Watching James Anderson and Stuart Broad bowling in tandem during the ongoing Test against the West Indies I couldn’t help feeling a sense of amazement at the sheer longevity of their partnership. For a fast bowler to carry on for over 15 years is a rarity. For two fast bowlers to bowl in tandem for over a decade – they first bowled together against New Zealand at Wellington in 2008 – is an eye rubbing and mind boggling achievement. Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose were another pair who bowled in tandem for over a decade picking up 924 wickets between them but what makes the Anderson – Broad duo absolutely unique is that they are the first pair of fast bowlers to take over 1000 Test wickets between them.
At the start of the ongoing Test Anderson had 570 wickets and Broad 433. There have been at least three pairs of bowlers who bowled a lot together and were also rewarded with a tally of over 1000 wickets but they were either the pace spin duo of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne and Chaminda Vaas and Muthiah Muralitharan or the all spin pair of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh.
So it does speak volumes of the skill and stamina of Anderson and Broad. And while they have enjoyed most success in England – not surprisingly given the fact that they excel in seam and swing bowling – they have also come out with flying colours in away Tests having bowled in all conditions and against every kind of opposition. They are of course fortunate in that both have played well over 100 Tests but the stats – average, strike rate, economy rate – are all symbolic of the tremendous success they have enjoyed.
The English cricket follower must be dreading the day when they call it a day which cannot be far away since Anderson is 36 and Broad 32. But as long as they are around the fans know that the England pace attack continues to be in very good hands.