Saker: Jimmy's got the skills
England bowling coach David Saker has hailed James Anderson as the "most skilful bowler in the world" and believes the seamer's determination to keep improving is key to his success.
Anderson became the fourth Englishman to reach the landmark of 300 Test wickets when returning 7-70 in the 170-run victory over New Zealand at Lord's.
While the 30-year-old's performances alone are worthy of high praise, Saker is perhaps more impressed with the attitude of his attack-leader.
"I have never met a guy as good as him who wants to keep getting better. That is one of the reasons why he is as good as he is," Saker explained.
"Jimmy to me keeps getting better. He is the one player I have coached who is never satisfied with what he has got.
"For him it would be easy to be satisfied; he has got a lot of skills and weapons. But he keeps working on different things at training.
"Hopefully he can take 400 wickets and be England's greatest wicket-taker. That would be a great feat for him."
Midway through last week's Lord's Test, New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor described Anderson as a cross between South Africa duo Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander.
Steyn currently holds top spot in the International Cricket Council bowling rankings, yet Saker would not swap Anderson for any other paceman.
"To me, he (Anderson) is the most skilful bowler in the world," added the Australian.
"I know Dale Steyn is an outstanding bowler, but when you watch Jimmy and the way he went about things (at Lord's) - he has got more skills than Dale Steyn in his locker.
"Obviously Steyn is a little bit quicker, but when you watch Jimmy deliver those skills it is just mind-blowing.
"I would love to be in a position where Matty Prior is to watch it really closely first-hand. I get an opportunity to catch him at training and it is exciting just to watch him do that.
"When he gets things right there is no more skilful bowler in the world. He is a class bowler."
Saker is also pleased with the progress of Stuart Broad, who lit up proceedings at the home of cricket yesterday with a match-winning performance of rare potency.
The Nottinghamshire quick claimed five wickets in a remarkable hour prior to lunch as New Zealand crumbled to 29 for six, and then added two more scalps in the afternoon for a career-best return of 7-44.
Broad has previous form for producing magical spells - as Australia and India among others can testify - yet Saker is confident England are starting to see the Nottinghamshire quick at his best on a more frequent basis.
"We always want players to be consistent. It is the one thing that stands out from the greats to the very good," said Saker.
"Stuart has still got things to learn about bowling, but in my book he is getting better every time."
Saker feels Broad's recent struggles in India, which saw him dropped due to a combination of injuries and loss of form, may have proved to be a blessing in disguise.
"He has come back bigger and better from some down times in India. Those things happen," he added.
"All bowlers have gone through times when it’s tough. It happens to batters and all sportsmen.
"It’s how they come back and over the last month he has worked hard on his game and got some good rewards for it.
"He has got a few big assets – he’s tall, he’s quite fast and he can move the ball. When he gets everything right there are not many better in the world.
"He has days where he just tears teams apart. You can talk about that spell (prior to lunch at Lord's) for a long time and it was as good a spell as you will see anywhere."