Top 10 Greatest Fast Bowlers of All Time [year]
Fast bowlers are an asset to the team, whether inducing an unplayable spin in the early overs or reversing the old ball in the slog overs to halt the team’s momentum.
Regarding consistency, fast bowlers are susceptible to a series of ailments throughout their careers, making it difficult to maintain fitness and consistency. However, only a few bowlers have always stood out in terms of fast bowlers and earned the title of “best fast bowler ever.”
Since the last few decades, cricket has been a batsman’s game, but there are still bowlers who have dominated the sport for years and always kept the audience enthralled. Here is a list of the 10 greatest fast bowlers of all time [year].
1) Wasim Akram – Pakistan
“Swing ka Sultan” Wasim Akram was one of the greatest left-arm pacers in the history of cricket. The man behind the reverse swing in cricket and the ability to swing both ways makes him the most difficult bowler of his era.
Part of the golden era of the Pakistan cricket team and a member of the world-winning team in 1992, along with being the leading wicket-taker in the tournament, helped Pakistan to lift the trophy. He and Waqar Yonis, in the 90s, formed the most feared bowling pairs in the history of Pakistan cricket.
2) Curtly Ambrose – West Indies
West Indies was going through the transition phase when another Interesting character came up like Curtly Ambrose. He and Courtney Walsh formed the most destructive bowling pair in the 90s when batters feared to face them.
He was on top of the batters with factors like height and made them surrender. With more than 1100 maidens under his belt, 3rd best test average among 200 wickets, and the 10th fastest to reach the mark of 400 wickets in the hardest format of the game – He justified the tag of Unplayable on him.
3) Imran Khan – Pakistan
The genius of an All-rounder tag when cricket was more of a bowling game. World Cup-winning captain of the 1992 team – that only a caliber of player like Imran Khan can do. The team was almost knockout at one point, and how he defined his leadership skills afterward turned him into the greatest all-rounder of the modern era.
When bowling between 1980 and 1988, Imran Khan redefined himself as the most feared bowler of all time with 236 wickets at a mind-boggling average of 17.77, the all-time best in history.
4) Malcolm Marshall – West Indies
The golden years of West Indian Cricket were when they ruled the world of cricket like no other in the history of cricket. The pace attack was one of the reasons Why they were so dominating in any conditions.
Among pace attacks of the late 1970s and 80s, Malcolm Marshall was another bowler from the army of great leaders. He had threatened the batsman with Yorkers and bouncers and ended the careers of players like Andy Lloyd and Mike Gatting.
Among all pacers of the west indies team, he was the shortest but the deadliest ever. Besides bouncers, he could swing both ways, which was cheery on the cake and made the batsman nowhere near him in any way.
5) Michael Holding – West Indies
The tag “Whispering Death” first came into the limelight With Michael Holding. The run-up was odd, but the raw pace and bounce he generated were completely unplayable. The over-to boycott in 1981 was the greatest exhibition of pace bowling.
Even greats of the game like Sunil Gavaskar quoted – he was the not bowler to go against in any condition by any batsman in the world. Michael Holding dismissed Sunil Gavaskar 11 times in his career, while Geoff Boycott, 6 Sixes, was another great batsman.
6) Dale Steyn – South Africa
Pace, swing, Bullseye, and Rhythm – these were the traits of Dale Steyn. The youngest in the top 5, and there is no surprise in that. In the era of batting-friendly pitches and smaller stadiums – bowlers have no choice but to do anything.
But every era has one bowler who is best among all, and that’s something Dale Steyn was. After Allan Donald, Steyn took the pressure of the South African pace attack on his shoulders, and what he did after will remember for decades.
Blend of swing and pace, and he was the bowler of a rare breed. 400th test wickets in just 80 matches – he was the nightmare for the batsman and turned the batting-friendly pitches into graveyards, even the greatest batters of the era. In terms of strike rate 42.3, there was no bowler in the 142 years of history to have this feat better than him.
7) Joel Garner – West Indies
It’s very rare to see when a bowler over the height of 6ft terrorizes the batsman – Joel Garner was One of them. A Batsman facing the delivery from a height of more than 7 feet was very difficult. Any batsman would prefer to avoid going in front of a bowler like Joel Garner, even in present-day cricket.
Joel was in the golden era of the west indies team in the 1970s and part of the world-winning team in 1979, where he took 5 wicket haul and helped his team lift the trophy in the final.
8) Allan Donald – South Africa
The only superstar of South African bowling in the 90s. Donald troubled the great batsman with sheer pace. The unplayable spell against Mike Atherton at Trent Bridge defined what this genius stood for – Short length deliveries at Raw pace Atherton was nowhere in the picture. 21.78 average is one of the best averages in history among bowlers who took 200 wickets – Allan Donald Stands above the rest here.
9) Sir Richard Hadlee – New Zealand
One of the greatest New Zealand bowlers ever in their history. If a tag of Intelligent pacer in cricket, it would be suited on Sir Richard Hadlee. He was the most accurate bowler and could confuse the batsman with his lethal outswinger, making him the most destructive bowler of his era. The first bowler in history to breach the barrier of 400 wickets mark and ended at 431 wickets, the highest by that time among any bowler.
10) Dennis Lillee – Australia
There is no surprise for this bowler who has justified the tag of fast bowling and defined the idea of raw-pace bowling. Many great bowlers like Imran Khan and Malcolm describe him as the godfather of fast bowling.
During the early days, he was a complete nightmare for the batsman with his sheer pace. But after injuries, he had reduced his run-up, but still, he had the same pace, took wickets, and troubled the batsman. The first bowler in history to breach the barrier of the 350 wickets mark. He and Jeff Thompson formed one of the greatest bowling pairs ever in the history of cricket.
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