England v India: James Anderson best since Sir Ian Botham - Boycott

James Anderson
Boycott says Anderson is a "Jekyll and Hyde character"
England v India: Fourth Test
Dates: 7-11 August
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and Radio 4 LW from 10:25 BST, text commentary on BBC website

James Anderson is England's best pace bowler in home conditions since Sir Ian Botham but must cut out sledging to be regarded as a true great, says former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott.

Anderson, 32, is just 12 wickets behind Botham's tally of 383 Test wickets.

"In English conditions, Anderson is as good a fast-medium bowler as there has been and the best England have had since Sir Ian Botham," Boycott said.

But he is in danger of being remembered as a "foul-mouthed abusive bowler".

Anderson's man-of-the-match performance in the third Test in Southampton helped England level the series against India at 1-1.

England's leading wicket-takers
Ian Botham10238328.40
James Anderson9737130.09
Bob Willis9032525.20
Fred Trueman6730721.57
Derek Underwood8629725.83

He will spearhead the home side's attack in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, starting on Thursday, after he was cleared of misconduct by an independent commissioner over a fracas with India's Ravindra Jadeja.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Boycott added: "James Anderson getting off scot-free makes England favourites to beat India again because he is 40 per cent of their bowling attack.

"He bowls swing and seam at pace with hardly any four-balls, which puts batsmen under serious pressure."

The decision to clear Anderson of breaching the International Cricket Council's Code of Conduct has infuriated India who claim he pushed and abused Jadeja during the first Test at Trent Bridge.

ICC chief executive David Richardson decided not to appeal against the verdict of commissioner Gordon Lewis.

Boycott, who played 108 Tests for England between 1964 and 1982, said Anderson needs to avoid getting involved in such incidents and focus on his bowling.

"Nobody is certain what went on in the corridor at Trent Bridge between Jimmy and Ravindra Jadeja," he wrote.

"But Jimmy is a Jekyll and Hyde character. Off the field he is such a softly-spoken lad, but on it he attempts to unsettle batsmen into doing something silly by making crude psychological innuendo to the opposition.

"Jimmy should reflect on whether he wants to be remembered as one of the all-time great English seam bowlers or a foul-mouthed abusive bowler."

England v India 2014 Test series
First Test9-13 JulyTrent BridgeDraw
Second Test17-21 JulyLord'sIndia win
Third Test27-31 JulySouthamptonEngland win
Fourth Test7-11 AugustOld Trafford-
Fifth Test15-19 AugustThe Oval-