The Roar
The Roar



The opposition players that scare you

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Roar Rookie
17th May, 2023

Watching sport can be an emotional roller-coaster cycling through, excitement, apprehension, happiness, frustration with plenty of ups and downs.

The feeling is great when watching your favourite player, the excitement of thinking; what will they do next?

That feeling can quickly change to a state of apprehension when an opposition player has the ball. You know they are going to do something impactful.

You fear them at the time but it’s what makes sport so great; the butterflies you get thinking ‘oh no this player has hurt us before’.

James Anderson, the English fast bowler, is the player that comes to my mind straight away when thinking about players that gives you that sense of trepidation.

Anderson is currently nursing an injury to his groin he suffered for Lancashire against Somerset in County Cricket Championship. England pace bowler Jofra Archer is a confirmed out for the Ashes, England will be hopeful that Anderson is fit.

Jimmy Anderson in Adelaide

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Cricket is quite an individualistic sport; it comes down to moments when it’s just the bowler against the opposition batter. The better players are the ones who take it up to the opposition.


Anderson is never backwards in coming forward, often in the past getting into arguments with players such as Michael Clarke or Mitchell Johnson. It is the sense of feeling alive watching Anderson applying his craft, especially in England knowing, nay dreading, that he is going to take a crucial wicket and follow it up with an antagonistic celebration.

I wonder in the current realms of sport whether we still have players who get under the skin of the opposition. The highly successful England team throughout the mid-2010s had a few, including Kevin Pietersen, Gramme Swann and Anderson.

The important aspect of the players mentioned is that they could back it up with their exploits on the pitch.

We shouldn’t lose the hostile players from the game; it creates more excitement especially in cricket where it’s a battle of the mind as much as a physical battle.

When two players are going at it, you want to see who will come out on top, of course nothing personal should be said, though it’s okay to show aggression and the desire to succeed.

Who could forget the interaction between Johnson and Anderson in 2010. Johnson at the non-strikers end to Anderson who was approaching to bowl.

“Why you chirping now mate, not taking wickets,” Anderson responded by clean bowling Ryan Harris with the very next ball. Johnson replied in the next Ashes series in Australia three years later when he bowled Anderson and stared him down.


The England team were unstoppable through the 2010 Ashes series and Anderson was a big part of that. It started in Adelaide where he dismissed both Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke with superb outswingers. In that series he was the leading wicket taker with 24 wickets. It was also the series where he became the player to make me feel nervous.

However, it was the following Ashes series in England in 2013 where he fully announced himself as the player that I feared. He did get less wickets than in 2010, but there is a sense in England that anything can happen, more so than in Australia.

That is the sense you get when watching Anderson in England, the game feels alive, the anticipation is high for what he might deliver. That was the case in the first Test of the 2013 series, where he got 10 wickets for the match, highlighted by the brilliant delivery that dismissed the captain Clarke without scoring.

The fact that James Anderson is in his 20th season of playing Test cricket and still performing at such a high level is a credit to him.

It often goes under the radar that England were without Anderson for the entirety of the 2019 Ashes, except for four overs at the very start. Australia had the upper hand for a lot of that series, but could not achieve a clear win, ending with a two-two series scoreline.

The 2023 Ashes series is set to be Anderson’s last Ashes. Fingers crossed he is fit; The feeling of what’s going to happen as he begins his run up, is what I’m going to savour the most.


Sports opinion delivered daily