Australia great Glenn McGrath has produced a classy response to James Anderson’s record-breaking wicket, despite the Englishman replacing him as the most prolific pace bowler in Test cricket.
Anderson bowled Mohammed Shami to seal victory over India in the fifth Test at the Oval, claiming his 564th Test wicket in his 143rd match to move ahead of McGrath.
But McGrath put traditional rivalries aside, and was one of the first to congratulate Anderson for his historic feat.
“Congratulations to @jimmya9 on becoming the most successful fast bowler in the history of the game,” McGrath wrote on Instagram.
“It takes dedication, commitment, hard work, skill & mental toughness to achieve what you have.
“Very well deserved mate. Congrats again & well done. Enjoy.”
McGrath also backed up his Instagram post with an interview on BBC Radio, and he even challenged Anderson to crack the 600-wicket mark before retiring.
I was proud to hold it for as long as I did – for it to be beaten by somebody like Jimmy Anderson is great,” McGrath told BBC Radio.
“I have a lot of respect for Jimmy. To have played well over 140 Tests and just keep running in, day in, day out, and remain at the top of his game, yeah, I’m very proud Jimmy’s got there.
“If he can raise the bar to 600 wickets, that’s an incredible effort.”
Anderson, who made his Test debut in 2003, now trails only spin trio Muttiah Muralitharan (800), Shane Warne (708) and Anil Kumble (619).
McGrath also believes when Anderson eventually retires, his tally would be difficult for a quick bowler to eclipse anytime soon.
England team-mate Stuart Broad, 32, is Anderson’s nearest active challenger with 433, while injury-hit South Africa quick Dale Steyn, 35, has taken 421 Test wickets.
“If there is anyone out there, they have got a long way to go, I don’t think we’ll see it happen in the next decade,” McGrath said.
“Just to play enough games to get anywhere near it is tough in itself. Also, the nature of cricket these days is that there is so much more Twenty20.
“The game is quicker, it’s faster. And will bowlers play enough Test cricket in the future to get anywhere near the mark?
“When it comes to the art of swing bowling, there is no-one better.”