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Top 10 Bowlers in Cricket History

Muralitharan is the highest wicket-taker in both Test cricket and in One Day Internationals (ODIs)...

Last Updated On: Thursday, February 10, 2011


1. Wasim Akram: Wasim Akram born 3 June 1966 is a former Pakistani left arm fast bowler and left-handed batsman in cricket, who represented the Pakistan national cricket team in Test cricket and One Day International matches. Akram is regarded as one of the best fast bowlers in cricket. He holds the world record for most wickets in List A cricket with 881 and is second only to Sri Lankan off-spin bowler, Muttiah Muralitharan in terms of One Day International wickets with 502.

He is considered to be one of the founders and perhaps the finest exponent of reverse swing bowling. The revolutionary nature of reverse swing initially resulted in accusations of ball tampering by cricket critics, although the skill of the reverse swing delivery has now been accepted as a legitimate features of ability in cricket. Akram's later career was also tarnished with accusations of match fixing by critics, although these remain unproven.

2. Shane Warne: Shane Keith Warne (born 13 September 1969) is a former Australian international cricketer widely regarded as one of the greatest bowlers in the history of the game. In 2000, he was selected by a panel of cricket experts as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Century, the only specialist bowler selected in the quintet. He is also a cricket commentator and a professional poker player. Warne played his first Test match in 1992, and his 708 wickets was the record for the most wickets taken by any bowler in Test cricket, until it was broken by Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan on 3 December 2007.

He took over 1000 international wickets (in Tests and One-Day Internationals) - he was the second bowler to reach this milestone after Muttiah Muralitharan. A useful lower-order batsman, Warne also scored over 3000 Test runs, and he holds the record for most Test runs without a century. His career was plagued by scandals off the field; these included a ban from cricket for testing positive for a prohibited substance, and charges of bringing the game into disrepute through accepting money from bookmakers and marital infidelities.

3. Muttiah Muralitharan: Muttiah Muralitharan (born 17 April 1972), often referred to as Murali, is a Sri Lankan cricketer, who was rated the greatest Test match bowler ever by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack in 2002. He retired from Test cricket in 2010, registering his 800th and final wicket on 22 July 2010 from his final ball in his last test match. Muralitharan is the highest wicket-taker in both Test cricket and in One Day Internationals (ODIs).

He took the wicket of Gautam Gambhir on 5 February 2009 in Colombo to surpass Wasim Akram's ODI record of 502 wickets. Muralitharan became the highest wicket-taker in Test cricket when he overtook the previous record-holder Shane Warne on 3 December 2007. Muralitharan had previously held the record when he surpassed Courtney Walsh's 519 wickets in 2004, but he suffered a shoulder injury later that year and was then overtaken by Warne.

4. Glenn Mcgrath: Glenn Donald McGrath (born 9 February 1970 in Dubbo, New South Wales), nicknamed "Pigeon" is a former Australian cricket player. He is one of the most highly regarded fast-medium pace bowlers in cricketing history, and a leading contributor to Australia's domination of world cricket since the mid-1990s to the early 21st century. He holds the world record for the highest number of Test wickets by a fast bowler and is fourth on the all time list, with the top three wicket takers Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne and Anil Kumble all being spin bowlers.

McGrath announced his retirement from Test cricket on 23 December 2006. His Test career came to an end after the 5th Ashes test in Sydney, whilst the 2007 World Cup marked the end of his one-day career. Known throughout his career for maintaining a remarkably accurate line and length, McGrath's consistency enabled him to be one of the most economical fast bowlers of his time. McGrath also played for the Indian Premier League team of Delhi DareDevils and was one of the tournaments most economical bowlers during its first season. On January 5, the franchise announced that it had bought out the remaining year of his contract.

5. Waqar Younis: Waqar Younis Maitla (born 16 November 1971) is a former Pakistani right arm fast bowler in cricket and widely regarded as one of the best fast bowlers of all time. He was best known in cricket for his ability to reverse swing a cricket ball at high speed when bowling at the cricket pitch. He took 373 Test wickets and 416 One Day International wickets during his career. He is considered to be the best exponent of the swing bowling delivery.

