Burnley’s Jimmy Anderson needs just eight more scalps to overhaul Ian Botham’s Test record of 383 wickets.
Of the 98 Test matches he’s featured in for England, the 32-year-old has achieved that feat on five occasions - the last one coming against Australia in the Ashes series at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge in July 2013.
Anderson’s opportunity to usurp Beefy’s record - which he achieved in 102 matches - starts today in the fifth Test against India at the Oval. His last outing in Kennington resulted in a five-wicket haul in the Ashes fifth Test just under 12 months ago.
“To get eight wickets in a Test match at The Oval as a quick bowler is a tough ask,” said Burnley Cricket Club chairman Michael Brown, who played alongside the “Burnley Express” as a youngster at Turf Moor. “It’s the middle of August, the weather is looking pretty good, so I’d be surprised if the wicket doesn’t favour the batsmen. I’d have put money on it if he only needed six, but we’ll see.
“Much of the bowling in the second innings will be more conducive to the seam attack. Spinners tend to bowl well down there. I hope he can do it because it would be great for him. He can hopefully enjoy a double celebration with England winning and setting a new Test record.”
If Anderson fails to break Botham’s record at The Oval, he will have to wait almost nine months until England’s next Test match, in the West Indies next April.
Brown added: “It’s his 100th Test next summer which would be a fantastic time to achieve it but he’ll prefer to do it now. He’s been bowling really well at Lord’s and the Rose Bowl and that’s the best we’ve seen him for a while. It would be frustrating if he had to wait nine months to get a couple of wickets. He would love to go in to the winter with it being signed and sealed.
“I’ve been inundated with calls for interviews about what he was like growing up and what his relationship was like with Burnley Cricket Club. There’s been plenty of requests. He’s a fantastic ambassador for the club and somebody who the young players can aspire to be.
“He remembers his roots and he’s always been very supportive of the club. We’re hoping to name the refurbished function room the ‘James Anderson Suite’ which I think demonstrates just how proud we are as a club. We’re delighted with how successful he’s been.”
Meanwhile, Brown is preparing for the re-scheduled final of the Worsley Cup following last weekend’s washout at the Worswick Memorial Ground. Burnley were comfortably beaten by Ramsbottom in the Lancashire League, but Brown insists that the defeat hasn’t plagued his side’s mindset.
“This is a different format and a different competition to the league,” he said. “We deserved to get beaten by Ramsbottom on the day but I think we’re more equipped for the Worsley Cup. Ramsbottom’s pro Daryn Smit took five wickets but bowled 17 overs in the league game. But bowlers only have 10 over spells in the cup so it’s an entirely different prospect.
“We just don’t want the ridiculous situation where we have to come back and play midweek. It’s a nightmare for everyone involved. It’s hard work and it’s not ideal for a final. Hopefully the weather will be fine.”
Brown added: “Injuries, weather conditions and the wicket can often dictate selection. We’ve got scope for various options within the squad but I’d be surprised if there’s any changes. That’ll be determined by captain Bharat Tripathi though.
“Nothing has changed. We’re just as confident and excited about the final. I’ve not played there for a while so I’d forgotten how small it is. It should be a reasonably high-scoring game if both sides perform to their potential. It should be a good match for the spectators and will hopefully portray the Lancashire League at its best.”
Burnley will then entertain East Lancs on Sunday while Lowerhouse - who have a 14-point lead at the summit in their bid for a third title in four seasons - will travel to Blackburn Road to take on Rishton with both games starting at 1 p.m.