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Top 10 Best Cricket Bowlers of All Time

  • Post category:Cricket
  • Reading time:26 mins read
  • Post last modified:July 28, 2023

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We always cover the great sporting icons of their own sport. In this post, we will talk about the top 10 best cricket bowlers of all time.

Cricket, often referred to as the “gentleman’s game,” has produced some exceptional talents over the years. Among the various roles within the sport, the art of bowling stands out as a pivotal aspect that can single-handedly influence the outcome of a match.

From the early days of the game to the modern era, there have been numerous legendary bowlers who have left an indelible mark on cricket’s rich history.

This list pays tribute to the top 10 best cricket bowlers of all time, who have mesmerized fans and challenged even the most formidable batsmen with their skills and mastery.

These bowlers have not only displayed exceptional talent but have also exhibited remarkable consistency and longevity in their careers. Their extraordinary contributions have not only earned them accolades but have also inspired generations of aspiring bowlers to follow in their footsteps.

From the fierce pace bowlers who can send shivers down the spine of the opposition to the cunning spinners who can bamboozle batsmen with their flight and turn, this illustrious group of bowlers represents a diverse range of styles and approaches. Each bowler on this list possesses a unique set of qualities, making it challenging to rank them, but their impact on the game is undeniable.

Join us as we embark on a journey through cricketing history, celebrating the careers of these bowling maestros who have etched their names into the annals of the sport, forever immortalized for their exceptional contributions and brilliance on the field. Let us relive their unforgettable moments and cherish the artistry that makes them the finest cricket bowlers to have graced the hallowed turf.

Top 10 Best Cricket Bowlers Of All Time

10 Dennis Lillee

Image Credit- Cricket Australia

Country: Australia

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Stats in ODIsMatchesWicketsBest Figures5 Wicket Haul

Dennis Lillee hailed as one of cricket’s preeminent fast bowlers, undeniably stands tall among the greatest cricket bowlers of all time. Born on July 18, 1949, in Subiaco, Perth, Western Australia.

Lillee’s meteoric rise in the cricketing world was marked by his ferocious right-arm pace and an indomitable spirit that struck fear into the hearts of even the most accomplished batsmen.

Alongside the legendary Jeff Thomson, Lillee formed an iconic new ball partnership, their collective prowess being revered as one of the finest bowling duos ever witnessed on the pitch.

Throughout his illustrious career that spanned from 1969 to 1988, Lillee’s journey was not without its share of trials. A fiery temperament, coupled with an aggressive on-field demeanor, added to the enigma of this cricketing icon. He donned the colors of Western Australia, Tasmania, and Northamptonshire, making significant contributions to each team’s success.

Lillee’s Test debut on January 29, 1971, against England marked the beginning of a legendary saga, and he continued to leave an indelible impact on the cricketing world until his last Test match against Pakistan on January 2, 1984.

His prowess extended beyond Test matches, as he excelled in One Day Internationals (ODIs) too, making his ODI debut against England on August 24, 1972, and concluding his ODI career on June 18, 1983, against the formidable West Indies.

Achieving the milestone of 355 Test wickets, Lillee set a record that stood unmatched until his retirement in 1984, a testament to his unwavering dedication and skill.

His blazing speed in the early stages of his career provided a spectacle for cricket aficionados worldwide, but a series of stress fractures in his back nearly threatened his career. Undeterred, Lillee made a triumphant comeback, reinventing his bowling action to become even more potent and effective, adding an extra dimension to his already formidable arsenal.

Beyond the sheer volume of wickets, Lillee’s average of 23.92 is a testament to his consistent brilliance, capable of dismantling any batting lineup. The impact he left on the game was not just confined to statistics but transcended into a lasting legacy that inspired generations of bowlers to come. His contributions to the sport earned him widespread recognition and reverence, leaving an enduring mark on the annals of cricketing history.

His artistry with the ball, his unwavering determination, and his never-say-die attitude have etched him into the hearts of cricket fans worldwide, making him an immortal figure in the pantheon of cricketing greats.

9 Curtly Ambrose

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Country: West Indies

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West Indies is well known for producing fast and fearsome bowlers and one of them was Sir Curtly Ambrose. His 6-foot-7 stature and his fast speed are enough to break any opposition lineup.

