Fast bowlers play a quintessential role in mounting pressure on the opposition and force the batters into making errors. With speed and accuracy in their repertoire, the fast bowlers have often ruffled the batters’ feathers, which serve as a catalyst for them to take wickets. Fast bowlers don’t necessarily require pace to outsmart the batsmen during the passage of play.
With a barrage of variations in their sleeve, the pacers generate movement and bounce off the pitch depending on the wicket and literally make it tough for the batsmen to middle the balls accurately. On top of that, the fast bowlers also apply tactics like the swing and seam to trick the batters in a bid to take wickets. Meanwhile, India have always been a nation that has produced top-quality bowlers in their history.
In this article, we will now take a glimpse at the top ten greatest Indian fast bowlers of all time.
10. Ashish Nehra
Ashish Nehra was one of the greatest fast bowlers India has ever produced. The former Indian pacer was sharp and decisive with the ball in the initial overs and has well and truly helped the team take wickets early on. With subtle bowling variations of accurate line and length, he was able to keep the batters in check. He took 235 wickets in international cricket.
9. Venkatesh Prasad
Venkatesh Prasad was more effective on wickets that assisted seam bowling. One of his best moments came during the 1996 Cricket World Cup, when he was smashed for a four by Pakistan batter Aamir Sohail and the latter sledged him. On the next ball, he clean bowled Sohail, which was the turning point of the game. It helped India win the game. Overall, he took 196 wickets in ODIs and 96 wickets in Tests.
8. Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is widely regarded as one of the best swing bowlers in the world and what really sets him apart is his incredible ability to swing the ball both ways quite productively. He has time and again troubled the batters with his deadly inswingers and kept them in check. The experienced fast bowler has taken 63 wickets in Tests, 141 wickets in ODIs and 90 wickets in T20Is.
7. Irfan Pathan
Irfan Pathan was one of the integral fast bowlers of the Indian cricket team during the heydays of his cricketing career. The former left-arm paceman was best known for his potential to take wickets in clutch moments of the game, which made him one of the best in the business. With pace and swing in his arsenal, he was able to take 301 wickets in international cricket.
6. Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami is one of the greatest fast bowlers in the history of Indian cricket. He is one of the very few bowlers of this modern-day game who doesn’t bowl too many bad deliveries. He constantly pitches the ball at right areas to get wickets for the team. The experienced campaigner has taken 225 wickets in Test cricket, 162 wickets in One Day Internationals and 24 wickets in Twenty20 Internationals.
5. Ajit Agarkar
Ajit Agarkar who has played for Team India in more than 200 international matches across formats has bowled several match-winning spells when it mattered the most. However, when he went past his prime, he was easily predictable. Rated as one of the top-notch bowlers, Ajit Agarkar has taken 58 wickets in Tests, 288 wickets in ODIs and 3 wickets in T20Is.
4. Ishant Sharma
Ishant Sharma is one of the few top-tier pacers who has represented the Indian cricket team across all three formats of the game. Right now, he is not in the grand scheme of things in the Indian bowling set-up across formats. During his prime, he used pace and bounce to trouble the batters and take wickets when it mattered the most. He took 311 wickets in Tests, 115 wickets in ODIs and 8 wickets in T20Is.
3. Javagal Srinath
Javagal Srinath was one of the important fast bowlers for India from 1991 to 2003. He is considered among India’s greatest fast bowlers. It is worth mentioning here that Javagal Srinath is the first Indian fast bowler to take more than 300 wickets in the 50-over format. He finished his cricketing career with 236 wickets in Tests and 315 wickets in ODIs.
2. Zaheer Khan
Zaheer Khan was one of the greatest fast bowlers Team India has ever produced. The former left-arm paceman who was part of the ICC ODI World Cup 2011 winning squad has bowled several match-winning and impactful bowling spells for Team India. He was exceptionally good at providing breakthroughs for the team in clutch moments. He has taken 311 wickets in Tests, 282 wickets in ODIs and 17 wickets in T20Is.
1. Kapil Dev
Kapil Dev was regarded as one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time. Moreover, he was truly the most accurate of all time during the playing days of his cricketing career. The 1983 World Cup winning captain has bagged as many as 434 wickets in the longest format whereas he has bagged 253 wickets in ODIs. Overall, he took 23 fifers in Tests and a solitary fifer in ODIs.