At Marcellus, we look to assess the greatness of companies using our ‘Longevity framework’ as it is not just strong performances but performances of the highest levels of quality that endure for long periods of time that underpin greatness.
For those of us who thought there can’t be a greater fast bowler than Wasim Akram, Jimmy Anderson has proven us wrong, now completing twenty years in international cricket (Akram lasted 18) and well past his 40th birthday (Akram retired before his 37th).
Unlike many other greats who were a shadow of their past in their last games, Anderson is still at his best and continues to be among the best in the world (he is #2 on ICC’s Test Bowler rankings currently). Here’s James Wallace with some astounding statistics and prose in praise of Anderson’s still ongoing glorious career.
Just how long has he been playing: “..Michael Bevan is playing for Australia and Alec Stewart is behind the stumps. This is a different time. A pre-Iraq War Tony Blair at No 10, a post-Ulrika Sven-Göran Eriksson in charge of England’s footballers. Not convinced? The Nokia 7650, the first phone to have an in-built camera, went on sale in the UK just a few months earlier and the smoking ban in England is still five whole years from wafting into place. Anderson’s international career has spanned both the advent of TikTok and Twitter, seen off Concorde and Sars.”
He has gotten better with age: “…in the first decade he played 81 Tests and took 305 wickets at an average of one every 30.1 deliveries and a cost of 3.08 runs per over….second decade – 96 Tests, 370 wickets at 22.82 and economy rate of 2.52.”
His unending penchant for learning: “…his longevity is inspired, fuelled by, a desire to learn, adapt and improve. He is the old dog learning new tricks. Take the “wobble seam” delivery he developed after seeing Pakistan’s Mohammad Asif do something similar in the summer of 2010. The “unpredictable” delivery helped to get more life out of the Kookaburra ball in benign conditions and Anderson used it to great effect during the 2010‑11 Ashes campaign. Anderson adapted and upgraded this delivery 10 years later to a ‘swinging wobble seam’ delivery, memorably prising out Virat Kohli with it last summer. It’s this ability to hone and innovate coupled with his longevity that truly separates him from the pack. Listening to Anderson talk about the process is fascinating, he is like a scientist searching for a cure, a mathematician grappling with an equation.
….Anderson has the most Test wickets of anyone after the age of 30, his tally of 429 at home in England is more than the entire careers of Wasim Akram, Curtly Ambrose, Ian Botham, Malcolm Marshall, Shaun Pollock, Dennis Lillee, Allan Donald and Bob Willis.
He is still England’s leading ODI wicket‑taker by a distance, despite playing his last game in 2015, and is approaching 1,000 wickets in all international formats – he will be the first quick bowler to reach the milestone if he gets there.”
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