here at the end with a trophy it would be brilliant,” he said.
“We are not going in with any other mindset other than it’s a game to win… We are not thinking if we survive this we will win the series… we need to have the mindset we had after Lord’s when we came out fighting.
“Just because we won a couple of games we won’t relax at all. The atmosphere has lifted a bit but we have to earn the right to put in a good performance.”
England thrashed India by an innings and 54 runs inside three days in the fourth Test at Old Trafford on Saturday. Broad took six wickets in the first innings and was unable to bowl in the second due to his injury.