The Art of fast bowling is one of the most fascinating subjects.Over the last Century the skill has developed like in anyother field.Bowlers bowl; at faster speed ,are more hostile and have developed new ways 0of swinginging the ball(Reverse Swing)
Below I am listing my 12 best fast bowlers.I have combined everyfactor-accuracy,ability to swing the ball both ways ,versatliaty ,control and action.
THe most complete fast bolwer of all time.He could swing the ball both ways ,had asuperb leg-cutter,an effective bouncer and could produce subtle changes of pace.He posessed acl;assical action combined with hostility and agression.In his early days he was tearway fast but became abetter bolwer when he reduced his pace and concentrated on controlled swing and cut.His 6-26 at Melbourne in the Centenary test in 1977 against England was aclassical spell-amongst the graetset of all time where he rattled England with one of the most hostile exhibitins of pace bowling.He repeated that at Melbourne agains against England in 1979-80 ona falt track whee he bolwed seam up.He alos punished the WEst Indies with 7-83 at Melbourme in 1981-82 with 10 wickets in the match enabling Australia to win win the tset match.
Lillee also bolwed particularly well in England like his 10 wickets at the Oval in 1972 and his 7-89 and 10 wickets overall at the Oval in 1981-82.He had ever-consistent wicket hall sin test series and in World Seies Cricket captured 79 wickets in 15 supertsets agaisnt graet stalwarts like Viv and Bary Richards.After Packer Cricket for 3 succesive Australian seasons was the Chapion bolwer-1979-80,1980-81 and 1981-82,his supremacy marginally challenged by Holding and Imran.
He has acptured 5 wickets per test and had his Packer 79 wickets been added would have taken the magic 400.Never tried effectively on the sub-continent pitches.
With Dennis Lillee ,the most agressive fast bowler of all time.He was very fast but could also swing the ball both ways and p[osessed adeadly skidding boucer.No fast bowler had such an effective short ball.Marshall produced an unplayable Banana Swing and could be effective at amarginally recuced pace.Some of his shooters doubled their speed afoer impact on the ground.Even the graetset fast blwers did not have some of the deliveries in Marshalll's weaponry.At his best in Australia ona dead wicket at Adelaide whee he captured 10 wickets and at Sydney on aturning track when he took 10 wickets ona spinners track.Mesmerisng on the subcontinemt wickets like when he took 33 wickets in India in 1983-84 and 16 in Pakistan in 1986.In 1988 in England bolkwed perhaps better than any fast bolwer ever in England capturing 35 wickets at 12.88producing unplayable bounce and deceptive movement.Remarkable Srtike rate of 46.7 and avearge of 20.94 taking 376 wickets.
No bolwer has borne the brunt of ataem's attck as much as Sir Richard Hadlee.On agreen top hew as the most lethal of all bolwers.He was supremely effective in the Corridor.Taking 431 wickets in 86 tsets was afbuluos considering he had no support and his perform,ance of 33 wickets in 3 tset matches in 1985-86 in Austarlia was phenomenal.Bowled well in India in 1989 but hardly exposed in the sub-continent.Sometimes lacked agression when attcked and not so effective on the palcid tarcks where his lack of versatality went against him.Had adeadly outswinger and more control than any fast bolwer,bar Glen Mcgrath.
The greatest Asian fast bowler of all time,bar possibly Wasim Akram.Combined with afine action,he had an explosive pace and could produce prodigious swing in all conditions.With Wasim,the graetset ever bolwer with an old ball.He had great agression deploying the bouncer to ruthless use His thunderbolt inswinger was perhaps the best the authot has seen,like when he bolwed Gavaskar and Vishwanath in the Karachi tset in 1982-83 captturing 5-3 in that spell.Above all he has been a great match-winner.HIS 12 for 165 at Sydney in 1976-77 enabled Pakisatn to draw a series for the first time in Austrlai and win their first ever tset on Australain soil.In 1982-83 he captured 40 wickest in a6 tset match series agaisnt India on the dad Pakistan tracks,enabl;ig Pakistan to win 3-0.In 1987 his hall of 10-89 at Leeds which won the tse match played a major role in Pakisatn winning their first ever series on Englisgh soil.aftercoming so close before.In 1988 he captured 23 wckets in the West Indies and alamost won a tset series for Pakisatn,whichwould have given them the unofficial test world championship.(No team won atset serise thee since Ian Chappel's Australians in 1973)In the fisrt tset he captured 11 wickest and enabled Pakisatn to win th atest match for the first time by any overseas team in WEst Indise since Australai in 1978.At his best in 1981-1983 when he captured 21 wickets in England,bolwing brillinatly at Headingley and Edgbaston.His 2 5 wicket haul spells at Karachi and Hyderabad in 1982-83 versus India rank amongst the graetset of all time.
