Anderson best in the world? He isn’t even best in the Ashes

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    England's James Anderson would like to see more pitch doctoring in the future. (AFP PHOTO/ANDREW YATES)

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    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

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    The Crowd Says (75)

    • Roar Guru

      August 7th 2013 @ 7:21am
      peeeko said | August 7th 2013 @ 7:21am | ! Report

      Steyn is so far ahead of Anderson and always has been. anderson away from home averages 35.8 vs steyns 24. is it nasser hussain that has been claiming this?

      • August 7th 2013 @ 7:43am
        Jayden said | August 7th 2013 @ 7:43am | ! Report

        Wasim Akram

    • Roar Guru

      August 7th 2013 @ 7:59am
      DingoGray said | August 7th 2013 @ 7:59am | ! Report

      I’d argue that Siddle not the only one in the Australian attack better than Anderson.

      • August 7th 2013 @ 10:38am
        Disco said | August 7th 2013 @ 10:38am | ! Report

        Fitness is a massive flaw when it comes to Harris. Can’t avoid that fact.

        • August 7th 2013 @ 11:48am
          jameswm said | August 7th 2013 @ 11:48am | ! Report

          Fitness can mean two things. It can mean being uninjured, or it can mean being fit from training. Harris is fine on one not the other. Problem is his knees, always has been. Like Clarke’s back problem, Harris can only treat his knees the best he can.

          • August 7th 2013 @ 2:43pm
            Disco said | August 7th 2013 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

            Yes, Harris’ strength is a real plus point when he’s able to play.

            • August 7th 2013 @ 2:44pm
              Disco said | August 7th 2013 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

              Body strength I mean.

    • August 7th 2013 @ 8:06am
      JimmyB said | August 7th 2013 @ 8:06am | ! Report

      The Sky commentators have always said Steyn is the best in the world although a good many have suggested that Anderson is the most skilful bowler in the world, which is a fair shout. Siddle is a very good bowler but if I had to pick just one of them to be in my side it would be Anderson every time. Not sure how Siddle got on in India, although Australia lost 4- zip, but I watched Anderson bowl incredibly well on very unhelpful pitches for seamers.

    • Roar Guru

      August 7th 2013 @ 8:30am
      Tim Holt said | August 7th 2013 @ 8:30am | ! Report

      Isn’t it funny how so many are lauding Siddle now after so many were making out that he was not even in Australias best 11 before the series

      The Big Vic Pete , must be deafened from the silence of his knockers

      As for the post, no doubt Anderson is a great bowler, but most hyped by the English commentators

      In this series, I would suggest both Siddle and Harris are comporable with him

      And on a World scene- no one comes within lightyears of Steyn……

    • August 7th 2013 @ 9:28am
      Ian said | August 7th 2013 @ 9:28am | ! Report

      There’s Steyn, and then everyone else. For all the English hyperbola about Anderson, he really doesn’t come close to Steyn. Steyn is in a class of his own.

      • August 7th 2013 @ 10:37am
        Disco said | August 7th 2013 @ 10:37am | ! Report

        Cricket’s a team game and I think this is why Anderson is so valued by England; albeit that his Test bowling average in the past few years is very impressive nonetheless.

        There is some hyperbole from the media but then Anderson has been England’s spearhead during a period when England have secured three Ashes, drawn a four-Test series in South Africa and won a series in India.

        As I said numerous times before this series began, for all their good form and individual averages the likes of Siddle and Harris and Pattinson haven’t helped their side to similar achievements.

        Comparing bowler against bowler, without considering team results, is arguably taking their contributions out of context.

        • August 7th 2013 @ 12:10pm
          Nudge said | August 7th 2013 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

          Just remember Aussie respondents, according to the English supporters your only allowed to criticise the Aussie players on this site. As soon as an English player gets bagged the cheerleaders come out in force. Anderson though is quality but agree still overrated. Steyn as the stats say is by far the best quick in the world.

          • August 7th 2013 @ 2:47pm
            Disco said | August 7th 2013 @ 2:47pm | ! Report

            It’s not a question of permission; more that there’s times when criticising the opposition after you haven’t won is more sour grapes than analysis based on fact and performance.

            And besides, amongst the English XI I can think of many more players deserving of an article questioning their worth than James Anderson. I’m pleased to see that you acknowledge that he is quality.

            • August 7th 2013 @ 2:48pm
              Disco said | August 7th 2013 @ 2:48pm | ! Report

              PS: Why do you presume to know ho is and who isn’t an “Aussie respondent”?

