I have been saying for some time that Jimmy Anderson has not been the same bowler as he was in the first test of the winter Ashes series when he had match figures of 10/158 and, more particularly, bowled an epic 13 over spell that won the game for England. In only 155 days how times have changed for Anderson and England. No starker example of this can be found than Anderson’s last over in this 3rd test in Perth with George Bailey taking some 28 runs off that over. The runs are one thing but the disdain for which Bailey treated his bowling, and Watson before him doing the same, were even more compelling.
The statistics support my view here: since 14 July these are Anderson’s numbers:
Strike Rate: 86.08
Those last two numbers compare, frankly, woefully to his overall record which has his average at just over 30 and his strike rate at 58.9.
It is also worth noting that of his 19 wickets in this period, 9 of those dismissals were of batters batting in slots 8 through 11. These are cheap wickets.
Anderson bowled his heart out at Trent Bridge. Either he has been injured since or something else went wrong with him during that epic 13 over spell on 14 July 2013. From being England’s main man and mentioned in the same breath as Dale Steyn in the “best bowler in the world” debate, he has become one of the main punchlines in what could only be considered as being the joke that has become England’s summer tour of Australia.
I called for Anderson to miss out on selection in Perth based on my view that he is not physically right. A match return of 2/165 off 42 overs in Perth has done nothing to assuage me from that view.
Taking up Geoffrey Boycott’s call in the Telegraph newspaper today that it is time for some of the older heads in the English team to be chopped off, and repeating my previous call, win, lose or draw in this test match at Perth (and everything is pointing to an English loss) Anderson can not play in Melbourne. He needs to be rehabilitated and given time to get over the physical scars that came from his epic performance at Trent Bridge and the mental scars that have come from this tour and surely must have been solidified today at Perth. To play him in Melbourne would, frankly, be negligent of the English hierachy.