We’re all pretty lucky, you know. For the next few weeks, we’re going to get Zaheer Khan one innings and then James Anderson the next. It’s like our metabolism has suddenly allowed us a curry-pizza-curry-pizza diet. No muesli.
What follows isn’t really meant to be a comparison. It’s more about celebrating both bowlers’ strengths. It’s not about which of them is better. It’s about both bowlers being ace and hopefully lopping a few chunks off some oversized batting averages. Batsmen are dicks.
If we had to sum up Zaheer Khan, we’d say ‘jack of all trades, master of most‘. That phrase doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny, but what does in this day and age? Capitalism? The plot of the Phantom Menace? You? Us?
James Anderson is on the Zaheer Khan path, but four years behind. He’s become effective through adding a second and third dimension to his bowling (Zaheer has five dimensions). Anderson’s first dimension was always pretty tidy, however, and it’s a dimension that comes to the fore in England.
Going the distance
Zaheer Khan is cannier. Zaheer knows it’s a marathon, not a sprint; that your third spell counts as much as your first in the grand scheme of things. He tends to conserve energy for when he needs it.
James Anderson, by contrast, has taken the ‘being ridiculously fit’ option. As quick at 5pm as he is at 11am, he’s like a Tour de France cyclist – he’s all sinew.
Zaheer also gains points for his physique in our book. Paunchiness hovers around him waiting to pounce the minute he stops running around for a living. That’s something we can all get behind.
To devious bowlers toppling spoilt batsmen! [Raises mug and then stares at the clock, willing time to go at eight times speed, like in a computer game, so that the beer hour might arrive sooner.]