The Ten Greatest Bowlers of All Time in Cricket

There is no shortage of names that may be considered among the greatest bowlers in cricket history. However, a few bowlers stand out above the others and have had the most significant impact on the sport.

The journey of talented bowlers has been documented throughout cricket history. A few bowlers have made an impression on the minds of cricket fans.

We chose ten bowlers who have made significant contributions to world cricket history. 

1. Shane Warne – Australia

The tragic death of all-time favourite bowler Shane Warne left the cricket world in mourning. Without discussing Shane Warne’s bowling ability, the list of the top bowlers in cricket would be incomplete. His “Ball of the Century” still lives in the minds of cricket fans.

The right-arm leg-spinner took 708 wickets in 145 tests and 293 in 194 ODIs. In March 2022, the cricket world lost a magnificent bowler.

2. Sydney Barnes – England

Sydney Barnes was a legendary bowler in the history of cricket. The English bowler began his career at the age of 15 in 1888. His first Test match was against Australia in 1901, and his final match was against South Africa in 1914. 

He appeared in 27 Test matches and took 189 wickets. His bowling average was 16.43, which is still unrivalled today. Sydney Barnes comes to mind whenever outstanding cricketers are remembered.

3. Michael Holding – West Indies 

Michael Holding, a Jamaican cricketer, was a West Indies cricket team member from 1975 until 1987. For his transcendent bowling approach, he remained one of the top bowlers. Holding made his test debut against Australia in 1975 and his ODI debut against England in 1976. 

He bowled with an impressive average of 23.68 in 60 test matches and a 21.36 average in 102 One-Day Internationals. He took 249 wickets in Tests and 142 wickets in One-Day Internationals. 

Also Read: Why is Cricket in the West Indies on the Decline? – From Stalwarts to Minnows!

4. Curtly Ambrose – West Indies

Cricket fans still have fond memories of Curtly Ambrose, the West Indies’ most dangerous bowler. He was a quick right-arm bowler.

From 1988 until 2000, the Caribbean cricketer was a member of the West Indies side. He made his Test and ODI debuts against Pakistan in 1988. 

Ambrose has an outstanding bowling record in 98 Tests and 176 One-Day Internationals. He took 405 wickets in Tests and 225 wickets in One-Day Internationals. Ambrose took three 10-wicket hauls in Tests. 

5. Anil Kumble – India

Anil Kumble is one of the finest Indian bowlers to have played this game. He appeared in 132 Tests and 271 One-Day Internationals for India, taking 619 and 337 wickets, respectively.

Kumble’s bowling has been described as “wicket-to-wicket”, “accurate”, and “fiercely competitive”. He didn’t spin the ball much but was spot on on the wickets and had a great bounce. His accomplishments include being India’s highest wicket-taker in Test cricket and one of the few bowlers to take all ten wickets in a Test match innings.

He is a true legend of the game, and he is unquestionably one of the greatest bowlers of all time and the finest Indian bowler of all time.

In 1996, he was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year. And In 2005, he was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian honour.

6. Dennis Lillee – Australia

Dennis Lillee of Australia is well-known for his excellent bowling graph. He sustained several stress fractures in his back early in his career. Dennis worked hard to improve his fitness and was accepted into the Australian Cricket Squad. 

Dennis Lillee made his Test debut against England in the 1970-71 Ashes Series. Lillee made his One-Day International debut against England in 1972.

During his career, he played 70 test matches and 63 one-day matches, with averages of 23.92 and 20.82, respectively.

7. Ewen Chatfield – New Zealand 

Former New Zealand midfielder Ewen Chatfield is regarded as one of the top ten bowlers in cricket history.

In his ODI and Test careers, Ewen had a bowling average of 32.17 and 25.84, respectively. Chatfield took 123 and 140 wickets in 43 Test matches and 114 One internationals.

8. Glenn McGrath – Australia

Glenn McGrath is another famous Australian pacer who helped the Australian Cricket Team win many difficult matches. Since 1993, he has ruled Australian cricket for over 15 years. Glenn made his Test and One-Day International debuts against New Zealand and South Africa in 1993.

His bowling career track record is remarkable. Glenn played 124 test matches and 250 one-day internationals. In three test matches, he took ten wickets. In Test and One-day matches, the bowling averages stayed at 21.64 and 22.02, respectively.  

9. Muttiah Muralitharan – Sri Lanka

Muttiah Muralitharan, a Sri Lankan off-spin bowler, had been the subject of numerous controversies due to his unusual bowling movement. Despite this, he rose above all controversies to become one of the world’s best bowlers.

Muralitharan played for the Sri Lanka cricket team from 1992 to 2011, taking 800 wickets in 133 Test matches and 534 in 350 One-Day Internationals.

He has a record of 22 ten-wicket hauls in test matches. Muralitharan broke Shane Warne’s record and became the highest wicket-taker in Test cricket.

10. Wasim Akram – Pakistan

Wasim Akram of Pakistan is among the best bowlers in history, earning a spot among the greatest cricket bowlers ever. His unrivalled talent has helped Pakistan win numerous matches.

Wasim Akram was one of the best cricketers who never played first-class cricket before making their international debut. 

He appeared in 104 test matches and 356 One-Day Internationals, making his test debut against New Zealand in 1985. His ODI economy rate was 3.9, while his Test economy rate was 2.59. He was also a member of Pakistan’s World Cup-winning team in 1992.

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