MUMBAI: They say fast bowlers hunt in pairs and England’s James Anderson, 38 and Stuart Broad, 34, epitomise this unique trait in modern cricket. After 2406 Tests matches have been played over a period of 143 years, this super new ball pair has taken 746 wickets in 96 Tests. Both bowl with their right hand, but are southpaws with the bat!
Though they made their England debut at different times, it was against India at the Mohali (Punjab) Test of December 2008, that they became the new ball operating pair for the first time for England whose captain was Kevin Pietersen. Individually the sui generis pair has taken 600 wickets (Anderson) and 517 (Broad).
For a long time the record for England was held by the legendary Fred Trueman and Brian Statham with 284 wickets as s new ball pair in 35 Tests.
Anderson and Broad though have not been successful on benign Indian pitches. Anderson has toured India for four Test series from 2005-06 and has taken 26 wickets at 33.46 in ten Tests while Broad who has toured India from the 2008-09 series has a paltry collection of ten wickets from six Tests at an expensive 53.90.
England which will play 17 Tests in 2021 has decided to rotate its players in order to preserve them. Anderson did not play the first Test of the recent series against Sri Lanka at Galle and Broad did not play the second Test at Galle.
It has to be seen if the most successful new ball operating pair in the history of the game will start proceedings for England skipper Joe Root in the first Test to be played at Chepauk, Chennai from February 5.