The most versatile bolwer of all..He could swing the ball both ways ,cut it both ways and could bowl 12 different delivberies in 2 overs.His inswinging yorkerwas the best of all fast bolwers.In addition he posessed aclassical action,a lethal pace initially and intelligent variation of pace.Captited half of his wickets on the sub-continent.In consistent towards the end of his career and affected by politics like match-fixing ,captancy rivalry Etc.THe garetset bolwer ever in the one day games and in the death overs exhibited genius.With Waqar on helpful conditions their duo was more effective than Lillee and Thomson.Had more natutal ability than Imran, but could not win enough matches for Pakisatn because of stong individuality in the team.At his best in New Zealand in 1994 when he captured 25 wickets and in Ausralia in 1989-90when he captured 19.Almsot won a2 tset series in WEst Indises in 2000 capturing 10 wickets in the final test.9Pakisatn almsot cliched their first ever test series win in the Carribean) and similarly in 1988 bolwed brilliantly in the Carribean alamost helping Pakisatn to win the Barbados tset and win their first ever series in the Carribean and the test world chamoionship.(Bowled faster than Marshall)
THe most versatile fast bolwer after Akram and Lillee.At his fastest outpace Lillee and had greater armoury of deliveries thanany West INdian bolwer ever.He had 2 bouncers a slower one and an unplayable faster one.His outswinger was deadly as well as his offcutter.Had more control tha any WEst Indian paceman.At his best in India in 1974-75 (32 wickest at 19)and in Australia in 1975-76.(22 wickets at 26)Had nos assistance in India and single0handedly led theattcks.He had subtle variations in pace and would make a60 over old ball cut back.After Packer CRicket lost his pace but bolwed superbly against India in1982-83 ina home tset series924 wickest including a match-winning 5 wicket haul in the 2nd Innings at Kingston) and in the World Cup final.
His bolwing reminded one of a Rolls Royce Car-sheer poetry in motion.Posessed the most graceful action of all sat bolwers and possibly the most perfect.He was with Jeff Thomson the fastset bolwer of his era .In tems of consistent pace I rate him the fastset of all .Had great accuracy and his 14 wicket haul at the Oval on adead pitch against Engalnd in 1976 is to me the greatset spell of fast bolwing ever-all victims bolwed or leg before.In Packer Cricket he was so fast tha batsman would wish to face Andy Robers and avoid Holding.At his best in Australia in 1981-82 (24 wickets)and in England in 1976.On the deadest tracks could extract pace.Bowled superbly on the subcontinent capturing 30 wickets i 6 tets in India in 1982-83 ,wher he overshadowed Marshall in pure bolwing skill.He would swing the ball both ways at areduced pace.
With Hadlee has more control than any fast bolwer.In the corridor he is unplayable and has been found letal by the likes of the Laras and Tendulkars.Staistically he is the graetset ever bolwer.At his best in WEst Indisein 1998 when he captured 30 wicketys he has alos been succesful on the subcontinent and in the seaming English Conditions.(38 wickest in 1997 Ashes series)Adavantage of palying for a chamoion j team but yet not as agressive as the fastest of all time.
Unplayable at times with his steep bounce,he was effective in all conditins.Ona bad wicket he would beat the best of his era.Bore the brunt of aweak WEst Indian team and his bolwing spells produced many a sensational victory.He was deadly accurate.His 6-wicket haul in 1994 when England were bowled out for 46 chasing a meagre 190 runs and 6 wickets in 1992 at Barbados when South Africa were chasing 201 runs and needed only 79 runs with 8 wickets left,displayed his ability to winlost matches.His 7-33 at Perth and his 8-45 at Barbados versus England were alao match-winning spells.Amazing average of 20.99
The graetset South African Fast bolwer.Had agraet bolwing action with deadly speed.A most economical average of 22.25 with a brilliant strike rate of 47 balls per wicket.Effective on bouncy,seaming amd slowtracks.
Reminded one of Holding.This bolwing metronome was no great swinger but he had dedaly control .The range for which he bowled made him an all-time graet considering that he botre the brunt of aweak team.Bowled like a chamoion on the Indian dead wickets.At hsi fastsetw as letal but almost unpalyable when incomplete control.Effective in all conditions wjther ion fast or slow tracks.
Fast-Medium but actually as effective as any great bolwer.The bset ouitswin bolwere who captured half pf his wickets on the dead sub-continent surfaces.His 7-56 and 4-90 at Madra was amatch-wining peformce against Pakisatn in 1979-80.His 5-28 at Melboune against Australia in 1981 which enabled India to drwa a serise inAustralai for the first time and hsi 8 wickets at Lords in 1986 when India won their first ever tset at Cricket's mecca showed his matc h-winning prowess.In 1982 his 8 wickest at Lords was a classocal exhibition of seam bowling.Performances like his 9-83 atAhmedabad in 1983 versus West Indies and hsi capturing 33 wickets in the entire series revealed his graetness.He could bolw through an innings and with effective support could have been as good as Lillee or Roberts.Troubled champions like Viv Richards,even in WEst INdies in 1983 and 1989.
I am only writing about bolwers that I have seen.Forgive me for not writing about Lindwall,Miller Truemna,Sydney Barnes or Harold Larwood.