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Top 10 Greatest Fast Bowlers Of All Time

Fast bowlers are the asset for the team in every way. Let us take a look back to relive the memory of and check out the top 10 greatest fast bowlers of all time. Do comment

Last updated: 20.07.2020
Top 10 Greatest Fast Bowlers Of All Time | Sports Social Blog

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Oh my goodness! How do you play that delivery – this might be the exact reaction from the commentator when he was stunned to see the batsman getting Clean bowled by the yorker from the pacer.


Fast bowlers are the asset for the team in every way – getting the Unplayable swing in the early overs of the game or reversing the old ball in the slog overs to break the momentum of team.  



Between Greatest fast bowler and fast bowler there is clear difference – not all “fast bowlers are greatest” When it comes to consistency – fast bowlers are prone to series of injuries in their career so it's difficult to maintain fitness and consistency but there are “rare breed of bowlers” who stood out always in terms fast bowlers and justified the tag of Greatest fast bowler of all time.


Cricket is a batsman game from the past few decades but still there are bowlers who have dominated this game single handily for years and keeping the audience in excitement always.


Still the bowler finds its way to terrorize.

Let us take a look back to relive the memory of some of the greatest fast bowlers of all time:


10.  Dennis Lillee:

There is no surprise for No.1 spot – bowler who has justified the tag of fast bowling and defines 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 and took wickets and trouble the batsman. The first bowler in the history to breach the barrier of 350 wickets mark.


He along with Jeff Thompson formed one of greatest bowling pairs ever in history of cricket.


Records In ODI – 63 matches, 103 wickets, 20.82 average, 3.58 Economy, 34.8 strike rate

Records In Tests – 70 matches, 355 wickets, 23.92 average, 3.58 Economy,  52.0 strike rate

Playing years – 1971-84

Country played for – Australia


9. Sir Richard Hadlee:

One of the greatest New Zealand bowler ever in their history. If a tag of Intelligent pacer in cricket it would be suited on Sir Richard Hadlee.

Most accurate bowler and had the ability to confuse the batsman with his lethal outswinger makes him most destructive bowler of his era. The first ever bowler in the history to breach the barrier of 400 wickets mark and ended at 431 wickets which was highest by that time among any bowler.

Records in ODIs – 115 matches, 158 wickets, 21.56 average, 39.1 strike rate, 3.30 Economy

Records in Tests – 86 matches, 431 wickets, 22.29 average, 50.8 strike rate, 2.63 Economy

Playing years – 1973-90

Country played for – New Zealand


8. Allan Donald:

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 was stand for – Short length deliveries at Raw pace Atherton was no where in picture.

21.78 average is one of best average in history among bowler who took 200 wickets – Allan Donald Stands above rest here.

Records In ODIs – 164 matches, 272 wickets, 21.78 average, 31.4 strike Rate, 4.15 Economy

Records In Tests – 72 matches, 330 wickets, 22.25 average, 47.0 strike Rate, 2.83 Economy

Playing years – 1991-2003

Country played for – South Africa


7. Joel Garner:

In top 5 of all time genius like him will always be. Its very rare to see when a bowler over the height of 6ft terrorize the batsman – Joel Garner was One of the them.

Batsman facing the delivery from the height of more than 7 feet was definitely something very difficult. Any batsman would definitely not like to go in front of bowler like Joel Garner even in the present day cricket?

Joel was the golden era of west indies team in 1970s and part of world winning team in 1979 where he took 5 wicket haul and helped his team in lifting the trophy in the final.

Records In ODIs – 98 matches, 146 wickets, 18.84 average, 36.5 Strike rate, 3.09 Economy

Records In Tests – 58 matches, 259 Wickets, 20.97 Average, 50.8 Strike Rate, 2.47 Economy

Playing years – 1977-87

Country Played for – West Indies


6. Dale Steyn:

Pace, swing, Bulls eye 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 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 South African pace attack on his shoulders and what he did after will definitely remember for the decades.

