ENGLAND’S all-time leading wicket-taker Sir Ian Botham has backed James Anderson to surpass his record of 383 Test dismissals, but must first prove his is king of the swingers when he goes head-to-head with South Africa’s Dale Steyn in today’s Champions Trophy semi-final at The Oval.
Anderson has taken 307 Test match scalps throughout his career, but his immediate priority will be to help England beat South Africa in one day rather than five and reach Sunday’s final at Edgbaston.
And Botham believes the winner of today’s last four clash will go on to take the trophy.
“India are understandably favourites, but I think England or South Africa might upset that party,” said Botham, yesterday unveiled as Beefeater’s new Boss of Beef.
“I believe the side that wins that might well win the tournament.
“You have two of the best swing bowlers in world cricket playing, in Dale Steyn and Anderson, so that will give you an idea of where we stand in the world when we see Jimmy Anderson bowl.
“I have no doubt whatsoever, and I think he richly deserves it, that Anderson will go past my record as leading wicket taker.
“Maybe not this summer, maybe the start of next summer, but I’d expect him to go past 383.
“Jimmy has kept himself fit and he’s a real handful for any batsman with the skills he’s developed. Swing bowling is an art and he does it extremely well.”
England’s bowling attack could be depleted today with Graeme Swann set to undergo a late fitness test, while Tim Bresnan has returned home ahead of the birth of his first child.