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"As long as he stays fit, he’s the best bowler in the country"

"As long as he stays fit, he’s the best bowler in the country"

Former fellow Red Rose seamer Kyle Hogg says it would be fitting if James Anderson reaches 600 Test wickets at Emirates Old Trafford

James Anderson is set to become the first seamer in Test history to reach the 600-wicket mark, and former Lancashire team-mate Kyle Hogg says it is fitting he could achieve the feat on his home ground.

Anderson and Hogg go way back, signing their first professional contracts at Lancashire on the same day in late summer 2000.

Hogg’s impressive domestic career, including a County Championship winner’s medal, was cut short by a back injury in 2014.

Anderson, meanwhile, has gone on to be one of the best bowlers in the world, and needs only 13 more wickets to follow spinners Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne and Anil Kumble to 600.

During the next month, England play the final two Tests of the #raisethebat series against the West Indies and the first against Pakistan, all at Emirates Old Trafford.

Anderson could even reach the magical milestone with a wicket from ‘The James Anderson End’.

“Marcus Trescothick was playing up until last year with a stand named after him at Taunton, but I can’t think of any others who are still playing with a stand or end named after them,” said Hogg.

“Everything has almost worked out perfectly for him to get to 600 at Emirates Old Trafford, which is just unbelievable.

“The majority of people don’t get 600 wickets if they play for 10 or 15 years in county cricket. So to do it in Test cricket is unreal.

“He also probably had a couple of years where he missed out through injuries here and there or being a young lad in and out of the team.

“It will be fitting for him to do it at home. It’s just a shame it won’t be in front of a full house for everybody to really appreciate him.”

It is almost 20 years since Anderson and Hogg signed their maiden contracts together.

“The great thing about Jimmy is he’s still the same lad as he was back then. Nothing’s changed, and he’s such a good lad - straight down the line and down to earth," Hogg said.

“A lot of people who have massive success do change, but he hasn’t. That’s a really good reflection on him.”

England head into Thursday’s second of three Tests against the West Indies 1-0 down after losing at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday, a game in which Anderson claimed three first-innings wickets.

The Burnley-born star will turn 38 at the end of this month, but he shows no signs of slowing up.

“You look for the equivalent in football, and it would probably be Ryan Giggs. At 34, people were writing him off, but he kept on getting better and better. That’s exactly what Jimmy’s doing.

“As he lost some pace, he’s more than made up for it in experience and skill.

“He can play as long as he wants. His body’s been so good to him. Yes, he’s had a few injuries, but he’s never had any major surgery. So, as long as he stays fit, he’s going to be the best bowler in the country, or arguably the world!”

And Hogg believes there could be some good news for Red Rose fans where Anderson is concerned.

“When he’s not playing for England, he’s absolutely desperate to play for Lancashire. He loves Lancs to bits,” he said.

“I reckon as soon as he retires from international cricket, he could still play for Lancs for a few years. Chappie (Glen Chapple) went on into his early forties and could still bowl now, so I don’t see any reason why Jimmy couldn’t do the same.”

 
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