Watch: 'Greatest-ever pacer' - Kevin Pietersen, Kumar Sangakkara and others pay glorious tributes to James Anderson on his farewell match

Published - 10 Jul 2024, 06:50 PM | Updated - 10 Jul 2024, 06:55 PM

Kumar Sangakkara, James Anderson and Kevin Pieterson
Kumar Sangakkara, James Anderson and Kevin Pieterson. Image Credit: X

Former England captain Kevin Pietersen, former Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) President Kumar Sangakkara, and England Women’s captain Heather Knight have paid rich tribute to legendary pacer James Anderson, who is playing his last international game at the Lord’s in the first Test against the West Indies.

Sangakkara, Chairman of the MCC's World Cricket Committee, Knight, and Pietersen, one of England’s finest batters, hailed Anderson for what he has done and achieved as a cricketer over the years in a video shared by Lord’s Cricket Ground Page on the microblogging site X on Wednesday, July 10.

Pietersen expressed his admiration for Anderson's longevity and skill as a bowler, marveling at how the retiring legend has sustained his career over more than two decades. Pietersen acknowledged the physical demands on bowlers like Anderson and admitted he couldn't imagine enduring such challenges himself, whether as a batter or bowler.

I'm just so grateful that I never got him in a game: Kevin Pietersen on James Anderson

He praised Anderson's unique abilities, particularly his mastery of swing and skill level, comparing him favorably to other bowlers he faced in the nets. Pietersen also noted that he was lucky that Anderson was his teammate rather than his opponent and that he never had to face him on the field.

Kevin Pietersen said, “I cannot for the life of me understand how, as a bowler, he has been able to bowl for this long. I could never ever have done it as a batter and as a bowler for what they put through their bodies; it really is remarkable. It's just a phenomenon. I struggle to think of another fast bowler that's going to play as many test matches as Jimmy.

I suppose the greatest compliment I could give him is that I'm just so happy that he never ever played against me. I was so, so happy that I always played with Jimmy. Jimmy was in my dressing room. His ability to swing the ball, hide the ball, and his skill level were as good as any bowler I ever faced, although I only got him in the nets. And I'm just so grateful that I never got him in a game.”

Kumar Sangakkara hails James Anderson as the greatest-ever fast bowler

Meanwhile, former Sri Lankan captain and legendary batter Kumar Sangakkara praised Anderson as possibly the greatest fast bowler ever, highlighting his exceptional performance, longevity, and skill.

Sangakkara emphasized Anderson's ability to reinvent himself repeatedly while saying cricket would miss his influence given the phenomenal impact he has had on the game.

Kumar Sangakkara said, “Probably the greatest ever fast bowler to play the game in terms of performance, longevity, skill, or the combination of them. The way he's reinvented himself time after time, not just through injury but through the ups and downs of international performance, And I think, you know, cricket will be a lot poorer for Jimmy retiring, but he can retire knowing that the impact that he's had has been phenomenal.”

Heather Knight and Graeme Smith pay tribute to James Anderson

On the other hand, England women’s cricket team captain Heather Knight hailed Anderson while recalling how she grew up watching him play, which she finds quite surreal.

She hailed Anderson's remarkable longevity in cricket, especially as a fast bowler, as exceptional. Heather Knight said in the video: “I have grown up watching Jimmy play; it is pretty mad. His longevity in the game is remarkable, particularly as a fast bowler. I think the attitude to constantly keep getting better is something all cricketers should aspire to and learn from."

Well, former South African skipper Graeme Smith reflected on his battles with Anderson, describing them as intense and highly competitive. He acknowledged Anderson's exceptional skill and highlighted their memorable encounters on the field.

Smith praised Anderson as a great player of the game, saying his outstanding contributions are not limited to just England but to cricket overall. Graeme Smith said, “Jimmy and I had some incredible battles. You know, he was so skilled. It was very competitive between us. You know, we had many battles out in the middle.

I fondly remember, you know, playing against Jimmy, and, you know, he's a great of the game, you know, not only for England, but for the games, you know, he's been outstanding.”

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England National Cricket Team Graeme Smith Heather Knight Kumar Sangakkara Kevin Pietersen James Anderson ENG vs WI