England Test captain Ben Stokes has thrown his support behind paceman James Anderson, describing him as the “greatest fast bowler to play the game”.
The 41-year-old seamer has managed to take just four wickets in this year’s Ashes and has struggled to make the same impact as in previous series.
England cannot win the Ashes but can deny Australia their first series victory on these shores since 2001 by winning the fifth Test at the Oval, which starts today.
“Although he’s not had the impact he would have liked to in this series, he’s a quality bowler,” said Stokes.
“It’s very hard for anyone to sit here and say he’s not. Jimmy’s come under a bit of flak for that but if Joe Root hadn’t scored the runs he would have liked, you wouldn’t be questioning him staying in the team as a batter. James Anderson is the greatest fast bowler to play the game and he’s still looking as good as he was two years ago.”
Anderson has 689 wickets in all, and has taken the most scalps of any fast bowler in the history of the five-day game. Fellow bowler Stuart Broad, 36, reached 600 wickets in the Test at Old Trafford.