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Anderson the 'most skilful bowler in the world'

George Dobell
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James Anderson's use of swing makes up for missed pace, according to Alastair Cook © AFP
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Alastair Cook has hailed James Anderson as "the most skilful bowler in the world" and the best "England have ever produced".

Anderson comes into the fifth Test of the series against India requiring just seven more wickets to equal Ian Botham's England record of 383. Cook, the England captain, admitted that Anderson might not have the pace of South Africa's Dale Steyn but suggested his ability to swing the ball both ways rendered him almost as dangerous.

"He is the most skilful bowler in the world," Cook said. "There have been some very good bowlers I've played with but, for pure out-and-out skill, there is no doubt. He is the best bowler England have ever produced.

"No disrespect to Dale Steyn, but the way Jimmy can swing the ball both ways - I don't think Dale can do that quite as well as Jimmy but Dale has the advantage of being able to bowl quicker. Dale has been the No. 1 bowler in the world for quite a long time in terms of the number of wickets he takes. He always picks up wickets. And those two are in the same class.

"Anderson will soon be the leading wicket taker in Test matches for England. That is quite a glowing reference. It's an amazing achievement. If he does it in this game, it will mean England are in a very strong position.

"You saw his guts and determination last week at Manchester when he was bowling when he wasn't very well. That was extraordinary. That pretty much tells me, tells everyone, what a bloke he is and to back it up with his talent and skill means he is a very fine bowler."

Cook also confirmed that Stuart Broad would play despite sustaining a broken nose during the Manchester game.

"We think he's going to be absolutely fine," Cook said. "You don't get a partnership like he and Jimmy Anderson have had without being a world-class bowler. They've taken over 500 wickets together. Any captain would want those two in the team if possible, so it's great news for us as a team that Broady has come through that blow."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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