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jayant   |  2021-12-08

10 Best Fast Bowlers of All-Time (2021)

Fast bowlers running in, bowling quick bouncers, accurate yorkers, just terrorizing batsmen, or even bowling a good line and length troubling them with accuracy is a rare sight these days.

Fast bowlers in form, bowling in rhythm, are a delight for a captain, even in a flat track.

Even if the conditions are unhelpful, they can bowl those quick bouncers and suddenly bring their team back in the game.

Yes, they are prone to injuries, and historically speaking, it has ended promising careers, but we have seen bowlers overcome those adversities and become one of the greats of the game.

So, today we will talk about the ‘10 Best fast bowlers of all time’ who have made international cricket what it is today.

10 Best Fast bowlers of All-Time

10) Courtney Walsh

Standing tall at almost 6’6”, Courtney Walsh, the fast right-arm bowler, was one of the best fast bowlers of all time.

This big Jamaican pacer made his debut in 1984 but always remained bowler alongside Marshall and Ambrose in the 80s.

It was only in the 1990s when Walsh got the opportunity with the new ball, and from there on, he never looked back.

Courtney had the rare ability to swing the ball both ways quickly from the same spot, which made him unplayable in any condition.

Along with his partner Ambrose, Walsh formed one of the best new-ball bowling pairs in the 90s and helped the West Indies win many matches.

Even though he lost quite a bit of his pace towards the end of his career but never lost his wicket-taking ability and his 66 Test wickets in 2000 were proof of that

He managed to pick 519 Test wickets and 227 ODI wickets and maintained a good economy throughout his entire career.

9) Waqar Younis

‘The Burewala Express,’ the one half of ‘The Two W’s,’ Waqar Younis, is one of the best fast bowlers to play the game.

A magician with the old ball, Waqar, represented Pakistan in 87 Tests and 262 ODIs.

Instead of ratting batsmen with fast, short-pitch bowling, Waqar used to bowl full and fast and had the rare ability to swing the ball late.

He was a lethal fast bowler, both with the new and the old ball, and used to swing the ball at a lightning pace which helped him pick 373 Test wickets and 416 ODI wickets in his career.

Together, he and Wasim Akram became one of the most feared bowling pairs with the old ball in cricket history.

Waqar took 22 five-wicket hauls in his Test career and picked up five ten-wicket hauls.

Waqar has the best strike-rate (43.4) among bowlers with more than 200 Test wickets and was rightly inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in December 2013.

8) Sir Richard Hadlee

One of the best fast bowlers in cricketing history, Sir Richard Hadlee, was regarded by many as the best cricketer New Zealand has ever produced.

Highly accurate with a lethal outswinger, Hadlee carried the entire New Zealand bowling on his shoulders in both 70s and the 80s.

In the beginning, he was one of the quickest bowlers in the international scene, but with injuries had to cut down on his pace.

Instead of troubling through pace, Hadlee, with his whippy side-on bowling action, generated steep bounce out of any surface.

Therefore, he managed to generate discomforting pace, bounce, and movement of any surface, which troubled batsmen worldwide.

A tough competitor, Hadlee developed a particular liking for Australia, and in the 23 Test matches he played against them, he managed to pick 130 wickets.

He was the first bowler to breach the barrier of 400 wickets and retired after picking 431 wickets from 86 tests at an average of just 22.29.

Shortly after his retirement, he received his knighthood and was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2009.

7) Dale Steyn

When rhythm, stamina, and intensity get combined with deadly pace and pitch-perfect outswingers – only then we get someone like a Dale Steyn.

In an era where we only get batting-friendly pitches and smaller boundaries – Dale Steyn has shown that bowlers too can dominate, and he did

He made his Test debut in 2004, but it was only in 2008 when we saw him in his best.

He managed to pick 86 wickets in 14 matches and earned the prestigious ICC Player of the Year award.

One of the best fast bowlers of his generation, Steyn, with his impressive long run-up and lethal outswing, troubled batsmen worldwide

His 7-51 against India on a flat wicket in Nagpur remains one of the best exhibitions of reverse swing bowling in recent years.

Steyn formed a fearsome bowling partnership with Morne Morkel and helped the Proteas dominate all over the world.

He was the fastest South African bowler to reach the 300-wicket mark and is currently the highest wicket-taker for South Africa in test match cricket.

Even with a career plagued by multiple injuries, he has managed to pick over 439 test wickets at an astonishing strike rate of 44.3

6) Dennis Lillee

One of the best fast bowlers of all time, Dennis Lillee, was considered the godfather of fast bowling by greats like Imran Khan and Malcolm Marshall.

One of the most iconic cricketers of the 70s and early 80s, Lilee, from the beginning, was not only quick but was quite a character both on and off the field.

