Corey Anderson has been in impressive form for the Black Caps as of late. Anderson had a slow start to the year, taking just one wicket in five games across the two limited-overs formats. He was pretty handy with the bat in those dry periods, though, but it was the last three ODIs where Anderson really impressed.
His performances against India have been really solid, and he topped it off with 5 for 63 in Auckland. He broke the record for the fastest century on New Year's Day, and talk understandably focused on his batting, but his bowling efforts in the last three ODIs against India show that Anderson has all the potential to become a world-class all-rounder.
In fact, during his school days, Anderson was a bowling all-rounder. His coach at the time, Neil Fletcher, spotted his talent and after consultation with his parents, he changed his approach. Practice sessions consisted of hitting sixes against a bowling machine, according to Alan Perrott of The New Zealand Herald.
Although he is far from the finished product, Anderson's all-round exploits earn him the Bowler of the Month gong for January. In the game against India, where he picked up five wickets, he showed exactly why he is very much still a rough diamond of a bowler.
His penultimate over was tight and included a wicket, too, but it was the final over of the innings where he stumbled. Up against a fierce Ravi Jadeja, Anderson struggled to hold his line and was clobbered all over the park by Jadeja.
The match resulted in a dramatic tie.
What Anderson does have is an X-factor quality as well as the ability to thoroughly entertain crowds with either the bat or ball. He is but a mere medium-pacer and will still learn the hard way just how badly that kind of bowling can be punished on faster tracks. If he learns to perfect some stock deliveries, though, he could very well become one of New Zealand's greatest assets.
Many will debate whether a batting all-rounder should earn the prize of bowler of the month, but Anderson's game-changing antics against India at Auckland is what gets him the nod for January. We're having a Duncan Fletcher-esque moment and judging his bowling a little on his batting, but why not?
His next challenge comes in the five-day format if he is called upon to face India in the Test series.
January Performance Summary
|DNB||ODI||West Indies||1 Jan.||Queenstown|
|2-0-10-0||ODI||West Indies||4 Jan.||Nelson|
|10-1-77-0||ODI||West Indies||8 Jan.||Hamilton|
|4-0-15-0||T20||West Indies||11 Jan.||Auckland|
|4-0-50-0||T20||West Indies||15 Jan.||Wellington|
Also in contention was fellow Kiwi Mitchell McClenaghan, who is on course to become the second-fastest to 50 ODI scalps behind Ajantha Mendis, who got there in 19 matches. The left-armed paceman currently has 48 wickets in 22 games and his swing and seam has been a real asset for New Zealand.
In the Test arena and a close second choice for bowler of the month, Suranga Lakmal tops the wicket-takers list in Tests after just four matches in 2014. The Sri Lankan has taken 18 wickets at an average of 27.38.
While he did nothing quite as dramatic as Anderson, Lakmal has been a consistent leader of Sri Lanka's attack this year. His lanky stature allows him to get extra pace and bounce, even on pitches which offer little to nothing for bowlers.