He played for the West Indies from 1988 to 2000 and was known for his intimidating height and pace, as well as his ability to consistently take wickets.

He was also known for his accuracy and his ability to bowl long spells, making him one of the most feared bowlers in the world during his career.

Ambrose was the most dominant bowler taking 405 wickets in just 98 test matches. His lethal pace, bounce, and swing were devastating for any bowler. Ambrose and Walsh were the best deadly duos in world cricket at their time. Curtly Ambrose is number 9 in our list of the top 10 best cricket bowlers of all time.

8 Allan Donald

Image Credit- Wisden

Country: South Africa

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Stats in ODIsMatchesWicketsBest Figures5 Wicket Haul

Allan Donald, renowned as one of cricket’s most exceptional bowlers, has left an indelible mark on the sport with his electrifying speed and unparalleled skill, earning him the fitting moniker of “White Lightning.”

A stalwart in the annals of cricket history, Donald’s illustrious career is punctuated with remarkable achievements and records that firmly establish his position as one of the greatest bowlers of all time.

In the realm of Test cricket, Allan Donald soared to the summit of the ICC Test rankings in 1998, peaking with an impressive rating of 895 points the following year, a feat that places him 31st on the all-time list.

In One Day Internationals (ODIs), he reached a commendable ranking of 794 points in 1998, securing the second spot just behind his teammate Shaun Pollock. Donald’s ODI bowling career strike rate of 21.78 stands as one of the most formidable strike rates in the history of the format, showcasing his prowess and effectiveness on the field.

An emblem of wicket-taking prowess, Allan Donald etched his name in cricketing lore as the first-ever South African to achieve the monumental milestone of 300 Test wickets.

Throughout his distinguished career, he claimed a total of 330 wickets in 72 Test matches and an additional 272 wickets in 164 ODIs, underscoring his consistency and impact across both formats.

Though ranked fourth in a list of South Africa’s greatest fast bowlers, Allan Donald’s legacy is no less illustrious, having paved the way for a new generation of quicks in the country.

His contemporaries may have surpassed him in subsequent rankings, but Donald’s influence and contributions to South African cricket remain undeniable, and he continues to inspire awe among cricket enthusiasts.

His remarkable contributions to South African cricket and the awe-inspiring statistics he amassed throughout his career solidify his place among the pantheon of cricketing greats, leaving an enduring impact on the sport and the hearts of fans worldwide.

7 Joel Garner

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Country: West Indies

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A proper Bowler is said to be one who has pace, bounce, and swing and Joel Garner has everything.

Joel Garner was one of the greatest bowlers West Indies has produced. It would be difficult for any batsmen to react when Garner used to produce Bouncers.

The 6’7” standing assassin was unplayable at his time. the presence of Graner in the team was always a great boost for the West Indies team.

He is known for his economical bowling. Garner took 259 wickets in 58 Tests with an economy of 20.97 which is far superior to anyone else. Joel Garner is number 7 in our list of top 10 best cricket bowlers of all time.

6 Richard Hadlee

Image Credit- Cricket Australia

Country: New Zealand

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Richard Hadlee, an esteemed figure in cricketing history, stands tall among the pantheon of all-rounders and is revered as one of the most exceptional fast bowlers to have graced the sport.

Often hailed as the supreme exponent of bowling with the new ball, Hadlee’s mastery of conventional swing earned him the moniker of the “original Sultan of Swing,” a testament to his unparalleled skill.

Having represented New Zealand in 86 Test matches, Hadlee’s astonishing tally of 431 wickets at an average of 22.29 attests to his remarkable talent and consistency.

In the limited-overs arena, he showcased his bowling brilliance in 115 One Day Internationals (ODIs), taking 158 wickets at an impressive average of 21.56, a testament to his adaptability across formats.

Hadlee’s crowning moment came in 1985 when he delivered one of the most awe-inspiring performances in Test history, recording figures of 9/52 against Australia in Brisbane.

By the time Hadlee bid farewell to international cricket in 1990, his legacy had been firmly cemented as one of the all-time great fast bowlers. His contributions lifted New Zealand to unprecedented heights in the Test arena, inspiring generations of cricketers in the country and leaving an enduring legacy that continues to inspire awe and admiration among cricket enthusiasts worldwide.

