Anderson best in the world? He isn’t even best in the Ashes
England's James Anderson (R) celebrates after bowling Australia's Michael Clarke. AFP PHOTO/ANDREW YATES
The continual rhetoric in the Sky commentary box (filled with ex-England captains) regarding James Anderson and the fact that he is apparently the best bowler in the world is comical.
It’s about time someone challenged this flawed assumption and set them straight.
Anderson isn’t even the best seam bowler in this series. Much to the dismay of an ex-England captain, one can substantiate this claim with facts and draw your attention to the series stats:
Name M Wkts Ave Econ SR BBI Won Lost
Siddle 3* 15 22.60 2.81 48.1 5/50 2
Anderson 3 15 26.06 3.03 51.5 5/73 2
(compiled before the recent second innings was bowled)
So from the above stats, despite being two down in the series and against England’s vaunted top-order (as per the commentary team from Sky), one can assume that Peter Siddle has outperformed Anderson on the same surface against better batsmen.
He has a better average and a better strike rate and all of that after his captain lost the toss in the first two Tests and he had to bowl in conditions more favourable to the batting side.
Lets go a step further and consider the respective Ashes careers of Anderson and Siddle, for they follow a similar trend as the above:
Name Matches Wkts Ave Econ SR BBI Won Loss Draw
Siddle 13 49 29.36 3.35 52.5 6/54 2 8 3
Anderson 16 56 35.19 3.32 63.5 5/73 7 6 3
Again, one can see that Siddle has a better Ashes career average and strike rate. It is also worth noting that Siddle has only ever been in the winning side in an Ashes Test twice, and yet he manages to outperform Anderson.
As it is clearly illustrated above, the world rankings don’t lie. Siddle was rated 5 and Anderson 7 at the beginning of this series.
Anderson is undoubtedly a quality bowler in English conditions, it is worth reminding the Sky commentary team that Siddle has outperformed Anderson in England, on surfaces prepared specifically to Anderson’s strengths and has shown, over a sustained period, that he is a more consistent performer than Anderson and for my money is deservedly ranked higher.
Best bowler for England doesn’t equal best bowler in the world.
The claim that Anderson is at the top of the pile is even more comical when you compare his record to Dale Steyn, who’s record overshadows Anderson’s, against all opposition and anywhere in the world:
Name Matches Wkts Ave SR BBI 5wkts 10wkts
Steyn 65 332 22.65 41.1 7/51 21 5
Anderson 85 322 28.95 58.2 7/43 15 2
In Australia: Matches Wkts Ave SR BBI 5wkts 10wkts
Steyn 6 30 28.03 48.1 5/67 2 1
Anderson 8 29 35.79 63.4 4/44 0 0
In sub-continent: Matches Wkts Ave SR BBI 5wkts 10wkts
Steyn 11 57 21.33 34.7 7/51 4 1
Anderson 11 33 33.45 66.6 5/72 1 0