Jimmy Anderson gave a lion’s view of Virat Kohli

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Lion (Wikimedia Commons licensed by Kevin Pluck)
Lion (Wikimedia Commons licensed by Kevin Pluck)

“If a lion could talk, we could not understand him,” wrote Ludwig Wittgenstein. The point being our feline friend would probably be rambling on about how he’d happened across some other lion’s urine earlier in the day and his specific concerns about this patch of piss would mean nothing to you.

Lions live in a world with different norms, values and preoccupations – and so do fast bowlers.

Ask Jimmy Anderson for his opinion on a particular batsman and you shouldn’t expect him to wax lyrical about how well he’s playing. Jimmy sees batsmen as prey and their techniques as little more than an accumulation of Achilles heels. Jimmy’s reason for being is to cut batsmen down and part of the process of becoming so good at it has involved training his brain to see them in a certain way.

Show Mark Nicholas a Virat Kohli cover drive and he will say something like: “Oh now, that is just exquisite.”

Show Jimmy the same stroke and he’ll say: “I wonder if he’d have tried to play the same shot if it had shaped away from him a touch. There was a bit of a gap between bat and pad too for the one jagging back.”

That is not Jimmy being deliberately unappreciative. That is how he thinks. That is what he spends his life thinking about, because that is his job.

Fast bowlers hate batsmen. They hate opposition batsmen in particular and successful opposition batsmen most of all. After all, a ‘good’ innings from an opponent is not something to be appreciated; it is something which must be endured.

Jimmy Anderson’s favourite batsman is Alastair Cook. Alastair Cook is Jimmy’s favourite batsman for the simple reason that he tends to provide him with a nice long rest.


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  1. James Anderson can point out faults in Kohli’s technique in England but only when India are playing in England.What’s the point of talking about Kohli’s shortcomings in batting when the series is in India that too when Kohli is smashing centuries.Anderson’s timing of his comment was outrageous .As Kohli said in an interview -I talked to Ashwin and said we are going 3-0 up in the series ,so we should not bother about what they are saying.Later they will realise that they were wrong.

    Taking into account Anderson the person, his personality and the history he has of making such comments – Anderson once said Sachin Tendulkar should not be overly respected, to the extent where you, an opponent, lose your competitive edge – Kohli should not take his most recent comments seriously.

    1. Comment about Tendulkar seems wise.

      We took Anderson’s most recent comments as being broadly complimentary. He was basically saying, “in these conditions, Kohli is near enough flawless against seam bowlers.” That people might take offence at that is pretty astounding really.

      Point is, he didn’t raise this out of nowhere. Someone asked how Kohli’s technique had changed since he failed in England and Anderson said it hadn’t really – the difference was that the England seamers couldn’t exploit the same weaknesses here.

      It’s all very matter-of-fact.

      1. There wasn’t anything wrong in what Anderson said (w.r.t Kohli or Tendulkar), but surely he knew the reaction it would produce. Wouldn’t the English media take offence if Dhoni had suggested Anderson and Broad were flawed bowlers who were simply benefiting from tailor-made pitches during the 2014 tour? Anderson is just one of those players who feels the need to show aggression by being ill-tempered or petty, no different from Clarke (or some other Aussie captain) who claimed that his team would never cross the line but only head-butt it.

  2. In other news, I have nearly finished recovering the “MTWD lost masterpieces” (articles Sportnetwork lost in a 2007 outage ) as part of my Ogblog project.

    I add a link to this one, merely because I think some KC people will enjoy the awards marking sub-plot and also some will enjoy the extensive use, by Ged, of the Vaughanian third person.


  3. Seeing how pissed Ashwin was with some fairly innocuous lines from Jimmy (explained well by KC), I’m thinking the Indians haven’t forgiven whatever happened in the passageway back in 2014. That coupled with Dhoni’s unusually vehement reaction at the time .. Jimmy may have crossed a line with Jadeja

  4. Excellent article. I wholeheartedly agree with all parts of it, especially the bit about Mark Nicholas being hunted down and torn to shreds by a pride of ravenous lions, immediately after Virat Kohli had pissed on him. If I’m missing the point here please let me know, but I think I’ve got the main thrust of it.

    1. I’m pretty sure The main point was how Mark Nicholas called a lions piss “exquisite” before being torn to shreds by Jimmy Anderson. There was something about Kohli’s cover drive too I seem to recall.

      1. You know if Mark Nicholas was being torn apart by a lion, it would be the most amazing tearing-apart that he had ever experienced, and the lion would be possibly the world’s greatest lion across all formats of lionhood.

    2. Now I know why your avatar is a Black Hole. KC posts get sucked in and then jettisoned out into Bert World. It’s not a criticism.

    1. Ha! Although knowing Jimmy, he’ll also be sore about being left out.

      He’s sore about everything really. Proper fast bowler.

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