Burnley CC back campaign for tribute to Burnley's 'greatest ever sportsman'

Anderson (centre) with teammates Stuart Broad (left) and Ben Stokes (right) after taking a career-best 7-42 against the Windies at Lord's.
Anderson (centre) with teammates Stuart Broad (left) and Ben Stokes (right) after taking a career-best 7-42 against the Windies at Lord's.

Burnley Cricket Club have added their voice to the growing support for a tribute to England swing bowler, James Anderson, after the cricketer took his 500th Test wicket to cement his place in the record books.

The Burnley-born Anderson, who attended St Theodore's (now Blessed Trinity) and started his cricketing career in the Lancashire League with Burnley CC, became just the sixth bowler in the history of Test cricket to take 500 wickets during the 2-1 summer series win against the Windies.

Anderson (right) with fellow England bowler, Stuart Broad.

Anderson (right) with fellow England bowler, Stuart Broad.

Only the third pace bowler to reach the historic landmark, Anderson now has Glenn McGrath's record of most wickets by a non-spin bowler (563) in his sights, with Burnley CC President, Michael Brown, calling on the council to pay tribute to "Burnley's greatest ever sportsman."

"A Burnley boy who went on to be England's leading wicket-taker needs recognising," Michael said. "It's important whilst he's a present player and he's visible on TV that lots of young people see him as an inspiration to go on and progress in their own sport."

While a statement issued by Lowerhouse Cricket Club called for a statue of 'Jimmy' to be erected, Michael has suggested that renaming Belvedere Road, which runs parallel the cricket ground, would be an equally-lasting and apt tribute.

"It'll last the test of time; people will say: 'Just go down James Anderson Way' as they do with Harry Potts Way," Michael explained. "He's very much a Burnley person: he supports the football club, he supports the cricket club, and I don't see a better role model."

Anderson celebrating the dismissal of Windies opener, Kraigg Braithwaite.

Anderson celebrating the dismissal of Windies opener, Kraigg Braithwaite.

Having already written to Burnley's MP, Julie Cooper, to open discussions around a tribute for Anderson, Michael said: "[Burnley Cricket Club] see him as one of our own; he's genuinely a top guy who looks out for his friends and supports his roots, and that speaks volumes.

"His 500th was good, but his 501st [wicket] was special!" Michael added. "It was an unbelievable delivery - no left-hander in the world could have played that. He's got unbelievable skills and it's not just being able to swing it, it's the control and the patience before delivering the knockout punch.

"I've played against him and he's got me out: his in-swinger is so difficult to see - it's such a subtle movement in his wrist. [Even] when he was playing for the under-13s aged 10 or 11, he had a nice action and you thought, 'he's a talented cricketer,'" said Michael

"He started to grow and from 15 to 19 each year he got a yard quicker, and by the time he was 19, he was bowling 90mph out-swingers," Michael continued. "One of our former players called him 'Pro-Killer' because the pros were the only ones good enough to edge the out-swingers.

"He's tough, but he's a thoughtful cricketer," Michael says simply. "He loves the game, and everybody at the club's proud of what he's achieved, and even more proud when he behaves as he does towards the club and the town that he came from."

Looking ahead to this winter's Ashes series in Australia - likely to be Anderson's last Down Under - Michael said: "He's got the ability to do well. If we get runs on the board and give the bowlers a fair chance, then - with his experience - he can take 20-25 wickets.

"Fitness permitting, I don't see why he can't beat McGrath's record," Michael said.

On Friday, September 29th, Anderson will be attending a former players reunion at Burnley Cricket Club starting from 7pm, with all former players and families welcome and a buffet provided. The club's Real Ale Weekend also starts on Friday at 6pm and runs all the way through to Tuesday. October 3rd.

The club will also be hosting a President's XI vs Burnley Cricket Club starting at 1pm on Saturday, September 30th in which got Anderson; former England fast bowler, Chris Tremlett; and former England wicket-keeper, James Foster, will be playing.