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jayant   |  2021-08-09

Top 10 Fastest Bowlers: The Ultimate List (2021)

While talking about the fastest bowlers in cricket we need to understand that being fast does not always ensure success

When we talk about the most successful bowlers of all-time, we usually don’t get to see them making that list

These are the bowlers who came and terrorized the world cricket for the opposition with their speed and aggression

We don’t expect them to ball line and length like a Glenn Mcgrath

Yes, they all were naturally injury-prone, their fitness, and consistency were questionable, but its no denying the fact that they raised the standard of this game

Who is included in this list?

We will be talking about bowlers who had an average pace of 150 km/h almost through their entire career

We won’t talk about bowlers like Wasim Akram or Waqar Younis as they may have clicked 150 but were generally on the 140s

Top 10 Fastest Bowlers in World Cricket

Shoaib Akhtar


The world cricket has never seen a bowler quicker than Shoaib Akhtar

He was popularly called ‘Rawalpindi Express’ for his express fast-bowling ability

He recorded his fastest delivery (161.3 km/hr) against England in a pool match in 2003 WC

Being flat-footed, he had to carry a lot of pain, but still, went on to the represent Pakistan for well over a decade

At the beginning of his career, he never had that opportunity to get properly trained under any specialist coach

Whatever he learned on those days was the art to befool the batsmen by bowling in different lines

If you are a cricketer its important for you to know that there’s nothing like match practice

He was always one step ahead of the opponent batsmen as he knew what a batsman is up to for most of the time

Not only he was confident about bowling both ‘bouncer’ and ‘yorker’ but he also had great control over them

With that, he used to terrify even the greats of the game like Gary Kirsten or a Brian Lara just to name a few

He was that kind of a bowler who was quick through the air and used to beat the batsman in the air

The pitch never mattered and you will notice a pattern in his major dismissals as they were either bowled or LBW

He is one bowler with whom we will associate ‘reverse swing’ as he used to reverse the old ball by a large amount

You can watch Sachin or Dravid’s dismissal in the Calcutta test (1999) which were classic examples of reverse swing

Shoaib ended his career with an impressive 178 wickets from 46 Test Matches

He also picked 247 wickets from the 163 ODIs he played for Pakistan

Brett Lee


‘Binga’, popularly known as Brett Lee is well remembered for his raw pace much like Shoaib Akhtar

He recorded his fastest delivery (161.1 km/hr) against New Zealand in 2005

In his early days, his primary aim while bowling was to either aim batsmen’s ‘nose’ or ‘toes’

Not only that, in his autobiography “My Life” he mentions that he just loved terrorizing the opponent fast bowlers

Here, he shares an incident with Shane Bond where he told him ‘I don’t want to get you out, I want you to get scared’

But with Mcgrath’s mentorship, he started focusing on good length which helped him to get successful, even on flat wickets

As he grew older he effectively mixed the slower deliveries with normal faster ones which helped him a lot, especially, in the shorter format of the game.

He was a ‘seam’ bowler and used to hit the deck hard at high pace thus extracting natural bounce of the surface

His ball also used to swing at the last moment which made him very hard to pick

But in contrast with Akhtar who also had a similar pace, playing him was easy as his action was more orthodox.

But, on the other hand, his ball had a movement of the pitch and batsman had to make the late adjustment

He holds the record of dismissing Sachin for a record number of 14 times – and that in itself is a proof of his greatness

Brett ended his career with an impressive 310 wickets from 76 Test Matches. He also picked 380 wickets from the 221 ODIs he played for Australia

Shaun Tait


Australian speedster Shaun Tait was one of the fastest of his generation

Like Jeff Thompson, he had a slinging action and used to regularly hit (155 km/hr) in his prime

Tait bowled his fastest delivery of (161.1 km/hr) against England at Lords

His slinging action helped him get wickets in dead and sticky pitches

His most impressive performance came in the 2007 WC (West Indies), which again, offered sticky wickets

But, with Brett Lee unavailable there was a big pressure on Tait to bowl fast and take wickets at the same time

Also with Brett unavailable, the cricket experts wanted him to provide that extra bit of pace every time he came to bowl

That load was too much for tait to handle and that made him retire at a very young age

He ended his career with 62 ODI wickets from 35 One-day matches

Jeff Thompson

Jeff Thompson

Recently this great Aussie pacer was in the news as he was saying that he bowled over 175 km/hr in his prime

The validity of that statement is questionable, but still, it’s true that his contemporaries consider him the fastest

Thomson recorded (160.6 km/hr) against West Indies in Perth 1975

A short-run up like a javelin thrower combined with a slinging action – that was his recipe for success.

