The Cricket Paper - - FEATURE - Chris Stocks finds an Eng­land pace­man thrilled at the prospect of mov­ing up to se­cond in the Eng­land wicket list be­hind pal Jimmy

Stu­art Broad’s bond with James An­der­son is so strong that even the prospect of over­tak­ing Sir Ian Botham is framed within his new-ball part­ner’s pre­vi­ous achieve­ment of be­com­ing Eng­land’s record wicket-taker in Tests.

An­der­son eclipsed Botham’s mark of 383 wick­ets in An­tigua two years ago against the West Indies. He now has 487.

Broad was five away from sur­pass­ing Botham on the all-time list ahead of the three-Test se­ries against the same op­po­si­tion that started at Edg­bas­ton yes­ter­day.

In time, the 31-year-old may even over­take An­der­son. For now, though, he is look­ing for­ward to join­ing his good friend at No.2 on Eng­land’s list of most pro­lific bowlers.

“I re­mem­ber so clearly, like it was yes­ter­day, when Jimmy over­took Beefy in An­tigua,” said Broad. “See­ing how much that meant to Jimmy ob­vi­ously shows how spe­cial it would be to get up to where Beefy is.

“I don’t par­tic­u­larly look at things like that re­ally. I’m not some­one who tends to look too much into the fu­ture be­cause I’m a big be­liever that if you start look­ing in the fu­ture, you take your real drive and com­pet­i­tive spirit away from the now.”

Broad right now is en­joy­ing bowl­ing with An­der­son, who de­spite turn­ing 35 last month took 20 wick­ets at 14.10 in the re­cent se­ries against South Africa.

The pair have taken 720 wick­ets be­tween them in the Tests they’ve played to­gether over the past decade.

So, when An­der­son had an end named af­ter him at his home ground of Old Traf­ford for the fi­nal Test against South Africa, Broad was the proud­est man on the field other than An­der­son him­self.

“It’s been a spe­cial part­ner­ship to be in­volved in,” he said. “It was quite a sur­real feel­ing for me at Old Traf­ford, stand­ing at mid-on, with Jimmy An­der­son be­ing an­nounced bowl­ing from the Jimmy An­der­son End.

“He’s a great friend of mine, we’ve had some great mem­o­ries on the cricket field, so I think that was prob­a­bly the most spe­cial mo­ment I’ve had play­ing for Eng­land.

“I know how proud he was, it was awe­some. I’ve been lucky to bowl at the other end to him and I know if I hadn’t done, I wouldn’t have as many wick­ets as I have.

“It’s been spe­cial. It would be great for us to be one and two on the Test wick­ets tally for Eng­land.”

Ru­mours emerged dur­ing that Old Traf­ford Test ear­lier this month that An­der­son might be con­sid­ered for a player-coach role if, as is all but con­firmed, Ot­tis Gib­son, who looks af­ter Eng­land’s fast bowlers, is ap­pointed South Africa’s new head coach.

Broad ad­mits his part­ner is pretty much a men­tor for the rest of Eng­land’s at­tack such is his ex­pe­ri­ence. But he does not see him tak­ing on a more for­mal bowl­ing coach role for this win­ter’s Ashes tour of Aus­tralia.

“That was sug­gested re­ally sar­cas­ti­cally by Jimmy in the chang­ing room,” he said. “I don’t re­ally know how that went any fur­ther.

“It would be a tough one for him. Jimmy is al­most a bit of a bowl­ing coach round the group any­way. I think you need, as­sum­ing Ot­tis goes, some­one to bounce ideas off, as in a coach who’s not play­ing in the Test when you need to do some tech­ni­cal work.

“We’re very lucky in that we have an ex­pe­ri­enced bowl­ing unit who take con­trol of the meet­ings and that sort of thing.

“I think you need some­one to help a squad and be in­volved in the man­age­ment meet­ings. It would be very hard for a Test bowler to sud­denly be in a man­age­ment meet­ing on a Tues­day af­ter­noon when he wants to be on the golf course re­lax­ing.

“I’d pre­fer Jimmy to be tak­ing the new ball at the Gabba fully fo­cused on that role but, as I say, he’s pretty much a coach any­way with his great ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Gib­son, in his se­cond spell with Eng­land in be­tween a spell coach­ing the West Indies, has had a big in­flu­ence on Broad’s ca­reer and his de­par­ture, when con­firmed, will be a blow.

“Ot­tis has been a huge in­flu­ence on my ca­reer, not just as a bowler but as a per­son,” said Broad.

“I opened the bowl­ing with him when I started my ca­reer at Le­ices­ter­shire. He knows my ac­tion bet­ter than I know my ac­tion, to be bru­tally hon­est.

“I don’t know if he’s go­ing to take the job, but those sorts of op­por­tu­ni­ties don’t come around too of­ten, do they?

“I know he’s keen to do a head role again, and that’s a hugely ex­cit­ing job to be talked about.

“Any coach who has am­bi­tion would want to take on a full role. So, if he gets of­fered it I’d be sur­prised if he didn’t take it. But I would be gut­ted to see him leave.”

When An­der­son had an end named af­ter him at Old Traf­ford, Broad was the proud­est man on the field other than An­der­son

PIC­TURE: Getty Im­ages

Dou­ble act: Stu­art Broad, left, and Jimmy An­der­son share a joke dur­ing a nets ses­sion at Edg­bas­ton

Still in se­cond: Sir Ian Botham

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