England Cricket Players
NBC Denis Compton Award 2002
A strapping, genuinely quick fast bowler, James Anderson had played only three one-day games for Lancashire in the 2002 season - he'd played more for his club Burnley - before being called into England's VB Series squad the following winter as cover for Andy Caddick, following an impressive stint at the Academy in Adelaide. An amazing 10-over stint in century heat at Adelaide, which cost just 12 runs, earned him a place in the 2003 World Cup, where he produced a matchwinning spell against Pakistan, before suffering a sobering last-over disaster against Australia. At this stage, however, his star was very much in the ascendancy, and when selected for the first Test of the new home season, he took five wickets in his debut innings almost to order. An ODI hat-trick - the first by an English bowler - followed against South Africa at The Oval, but from that moment on, his fortunes began to wane. South Africa's Test team made his new go-faster hairstyle seem a little foolish, and though he retained his place for the winter tours to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in 2003-04 and South Africa the following year, he was reduced to the most peripheral of net-bowling roles - and a shadow of his former self on his rare appearances in the middle. He seemed well out of the frame until he was recalled for the final Ashes Test at The Oval.