Blend of swing and pace he was the bowler of rare breed. 400th test wickets in just 80 match – he was the nightmare for the batsman and turn the batting friendly pitches into graveyard even the greatest batsmen 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.


Records in ODIs – 125 matches, 196 Wickets, 25.95 average, 31.9 Strike Rate, 4.87 Economy

Records In Tests – 93 matches, 439 wickets, 22.95 average, 42.3 Strike rate, 3.24 Economy

Playing years – 2004-2019

Country Played for – South Africa


5. Michael Holding:

The tag of “Whispering Death” was first came into limelight With Michael Holding. Run up was odd but the raw pace and bounce he generated was completely unplayable. The over to boycott in 1981 was the greatest exhibition of pace bowling. Even greats of 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 who was the another great batsman of this time.


Records In ODIs – 102 matches, 142 Wickets, 21.36 average, 38.5 Strike rate, 3.32 Economy

Records In Tests – 60 matches, 249 Wickets, 23.68 average, 50.9 Strike rate, 2.79 Economy

Playing years – 1975-87

Country played for – West Indies


4. Malcolm Marshall:

The golden years of West Indian Cricket when they have ruled the world cricket like no other in the history of cricket. The pace attack was one of the reason Why they were so dominating in any conditions.


Among pace attack of late 1970s and 80s, Malcolm Marshall was the another bowler from the army of great leaders. Who had threatened the batsman with Yorkers and bouncers and ended career of player like Andy Lloyd and Mike Gatting.


Among all pacers of west indies team he was shortest but the most deadliest ever. Other than bouncers, he had ability to swing both ways which was cheery on cake and make the batsman no where near him in any way.


Records In ODIs – 136 matches, 157 Wickets, 26.96 average, 45.7 Strike Rate, 3.53 Economy

Records In Tests – 81 matches, 376 Wickets, 20.94 average, 46.7 Strike rate, 2.68 Economy

Playing years – 1978-92

Country played for – West Indies


3. Imran Khan:

Genius of All rounder tag When cricket was more of bowling game. World Cup winning captain of 1992 team – that only calibre of player like Imran khan can do. Team was almost knockout at one point and the way he defined his leadership skills afterwards turned him into the greatest all rounder of modern era.


When he was bowling between 1980 to 1988 – Imran khan redefined himself most feared bowlers of all time by 236 wickets at an mind boggling average of 17.77 which was all time best in the history.


Records In ODIs – 175 matches, 182 Wickets, 26.61 average, 40.9 Strike rate, 3.89 Economy

Records In Tests – 88 matches, 362 Wickets, 22.81 average, 53.7 Strike rate, 2.54 Economy

Playing years – 1971-92

Country played for – Pakistan


2. Curtly Ambrose:

West Indies was going though the transition phase when another Interesting character came up like Curtly Ambrose. He along with Courtney Walsh formed the most destructive bowling pair in 90s era when batsman feared to face them.

With the factor like height, he was on the top of batsman and makes them surrender in front of him. With more than 1100 maidens under his belt, and 3rd best test average among 200 wickets and 10th fastest to reach the mark of 400 wickets in the hardest format of game – Justified the tag of Unplayable on him.


Records In ODIs – 176 matches, 225 wickets, 24.12 average, 41.5 Strike rate, 3.48 Economy

Records In Tests – 98 matches, 405 Wickets, 20.99 average, 54.5 Strike Rate, 2.30 Economy

Playing years – 1988-2000

Country played for – West Indies


1. Wasim Akram:

“King of the 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 most difficult bowler of his era.

Part of the golden era of Pakistan cricket team and the member of world winning team 1992 along with the leading wicket-taker in the tournament helped Pakistan to lift the trophy. He along with Waqar Yonis in the 90s formed the most feared bowling pairs in the history of Pakistan cricket.


Records In ODIs – 356 matches, 502 Wickets, 23.52 average, 36.2 Strike rate, 3.89 Economy

Records In Tests – 104 matches, 414 wickets, 23.62 average, 54.6 Strike rate

2.59 Economy

Playing years – 1984-2003

Country played for – Pakistan

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