Analysing The Greatest Left-Arm Fast Bowlers Ever
Shaheen Shah Afridi has performed really well since his international debut. He picked up two wickets for Pakistan Cricket against England in the first test match at Emirates Old Trafford. Add Mitchell Starc and Trent Boult to the list and you have a trio of excellent pacers who could. A trio that might be recognised among the best left-arm fast bowlers of all-time.
However, these bowlers still have a long way to go before they can be recognised as all-time greats within the cricketing fraternity.
But, who are the top 5 best left-arm fast bowlers of all-time?
Watch – England vs Pakistan Emirates Old Trafford 2020 – Rory Burns LBW to Shaheen Shah Afridi
5. Zaheer Khan
India’s best left-arm fast bowler of all-time played a significant part in India’s second biggest triumph in history. Throwback to the 2011 Cricket World Cup. As an 11 year old at the time, it still feels like yesterday.
Zaheer Khan was the joint highest wicket-taker in the competition. He and Shahid Afridi both picked up 21 wickets. In those 9 matches, Zaheer performed as well as he could have expected. Consistently picking up wickets for Team India and helping pave the way to a historic triumph.
Also, Read – Picking India’s All-Time Test XI
Zaheer Khan in test cricket has played 92 test matches and taken 311 wickets for Team India. A bowling average of under 33, given that he played a lot of his cricket in India, is a very good average. He was especially lethal in England in 2007, helping India to a test series victory abroad. Overall in England, Zaheer has picked up 31 wickets at 28. He also helped India to a test series victory abroad in New Zealand in 2009. Overall in New Zealand, Zaheer has taken 33 wickets at 28.
He had the ability to swing the new ball both ways. The fact that he was one of the best left-arm fast bowlers made the angle more difficult for batsmen to play. Zaheer also was very good at reversing the old ball.
Zaheer Khan is number five on our list of best left-arm fast bowlers of all-time.
4. Mitchell Johnson
Mitchell Johnson at his peak was a terrifying prospect. Just ask the English batsmen during the 2013/14 Ashes Series. He took an unbelievable 40 wickets during that test match series as Australia romped to a staggering 5-0 whitewash. Johnson bowled with venom, hostility and his bouncer was unplayable.
He played 73 test matches for Australia and picked up 313 wickets at 28.41. Johnson was particularly successful at home, in South Africa and in New Zealand. He averaged 25, 25 and 23 in those countries respectively.
The fact that he was a left-arm seamer also created a different angle for batsmen. His bouncer was his killer delivery and was very hard to negate due to the awkward angle. Johnson formed a formidable bowling attack with Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon. The quartet managed to thrash England in the 2013/14 Ashes and squeak out a close victory in South Africa in 2014.
He also helped Australia to win the 2015 Cricket World Cup, with consistent performances throughout the tournament.
Mitchell Johnson is number four on our list of best left-arm fast bowlers of all-time.
3. Chaminda Vaas
Chaminda Vaas remains the greatest fast bowler to have played for Sri Lanka. He was one of the best left-arm fast bowlers in the world during his time. In test match cricket, Vaas and Muralitharan were an awesome bowling partnership. In 111 test matches, he picked up 355 wickets for Sri Lanka at a bowling average below 30.
He was especially successful in New Zealand, in Pakistan and at home. Vaas picked up 36 wickets in New Zealand at an average of below 23. In Pakistan, Vaas took 39 wickets at 29 and in Sri Lanka he picked up 180 wickets at 26. Vaas could also move the ball both ways and reverse swing the old ball.
He was the highest wicket-taker at the 2003 Cricket World Cup, picking up 23 wickets in the tournament at a bowling average of 14.39. Incredibly, Vaas picked up a hat-trick of the first balls against Bangladesh at the tournament.
Chaminda Vaas is number three on our list of best left-arm fast bowlers of all-time.
2. Alan Davidson
Alan Davidson is perhaps the least talked about on this list of left-arm fast bowlers. This is very likely due to the fact that he played a number of years ago now. However, taking a glimpse at his statistics, it is evident that he is one of the finest all-round talents cricket has ever seen.
In 44 test matches, Alan Davidson scored over 1300 runs at an average of just below 25. However, his fast bowling numbers are even more impressive. He has taken 186 test match wickets at a bowling average of just 20.53 and his economy rate is a barely believable 1.97.
One of the finest test match fast bowlers that Australia has ever produced. Wisden Cricketer of the year 1962. Alan Davidson sits second on our list of best left-arm fast bowlers of all-time.
Alan Davidson is number two on our list of best left-arm fast bowlers of all-time.
1. Wasim Akram – The best left-arm fast bowler
The greatest left-arm fast bowler of all-time. Wasim Akram at this peak was a dream fast bowler. He could move the ball both ways with ease, had an awkward bouncer and a superb yorker.
He could also reverse swing the ball both ways too. Akram helped Pakistan to their greatest ever triumph in 1992, when they won the Cricket World Cup. Akram had a superb final, taking two infamous wickets in two balls with reverse swing to pave the way for Pakistan’s triumph.
Also, Read – Picking Pakistan’s All-Time Test XI
Wasim Akram played 104 test matches and picked up 414 wickets for Pakistan. This was achieved at a superb bowling average of 23.62. He picked up 25 five-wicket hauls. This included five-wicket hauls in Australia, England, New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Zimbabwe and at home.
Wasim Akram is number one on our list of best left-arm fast bowlers of all-time.
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