Can Jimmy Anderson catch Anil Kumble?
Murali may be out of reach, but can Jimmy Anderson climb one more place on the ladder and reach Anil Kumble?
Jimmy Anderson is England's greatest wicket taker, and with the last ball of the India vs England series, he became the leading wicket taker for a fast bowler of all time.
For a long time there has been debate over his greatness, however there can be no debate about his fitness. Anderson has been bowling outswingers in international cricket for over 15 years, and like Graham Gooch before him, he has got better with age.
Muttiah Muralitharan (800 wickets) and Shane Warne (708 wickets) are out of his reach, but Anil Kumble is a target he can get to. At the moment Anderson's 564 wickets is 55 in a rear to Kumble. At 36 years of age retirement talk has yet to come up in conversation with the England legend.
Anderson has previously talked about bowling into his 40s. A fast bowler into his 40s certainly would go against history, but his action has been kind to his body to date, and he has never carried any extra kilo's, which has no doubt helped him along the way.
The two other 500 plus wicket takers in test cricket for fast bowlers, Courtney Walsh (519 wickets) played til he was 38, and Glenn McGrath retired from test cricket shortly before his 37th birthday, so it would be interesting to see if Anderson could go beyond the long career's these two greats had in terms of longevity.
Jimmy Anderson is on the current England tour of Sri Lanka, where England will play 3 test matches. He has 55 more wickets to take, and if England are a chance to upset Sri Lanka on their turf, a few early wickets to help the spinners have a greater impact on the series would certainly help England's cause.
Can he finish as the 3rd time leading test wicket taker? The truth is it probably doesn't matter too much. To him and to most cricket fans. He will still go down as a great in terms of the quality of swing bowling he has produced over a long period of time, and the amount of wickets he has taken for his country.
Anderson's record against Sri Lanka at home is 40 wickets at 17.20, but away he has taken 11 wickets at more than 40. It wont be an easy tour going on history, but one thing you can sure on, Anderson will be serving his country with pride.