Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Will England’s leading quick bowler bounce back fast?

So there we have it – another major final, another defeat for England. In six attempts at winning a major international trophy, only once have they tasted success – and never as yet in the 50 over version of the game. How different it all could have been. With only 20 needed off of 16 balls (and with a very respectable six wickets remaining) all looked set fair for England to finally lay to rest their 2004 Champions Trophy failure against the West Indies and claim one of cricket’s biggest prizes. Well, that was the plan, before a combination of rapidly fraying nerves, poor decision making and controlled Indian bowling swung the contest firmly away from Alastair Cook’s side. One thing’s for sure – with the Ashes series fast approaching, England will have to recover quickly. And for the ultimate cricketing contest against the old enemy, Captain Cook will be desperate for his key fast bowler to perform well.

Cast your mind back to May and the first Test against New Zealand, as James Anderson became only the fourth England player to take 300 Test wickets. Back then, all seemed set fair. But against India at Edgbaston, he struggled to really get amongst the Indian batting attack, taking just one wicket for 24. Although he was not alone amongst English bowlers who found it difficult to make inroads, England will need him to be at the top of his game once the first Test Match gets underway at Trent Bridge on the 10th of July. As he seeks to overhaul Sir Ian Botham’s record English tally of 383 wickets, this summer could either make him or break him.

But even with the disappointment of losing to India, England’s most charismatic bowler’s star continues to rise, through a number of high profile sponsorship campaigns and endorsements. Take the Strongbow ‘Earn It’ campaign, for example. The well-known cider has launched a cricket challenge, throwing down the gauntlet to those brave (or foolhardy) enough to be ready and willing to step up to the wicket and face an over from The Burnley Express. While some might not consider having a ball lobbed at their head at 100 miles per hour an entirely pleasant proposition, there are many out there who simply can’t wait to stride out to the middle to face our deadliest fast bowler. To quote Strongbow: ‘a wicket saved is a pint earned.’ You can find out more about the Strongbow cricket challenge here: http://strongbow.com/#!/challenges/cricket

And what of Anderson’s record against Australia? Well, unsurprisingly (and happily for England) it’s actually pretty good, the highlight being his five wicket haul against them at Edgbaston in 2009. Add that to the fact that Ricky Ponting won’t be there to inspire them, the suspension of David Warner and the untimely dismissal of Mickey Arthur, and you have all the makings of a dominant England Ashes summer (until the first ball is bowled, anyway).

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