Swing bowling is one of the most romanticised techniques in cricket history. The most enjoyable thing to witness is when the ball is swerving in the air and moved inches. A swing bowler is one of the most crucial players for any team, and only proficient swing bowlers are capable of forging unanticipated breakthroughs. There have been some best swing bowlers of all time who have enthralled fans with their skills. They have superb records and accomplishments. Both masters of the art and some of the great names of swing bowlers that come to mind have existed.
Here’s a list of Top 10 Best Swing Bowlers of All Time –
1. Waqar Younis
Waqar Younis was the best express fast bowler, also well known as the “King of Swing” for his slick long run-up, whippy sling type action, extreme pace and unplayable lethal swing. Waqar was always amazing to watch him sprint to the stumps as if he were in the Olympic 100-meter final before delivering his high-velocity deliveries. Waqar invented his own delivery in 1990s, the fast swing yorker, which he patents. No bowler in history has been better at getting the old ball to swing or more skilled at swinging the new or old ball at pace.
Some of the world’s best batsmen were staggered by his pace and movement, and he took wickets at an amazing rate. Waqar was a phenomenon because he disregarded many of the norms for fast bowlers. Over the years, the majority of quickies have favoured the hard, new ball and have utilised bouncers to frighten batsmen. Waqar, on the other hand, excelled at using reverse swing when the ball was worn and scratched. In One Day International games, Waqar Younis has claimed the fastest 300, 350, and 400 wickets. Great fast bowler Waqar Younis, carried the reverse swing legacy forward and became one of the technique’s top practitioners.
2. Wasim Akram
Wasim Akram, the “sultan of swing,” is widely regarded as one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time. Wasim akram is the master of swing because he could swing the ball far and seemingly at will in either direction. He could exploit the old ball in a way that few others had ever been able to, what is now known as reverse swing. There has never been a great bowler in cricket with a quick and deceptive arm movement like Wasim. He would hustle into the wicket after a short run to deliver the ball with an action that sent the ball flying at the batter more quickly than anyone could have imagined.
Wasim akram at his best, he had the speed to worry the best players and a rare ability to control any ball. With deliveries that appeared to swerve first one way and then the other through the air, he got many wickets by mastering the art of swing bowling, which involves getting the ball to move late through the air. With 916 total international wickets, Akram is one of the forerunners of swing bowling. He bowled two consecutive” unplayable” balls in the 1992 World Cup final, which resulted in the dismissal of English batters Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis.
3. Allan Donald
Allan Donald nicknamed “White Lightning” who is considered as one of the best fast bowlers in the test cricket history. Much of South Africa’s success in the 1990s is credited to Donald. He had a smooth approach and an effortless run-up before bursting into the delivery stride. Few pace bowlers can bowl from around the wicket with good control like he did. He was a world class fast bowler because of his extraordinary control while swinging the ball at great speed.
The top batsman was constantly kept alert by his skittish bouncers as well. He is the first successful South African fast bowler ever to record 300 Test wickets. In 1998, he was ranked top in the ICC Test Rankings. With 330 Test wickets at an average of 22.25 and 272 One Day International wickets at an average of 21.78, he held the record for most wickets taken by South African fast bowler. He took 20 five wickets haul, and three 10 wickets haul in his whole test career.
4. Sarfraz Nawaz
Sarfraz Nawaz is regarded as one of the best swing bowlers of all time, who set the trend the art of reverse swing bowling. Notably, he was the first bowler to introduce reverse swing in international cricket in the late 1970s, swinging the ball both ways and eventually passed on this art to Imran Khan, who then gave it to the legendary duo of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, who made it popular in the 1980s and 1990s.
Sarfraz Nawaz contributed to the improvement of the game as “the father of reverse swing”. He played 55 Test matches during which he took 177 wickets with bowling average was 32.75, economy rate was 2.49. He bowled outstanding reverse swing bowling in 1979 test in Melbourne against Australia. For 86 runs, he took nine wickets. Since the 1980s, fast bowlers all around the world use this reverse swing technique to take wickets and make any batsmen in the world unplayable, thanks to Sarfraz Nawaz for this contribution.
5. Chaminda Vaas
Due to Chaminda Vaas’ incredibly precise lines, lengths, and ability to swing the ball, Vaas is undoubtedly the best fast bowler, Sri Lanka has ever produced. Vaas is the first and only fast bowler from Sri Lanka to have 400 ODI wickets and more than 300 test wickets. He is still the fourth-highest wicket taker in the history of one day cricket with 40o wickets. He is the only bowler to take 8 wickets for just 19 runs in an ODI match and currently has the record for the best bowling figure in ODI history.