Typically suited for bowling on bouncy pitches, he always relied on short-pitch bowling rather than trying to swing the ball

This aspect created fear in the batsmen as he was responsible for the injuries of quite a few batsmen.

He once said ”I love watching batsmen bleed” which met with a lot of criticism

Yes, he did not end up taking as many wickets that he should have, but it helped his partner Lillee to take many of them

He finished his career with exact 200 test wickets from 51 Test Matches

Mitchell Starc


Experts believe, Starc is the most fastest bowler currently playing the game of cricket

Mitchell Starc delivered his fastest delivery (160.4 km/hr) against Ross Taylor of New Zealand in Perth Test match of 2015

From a height of (6ft 5 inch), he is someone who delivers the ball and swings the ball both ways

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Then, you add his yorker bowling skills and you get a very deadly combination

A complete match-winner, Mitchell Starc was the ”Man of the Series” in the 2015 World Cup where Australia was victorious

A sprinter-like run-up, with the ability to bowl both yorkers and bouncers at will, he has always proven himself as an asset for his team for time and time again

This Aussie pacer became the quickest to 150 wickets in ODIs, achieving that feat in his 77th game.

Andy Roberts


Andy Roberts was part of the “quartet” of West Indian fast bowlers, considered the best bowling line-up of all time

Roberts was the fastest of this group with his fastest delivery being bowled at a speed of (159.5 km/hr)

An expressionless face with that pace – and it was really hard to figure him out for batsmen

A rhythmic run-up with that heavy use of broad shoulders, his natural bounce got many batsmen into trouble

While bowling the bouncers they were always bowled outside off-stump which made it hard to leave.

You can refer the 1980 Adelaide Test match where he uses bouncer to get Greg Chapell

But he was not someone who only bowled the bouncers but also used full-length to get the outside edge

He managed to pick 202 wickets from 47 Tests with an impressive average of 25.61

Fidel Edwards


Slightly round-arm, Fidel Edwards used to hit the deck hard and tried to extract the natural variation of the pitch

Fidel Edwards clocked (157.7 km/hr) while bowling for West Indies against South Africa in 2003

The ability to generate good pace and reverse the ball was something made pundits hopeful of his future

But, constant back and shin injuries didn’t allow him to taste that much success on the international level

His short-pitch bowling was suited for bouncy pitches of South Africa & Australia where it was difficult to control horizontal bat shots

His inability to bowl good and full-length deliveries have never actually let him taste enough success on flat batting-friendly wickets

He managed to pick 165 wickets from 55 Tests with an average of 37.87

Mitchell Johnson


Mitchell Johnson, with 313 wickets is one of the best fast bowlers that Australia has ever produced

A strong upper-torso helped him to skid the ball off the surface and bring it back into the batsmen with his slightly slinging action

We especially remember him for the 2013-14 Ashes series where he caused serious trouble for English batsmen with short pitch bowling

He claimed 37 wickets in that series as England suffered a whitewash in the hands of the Aussies

As a left-arm fast bowler, he used to swing the ball both ways at 150 clicks and was very hard to pick with that late swing

His fastest delivery was bowled at (156.8 km/hr) against England in December 2013 at MCG

Mohammed Sami


Experts often consider Mohammad Sami as one of the fastest bowlers in Pakistan along with Shoaib Akhtar and Waqar Younis

He used to traditionally swing the ball at a high pace just like his contemporary Shoaib Akhtar and Umar Gul

But what’s so special about him was his small stature as batsmen could never imagine that he could bowl so very fast

He bowled his fastest delivery against Zimbabwe in April 2003 which clocked at (156.4 km/hr)

Imran Khan once named him as the modern Malcolm Marshall as he had similarities with the WI legend

Shane Bond


People often describe Shane Bond as the best “New Zealand fast bowler since Sir Richard Hadlee”.

This right-arm fast bowler recorded his fastest delivery (156.4 km/hr) against India in 2003 WC

He had many back surgeries in his small career, but, he never lost the pace.

Whenever he returned after recovering from the injury he used to surprise everyone with a great performance

”A well-directed short ball followed by a full-length ball or a yorker” – this was his simple mantra for getting success

His strong action and raw pace helped him generate a lot of steep bounce off the surface

These qualities made him difficult to face even for good batsmen like Rahul Dravid and Chris Gayle just to name a few

He ended his career with 87 wickets from 18 matches in Tests with ‘the second-best strike-rate’ in world cricket.

He also picked 147 wickets from 82 ODI matches with an impressive strike rate of 20.88

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