              • August 7th 2013 @ 3:54pm
                Nudge said | August 7th 2013 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

                Well if you are fortunate to be an Aussie I’m feeling for ya

            • August 7th 2013 @ 2:50pm
              Disco said | August 7th 2013 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

              PPS: Tell me what I said above that amounts to suggesting only Australian players are allowed to be criticised? I was pointing out the value of Anderson to the England side.

              • August 7th 2013 @ 3:56pm
                Nudge said | August 7th 2013 @ 3:56pm | ! Report

                3rd reply. Back up?

            • August 7th 2013 @ 3:52pm
              Nudge said | August 7th 2013 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

              That’s true but this article happened to be about jimmy

    • August 7th 2013 @ 9:31am
      James T said | August 7th 2013 @ 9:31am | ! Report

      Anderson showed in the last test that he is an average bowler when the conditions aren’t to his likely, whereas siddle and Harris found a way to get wickets. Think we can expect some pretty flat wickets in aus.

      • August 7th 2013 @ 10:28am
        Disco said | August 7th 2013 @ 10:28am | ! Report

        Funny then that Anderson bowled immaculately in Australia, the UAE, Sri Lanka and India on England’s most recent tours there.

        • August 7th 2013 @ 10:40am
          JimmyB said | August 7th 2013 @ 10:40am | ! Report

          Agreed, Anderson has one bad test match and he’s suddenly average. Fickle doesn’t do the Aussies justice whether it comes to praise or criticism, fair weathered friends one and all!

          • August 7th 2013 @ 10:46am
            Disco said | August 7th 2013 @ 10:46am | ! Report

            Quite so. I recall Siddle having several poor matches in the last Ashes series, such that he was dropped from the Test side thereafter.

            It does seem churlish to be picking faults in an opposition that’s beating your side.

            • August 7th 2013 @ 10:54am
              JimmyB said | August 7th 2013 @ 10:54am | ! Report

              I think that hits on one of the Aussies main problems, their selectors, they chop and change like nobodies business. They don’t seem to have the faintest idea what their best 11 is. They do have good players but they’d better not have a bad test match or they’ll be out on their arse!

        • August 7th 2013 @ 11:49am
          jameswm said | August 7th 2013 @ 11:49am | ! Report

          “Anderson bowled immaculately in Australia”

          Doesn’t Anderson average about 36 in Australia?

          • August 7th 2013 @ 12:25pm
            Nudge said | August 7th 2013 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

            Just on jimmy has there been a more scared batsman in world cricket since Shaun tait. Not sure swanny gets behind the ball that well either. Maybe another reason to prepare Indian wickets. Broadys interesting too. Thank god for bres

            • August 7th 2013 @ 2:55pm
              Disco said | August 7th 2013 @ 2:55pm | ! Report

              So now you’re questioning England’s toughness are you? Australia should be smashing this bunch of cowards then.

              • August 7th 2013 @ 3:50pm
                Nudge said | August 7th 2013 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

                Tell me honestly jimmy is scared when he bats

              • August 7th 2013 @ 4:31pm
                Disco said | August 7th 2013 @ 4:31pm | ! Report

                Believe that if it makes you feel better.

          • Roar Pro

            August 7th 2013 @ 12:33pm
            Anthony D'Arcy said | August 7th 2013 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

            It’s interesting, in his first ashes series 06/07, he average 82 with the ball from 3 matches. Then in 5 matches, averaged 45 in 09 and it wasn’t until 10/11 over here that he had a good series against us when he averaged 26 from his five games. While being a very good bowler still, that might suggest that he’s more than benefited from the generational change in our batsmen.

            • August 7th 2013 @ 2:03pm
              JohnB said | August 7th 2013 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

              Or it might suggest he’s got better over time. He was very inexperienced when he was brought in and his career average is always going to be affected by his poor start. Right now he’s very good (and has been for the last few years). Best in the world in some conditions, possibly. Best overall is overstating it.

              • Roar Pro

                August 7th 2013 @ 2:24pm
                Anthony D'Arcy said | August 7th 2013 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

                Probably a combination of both really. But he does still struggle a bit against the likes of South Africa, who have the best batting line up around.

            • August 7th 2013 @ 2:54pm
              Disco said | August 7th 2013 @ 2:54pm | ! Report

              Troy Cooley stuffing about with his action perhaps had something to do with Anderson’s struggles as well.

          • August 7th 2013 @ 2:52pm
            Disco said | August 7th 2013 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

            As indicated by “England’s most recent tours” I was referring to the 2010/11 series. He did of course struggle on the previous tour.

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