Anderson Up There With England's Greatest - Warren Hegg
Warren Hegg, a former team-mate and captain of James Anderson at Lancashire, says that the fast bowler is "up there with England's greatest" after overtaking Sir Ian Botham to become his country's leading wicket-taker.
As a giant flag begins to make its way around the country to be signed by sports stars and celebrities in honour of Anderson, Hegg says that he "deserves all the plaudits".
Slazenger have commissioned a commemorative giant flag which will be touring the country this week to celebrate brand ambassador Anderson breaking the England Test wicket record.
The tour will see the 14m x 10m flag visit different parts of the country, where celebrities and members of the public will be invited to pen a celebratory message for Jimmy.
The flag was unveiled at Lord’s Cricket Ground on Monday, where former England captain Mike Gatting was the first to write a congratulatory message with the flag on the outfield at Lord’s.
The tour saw the flag stop off in Birmingham, Nottingham, Manchester and Newcastle, ending in Jimmy’s hometown of Burnley on Saturday.
He overtook Botham's record of 383 Test wickets during England's drawn first Test against West Indies in Antigua.
Hegg, speaking to Cricket World as he penned a congratulation message to Anderson as part of Slazenger’s celebratory flag tour, said:
"Jimmy is one of our biggest assets here at Lancashire, and in England, and he deserves all the plaudits after beating Beefy's record."
Hegg was captain of Lancashire as Anderson was making a meteoric rise through the ranks, and he describes how even back then, he knew that he was keeping to a special talent.
"It was just before I was made captain in 2004 that Jimmy burst onto the scene. He'd come from the leagues, straight into the second team, knocked second team players over for fun.
"He was fast tracked into the first team and did exactly the same there. His pace, his bounce, his ability to take the ball away from the right-hander on all kinds of wickets was a major asset."
Now he has passed Botham and is out on his own at the top of England's list of Test wicket-takers, just how highly does Hegg rate his former team-mate?
"Let's put him up there with England's greatest," he says. "He's not finished yet, he could go on to get more wickets for England.
"We're extremely proud of him here at Lancashire for the achievements he's made for both the red rose and the three lions.
"Long may it continue."
Pressed on whether he would name Anderson as England's greatest of all time, Hegg paid tribute to his versatility and consistency.
"He'd have to be right up there, for someone who has consistently all around the world, not just in England, he has learnt to bowl on the wickets in Australia, in the dust bowls of India, the bouncy wickets in South Africa and West Indies and places like that.
"That's the measure of a great cricketer - one who can conquer all conditions.
"You look at players like Tendulkar, Lara, and Steve Waugh who scored runs all over the world. Jimmy is on that equivalent of bowling and taking wickets all over the world."
Former England international Warren Hegg was signing Slazenger’s ‘Congratulations Jimmy’ flag which will be touring the country this week. Slazenger is celebrating Jimmy Anderson becoming England’s all time leading Test wicket-taker by giving 10% off its entire cricket range. Visit store.slazenger.com and follow @SlazengerSport for more details.
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