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England legend Jimmy Anderson, 40, No1 in Test bowling rankings as he becomes oldest to reach top spot in 87 YEARS

, England legend Jimmy Anderson, 40, No1 in Test bowling rankings as he becomes oldest to reach top spot in 87 YEARS

JIMMY ANDERSON is back as the No 1 Test bowler in the world – at the age of 40.

Anderson’s heroics in England’s victory in the First Test over New Zealand – when he had match figures of 7-54 – have taken him to the of the top rankings for the sixth time in his career.

James Anderson celebrates taking a wicket for England

Anderson took seven wickets in England’s First Test victory over New Zealand

At the age of 40 years and 207 years, Anderson is the oldest player to reach the pinnacle since Aussie spinner Clarrie Grimmett in 1936.

The rankings did not exist back then but have been produced retrospectively, using the relevant data.

Anderson overtakes Aussie skipper and fast bowler Pat Cummins, who had been No 1 since February 2019 but now drops to third.

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It is a tribute to Anderson’s skill, dedication and longevity. With 866 ranking points, he is two ahead of Indian spinner Ravi Ashwin.

Anderson’s elevation comes a year after he and Stuart Broad were axed from England’s tour of the Caribbean and left wondering if they would ever play again.

Now Anderson and Broad will enter the Second Test in Wellington, which starts at 10pm UK time on Wednesday evening, with a total of 1,009 wickets in matches they have played together – eight clear of the previous record held by Aussies Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath.

Captain Ben Stokes said after the First Test win: “They’re the GOATs, aren’t they?

“Warne and McGrath were an unbelievable combination but, with the way in which Test cricket is going, I can’t see Jimmy and Broady’s record ever being broken.”

Anderson and Broad expect to play in the Second Test but Ollie Robinson, who has been suffering with sore shins, could be rested.

England have won ten Tests out of 11 – including the last six on the trot – since Stokes became permanent captain and linked up with head coach Brendon McCullum.

Stokes loves the way their aggressive, Bazball style is disorientating opponents.

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He explained: “We’re very clear what we’re going to do. So it’s good to know those playing against us are having to react. When that’s the case, you’re winning in that moment.

“We’ve been there in the past when you’re scratching your head and needing to change plans because things haven’t worked. I certainly prefer teams reacting to us rather than the other way round.”

Stokes says he will forego a proportion of his £1.6million Indian Premier League contract with Chennai Super Kings to play in England’s opening Test of the summer against Ireland.

The match at Lord’s on June 1 is effectively an Ashes warm-up and Stokes is promising to be there even if CSK reach the latter stages of the IPL, which ends on May 28.

He will also check with other England players – including Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Jofra Archer and Mark Wood – about their availability.

Stokes explained: “I’ll be making sure I give myself enough time to come back and play in that Ireland game.

“I’ll go round the players and ask them how they want to get ready for the Ashes. We’ll have to weigh up what the individual wants to do against whether they really need to play against Ireland. 

“The Ashes is the biggest thing and we want to do what’s best to prepare for that.”

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