Kagiso Rabada and other pacers who can overhaul James Anderson's Test wickets tally

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Rabada looks most likely to come near Anderson's tally in the future.

England’s James Anderson just needs six more wickets to equal the tally of Test cricket’s all-time leading wicket taker among pacers, Glenn McGrath.

Currently sitting on 557 wickets, Anderson can go pass McGrath’s tally (563) within the next week should things go his way in the fourth Test between England and India which gets underway on Thursday at Southampton.

McGrath had recently stated that he does not see any other pacer coming near Anderson’s numbers once the Englishman breaks his record.

“I have an awful lot of respect for Jimmy. Good luck to him. I believe once he goes past me he will never be beaten,” McGrath had told the Daily Mail.

Here, we take a look at four pacers who might have something to say about that.


Matches: 32

Wickets: 151

If there is one man most likely to overhaul Anderson’s tally among the current crop of pacers, it is South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada. At just 23 years of age, the young Proteas star has already established himself as the pace spearhead for the Test team.

This year, he became the youngest bowler in over a century to attain the No1 ICC ranking for Test bowlers. He then broke Harbhajan Singh’s record to become the youngest bowler to claim 150 wickets in South Africa’s recent tour of Sri Lanka.

With a strike-rate less than 40 and an average just below 22, Rabada could very well be the man to break Anderson’s record in the future if he can match the Englishman’s longevity.

Rabada has age on his side.

Rabada has age on his side.


Matches: 40

Wickets: 151

Matching Rabada’s tally of wickets at the moment is Australia’s Josh Hazlewood. With a bowling style similar to that of his compatriot McGrath, Hazlewood has quickly established himself as one of Australia’s frontline bowlers ever since he made his Test debut at the end of 2014.

What counts against the Aussie seamer is his age – 27. While Anderson was marginally ahead of Hazlewood’s currently tally at the same age (156 wickets in 46 Tests), it will take a Herculean effort from the Australian if he is to go past the Englishman.

For Hazlewood to be in contention, he will need to be at the very top of his game for the next eight to nine years at least and that seems like too high a mountain to climb. He was recently ruled out of Australia’s upcoming Test series against Pakistan due to injury, proof of the numerous obstacles he will need to overcome to even have a shot at Anderson’s record.

Hazlewood is currently level with Rabada but is four years older.

Hazlewood is currently level with Rabada but is four years older.


Matches: 121

Wickets: 427

For long Stuart Broad has been Anderson’s new-ball partner for England and for long has he lived under the Lancashire man’s shadow. The 32-year-old is the highest wicket-taker after Anderson among the current crop of pacers in international cricket but even for him it would take something extraordinary to overhaul his team-mate’s tally.

While he does have four years on Anderson, matching Anderson’s numbers in what is the twilight of his career will be no mean feat.

To realistically overtake Anderson’s tally, Broad would need to pick up 40 odd wickets per calendar year for the next four years which sounds like a tall order. Much of it will depend on when Anderson ultimately decides to hang up his boots.

Broad has for long lived under Anderson's shadow.

Broad has for long lived under Anderson’s shadow.


Matches: 88

Wickets: 421

For long, Anderson and Steyn were neck-to-neck in the race to decide this generation’s best fast bowler. But, recurring injury troubles for the Proteas quick in the last three years has seen him fall away.

Only recently did the South African ace level Shaun Pollock’s tally of 421 Test wickets when he should have achieved this feat two years ago or so.

Right now, the end seems near for Steyn at 35 years of age and he will need a miracle to come  close to Anderson. For that to happen, he will firstly need to be given an extended run in the South African Test setup for the next two years at least and that seems unlikely given the way his body has failed to hold up in the last couple of years.

Steyn has unfortunately fallen way behind Anderson's numbers.

Steyn has unfortunately fallen way behind Anderson’s numbers.

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