Indian pacer Ishant Sharma expressed his belief that Zaheer Khan was a superior bowler compared to James Anderson. Ishant justified his viewpoint by highlighting the contrasting conditions in which the two pacers have played. While James Anderson boasts an impressive record in both ODIs, with 269 wickets in 194 games, and Tests, with a remarkable 686 wickets in 180 matches, Ishant argues that Anderson's success would have been limited if he had encountered the challenging conditions typically found in India. Ishant's comments shed light on the influence of playing conditions on a bowler's performance, emphasising Zaheer Khan's prowess within Indian conditions.
"Jimmy Anderson's bowling style and method is quite different. He plays in different conditions. He plays in England. Maybe if he played in India...," said Ishant.
Ishant concluded by saying, "Zak is better than Jimmy Anderson."
Zak vs Anderson
Zaheer Khan, renowned for his left-arm pace, had a remarkable international cricket career, representing India. Over the course of 200 One-Day Internationals (ODIs), Zaheer showcased his bowling prowess by claiming an impressive tally of 282 wickets. In the longest format of the game, Test cricket, Zaheer played 92 matches and left a lasting impact with 311 wickets to his name. His Test career was marked by 11 instances where he achieved the coveted feat of a five-wicket haul, demonstrating his ability to dismantle opposition batting line-ups.
While Zaheer has bid farewell to international cricket, James Anderson, the seasoned right-arm pacer from England, continues to be an integral part of his national team. Currently, Anderson is actively contributing to England's Test squad, exemplifying his longevity and skill in the sport.
Pitch was like kryptonite
Anderson was part of the first Ashes 2023 Test match against Australia, where fierce cricketing battles were expected to unfold.
However, the initial match of the Ashes series did not go as planned for Anderson. He experienced a challenging outing on the field, managing to claim just one wicket while conceding 109 runs.
Slamming the pitch for being unresponsive for pacers, Anderson even went to the extent of saying that his Ashes career might be over if similar tracks are dished out in the remaining four Tests. "If all the pitches are like that I'm done in the Ashes series. That pitch was like kryptonite for me. There was not much swing, no reverse swing, no seam movement, no bounce and no pace,” he said.