It is not surprising that 96 of his 343 test wickets have been caught leg before; this represents a high percentage for a seamer at 27.98%. He had taken 174 test wickets at Sri Lanka and 169 on the tour, demonstrating his value in all conditions. He took hat-trick twice in his ODI career, once against Zimbabwe at Colombo in 2001 and second against Bangladesh on the first three balls of the match in 2003 World cup. Vaas was also the leading wicket-taker with 26 wickets in 2003 World cup.
6. Imran Khan
Imran Khan developed his swing ball technique in the late 1970s and mastered the inswing and outswing deliveries. Imran’s fast pace made it impossible for batters to react to his brilliant swing because of how quickly he bowled. With Sarfraz Nawaz, he quickly rose to prominence as the inventor of swing bowling in the late 1970s. In his 88 games, he averaged more than four wickets per test, making him a terrific fast bowler in his own right.
In 1982, Imran was at the height of his skills as one of the best fast bowler. He recorded the lowest average of any fast bowler in Test cricket history with 62 wickets in 9 Tests at 13.29. Imran khan is also well known as one of the best all rounder in the world took 362 wickets and scored 3807 runs in 88 Tests with best bowling figures of 8/58 vs Sri Lanka. He also captured 182 wickets in ODIs, with the best bowling figures of 6/14 vs India.
7. Dale Steyn
Dale Steyn is certainly the greatest fast bowler of the modern era. He had a wiry build and a fiery run-up that produced an aerodynamic movement at his best, a ripper of an outswing. He swung the ball quickly, which is an extraordinarily difficult feat for any batsmen to overcome. He frequently bowl at the speed of 150 kmph and possesses an unusual ability to swing with control while moving at a high speed. In Nagpur in 2010 vs India, when he took 7-51 to lead South Africa to a thrilling victory, he also demonstrated his mastery of the reverse swing.
Steyn won the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year Award in 2008 for taking 78 wickets at an average of 16.24. Dale Steyn is the fastest South African bowler to reach the milestones of 100, 150, 200, and 250 Test wickets, as well as the fastest to reach 400 wickets based on the quantity of deliveries bowled. With 422 wickets, he overtook Shaun Pollock to become South Africa’s all-time greatest wicket-taker in Test cricket in December 2018.
8. Mohammad Asif
Mohammad Asif is undoubtedly regarded as one of the best swing bowlers of all time because of his brilliant control while bowling seam and swing anywhere in the world. Mohammad Asif is one of the most skilled and magical bowlers to ever take the cricket field. He has left his mark on history, a name that had ushered a cricket enthusiast into a time when the “ball would do the talking. He was undoubtedly one of the most feared fast bowlers also in 2000s for all the best batsmen in the world, and he frequently made star batsmen his bunnies like Kevin Pietersen, Hashim Amla, Ricky Ponting, Virender Sehwag and AB Devilliers.
Asif took total 106 wickets during his brief 23 Test matches career. He has recorded some outstanding bowling performances, including a ten-wicket haul and seven fifers in test cricket. He formerly ranked second among Test bowlers in the world, only behind Dale Steyn. During the Test match against India in 2006, Asif bowled to VVS Laxman was struck out with an magical inswing delivery and this delivery called the ball of the century.”
9. Zaheer Khan
Zaheer Khan is well known the second most successful and the best Indian fast bowler after Kapil dev. Zaheer Khan had perfected the reverse swing with the older ball and could swing the new ball both ways. He evolved into a cunning fast bowler who tricked the batsmen with his cunning and swing variety. Zaheer khan was the standout bowler for India to win 2011 World Cup. He led the list of highest wicket-takers in 2011 ICC World Cup with brilliant 21 wickets.
He took many wickets in addition to his pace and swing because of his propensity to occasionally catch the batter off guard with his oddly raising deliveries. India won the 2007 test series 1-0 vs England because to Zaheer Khan, who took superb 18 wickets in three Test matches. With 311 test wickets at the end of his career, Zaheer ranks second the most successful Indian fast bowler in test cricket only behind Kapil dev.
10. Shane Bond
Shane bond is the greatest fast bowler in New Zealand cricket history. Due to injuries, he was unable to enjoy a long career, but he dazzled everyone in the games he played at the highest level. Bond is considered as one of the best swing bowlers of all time, any batsmen feared playing against him because of his swinging yorkers and ability to swing the ball both ways. His athletic movement was focused on the inswing, and combined with his quickness, the ball swung quite late.
His highest delivery speed record stands at 156.4 km/h. He was the leading wicket-taker in the 2001-02 VB Series with 21 wickets at an economy rate of 16.38. He took magnificent 44 wickets of his 147 ODI wickets overall against the champion team Australia including “a hat-trick against them at Hobart.” During the 2002-03 season he took 60 international wickets at a very low average, which was phenomenal.
Read also: Top 10 Fastest Bowlers In The World