‘Destined for greatness’ – James Anderson backed to shine for England in Ashes by old team-mate and 2005 hero Harmison


Steve Harmison was Jimmy Anderson’s teammate in his first five Tests and says: “I always knew he was destined for greatness.”

Even in 2003, Harmison recognized Anderson’s raw skills, his desire to improve and his obsessive dedication to fitness.

Former England hero Steve Harmison says he always knew Jimmy Anderson was destined for greatness


Former England hero Steve Harmison says he always knew Jimmy Anderson was destined for greatnesscredit: Reuters
Anderson is currently preparing for the Ashes series


Anderson is currently preparing for the Ashes seriescredit: EPA

Harmison is now a grandfather who last appeared for England more than 12 years ago.

But, unbelievably, at 39, Anderson plays and is about to start another Ashes series as the father of the England attack.

Harmison, 43, recalled: “Did I know Jimmy would become a great bowler? Yes. Do I think he will still be playing for England after almost 20 years? Certainly not!”

And Harmison is convinced Anderson is not in Australia for some sort of farewell tour.

He believes Anderson and his 35-year-old partner Stuart Broad will make a significant impact on England’s effort to reclaim the small urn.

Anderson has 632 wickets in 166 Tests and if selected, Broad will start his 150th Test with 524 wickets.

This effect will only increase if the first Test in Brisbane on Wednesday is affected by bad weather and the fifth Test is moved from Perth to Melbourne and becomes the second day/night match of the series.

Harmison spoke to SunSport on behalf of IndiaBetting.co.in, Harmison explained: “If there are two day/night Tests and the Gabba is seaming around because of the recent rain… Can throw any name at me, but I will come back every time with Broad and Anderson.

“If England can get three Tests from Jimmy at 100 per cent, he will take the wicket. And so will Stuart.

“It could be a question of rest and rotation to make sure the old guard is fit for those matches.”

Harmison’s final Test was an Ashes-winning victory at The Oval in 2009 when he and his great friend Andrew Flintoff went into the sunset.

He said: “Stuart announced himself in that match with a five-wicket haul. Freddie and I went away thinking, ‘These guys don’t need the old brigade anymore’.

“My lifestyle showed that I was always going to finish before Jimmy and Stuart because they look after themselves so well.

“This is another tick in their box of greatness – how well they have taken care of themselves, taken care of each other, bounced off each other.

“They’ve inspired each other to become better and better. That’s why they’re great and that’s why I think they still have a big role to play in this series.

“When I first saw Jimmy almost two decades ago, he could bowl an outswinger, an in-swinger, a bouncer, a slow ball, a yorker.

“The problem was that he wanted to bowl all of them in the same over.

Stuart Broad will start his 150th Test with 524 wickets


Stuart Broad will start his 150th Test with 524 wicketscredit: AP

“But, as time goes on, you get more experienced and wiser. I wouldn’t say get happy because Jimmy didn’t get happy!

“But I am telling you that if there is any movement in Australia, it will be very dangerous.

“Jimmy was always destined for greatness. The thing about him was that he was good at everything – he played golf with a low handicap, was capable of football in the warm-up and was fit like anything.

“And the best thing about him was that he was driven to be better all the time, constantly trying to improve things. So James Anderson’s career didn’t surprise me.

Harmy said: “There was a passage when they tried to change his action and after a while, Jimmy said ‘no’. I think it took him a while to get to that point.

“Finally, he said, ‘Up to you, it’s my action and my career’, and he took ownership of his career.

“From that moment, he never looked back.

“And Stuart has that star quality. He pumps those knees up, gets things done. He elevates the team, the crowd, everyone.

“It seems like he’s always a route in every series when he changes the game and changes the mindset of the England team.

“Stuart is a bit unlucky as he is a few years younger than Jimmy and has always been behind him in terms of wickets.

“But they are a combination. These two men are heroes of English cricket and excellent role models.”


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