Most Dangerous Bowlers in Cricket
Cricket is a mind game played with heart. Spectators and fans discuss about action, technique and stance, but the game is about temperament, steel nerves and valor to face bowling hurricanes on the opposite end.
Cricket world has produced hundreds of great speed merchants ready to sell bone breaking deliveries to the batsmen. But few of them were just a step ahead, whispering fear of death in the ears of batsmen. Watching them was like witnessing cannon bombardment to bamboozle the enemy.
They loved to hear the melodious sound of the timber sneaking past all the batsman defenses. The batsmen are always on their toes, when ghost riders are on song. Let’s look at the top deadliest fast bowlers of all time in world cricket:
#1 Shoaib Akhtar
Shoaib Akhtar also nicknamed “Rawalpindi express” was a nightmare for batters across the globe. His thunderbolt pace made the life hell for the batsmen. He loved attacking the top pedigree of batsmen. His one lethal bouncer showed Brian Lara stars during the day and within seconds the batter was lying on the ground.
He got Sachin Tendulkar out of the first bowl he bowled him, leaving the stumps flying over the ground. It was more about survival than attack against the Rawalpindi express. His cobra biting Yorkers broke the toes of many batsmen. It was better getting out than getting injured. He is the fastest bowler in the world till date, clocking the rampage speed of 100.1 miles per hour.
#2 Jeff Thompson
Jeff Thompson along with Dennis Lillee was the most fearsome bowling partnership of all time. They hunted the batsmen like a lion hunts the deer. He was the first bowler to have a slinging action, making it almost impossible to catch the sight of the ball. He was lightning fast and played with the batsman psychology and invading them mentally. It was like hundred bullets fired at once on the batsmen.
During the 1974-75 Ashes, he gave English batsmen, a run for their life. No craft, no variation, it was pure brutal pace reading to tumble the wickets. Some modern greats called him the AK-47 of the eighties. During a test match against West Indies, he bowled the fastest ball of the time ticking the speed of 160.5 km/hr. (99.7 miles).
#3 Michael Holding
Michael Holding also nicknamed “Whispering Death”. Watching Michael Holding was like watching Conjuring 2 in 3D at the theatres. It was a horrific experience with dead end. His main weapon wasn’t Yorker or nagging line and length towards the off stump. He was brutal and targeted the batsman’s head. The chances of casualties were at a maximum. Those days the batsmen didn’t have helmets for protection. A minor judgment and you are gone. Playing against him was like going for war. Due to his clean and butter run up surprising the batsmen with bounce, he was called the whispering death. Michael Holding bowled the fastest delivery at the sheer pace of 95.2 miles (153.2 km/hr).
#4 Andy Roberts
Andy Roberts is by far the most deadly bowler of all time. Why? He had the habit of rattling the batsmen with his life threatening bouncers. Most of the batsmen couldn’t bear the pain and fell over the pitch. The crowd could see the blood on the pitch. They played hard, no mercy match against the opposition.
When the batsman expected bullet over his head, the pacer deceived them with the slower ball. He won numerous test matches on his own for the West Indies. He was a part of a band of deadliest bowlers of all time. There was nothing he couldn’t do with the ball. He used different traps for the batters, but when the speed merchant was in fourth gear, it was a sight to watch for the crowd. He bowled his fastest delivery at lightning speed of 97.8 miles (157.4 km/hr.)
#5 Allan Donald
Allan Donald will always be remembered as a war machine with heavy artillery items in the arsenal. The white lightening lotion on cheeks and nose made him a known name among households. He was a character always starting at the batsman eye, judging his instinct. His ferocious run up and horrific pace could shiver the spine of even the best.
He was never rattled by the reputation of the batsman and hurt them with his stinging deliveries. Allan Donald during his prime liked attacking the batman body trying to stop them from charging the ground. He was extremely consistent in both the formats of the game. His statistics were the best in terms of average.
Although, during the final years he was left to medium pace bowler due to injuries, but still is one of the greatest bowlers of all time. He was the fastest bowler of his time.
#6 Dennis Lillee
Off the field Dennis Lillee was the man with a heart of gold, but as he enters the cricket ground the scenario changed. He was a hawk targeting his prey or let’s call him the shark of fast bowling. He was ruthless bully, who could do anything to get his scalp. He could sledge, hurt batsman and outfox batsman with his crafty deliveries.
During his time, he was the only fast bowler to take 350 wickets in test matches, which was a world record for some time. He was the reason, why so many players across the globe aspired to become the fast bowler like him.
7# Mitchell Johnson
Australia’s Mitchell Johnson started his career has young speedster playing the second fiddle to Glen McGrath and Bret Lee. Post the legends retirement, the baton was passed to his robust hands to carry on the legacy forward.
It was the 2013 Ashes series, when the speedster displayed his ruthless avatar giving bruises and wounds to the batsmen making them feel feared. He rediscovered the lost aggressive brand of fast bowling, when the batsmen were found hopping against the rising deliveries.
He won the 2013 Ashes series single-handedly for his team Australia. The Duo Lee and Johnson were often compared to Lillie and Thompson during the fans.