BURNLEY Express Jimmy Anderson has been bestowed with one of the greatest and most prestigious accolades in cricket.
The 29-year-old, who made his international debut on the 2002/03 tour of Australia, was named England Cricketer of the Year for the 2011/12 season by the England and Wales Cricket Board, beating off competition from Stuart Broad and Alastair Cook.
“I have been pleased with my performances over the last year and was delighted with the way I bowled on the recent tour of Sri Lanka,” Anderson said.
“But I take even greater pleasure from being part of such a successful England team.”
The honour caps off a whirlwind couple of months for the Burnley-born pace bowler, who secured his 250th Test wicket, rising to fifth in the list of England’s all-time wicket takers in Test cricket, with 3-56 as Sri Lanka made 289-8 on day one of the first Test in Galle in March.
Anderson made his Test debut almost nine years ago, picking up a brilliant five-for versus Zimbabwe at Lords.
Now, ticking close to a decade on, Anderson has taken more Test wickets in the last 12 months than any other pace bowler, except South Africa’s Vernon Philander, ultimately establishing himself as the spearhead of the top-ranked team in Test cricket.
And Anderson, who has excelled under the unequivocal backing and regime of Peter Moores and Andy Flower, has taken 110 wickets at an average of 23.74 in 24 matches since the start of 2010 on pitches worldwide.
“Obviously at 15 you can never predict that someone is going to be the best seam bowler in the world but he was always talented,” said ex-Burnley CC team-mate Michael Brown.
“But all credit to him, because he’s worked extremely hard, on top of his natural ability, to become the success he is today.
“You don’t get control of a cricket ball like Jimmy does without putting in the hard work.
“The subtlety of his bowling and his progression has probably brought him on to be one of the best in the world.”
The Burnley CC chairman added: “It’s never been plain sailing for him. He had plenty of ups and downs in his early career when he burst on to the scene so to reach this point is a fantastic achievement.
“He’s a high quality bowler and when conditions are right he can be unplayable.”