Younis has the best strike rate for any bowler with over 200 Test wickets. He worked as a bowling coach with the national side from 2006 to 2007. Younis was appointed as the coach of the Pakistan cricket team on 3 March 2010. His managerial contract with the Pakistan Cricket Board will take part in all forms of cricket, right up to December 2011, which will include all professional competitions, such as the 2011 Cricket World Cup.

6. Syd Barnes: Sydney Francis Barnes (19 April 1873 26 December 1967), usually known simply as S. F. Barnes, was, by the assertion of most of the players and critics of his era, both English and Australian, the finest bowler in cricket history. In 27 Test matches, all of them against Australia and South Africa (the only other two countries with Test status), he took 189 wickets at an average of 16.43 runs each and is ranked first in the ICC Best Ever Test Bowling rating. On 30 July 2009, Sydney Barnes was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.

7. Michael Holding: Michael Anthony Holding (born February 16, 1954 in Kingston, Jamaica) is a former West Indian cricketer. One of the fastest bowlers ever to play Test cricket, he was nicknamed 'Whispering Death' by umpires due to his quiet approach to the bowling crease. Holding was an outstanding athlete as a teenager and used skills acquired from running the 400 metres on the cricket pitch, with one of the longest and most rhythmic run-ups in world cricket.

His bowling was smooth and very fast, and he used his height (6 ft 3 in/1.918 m) to generate large amounts of bounce and zip off the pitch. He was part of the fearsome West Indian pace battery, together with Joel Garner, Andy Roberts, Sylvester Clarke, Colin Croft, Wayne Daniel and the late Malcolm Marshall that devastated batting line-ups in the world throughout the seventies and early eighties.

8. Jim Laker: James "Jim" Charles Laker (9 February 1922 23 April 1986) was a cricketer who played for England in the 1950s, known for "Laker's match" in 1956 at Old Trafford, when he took nineteen wickets in England's victory against Australia. He played 46 Test matches between 1948 and 1959, taking 193 wickets with a bowling average of 21.24; in all first-class matches he took 1,944 wickets at 18.41.

Born in Frizinghall, Bradford, Yorkshire, he was known as an elegant off-spin bowler. He consistently performed well against Australian cricket teams, and formed a successful partnership with Tony Lock, a left-arm orthodox spinner. He was also part of the Surrey side that dominated the county championship with seven consecutive titles from 1952 to 1958. He was selected as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1952.

9. Dennis Lillee: Dennis Keith Lillee, AM, MBE (born 18 July 1949 in Subiaco, Western Australia) is a former Australian cricketer rated as the "outstanding fast bowler of his generation". Lillee was known for his fiery temperament, 'never-say-die' attitude and popularity with the fans. In the early part of his career Lillee was an extremely quick bowler, but a number of stress fractures in his back almost ended his career.

Taking on a strict fitness regime, he fought his way back to full fitness, eventually returning to international cricket. By the time of his retirement from international cricket in 1984 he had become the then world record holder for most Test wickets (355), and had firmly established himself as one of the most recognisable and renowned Australian sportsmen of all time.

10. Anil Kumble: Anil Kumble (born 17 October 1970 in Bangalore, Karnataka) is a former Indian cricketer and captain of the Indian Test cricket team. He is a right-arm leg spin (legbreak googly) bowler and a right-hand batsman. He is currently the leading wicket-taker for India in both Test and One Day International matches. At present he is the third highest wicket-taker in Test cricket and one of only three bowlers to have taken more than 600 Test wickets. Kumble has had success bowling with other spinners, notably Venkatapathy Raju and Rajesh Chauhan in the 1990s and Harbhajan Singh since 2000.

Since his debut in international cricket on 25 April 1990, he has taken 619 Test wickets and 337 ODI wickets. Although often criticized as not a big turner of the ball, Kumble is the second highest wicket taker among leg spinners in Test cricket behind leg spinner Shane Warne of Australia and the third of all bowlers after Warne and off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka and has claimed 619 Test wickets. He is one of only two bowlers in the history of cricket to have taken all 10 wickets in a test innings, the other being Jim Laker of England.


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