Burnley's Jimmy Anderson turns match-maker on hit BBC cricket podcast
Burnley-born England swing bowler, James Anderson, has turned his prodigiously talented hands to match-making, acting as the go-between for one cricket fan to ask his friend to be his best man on the BBC Radio 5 Live cricket podcast Tailenders.
Anderson, England's highest wicket-taker in Test history, is currently in Sri Lanka hoping to wrap up a 3-0 series whitewash against the Lions, but has been calling in to take part in the popular BBC podcast, which he records with Radio 1 breakfast presenter Greg James and former guitarist for The Maccabees Felix White, both of whom are avid cricket fans.
On the eve of England's 211-run win in the first Test in Galle, Anderson, James, and White were recording an episode of the show when listener Ben called in, explaining that he had a very special question to ask his best mate Phil, with whom he had bonded over cricket and who originally introduced him to the podcast.
"You had a romance special a couple of weeks ago, and it gave me the idea of a bromance special," said Ben on the show. "One of my mates, Phil - we've been mates since we first met [and share] a mutual love of cricket [and I want] a helping hand in asking him a question.
"My fiancee was recently diagnosed with a form of stomach cancer and Phil's always been there to chat and generally be a pillar of support for me and my missus Erica," said Ben, who also revealed he is a Burnley FC fan, saying Jimmy was 'god-like' in his home.
"She's kind of on the mend now, which is fantastic; he (Phil) ran a half-marathon to raise money specifically for Erica's condition, so I though you guys could help me by giving me this platform to ask him if he could be my best man."
Keen to make the popping of the best man question as special as possible for Phil, Greg James said: "We should get Jimmy Anderson to officially do the announcement that Phil is to be Ben's best man."
On hand to lend some sporting gravitas to the occasion, Jimmy obliged, saying: "Hi Phil, Jimmy Anderson here. I want to let you know that you're going to be best man for Ben, so save the date."
A week later and Phil himself called into the show.
"On the Monday night, I called Ben and had a chat with him as you do with your mates, and he was telling me to listen to the podcast, and I said 'Yeah, yeah, sure, I'll do it on my commute to work', but he was like 'Nah, you've got to listen to it tonight'," Phil explained.
"Obviously I didn't, but next morning, I was on my commute and this voice comes on the podcast; I was on the platform on King's Cross with a massive beaming smile on my face," he added, saying he was only too happy to accept Ben's offer - or rather, Jimmy's instructions. "I was a bit gobsmacked, having England's greatest ever bowler telling me to be best man at a wedding!"
After their impressive 57-run win in Kandy last week, England face Sri Lanka in the third and final Test match in Colombo starting on Friday.