With his classical side-on action, he had immaculate control over his line and length and a natural outswinger to keep the slips interested all the time.

After a series of injuries, he had to remodel his action, his pace got reduced, but he made it up with sheer accuracy and intensity.

Lillee, along with Jeff Thompson, formed one of the most fearsome bowling pairs and terrorized batsmen all over the world in the 70s

Lillee performed consistently throughout his career and became the first bowler to breach the barrier of the 350 wickets mark.

He retired in 1983 and continues to play an essential role in grooming young fast bowlers from all over the world.

5) Curtly Ambrose

Standing tall at 6 feet 7 inches, Curtly Ambrose was one of the best fast bowlers the world has ever seen.

He managed to extract bounce on all surfaces with his intimidating height and high arm action and made batsmen play almost every delivery.

He had impeccable control over line and length, and with a hint of seam movement, kept both edges of the bat interested.

Moreover, he was very economical in his bowling and had a very well-disguised slower delivery.

Along with Courtney Walsh, Curtly formed one of the most destructive bowling pairs in the 90s.

He bowled more than 1100 maidens, and in the 98 Tests he played, he managed to pick 405 wickets at an average of 20.99

4) Malcolm Marshall

One of the best fast bowlers of the golden era of West Indian Cricket, Malcolm Marshall was one of the best bowlers of the late 1970s and 80s

Often considered the best West Indian fast bowler of all time, his Test bowling average of 20.94 is the best among all bowlers who have taken 200 or more wickets.

He was not as tall(5 ft 11 in) as his contemporaries like Ambrose, Walsh, or a Joel garner but generated a quick bouncer with his skiddy action.

Malcolm could swing both ways, and with a very well-disguised bouncer, batsmen were always on their backfoot

He was also a handy lower-order batsman, scoring ten fifties in tests and two in ODIs.

After the 1992 Cricket World Cup, he ended his international career, and in his entire career, he managed to pick 376 Test and 157 ODI wickets.

3) James Anderson

The best swing bowler in the world right now, James Anderson is one of the best fast bowlers.

He made his international debut in 2002 and quickly produced a sensational spell of 4-29 in the 2003 World Cup against Pakistan.

But he remained in and out of the team, but it was only in late 2007 that he became a regular member of the English team.

His stand-out performance came in the 2010 Ashes, where he managed to pick 24 wickets, and from there on, never looked back.

A classical side-on bowler, he is equally effective with both old and the new ball, and when on the song, was pretty much unplayable.

Along with Stuart Broad, Anderson formed one of the best bowling pairs in recent times by picking more than 600 wickets together.

In the ICC Champions Trophy match against Australia (2013), Anderson picked his 235th wicket and became England’s leading wicket-taker in the ODIs.

He is the most successful fast bowler in test cricket with 614 test wickets and the 3rd highest wicket-taker in test cricket.

2) Wasim Akram

The ”Sultan of swing” Wasim Akram was probably the greatest left-arm pacer in cricket history.

He was a member of Pakistan’s 1992 World-cup winning team and the leading wicket-taker in that tournament.

A magician with both new and the old ball, Wasim could swing both ways, which made him one of the most difficult bowlers of his era.

Besides, he had immaculate control over his line and length, which made him unplayable even in unhelpful conditions.

But we will best remember him for his ability to reverse the old ball and hit lethal inswinging yorkers, especially in the death overs when it comes to ODI cricket.

Along with Waqar Yonis in the 90s, Wasim terrorized the batsman from all over the world with sheer pace and swing bowling.

He was the first to cross the tally of 500 ODI wickets and ended his career with 414 Test and 502 ODI wickets.

1) Glenn McGrath

One of the greats of Australian cricket, Glenn McGrath, was probably the best fast bowlers in the 150 years of cricketing history.

In an international career spanning 14 years, he outclassed many of his contemporary fast bowlers, not in terms of pace or bounce but by sheer accuracy.

McGrath did not have the pace and prodigious swing to terrorize the batsmen, but his greatest strength lay in his ability to bowl accurate line and lengths.

He formed an effective bowling partnership with Shane Warne and just crippled the opposition batting.

Mcgrath picked twenty-nine 5-wicket hauls in his entire career among which, ten came against their arch-rival England.
He was one of the key reasons for Australia’s domination of cricket from the mid-90s and in the early 2000s

McGrath managed to win the man-of-the-tournament award in the 2007 Cricket World Cup and helped Australia win that tournament.
He is the second most successful fast bowler after James Anderson in test cricket with 563 Test wickets.

He held the record for the most number of wickets (71) in the Cricket World Cup and was rightly inducted into the ICC Hall of fame in January 2013.

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