Who is the best spin bowler in the world?
Spin bowling is not an easy art. It requires guile and patience. Spinners don’t necessarily have the same conditions to work with as fast bowlers do on the first few days of a test match. In limited overs, spinners are often targeted because their margin for error is so small – especially leg-spinners and mystery spinners. This means that the best spin bowler in the world is someone who is able to adjust and handle such pressure.
Each team needs a high-quality spinner to perform well because given favourable conditions, they can run through sides. They also bring huge variety to the attack.
So, who is the best spin bowler in the world in tests and limited overs?
Perhaps the most notable candidate within the group. Ravi Ashwin has been recognised as the best spin bowler in the world for a number of years now.
His numbers are impossible to ignore. In 74 tests, he has taken 377 wickets at a bowling average of 25.54. His strike rate and economy rate are both very good.
Ashwin’s spin-twin, Ravindra Jadeja, has also been superb in test match cricket for nearly half a decade. In 51 tests, he has picked up 220 wickets at a bowling average of 24.32.
He is even more economical than Ravi Ashwin and has impeccable control of his line and length.
The quintessential off-spinner in the modern generation, Nathan Lyon has had a superb journey – from a groundsman to Australia’s second most successful test spinner, statistically.
Despite not having the figures of either Ashwin or Jadeja, his main argument would be that his bowling is more effective outside the subcontinent than either of those two. For a spinner, he has done very well in Australia, in England and in New Zealand.
In 32 tests, Maharaj has picked up 110 wickets at a bowling average of 34. These are pretty good numbers for a spin bowler from South Africa. When given pitches that turn or just hold, he has been very successful.
His record in England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka is very good, while he does a commendable holding job in South Africa.
The forgotten man of Pakistan Cricket, Yasir Shah has been excellent in test cricket for a number of years. 227 wickets in 43 tests is incredibly good. His bowling average of 31 is also solid.
He has prospered in Sri Lanka, the UAE and the West Indies. Despite having an average record in England, he has helped Pakistan win two tests.
Both Ravi Ashwin and Nathan Lyon jointly hold the title for the best spin bowler in the world in test matches. In recent times, Ashwin has improved a lot overseas and still has a good record in the likes of England and West Indies.
Nathan Lyon is not as productive in the subcontinent but he is still good enough to win games for Australia and his record in fast bowling conditions is better than Ashwin’s.
Therefore, we have joint winners.
In case you missed it:
India’s best spin bowler in limited overs cricket, Chahal has been excellent in both formats. His best attribute is his confidence in tossing the ball up and not worrying about being hit to the boundary.
In 54 ODI’s, he has picked up 92 wickets at a bowling average of 27. In T20Is, he has taken 59 wickets in 45 matches at a bowling average of 25.
Perhaps the most potential out of any spinner in the world. The 22 year old prodigy has been remarkable in ODI cricket. In 70 ODI’s, he has taken 133 wickets at a bowling average of 18.55, including a magnificent 7-18 against the West Indies.
A number of his wickets have come against the associate nations and this is something that he will have to work on. In 49 T20Is, Rashid Khan has taken 89 wickets at a bowling average of 13. The best spin bowler in the world from any associate nation.
The key component behind England’s white-ball revival, Adil Rashid has formed a superb bowling partnership with Moeen Ali in the middle-overs. He has taken a lot of wickets with his leg-spin in order to peg sides back.
In 105 ODI’s, he has taken 155 wickets at a bowling average of 32. In 52 T20I’s, he has taken 51 wickets at a bowling average of 26.
Despite not playing much ODI cricket these days, Sunil Narine is still a prominent player in T20I cricket – at least in the build-up to World T20’s. Therefore, we can consider him for this selection.
His mystery spin still foxes batsmen regularly and he is very difficult to get away. In 65 ODI’s, he has taken 92 wickets at a bowling average of 26. In 51 T20I’s, Narine has taken 52 wickets at a bowling average of 21.
Despite not quite living up to his Shane Warne comparisons, Adam Zampa has carved a niche for himself in limited-overs. His wicket-to-wicket bowling along with a good googly has made him a mainstay in Australia’s limited-overs side.
In 61 ODI’s, he has taken 92 wickets at a bowling average of 33. In 36 T20I’s, he has taken 39 wickets at a bowling average of 21.
Like with the test match verdict, it is difficult to pick one. In T20I cricket, the award goes to Sunil Narine for the moment but Rashid Khan will likely overtake him once he does well against a lot more against stronger opposition.
In ODI’s, Yuzvendra Chahal is the best spin bowler in the world.
Main Image Credit:
Embed from Getty Images