5 Courtney Walsh

best cricket bowlers of all time
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Country: West Indies

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Stats in ODIsMatchesWicketsBest Figures5 Wicket Haul

Courtney Walsh does not need any introduction here. Taking more than 500 wickets is not a cup of tea for everyone. He was the most impressive bowler and one of the greats in world cricket.

Walsh is well known for an exceptional opening bowling spell alongside his countryman Curtly Ambrose for several years.  He was also the first bowler to reach 500 wickets in Test cricket.

He was known for his accuracy, control, and ability to generate swing and seam movement. Walsh played for the West Indies national team from 1984 to 2001 and is best known for his outstanding performances in Test matches.

Walsh’s longevity and consistency make him one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time and a true cricketing legend.

4 Wasim Akram

best cricket bowlers of all time
Image Credit- Wisden

Country: Pakistan

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Wasim Akram, undoubtedly one of cricket’s greatest fast bowlers, stands tall as the epitome of left-arm fast bowling excellence, earning him a place among the sport’s immortals.

Revered as one of the finest bowlers in cricket history, Akram’s ascent in international cricket during the late 1980s was nothing short of meteoric, solidifying his position in the formidable Pakistan team that toured the West Indies in 1988.

Though a groin injury momentarily hindered his progress, Akram’s determination and resilience propelled him back into the limelight in the 1990s, where he emerged as a master of swing and precision.

As a bowler, Akram’s skill set was unparalleled, capable of generating late movement both through the air and off the pitch, employing subtle changes of pace to outwit batsmen.

His repertoire of weapons was vast, boasting inswing, outswing, yorkers, and bouncers in his arsenal, making him one of the most versatile bowlers in the annals of cricket history.

Alongside his compatriot Waqar Younis, Akram pioneered the revolutionary use of reverse swing, a phenomenon that led to unfounded allegations of ball-tampering due to their overwhelming command of this art.

Akram’s achievements are nothing short of monumental, being the first bowler to surpass the milestone of 400 wickets in both Tests and ODIs, a testament to his unwavering longevity, durability, and relentless ability to take wickets consistently.

In 2009, Akram was deservedly inducted into the International Cricket Council’s prestigious Hall of Fame, a fitting tribute to his exceptional career and the lasting impact he has had on the sport. Wasim Akram is number 4 in our list of the top 10 best cricket bowlers of all time.

3 Shane Warne

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Country: Australia

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Stats in ODIsMatchesWicketsBest Figures5 Wicket Haul

Shane Warne is one of the best spinners and the greatest bowler of all time. He was the only bowler to be featured in the Wisden Cricketers of the Century.

The other four players featured in the list are Sir Donald Bradman, Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Jack Hobbs, and Sir Vivian Richards.

Shane Warne was the only bowler other than Muralitharan to take more than 700 wickets in test matches.

His miraculous ball to out Mike Gatting in the 1993 Ashes, is termed the “Ball of the Century,”. Warne also holds a world record for most wickets in a calendar year(96).

2 Glenn Mcgrath

best cricket bowlers of all time
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Country: Australia

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Stats in ODIsMatchesWicketsBest Figures5 Wicket Haul

Glenn McGrath is the greatest fast bowler Australia has ever produced. Though he does not have the pace of other bowlers accuracy is parred excellence. He was one of the most economical bowlers of all time.

Mcgrath had 563 Test wickets in 124 matches with an impressive average of 21.64 including 381 ODI wickets in 250 matches. He also holds the record for most wickets in the World cup(71).

holds several records, including the most wickets taken by an Australian fast bowler in Test cricket.

He is also known for his remarkable consistency, with an average of 21.64 in Test cricket and 22.02 in One Day Internationals. He is considered a cricketing legend and is remembered for his contribution to the sport.

1 Muttiah Muralitharan

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Country: Sri Lanka

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Stats in ODIsMatchesWicketsBest Figures5 Wicket Haul

Muttiah Muralitharan is the most successful bowler of all time. Nobody has dominated the bowling, the way Muralitharan has done in his cricketing career.

He took a total of 1334 wickets including tests and day international which is still a world record.

Muralitharan holds the record as the highest wicket-taker in Tests (800) and ODIs (534). He is also the fastest bowler to pick up 350, 400, 450, 500, 600, and 700 Test wickets.

No doubt Muralitharan is the greatest off-spinner of all time and tops in the list of the top 10 best cricket bowlers of all time.

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