The next instalment in our new series where we compare two legendary cricketers from the same generation. Rather than necessarily settle the debate on who is ‘better’, this series attempts to illustrate who had a greater say in dictating his country’s cricketing fortunes. Along the way, you may also find a few facets of these players that are not necessarily discussed in conventional media.
This week we compare two bowlers who have been the backbone of England’s seam attack over the past decade.
James Anderson vs Stuart Broad
A comparison of pace bowlers in Test cricket
|Number of Tests||122||102||Courtney Walsh (132)|
|Wickets Taken||467||368||Glenn McGrath (563)|
|Bowling Average||28.50||28.54||Malcolm Marshall (20.94)|
|Percentage of team wickets taken||12.30%||11.61%||Richard Hadlee (38.25)|
|Impact at Home (min. 25 Tests)||56||56||Craig McDermott|
|Impact Away (min. 20 Tests)||36||37||Dennis Lillee|
|Impact in Subcontinent (min. 10 Tests)||47||40||Courtney Walsh|
|Impact in India (min. 10 Tests)||58||47||Kapil Dev|
|Impact in Aus/SA (min. 10 Tests)||32||40||Alan Davidson|
|Impact in Eng/NZ (min. 10 Tests)||39||39||Dennis Lillee|
|Impact in Ashes (min. 15 Tests)||31||48||Craig McDermott|
|Failure Rate (min. 50 Tests)||27%||29%||Joel Garner (12%)|
||0||1||Richard Hadlee and Dale Steyn (7)|
|Number of high impact performances||17 (once every 7 Tests)||13 (once every 8 Tests)||Glenn McGrath (32)|
|Most dominant period in career||November 1995 – December 1998||November 2001 – January 2005||n/a|
|Number of years as highest impact bowler||0||0||Richard Hadlee – 4
(1980, 1984, 1985, 1987)
|Highest impact bowler in a match||19||8||Glenn McGrath
(31 in 124 Tests)
|Highest impact bowler in a series||7 (in 37 Test series)||2 (in 30 Test series)||Richard Hadlee
(10 in 33 Test series)
1) All parameters from ‘
Example: Glenn McGrath has the highest
2) From ‘Bowling Average’ till ‘
3) Only pace bowlers have been considered for this comparison.
Despite being the highest wicket-taker in England’s Test history, James Anderson barely makes the list of the ten highest impact English bowlers in Test cricket.
Stuart Broad is behind (3% lower impact than Anderson with the ball), marginally, and follows Anderson and Bob Willis.
Anderson has been the more prolific wicket-taker of the two, and more restrictive. He has also been more consistent.
For a bowler of such pedigree, it is surprising that Anderson has not been able to produce high impact performances in big-matches. He is the third-highest impact bowler in Test cricket history (after Alec Bedser and Brett Lee) to have not registered a
On the other hand, Broad has one
Despite not having a big-match temperament, Anderson’s frequency of producing a higher impact performance compared to other bowlers (in both, match and series contexts) is much higher than that of Broad’s.
Broad has a 56% higher impact in the Ashes – a benchmark to judge English and Australian players.
While Anderson has had a higher impact in India and in the sub-continent (where he can make the old ball reverse), Broad has found success on the hard and bouncy tracks of Australia and South Africa.
Conventionally and even through the Impact Index sieve, there is not much separating the two. But while Anderson is hailed by many as the greatest English Test bowler (along with Fred Trueman), it is rather perplexing that Broad is not considered in the same league. This despite the fact that Stuart was a better big-match bowler (and player), and had a higher impact in wins and in the Ashes.
Illustrations: Vasim Maner