Who will be the next bowler to 1,000 first-class wickets?
After a brilliant spell in the County Championship on Monday against Kent, James Anderson completed 1,000 first-class wickets, becoming the 216th, and the 15th this century, to achieve the landmark.
There has been speculation that he could be the last to the milestone, with the demands of multiple formats and an increasingly rigorous international schedule leaving little time to rack up big numbers in first-class cricket. But there are a handful of cricketers in with a chance of reaching four figures in the red-ball wickets column.
Tim Murtagh (869)
A month away from turning 40, Tim Murtagh is still young at heart and bowling as well as ever. The former Ireland seamer retired from international cricket to play for Middlesex as an overseas player, and the faith of the Lord’s based side has been vindicated. This season in the County Championship, Murtagh has 28 wickets in seven matches at an average of 20.64. Currently on 869 wickets, Murtagh has openly accepted the challenge to be the next fast bowler to the landmark.
— tim murtagh (@tjmurtagh) July 5, 2021
Stuart Broad (836)
Broad has followed Anderson to most milestones, and 1,000 first-class wickets could be within his reach. With 836 wickets in his career thus far, Broad, at 35, has a very realistic chance of getting to the milestone. A few county campaigns like this year (19 wickets in four matches at 16.31) could help him get there quicker. Write him off at your peril.
Dilruwan Perera (807)
He might no longer be in Sri Lanka’s Test side, but Dilruwan Perera continues to be a force in first-class cricket. In the 2019-20 first-class season in Sri Lanka, Perera took 31 wickets at an average of 15.38 with three five-wicket hauls. He has slowed down since, but at 38, it might not be beyond him yet if he can put together a few strong seasons, and as an off-spinner, he might be able to carry on longer than most.
Neil Wagner (762)
Neil Wagner has quite a way to go before he can dream of the four-digit landmark, but at 35, and given his bloody-minded relentless, it would be unwise to say it’s beyond him to get there. He has 222 wickets since 2017 in first-class cricket. If he can play as long as Anderson, he could potentially go well beyond 1,000 wickets.
Simon Harmer (684)
The nemesis of countless batsmen in the County Championship, Simon Harmer, the South African-born Essex star, has 162 wickets in England in the last three years. With 38 wickets in nine first-class games this season, Harmer is the third-highest wicket-taker in the County Championship. At 32, Harmer has more than enough time to scale the landmark.
R Ashwin (648)
Unlike some of the others in this list, it’s unlikely that Ashwin will play much domestic cricket. But at 34, with just more than 350 wickets to get to the big landmark, Ashwin would be eyeing a few big home series to try and get to the big milestone quicker. Even if he gets there by playing all international games, his tally of Test wickets would still be behind Muttiah Muralitharan’s 800.
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