Where does James Anderson stand in the pantheon of great Test bowlers?

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The pace ace's 464 wickets have come at an average of 26.84. (AFP)
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Updated 13 September 2018
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Where does James Anderson stand in the pantheon of great Test bowlers?

  • Anderson went past McGrath to become the most successful fast bowler in Test history.
  • He now lies fourth on the all-time list of Test wicket-takers.

On Tuesday James Anderson took his 564th Test wicket to become the game’s most prolific fast bowler. He is where he stands in the list of all-time top 10 Test wicket-takers.

MUTTIAH MURALITHARAN (Sri Lanka) 800 wickets in 133 Tests
The Sri Lankan spinner was rated greatest Test match bowler ever by Wisden Cricketers Almanack in 2002 and has the number of wickets to back that up. His career, however, was beset by controversy over his bowling action for much of his international career.



 

SHANE WARNE (Australia) 708 wickets in 145 Tests
The Aussie ace’s time in the middle was not without controversy, but there was no disputing the brilliance of his bowling. After decades dominated by pace attacks (Lillee and Thompson in the 70s and the West Indies fast bowlers of the 80s) Warne reminded everyone that spin and guile were just as effective a weapon — a true superstar who transcended the sport.



 

ANIL KUMBLE (India) 619 wickets in 132 Tests
In a country that produces world-class spinner after world-class spinner to be the best of the bunch is no mean feat. He was the mainstay of the India attack for over a decade and carried the nations hopes on his shoulders both as captain and the side’s spin king. Bowled quicker and flatter than his fellow legspinner Warne, but was no less effective.



 

JAMES ANDERSON (England) 564 wickets in 143 Tests
The king of swing has carried the England attack for over a decade and proved himself his country’s greatest ever bowler. Has got better with age and claims he feels as fit as ever. He will surely become the first fast bowler to get to the magical 600 mark within the next 12 months.



 

GLENN MCGRATH (Australia) 563 wickets in 124 Tests
He was not even the quickest fast bowler of the great Baggy Greens side of the 1990s and early 2000s, let alone the world. But he was certainly the most feared. His line and length were impeccable, with batsmen never really able to impose themselves on the pace ace. His partnership with Warne is arguably the greatest the game has ever seen.

 


COURTNEY WALSH (West Indies) 519 wickets in 132 Tests

When you think of great Windies bowlers there is a high chance you will think of Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding, Curtly Ambrose and Colin Croft before Walsh. But the tall Jamaican has more wickets than all of those greats. He never really got the accolades he deserved until the end of his career and his partnership with Ambrose will go down as one of the most feared ever.



 

KAPIL DEV (India) 434 wickets in 131 Tests
Along with Ian Botham, Richard Hadlee and Imran Khan the Indian was one of the four great all-rounders of the late 1970s and 1980s, but Dev ended up with more wickets than all his illustrious rivals. He memorably led India to World Cup glory in 1983 and will go down as one of the all-time greats of the game.



 

STAURT BROAD (England) 433 wickets in 123 Tests
If he can stay fit and motivated James Anderson’s partner-in-crime may well, one day, overtake his England teammate. Broad has not always had it easy in the side but whenever his place has been in doubt he has produced some of the greatest spells the game has seen (The Oval in 2009, Trent Bridge 2015, Johannesburg 2016).



 

RICHARD HADLEE (New Zealand) 431 wickets in 86 Tests
New Zealand’s first truly world-class player was handy with the bat and brilliant with the ball. Most, if not all, of the Kiwis’ victories during the 1970s and 1980s were down to him. He carried the attack with his accuracy with many batsmen of the era crediting him as the toughest bowler they faced.



 

RANGANA HERATH (Sri Lanka) 430 wickets in 92 Tests
The only left-armer in the top 10, Herath has carried the Sri Lanka attack in the absence of Muralitharan with his left-arm spin. Still going, expect him to move up the rankings.

 


Riz Rehman is the man with a plan to ensure Premier League passion is Muslim-friendly

Updated 22 September 2018
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Riz Rehman is the man with a plan to ensure Premier League passion is Muslim-friendly

  • Mohamed Salah's record-breaking season has focused attention on the Premier League's Muslim players and fans.
  • Past three players to win Player of the Year have all been Muslim.

