FORMER Zimbabwe Test batsman Mark Vermeulen is pleased for England speed merchant James Anderson after he reached the 600 Test wickets milestone during the drawn third Test against Pakistan at the Rose Bowl in Southampton on Tuesday.
Anderson became the first quick to reach the milestone when he had Pakistan captain Azhar Ali caught at the slip by his England counterpart Joe Root.
Vermeulen was Anderson’s first Test wicket when Zimbabwe met England at Lord’s back in 2003. The top order batsman went on to play in nine Test matches for Zimbabwe managing 449 runs at an average of 24.94 with his highest score of 118 and two half centuries.
“My message for him (Anderson) would be congratulations on a great achievement reaching 600 Test wickets and being the first fast bowler to do so,” Vermeulen told the Daily News.
Vermeulen a gifted back foot player, perfect timer of the ball, very strong on hook, pull cut shot, finally ended his international career in 2014.
However, he had gone through a number of dark turns in an eventful career that saw him being struck on the head by an Irfan Pathan delivery on January 20, 2004 during the VB Series in Australia.
Two years later, he was arrested for setting fire at the Zimbabwe Cricket Academy in Highlands but was cleared in January 2008 on grounds that he had been suffering psychiatric problems and partial complex epilepsy, ever since the Pathan incident.
“Since I retired, I moved to South Africa and now coach the first team at a school in Plett, down on the south coast in the Western Cape,” Vermeulen said.
“I’ve also been playing a bit of league cricket as I still enjoy batting. My professional cricket career has been over for six years now so I don’t dwell on it any longer.
“I have no idea how things are being run by Zimbabwe Cricket any longer so can’t comment on that. I’ll watch them play if it’s on TV but other than that, I don’t follow it.”
Meanwhile, Anderson has set his sights on getting to 700 Test wickets.
“I still love turning up every day at training, putting in the hard yards and being in the dressing room with the lads trying to forge a win for England.
“That’s all I’ve really ever bothered about and what I’ll keep trying to do. I’ll keep working hard and keeping myself available for selection,” Anderson told ESPNcricinfo.