As the second Test against Australia begins at Lord’s, Lancashire League representatives have paid homage to former Burnley amateur James Anderson.
The 30-year-old is on the verge of becoming England’s second most successful Test bowler of all time after his 10-wicket haul in the Ashes opener at Trent Bridge moved him to within eight of Bob Willis’ tally of 325.
After Anderson took the man of the match accolade in an exhilarating 14-run triumph, Turf Moor skipper Bharat Tripathi said: “It’s brilliant for Jimmy. It could be Sir James Anderson in a few years if he keeps taking wickets and winning games of cricket, especially the Ashes. The cricket was unbelievable and that’s how all Tests should be.
“I think everyone in the league aspires to be him. It is quite surreal at times realising that he has played at the same club in the Lancashire League. It was a rapid rise for Jimmy and I think everyone looks up to someone like that.”
Tripathi added: “It’s hard to believe that somebody from Burnley is one of the best bowlers in the world and could become the nation’s most successful bowler in the history of Test cricket.
“He does phenomenal things with the ball and he’s an example to quick bowlers and medium pace bowlers. He’s a fantastic role model. He had an individual and unfamiliar action which was different to that in any coaching manual. He’s just a natural sportsman who goes with his natural instincts and plays with a lot of flair. His talent isn’t manufactured.”
A rich vein of form, which continued with a crushing eight-wicket win against Ramsbottom, saw Burnley edge closer to the division’s top four. Tripathi, who hit an unbeaten 43 in that victory, will welcome second place Enfield tomorrow before taking his side to Lanehead to face Bacup on Sunday.
“This is a massive weekend,” he said. “Enfield are level on points with Lowerhouse so it gives us a chance to close that gap. It’s an opportunity for us to stick our foot in the door of the top three. We need to keep this run going and we’re all confident of doing that.”
Anderson was a product of Burnley’s junior set-up, and it’s the revision of the youth system at Liverpool Road that has seen the club evolve. The West Enders currently boast all three of the league’s trophies - with the Twenty20 silverware added a week ago - while Jonny Whitehead was selected for Lancashire’s second XI.
“It’s marvelous for the town and for us coaches because it allows us to speak about what Jimmy has done and tell aspiring cricketers that there’s no reason why they can’t emulate that,” said ‘House chairman Stan Heaton. “They’ve got a role model and hero to look up to. It’s great that a lad from Burnley is achieving all that.
“It would be great to bring through somebody like that but it’s enormously difficult. First and foremost it would be superb if we could produce a county cricketer. Before Jimmy I don’t think the town had produced an England cricketer before, so it shows that it’s exceptionally difficult. It’s really in the hands of the Gods. I have nothing but admiration for James Anderson and what he’s achieved, despite him coming from the other club.”
Lowerhouse, who lost to leaders Accrington at the weekend, host Haslingden tomorrow and travel to Rawtenstall on Sunday. “They are absolutely chomping at the bit,” said Heaton. “They are angry with themselves and they can’t wait to put that right. It was a weekend of mixed emotions after the Lord Mayor’s show. The Twenty20 win was sensational but the game against Accrington was a cricket disaster. We are not giving up though.”
In the Ribblesdale Cricket League, Read travel to Cherry Tree tomorrow in hope of extinguishing recent misery.
Captain Kyle O’Connor said: “We’ve accepted that it’s going to be one of those years now. It’s another trophyless season but it’s a chance to build towards next season now. We’re extremely disappointed not to be picking up any silverware but we’ve got to focus on finishing in the top four now. We want a strong finish to the campaign.”
Meanwhile Padiham take on Baxenden at Back Lane tomorrow before Callum Clarke’s side take on Salesbury in the opening game of the Twenty20 finals day at Chatburn Road on Sunday. Should they progress, they’ll face either hosts Clitheroe or Edenfield in the final.