The results are in and Burnley has spoken: the favoured tribute to England swing bowler, James Anderson, would be a statue, according to a recent poll.
After the Burnley-born cricketer became just the sixth bowler in the history of the game to take 500 Test wickets, support for a local tribute to ‘Jimmy’ grew, with both Burnley Cricket Club and Lowerhouse Cricket Club backing proposals to honour the “Burnley Express”.
With 34% of the vote, the favoured option was to build a statue of Anderson, who became the first Englishman in over 130 years of the sport to reach 500 wickets against the Windies this summer.
Lowerhouse CC’s Website and Social Media Representative, Adam Hope, originally sounded the call for the King of Swing to be immortalised in the town centre with a statue of him bowling towards Turf Moor, saying: “Whilst I accept that we are a town that usually underplays itself, we cannot simply ignore Jimmy’s achievement.
“I think that every cricket loving-person in Burnley and Padiham - and indeed far beyond - must feel an immense surge of pride,” said Adam. “This borough is a hotbed of cricket; how lucky are we to have James Anderson as [an] icon?”
The pollster’s second favourite option - with 32% of the vote - was to not only recognise the former Burnley CC player with a statue, but with a raft of other tributes, including renaming a road, a locally-brewed beer, and a locally-made pie after him.
The third favourite choice was naming a road after Anderson, with Burnley CC President, Michael Brown, suggesting that Belvedere Road, which runs parallel to the cricket ground, would be a perfect option.
“A Burnley boy who went on to be England’s leading wicket-taker needs recognising,” Michael said. “It’s important whilst he’s a present player and he’s visible on TV that lots of young people see him as an inspiration.
“[Renaming Belvedere Road] would last the test of time; people will say: ‘Just go down James Anderson Way’ as they do with Harry Potts Way,” Michael explained. “He’s very much a Burnley person: he supports the football club, he supports the cricket club, and I don’t see a better role model.”
Having taken his 384th Test scalp to overtake Sir Ian Botham as England’s all-time top wicket-taker in 2015, Anderson now has Australian Glenn McGrath - the highest wicket-taking pace bowler in history with 563 victims - in his sights.
And with Anderson currently averaging 2.1 wickets per innings, he could potentiall usurp McGrath’s record come the fifth Test match against India next summer.
“Fitness permitting, I don’t see why he can’t,” Michael said.