5 Greatest Australian Spinners of all time

Shane Warne is the figure everyone looks up to become a spinner.

Shane Warne
Shane Warne. (Image Credits: Twitter)

Spinners play a substantial role during the passage of the play. Spinners impart spin on the ball to trick the batters and create a wide range of challenges. The more they mount pressure on the batting unit, the better the possibility of taking wickets.

Be it any format, the spinner’s main motive is to take wickets by exploiting the conditions of the pitch. On top of that, skilful spinners don’t always depend on turning tracks. They use drift in the air and bounce off the surface to alter their variations.

Case in point, the Australian national cricket team have known for producing top-tier fast bowlers in their history. At the same time, the country has also produced some of the greatest spinners. Let’s go through the top five Australian spinners of all time.

5. Stuart MacGill

Stuart MacGill has been one of the effective spinners for Australia during the heydays of his career. What really makes him a class apart is the fact that he was a prodigious turner of the ball and was lauded for having the best strike rate of any modern leg-spin bowler.

Needless to say, the Mount Lawley-born wasn’t a regular feature in the Test set-up as he was under the shadows of Shane Warne in that particular position of a sole spinner. For the record, he was brought back into the mix in 2007 following Shane Warne’s retirement.

After a huge gap, he played his first Test against Sri Lanka before he announced his retirement from international cricket during the second Test of Australia’s 2008 tour of the West Indies. He took 208 wickets in 44 Tests including 12 fifers whereas he took 6 wickets in 3 ODIs.

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4. Richie Benaud

The majority of the fans in the cricket fraternity are well aware of the fact that Richie Benaud became a highly regarded commentator of the sport. However, before donning this role, he represented New South Wales and the Australia national cricket team.

He operated as a bowling all-rounder alongside fellow teammate Alan Davidson and played a telling impact in restoring Australia to the top of world cricket in the late 1950s and early 1960s in the wake of an immense downfall in the early 1950s.

Richie Benaud who had plenty of tricks such as leg breaks, googlies and top spinners under his sleeve took 248 wickets in 63 Tests including 16 fifers, registering his personal best figures of 7/78. Notably, he scored 2201 runs including 3 centuries and 9 fifties.

Read More: Top 10 Australian fast bowlers of all time

3. Clarrie Grimmett

Clarrie Grimmett was best known for his incredible potential to bowl flippers during his journey. He was able to force out of the front of the hand with the thumb and first and second fingers to keep the ball deceptively low soon after pitching.

Thus, the batters found it literally tough to play his deliveries. The former leg-spinner was a top exponent of ‘flippers’ and also had other tricks including the googly, top spin and so on, thus making him one of the top spinners in Australia at that point.

Clarrie Grimmet was a New Zealand-born Australian cricketer. He represented Australia in 37 Tests wherein he took 216 wickets. It is worth mentioning here that he has bagged a total of 21 five-wicket-hauls. He registered his personal best bowling figures of 7/40.

2. Nathan Lyon

Nathan Lyon is considered Australia’s most successful off-spinner and has also been one of the finest spin bowlers in the history of Test cricket. Ever since Lyon made his debut in 2011, there was no turning back since then.

Lyon holds the record for the most Test wickets claimed by an Australian off-spin bowler, edging past Hugh Trumble’s record of 141 wickets in 2015. Known for his wicket-taking ability, adaptability, control and accuracy, he developed plenty of variations in his bowling repertoire.

He was known for his famous off-break and the occasional doosra. Lyon, who is a regular feature in Tests took 496 wickets including 23 fifers and 4 ten-wicket hauls. On the contrary, he didn’t have a regular place in the ODI set-up wherein he took 29 wickets in 29 ODIs.

1. Shane Warne

Shane Warne is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest spinners of all time and the best spinner in the history of Australian cricket. He is the second-leading wicket-taker in Test cricket. Notably, he is also the second-leading wicket-taker in international cricket.

Shane Warne has taken a total of 1001 wickets (708 in Tests, 293 in ODIs) in international cricket. He bagged 37 fifers, 10 ten-wicket hauls in Tests and 1 fifer in ODIs. He had a knack for producing match-winning performances in pivotal matches and on big occasions.

Australia’s bowling great was known for his potential to extract prodigious turn and bounce from even the most batting-friendly pitches. Shane Warne perfected the art of bowling leg-spin and went on to become one of the all-time greats.

Read More: 5 Greatest New Zealand Spinners of all time