A bowler sets the tone for a cricket team. Good bowling means that the opposition batsman has difficulty reacting to the ball. Over the years, cricket lovers have watched some of the finest bowlers contribute significantly to the success of their teams in a sport where batters tend to hog the spotlight.
Who are some of the best fast bowlers of all time?
Best Fast Bowlers of All Time Ranked
- Shoaib Akhtar (Pakistan) – 161.3 Km/hr
- Shaun Tait (Australia) – 161.1 Km/hr
- Bret Lee (Australia) – 160.8 km/hr
- Andy Roberts (West Indies) – 159.5 km/hr
- Fred Treuman (England) – 159 km/hr
- Umran Malik (India) – 157 km/hr
- Dale Steyn (South Africa) – 156 km/hr
- Mitchell Johson (Australia) – 156.8 km/hr
- Shane Bond (New Zealand) – 156.4 km/hr
- Wasim Akram (Pakistani) – 145 km/hr
1. Shoaib Akhtar (Pakistan) – 161.3 Km/hr
Although he’s retired from the sport, Shoaib is one of the world’s best fast bowlers of all time. At the 2003 Cricket World Cup, his ball traveled at 161.3 km/hr, the fastest ever in international cricket.
Fondly referred to as the Rawalpindi Express, he made his test debut in 1997, played 150 matches, made his T20 debut in 2006, made nine appearances, and first played in a One Day International (ODI) match in 1998 and was capped 123 times.
The right-arm Pakistani bowler retired in 2011.
2. Shaun Tait (Australia) – 161.1 Km/hr
Shaun is one of the best Australian fast bowlers to have played the game. He recorded his fastest delivery at 161.1 km/hr in 2010 against England at the Lord’s cricket grounds in England.
The Aussie is a right-handed bowler who made his test debut in 2005 and played his last test match in 2008.
Fondly known as The Wild Thing, he played his first One Day International (ODI) game in 2007 and his last four years later.
At the T20, his first start came in 2007, and his last was in 2016. He spent his club career in India, Australia, Scotland, New Zealand, and others.
3. Bret Lee (Australia) – 160.8 km/hr
The Aussie is the second-fastest bowler in the history of the game. He fell short of his compatriot Shaun Tait but is still one of the best in Australia. His 160.8 km/hr shot came in 2005 against the All Blacks of New Zealand.
The right-handed bowler played all three forms of the game, having made his test debut in 1999, ODI debut in 2000, and T20 in 2005.
4. Andy Roberts (West Indies) – 159.5 km/hr
Roberts wrote his name into the history books in 1975 in Perth, Australia, when he bowled at a speed of 159.5 km/hr against the hosts.
He is West Indies’ fastest and one of the best fast bowlers of all time, winning the Cricket World Cup in 1975 and 1979. He was a right-hander and played 47 test matches and 56 ODI.
5. Fred Treuman (England) – 159 km/hr
The Englishman played cricket from the 1940s through to the 1960s. The game since has evolved so much that hitting at speeds above 150 km/hr back explains why he is considered the best England bowler of all time.
Additionally, he was the first bowler to make 300 wickets. The right-armed bowler made his test debut in 1952 and was capped 369 times.
His last game came in 1965 against New Zealand.
6. Umran Malik (India) – 157 km/hr
Malik is one of the best fastest bowlers currently. At 157 km/hr, he is the fastest bowler in India, a feat he recorded in May during an IPL match against Delhi Capital’s Rovman Powell. Malik has played in the IPL for a little over a year now.
He made his test debut in 2021 and is one of the sports’ rising stars. Before he clocked 157 km/hr, he still held the record for the fastest bowl at 154 km/hr, which is why he is India’s and IPL’s best fastest bowler right now.
7. Dale Steyn (South Africa) – 156 km/hr
Having bowled at 156 km/hr speeds, Steyn is one of the best fast bowlers South Africa has produced.
He achieved this feat in 2010 during an Indian Premier League match against the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Like many bowlers in this list, Dale played all forms of cricket – test, ODI, and T20. He made his test debut in 2007 and was capped 297 times. His first ODI start and T20 start came in 2005 and 200.
He retired from the game in 2021.
8. Mitchell Johson (Australia) – 156.8 km/hr
One of his career achievements would be bowling on home soil at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in the Ashes against England at 156.8 km/hr speeds.
His quick delivery made him one of the best left-arm bowlers, playing 73 test matches and 153 ODIs.
He walked away from the sport in 2018.
9. Shane Bond (New Zealand) – 156.4 km/hr
Despite his short career, Shane Bond leveraged his best days and produced one of the fastest bowling times in history.
During the 2003 Cricket World Cup, his ball traveled at 156.4 km/hr to the bat of the Indians and, just like that, booked his place in the history books.
The Kiwi played 18 test matches, 82 ODIs, and 20 T20 international matches.
10. Wasim Akram (Pakistani) – 145 km/hr
Akram is considered the best left-arm fast bowler of all time. He managed 145km/hr in the 1992/93 season against South Africa at his peak.
He was one of the most influential players on the team when Pakistan won the 1992 Cricket World Cup.
Wasim Akram only played the test and ODI versions of the game, starting with the ODI in 1984 and then going on to a test match a year later.
Wasim Akram stepped away from the game in 2003.