Shoaib Akhtar is widely regarded as one of the greatest fastest bowlers of all time. He was a nightmare to all the batsmen of his era. The ‘Rawalpindi Express’ has bowled the fastest ball in the history of cricket at 161.3 km/h (100.23 mph).
He did it against England on 22 February 2003 in a World Cup match at Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa. This record still remains intact and no one has broken Akhtar’s 161.3 km/h record until now. Many fast bowlers have come close to breaking it but to no avail.
However, we’ve seen that the fast bowling standards over the last few years have improved. Many fast bowlers have been at their best for the last 2-3 years. Express pacers of this generation might have a good chance of breaking Akhtar’s record.
Here, we shall take a look at 5 such bowlers from this generation who could break Shoaib Akhtar’s 161 km/h record:
1. Mitchell Starc
Not including Starc in this list would be a crime. Unarguably the greatest fastest bowler of this era, Starc’s pace has managed to trouble the best of the best batsmen of this generation. Where seamers struggle to touch 140 Km/h, his slower deliveries touch 140 km/h.
Mitchell Starc’s fastest ball till date is a 160.4 km/h to Ross Taylor during the third day of the second Test against New Zealand at the WACA, Perth. It fell agonisingly short of the 100-mile mark and ended up at 99.68 km/h. It was the fastest ball ever bowled in a Test match. In that very same Test match, managed to break Brendon McCullum’s bat!
The 30-year-old can consistently clock speeds of 150 km/h in all formats of the game and has bowled close to 160 km/h on quite a few occasions. After a certain point of time, it just becomes a number for him. His knack of producing those venomous quicker deliveries might just help him break Akhtar’s 161.3 km/h record.
2. Mark Wood
Mark Wood has been one of the fastest bowlers in the last few years. Despite all his injuries he has managed to trouble the opposition batsmen with his pace. His ability to generate the extra pace has helped him improve his bowling.
The English fast bowler Mark Wood achieved a massive feat during the ICC World Cup 2019 final against New Zealand as he bowled the fastest delivery of the tournament. Wood bowled a 154 Km/h (95.7mph) delivery to Henry Nicholls – the joint-fastest along with compatriot Jofra Archer and Australia’s Mitchell Starc. His ability to generate Pace even on slower tracks has impressed one and all.
Mark Wood has got fitter in the last 12 months and is able to bowl with more pace since his comeback in 2019. It should only be a matter of time until he starts clicking 160+ Km/h and challenges Shoaib Akhtar’s record. All eyes would be on Mark Wood to see if he could break Shoaib Akhtar’s 161 Km/h record.
3. Lockie Ferguson
Lockie Ferguson has managed to excite all cricket fans across the globe. His ability to bowl more than 150 Km/h has enabled him to earn the “Threatening” tag. Ferguson’s quick bouncers have made the world-class batsmen struggle. He has been a valuable addition to the already exciting New Zealand pace attack.
The sight of a moustached bowler coming on at first change for New Zealand is nothing new. Only, these were traditionally dibbly-dobblers – purveyors of gently seaming wicket-to-wicket bowling – whose arrival would signal the onset of the Boring Middle Overs. Ferguson’s arrival brings exhilaration. Every team loves a bowler who could bowl 150 km/h in the middle overs.
With age on his side, Ferguson could be a force to reckon. He’s only getting better and it won’t be shocking if he does manage to break Shoaib Akhtar’s fastest delivery record. His delivery to dismiss Faf du Plessis in a World Cup match in 2019 speaks volumes of his potential.
4. Naseem Shah
Now, this might raise a few eyebrows. Those who have watched him play would know that he’s a prime contender to break Akhtar’s fastest delivery record. At a tender age of 17, he has shown a lot of potential.
Throughout his youth career, Naseem Shah has always been a cut above the field and has effectively been fast-tracked through to Pakistan’s Test team. Shah may have played in just a handful Test matches for Pakistan so far but he’s already becoming a firm fan favourite. He is now a regular in the longest format of the game and seems to have the tendency to bowl quick.
If he can regularly bowl around the 145 km/h mark at the age of 17, he should be able to easily click around 155 to 160 Km/h in the next 5 to 6 years. Shoaib Akhtar himself would be happy to see a player from his country break his record. After all, Akhtar himself rates Naseem Shah very highly.
5. Anrich Nortje
The 25-year-old was an unknown quantity to many initially but got into the limelight at the right time, with some great performances in the 2018 Mzansi Super League. Anrich Nortje caught the attention of Kolkata Knight Riders when he clocked speeds of 150 km/h mark for Cape Town Blitz. He is definitely a player for the future.
Even Dale Steyn had praised Nortje and said that he is a player to watch out for. He managed to impress everyone with his pace on his Test debut. He was even selected for the Cricket World Cup in 2019 but was unfortunately ruled out due to an injury.
Despite the presence of KG Rabada, Nortje seemed to impress everyone with his raw pace and an important point to be noted is that he hasn’t even played 25 international games for his country. He has the potential to break the 160 km/h mark. Thus he is someone who could break Shoaib Akhtar’s 161 Km/h record in the near future.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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