LONDON: The face of English football has changed unimaginably since the start of the Premier League in 1992 — not least in terms of the number of Muslim footballers plying their trade in the most popular league in the world.
Twenty-six years ago, Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Nayim was the league’s only practicing Muslim. Fast forward to 2018 and there are now more than 40 Muslim players gracing England’s top flight — many of them global stars such as Mohamed Salah, Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante. 
This is a hugely welcome development for the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) and its education adviser, Riz Rehman, who is himself a Muslim. 
Rehman’s role involves him supporting players of different backgrounds — including Muslims — and aiming to boost their participation in football. Little wonder, then, that he is delighted that the past three winners of the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award were all Muslim — Salah, Kante and Riyad Mahrez. 
“It’s great for the Muslim community — young people, players, aspiring players and coaches — that three Muslims have won this award and that two of them (Salah and Mahrez) are Arabs,” Rehman told Arab News. 
“It’s very important because it’s created more awareness about Muslims being good at the game and sport in general. It’s important we highlight this.” 
Leading Muslim footballers’ soaring success and stardom have coincided with rising Islamaphobic attacks in Britain following the Brexit vote in 2016. Regressive attitudes toward race, religion and immigration have raged in some parts of the country, as Rehman acknowledged. 
“The biggest misconceptions are that Muslims are all terrorists or that they are all Asian and have long beards,” he said. “Isolated incidents are giving Muslims a bad name.” 
Mercifully for Rehman and the PFA, the likes of Salah and Kante are portraying Muslims in a far more positive — and realistic — light on and off the pitch. 
During his sublime 2017-18 season, Liverpool star Salah topped the Premier League goal-scoring charts with 32 goals and reached the Champions League final. His unstinting brilliance led to him being serenaded with his own song by Liverpool fans, which includes the line: “If he scores another few, then I’ll be a Muslim too.” 

Mohamed Salah has created a positive image of Muslims during his record-breaking year in the Premier League. 


Many social media posts and videos showing young supporters copying the Egyptian maestro’s overtly religious goal celebration have also been posted many times. This involves him performing sujood, the Islamic art of prostration. 
“Things like that are really helping to bring down barriers in the game,” Rehman said. 
Likewise, he cites the fact that Salah and his Liverpool teammate, Sadio Mane, visit a mosque every week after training for Jumu’ah, the Friday prayer. 
Meanwhile, only last Saturday the humbleness of Chelsea’s irrepressible midfielder Kante — who has two Premier League winners’ medals and one FA Cup success to his name — was widely hailed. 
After missing his Eurostar train to Paris, Kante — who achieved World Cup glory with France in July — was invited home for dinner by Arsenal fan Badlur Rahman Jalil after meeting him while praying at a London mosque. Remarkably, Kante duly obliged and spent the evening watching Match of the Day and playing the FIFA video game with Jalil and his friends. 
“People are more aware that we have Muslim players in the game,” Rehman said. “Players are not afraid to come out and embrace the fact that they are Muslims and showing the world that they’re good people.” 
But are the PFA — and clubs in the Premier League and England in general — doing enough to increase Muslim representation in English football? 
“I think things are better than ever. A lot of clubs are working hard on all-inclusive programs,” replied Rehman, who was a promising youth-team player at Brentford before injury cut short his career at the age of 17 in 2000. 
“We deliver workshops aimed at club staff to educate them about better engaging Muslim communities. We get staff and coaches together and tell them more about Islam, what it involves and discuss Ramadan and how it might affect performance and participation at all levels. 
“On the back of that, hopefully clubs will deliver programs around the needs of the community. There are clubs like Crystal Palace who are looking to deliver Asian-specific programs to get more Asian kids playing football, more Asian coaches and look at the Muslim community as well.” 
Rehman himself helped organized an Iftar event at League One outfit Portsmouth earlier this year, which “went really well.” 
“We also had players come along to support the day. Clubs such as Crystal Palace, Leicester City and a few others are showing an interest in holding similar events next season. 
“Leicester City are a club with a massive Asian community and we are supporting them with trying to set up some programs.” 
Also high on Rehman’s agenda is encouraging more BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) coaches into the game. As well as sitting on the advisory group for the Premier Leagues Elite Coach Apprenticeship Scheme, one key program he is involved in is “Sidelined-to-Sidelines.”

N'Golo Kante has been one of the best players in England's top-flight since he moved to the Premier League three years ago. 


This was established by the Zesh Rehman Foundation — which was set up by his brother, a former Fulham defender — to address a shortage of qualified South Asian coaches. 
“We are setting up sessions to try and recruit young coaches at clubs like Crystal Palace, QPR and Chelsea,” Rehman revealed. “Coaches wearing those club badges become role models and are able to influence their own communities and encourage more kids (from under-represented ethnicities) to take up the game.” 
Rehman is keen to recruit more Muslim “ambassadors” at clubs “up and down the country” to emulate the likes of the inspirational Salah. 
“We want them to work with the community, local groups, mosques, and get players to actually go into those communities and build links with the clubs. It’s a two-way thing.” 
Progress has also been made in attracting more Muslim supporters to Premier League matches, Rehman added. Liverpool and Brighton and Hove Albion are among the clubs that have multi-faith prayer rooms to cater for their increasingly diverse fanbases, he said. 
“Some clubs sell halal food, too, so there’s something for everyone.
“It’s a worldwide game now. Mo Salah has reached out to a lot of people. I think Muslim communities themselves have to make an effort to go to matches. 
“It’s not an overnight success, but you do see different communities represented on match days, week in and week out.”