James Anderson takes U-turn, claims England fans will be thankful Virat Kohli didn't feature in the 5-match Test series

Updated - 02 Mar 2024, 03:15 PM

James Anderson and Virat Kohli
James Anderson and Virat Kohli (Credits: Instagram)

England pacer James Anderson who is on course to become the only fast bowler in the world to register 700 Test wickets, feels English fans are thankful that Virat Kohli didn’t feature in the ongoing 5-match Test series. Anderson had previously said that it’s a shame for the series to not have the batting stalwart. However, he took a U-turn in his latest interview with Jio Cinema.

James Anderson’s comments have come at a time when his side is already 3-1 down in the series despite playing against a much weaker team India. The Indians didn’t have Virat Kohli for the entirety while KL Rahul was ruled out after participating in the 1st Test. That forced Rahul Dravid and Co. to hand debuts to 4 uncapped cricketers – Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel, and Akash Deep.

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What did James Anderson say about Virat Kohli previously?

When Virat Kohli confirmed that he is not going to take part in the entire Test match series, James Anderson had his grievances. He said that it’s always great to play against the best of the best, remembering the memorable clashes he has had with the former Indian captain.

Anderson has got Kohli’s wicket on 5 occasions from the 17 Test matches England and India have played since 2012. Kohli on the other hand has scored a total of 225 runs. But since 2014 when Anderson got Kohli out 4 times in that year’s series, the Englishman hasn’t been able to scalp him even for once since then.

In 2016, Kohli smacked James Anderson for 69 runs before scoring 114 runs in the 2018 series. And every time that Kohli has given his wicket to the legendary seamer, it has been identical – an out-swinging outside-off delivery that takes the edge and goes over to the slippers.

For all such reasons, Anderson was obliged to say, “Yeah, you always want to play against the best players. And it’s been a shame that he’s not been a part of the series. We have had some great battles over the years. But not just for me, I think as a team you want to play against the best in the world and he certainly is that.” – Anderson told the reporters in a press conference. 

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Anderson believes England’s bowlers would have been up for a Test if Kohli was there for India

Now that England finds themselves in the back seat, James Anderson feels it was good for the team and the dedicated English fans that Virat Kohli didn’t feature. Else it could have been an even more one-sided series in which the visitors will try and win the 5th Test in Dharamshala.

The 41-year-old who is just 2 wickets away from entering the 700 club, hailed Kohli for being a quality player and that his absence proved to be a shame indeed as England bowlers couldn’t test themselves.

“I guess English fans will be thankful he’s not playing because he’s such a quality player. But from our point of view, you want to test yourself, you want to come up against the best and he’s been someone who I’ve found really challenging to bowl at over the years and it’s a shame he’s not been playing.” – Anderson said via Jio Cinema. 

Meanwhile, the 5th and series concluding Test starts from March 7 onwards at the scenic HPCA stadium in Dharamshala.

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England National Cricket Team IND vs ENG 2024 India National Cricket Team James Anderson Virat Kohli