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A strong bowling order is vital for a strong team. A good bowler has the capability of overturning the whole match in favor of his team. The history of cricket has witnessed a myriad of great bowlers over the years. Choosing the top 5 was like a Catch-22. However, with great thought put into it, we came up with our picks of the top 5 best bowlers in the world.

 

5. Curtly Ambrose (West Indies)

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Curtly Ambrose is one of the finest bowlers in the history of cricket. Ambrose was a terrific fast bowler who took great advantage of his 6ft 8 in height to execute high bounces at an outstanding pace. He has played 98 Test matches taking 405 wickets at an impressive bowling average of 20.99 and 176 ODIs with 225 wickets under his belt at an average of 24.12). These figures are the representation of the fact that he is one of the best bowlers in the world. Curtly Ambrose bid adieu to international cricket in 2000 and had a promising 12-year long career. Owing to his fantastic performances as a pacer, he earned a place in the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.

 

4. Glenn McGrath (Australia)

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Much of the credit for the Australian cricket team’s glory during the 90s go to their sturdy bowling department, and Glenn McGrath spearheaded the team’s fast bowling. “Pigeon” is regarded as one of the best fast bowlers of all time.  The seamer is known for his accuracy and finely executed swings which made him a prolific wicket-taker. Robust and tenacious, he had a knack for hunting down the strongest batsmen of the opposition team.

He has played four World Cup tournaments, and with 71 wickets, he holds the title of taking is the highest number of wickets in World Cups. With 563 wickets in 124 Test matches, McGrath ranks fifth in taking the most wickets in Test cricket. Having such impressive records, he is among the best bowler in the world.

 

3. Shane Warne (Australia)

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Shane Warne is one of the best bowlers in the world. He entered the world of international cricket in 1992 in a Test match against India. It wasn’t the most remarkable debut for him. However, with his tenacity and impressively evolving bowling action, he went on to become the most invaluable leg-spinner for the team. Warne’s prominence is attributed to the fact that during the era of domination of fast bowlers, his entry provided a quantum leap to spin bowling. He was a skillful spinner and his bowling actions were composed of numerous subtle variations, which proved to be a nightmare for the batsmen.
With 708 scalps in 145 Test matches, Warne is the second-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket. Additionally, he also holds the records of taking second-most five-wicket hauls (37) and ten-wicket hauls (10), both of which he achieved in Test cricket. Besides making such a splendid Test record, he was also an impressive ODI player. With a bowling average of 25.73, he has 293 wickets in 194 ODIs to his name.

 

2. Anil Kumble (India)

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Anil Kumble was the most challenging bowler in the Indian cricket team. He was single-handedly capable of winning the match for the team. “Jumbo” was a wizard of spin bowling who did not deliver any ordinary spins. He combined his spin with pace and aimed with accuracy, making it difficult for the batsmen to hit the shot. His capability of bowling even in an injured state with an equally marvelous bowling action made him a fearsome bowler.

Kumble is third only after Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne in taking the most number of wickets in Test cricket (619 scalps in 132 matches). His best bowling figure is his spell of 10/74 against Pakistan in 1999. He is the first Indian bowler to reach the 300 Test wickets milestone. He is undoubtedly one of the best bowlers in the world.

 

1. Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka)

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The most troublesome bowler no cricketer wished to face, Muttiah Muralitharan is the best bowler ever produced by Sri Lanka. He stormed into the international stage as a spectacular wrist-spinning off-spinner, becoming the first-ever to exhibit the unique bowling action. His stunning off-breaks and doosra gave a tough time to batsmen. Just a look at his records and it’s evident why he is the best bowler in the world.
Muralitharan holds the holds of taking the highest number of wickets in Test cricket (800 scalps in 133 matches) and the most wickets in ODIs (534 scalps in 350 matches). He is the only cricketer to have such a unique record of highest wickets in both the formats of the game. He is also the record-holder of having the most five-wicket hauls (67) in international cricket.

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