Leeds, Aug 29 (IANS) England skipper Joe Root was all praise for fast bowler James Anderson, saying he was “hugely privileged” to have the 39-yeal-old stalwart throughout his tenure as captain.
Anderson played a key role in the first innings of the third Test as his three wickets — where he accounted for KL Rahul (0), Cheteshwar Pujara (1) and Virat Kohli (7) — left the tourists in shambles as they were only able to manage 78 runs. That bowling spell paved the way for England’s innings and 76-run win, which levelled the five-Test series 1-1.
“I feel hugely privileged to have had Jimmy (Anderson) and Stuart (Broad) throughout my tenure as captain,” said Root after the win.
“To have those players at my disposal has been exceptional. Being a bit cheeky, you look at both of their records and I think they’ve probably performed best under my leadership, so I’m going to take a little bit of credit for how good they’ve been in recent times as well, making them bowl a little bit fuller and creating a few more chances. It has been great to get the most out of them and long may that continue,” added Root.
Anderson is the highest wicket-taker in Test cricket among pace bowlers with 630 scalps, and third behind Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan (800 wickets) and Shane Warne (708) among all-time highest wicket-takers.
The 35-year-old Stuart Broad is sixth in the all-time highest wicket-takers’ list with 524 scalps. Broad is currently recovering from a tear to his right calf muscle, which will require two months’ rehabilitation. The 35-year-old is targeting the Ashes series in Australia for return.
Root acknowledged that the Covid-19 pandemic had made his job of leading the side challenging, given that some of his top players were either injured or had taken a break due to mental health issues.
“It’s been a very challenging period throughout my tenure as captain. There has been a lot to contend with, a lot around the games, not necessarily all full focus has been on the field. But that’s part and parcel of the job. We have got a great group with strong character than have been able to bounce back after a difficult defeat. When you have got players to work with who are like that it does make things easier. I have been blessed with some wonderful senior players to lean on and a brilliant coaching staff as well,” added Root.