Zaheer Khan and James Anderson

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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.]


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  1. I think you’ve inadvertantly hit on a tactic in your penultimate paragraph, KC.

    When the Indian team turns up at the team hotel on the first evening, there should be a delegation from the England Welcoming Board there to welcome them with a few little gifts. Except that it won’t be a delegation from the EWB, but instead a delegation from Greggs IN DISGUISE. They will offer Zaheer a taste of a meat and potato pie. Just a nibble. But it will be enough. At breakfast the following morning, one of the heated tray things that usually contain week-old scrambled eggs will instead contain – A PASTY. He will not be able to resist.

    In the first test columnists will think he’s a little slow by his usual standards. In the second test commentators will be calling him sturdy. By the third test he will have had to borrow a whole set of whites from Mark Cosgrove.

    1. The problems with this plan are numerous, but I will outline the most urgent two:

      1. The disguise is necessary but also an inherent flaw. How can you be sure that the process by which the pasties are disguised will not affect their flavour? As we know, much of the deliciousness of Gregg’s comes from the method in which it is eaten (usually having to shoo away a pigeon or seagull, for example. This makes one feel as though they have “earned it”.)

      2. Is it possible to have Mark Cosgrove available at all times? Obviously no other chubby opener will suffice, and the man keeps a busy schedule.

  2. We just had a 2 hour beer-fuelled lunch. Not much work getting done this afternoon.

  3. The fatter Zaheer gets, the better he bowls. The paunch enables him to exercise greater control over the ball. That, and it also entices the opposition into ridiculing him, which consequently fires him up to do well. So yes, bring on the pasties and meat pies, and throw in a few jelly beans mmmmm

  4. All batsmen are dicks. Hear hear. You are on safe ground with this opinion, it will never be disproved.

  5. Anderson is a class act but I still feel he’s not a good bowler in a “help they are 200-1 and the pitch is doing nothing” situation. And that is bound to happen a couple of times this summer.

    1. I wonder why that hasn’t been tested lately?

      Oh that’s right because he’s been shitawesome.

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