Bob Willis and Sir Ian Botham talk bowling with England's Stuart Broad and James Anderson
By Sky Sports Cricket
Last Updated: 06/12/19 11:19am
What makes a successful bowling partnership? Back in August 2017 we decided to ask England's four most potent bowlers of all time.
Following the death of Bob Willis on Wednesday, here's another chance to watch Ian Ward's interview with Bob (325 wickets), Sir Ian Botham (383), James Anderson (575) and Stuart Broad (471).
It features their thoughts on a range of topics including the 1981 Ashes, training techniques and why bowlers have a tendency to be a bit grumpy... Below is a taster...
Ward: [To Willis] how important is it to have a partnership - Jimmy and Broady's, yours with Beefy - to help you as an individual bowler?
Bob Willis: Very important indeed. You need that workhorse bowler to run up hill, into the wind. That was his [Botham's] job. I then had my little five-over spells downhill, down wind. One time, Mike Brearley had Beefy bowling 41 overs one day from one end, all but about seven overs.
Ward: [To Broad and Anderson] Who is the brains in your partnership?
Broad: Well, he gets the wind behind him, so probably him.
Ward: Is there any jealousy or competition between the two of you? Or is it very much a team job?
Anderson: I think we realise that we need each other. We bring out the best of each other, and not just when we're bowling in tandem. In the field, if I'm at mid-off, I'll try and give Stuart advice and a bit of a helping hand, if I can. And it works the other way round. It's not like, I'm the senior bowler, so I'm going to work with the wind. We try to figure out what is best for the team.
Broad: Also, with bowling in partnerships; the quicker you take 10 wickets, the quicker you're off the field and having a brew with your feet up, so you're always going to work together with the bowling unit to try and create as many chances as possible. What Jimmy says about fielding at mid-off - that's quite a deliberate policy we've turned to over time. If you're fielding at fine leg, you don't actually speak to each other for 12 overs of a spell. Now, being only a few yards away from each other, when we're both bowling, you can pick up what the pitch is doing, if it's swinging, a lot quicker. That has really helped us in the past four or five years.
Ward: [To all] Has your relationship with each other always been so cordial?
Willis: No one likes criticism do they? I started commentating and was really nice to the guys I'd been in the dressing-room with the year before - 'oh, he was really unlucky there' - but then I thought that's not really going to make me a career in broadcasting. So I got the old chainsaw out and starting sawing them off at the knees.