England head coach Chris Silverwood says experienced pacer James Anderson, who is standing on the cusp of a historic 600th wicket, is constantly lending a helping hand to other bowlers in the team and is an “inspiration” for everyone.
The 38-year-old ended the fourth day of the final Test between England and Pakistan a wicket short of the elusive 600-wicket mark.
If achieved, Anderson will become the first pacer to touch the milestone as only spin legends Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne and Anil Kumble have more Test scalps.
“We’re all aware of the milestone Jimmy is looking at but he’ll get there. Hopefully we’ll see it. It would be brilliant to see Jimmy get over the line. He’s an inspiration, isn’t he? 600 Test wickets. Wow,” Silverwood was quoted as saying by ‘Sky Sports’.
“He’s worked so hard to do it and he’s brilliant around the place. He’s constantly helping the other bowlers. It’s just superb to have one of the best in the world sat in your dressing room and playing for your country,” Silverwood added.
England lead the three-match series 1-0.
Pakistan, who were asked to follow on after scoring 273 in their first innings in reply to the hosts’ 583-8 declared, trailed by 210 runs at the end of the fourth day.
“I want to win the game first and foremost but to finish strongly and see Jimmy get his 600th would be fantastic,” Silverwood said.
Anderson would have reached the 600 wicket milestone on the fourth day itself had wicketkeeper Jos Buttler not put down a regulation catch before lunch.
“It is frustrating when things don’t go your way as a bowler but all you can do is go back on the practice field and work on what you need to work on. That’s what Jimmy did and he got his rewards,” Silverwood said.
“I thought Jimmy handled himself very well (with the dropped catches). He kept his decorum. No one means to drop them but obviously it’s frustrating,” he added.
In the previous series against West Indies, Stuart Broad became only the seventh bowler in the history of Test cricket to pick up 500 wickets.
“It is a massive achievement. To have two bowlers above 500 and Jimmy closing in on 600 is an amazing feat,” Silverwood said.