There is often talk about batsmen and who is leading the charge across the world at the moment. There is a Fab Four as well. However, there is no such thing for bowlers. Neither there is a lot of talk on who the best bowler across formats is.
One of the reasons may be that not all bowlers are consistent across formats. There is talk about the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Pat Cummins or even Kagiso Rabada and Trent Boult or recently Jofra Archer. But hardly is there so much limelight like there is for the batsmen.
The aforementioned bowlers are dominating world cricket at the moment and making the batsmen dance to their tunes. While Boult has been around for a while, the others have made a rise in the last few years. Hence, the tussle, just like the fab 4 and other batsmen is on for the bowlers as well. There are other bowlers as well who’ve done well across formats. There are a few who quietly go about their task without hogging too much limelight.
While these bowlers may be placed at different places in the ICC Rankings in different formats, here we rate the top 10 current bowlers in all formats irrespective of the ICC rankings.
10. Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib A Hasan. (Photo Source: Twitter)
There are very few cricketers who can walk into their side as both a pure batsman and a pure bowler. Shakib Al Hasan is one of those cricketers. He is arguably one of the greatest cricketers Bangladesh has ever produced. While his exploits with the bat are often highlighted, he is a pretty underrated bowler.
In the age of wrist-spin, Shakib continues to peg away with his slow left-arm. He is very accurate and bowls nagging lines and lengths. No Bangladesh player has more wickets than Shakib in Tests and T20Is. In ODIs, Shakib is just five wickets away from taking the lead from Mashrafe Mortaza.
The left-handed all-rounder has been the premier spinner for his side for more than a decade now. The 32-year-old is currently at the peak of his powers. He has struggled a touch with injuries in recent times but yet has continued to be Bangladesh’s best spinner.
9. Shaheen Afridi
Pakistan’s Shaheen Shah Afridi. (Photo by OLLY GREENWOOD/AFP/Getty Images)
It’s not even a year since Shaheen Afridi made his international debut but he has already had quite a big impact in Pakistan cricket. He has played just 32 international games so far and has already shown that he is here to stay. The left-arm pacer has been excellent in white-ball cricket and has started decently in the longest format.
After a brilliant start to his career, Afridi wobbled a bit just ahead of the World Cup and hence, played just one game in the first half. However, he played the last four games and was absolutely magnificent. The 19-year-old picked up 14 wickets in four games, including a five-wicket haul against Bangladesh. Moreover, he has a good T20 record as well. He has a strike-rate of 16.2 in the shortest format.
However, he has played just three Test matches so far. He had an underwhelming debut against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi. But he was very good in South Africa. Thus, Afridi is one of the promising young pacers coming through and has been very impressive so far. He has the pace and can also move the ball which makes him quite lethal.
8. Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja. (Photo by Shaun Botterill-IDI/IDI via Getty Images)
Ravindra Jadeja may not have outstanding numbers to show but the left-handed all-rounder has quietly done his job. A little more than a year ago, he wasn’t even in the scheme of things in white-ball cricket. In Test cricket, he was the second spinner overseas with Ravichandran Ashwin being the preferred choice.
However, in the last one year, Jadeja has turned the tables. An opportunity at The Oval in the last Test against England last year was the start of it all. He contributed with both bat and ball before he was recalled to the ODI side after Hardik Pandya’s injury in the Asia Cup. Hence, consistent performances from then have held Jadeja in good stead.
He has contributed whenever he got an opportunity. Even in the World Cup, he leapfrogged Kuldeep Yadav towards the end of the tournament and was India’s most economical bowler in the two games he played. Now, he has overtaken Ashwin as India’s lead spinner overseas as he was the preferred choice in both Test matches in the Caribbean.
7. Mitchell Starc
Mitchell Starc. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Mitchell Starc has dominated two World Cups in a row now. He showed that he is a beast in white-ball cricket. Despite not playing the shorter forms consistently over the last couple of years, Starc still produced fabulous numbers.
He picked up 27 wickets at an average of 18.59 and a strike-rate of 20.5 in this year’s World Cup. In fact, his overall numbers in ODI cricket are simply outstanding. He averages 20.99 and has a strike-rate of 25.00 which means he gets a wicket in a little more than four overs. You hardly see Starc going wicketless in an ODI game.
While the left-arm pacer’s Test form has been on the decline in recent times, he still is among the best pacers around Australian cricket. He picked up a couple of five-wicket hauls in the last Test match he played which was in February against Sri Lanka. Hence, there is little doubt that Starc is one of the best in the world across all formats.
6. Jofra Archer
Jofra Archer. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)
Jofra Archer has taken to international cricket like fish to water. There was a lot of buzz around the Barbados-born cricketer’s arrival in international cricket. And he has lived up to all the hype. In five months, Archer has already become England’s premier bowler in all formats.
He was absolutely brilliant in the World Cup. He picked up 20 wickets in the tournament and was one of the shining stars for England in their title-winning season. He translated that success into the longest format as well. In just two Test matches, he has created a huge impact. The 24-year-old pacer has picked up 13 wickets in two Tests and has been England’s best bowler in this Ashes.
Moreover, everybody is aware of Archer’s T20 skills. He played T20 cricket all across the globe before making his international debut. He has also made his T20 debut and picked up 2/29 against Pakistan in that game. Hence, Archer has the pace and can also move the ball both ways. He has shown that already and has shown early signs that he is on his way to becoming one of the best in the modern era.
5. Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Rashid Khan is the only leg-spinner in this list. The Afghanistan superstar has been brilliant in the shorter formats and is slowly transitioning that success to the longer formats as well. It was barely four years ago when Rashid first burst on to the international scene.
He made an impact straightaway and hasn’t looked back since. The 20-year-old wrist-spinner is one of the best white-ball spinners in the world at the moment. Despite being around for four years, batsmen still it difficult to get him away. His speed, accuracy and the variations make life tough for the batsmen.
Rashid is the fastest bowler to take 100 wickets in ODI cricket. Moreover, he is sixth on the list of most wickets in T20Is. Meanwhile, he has played just two Test matches so far. He struggled on debut against India while he was brilliant against Ireland in Afghanistan’s next Test. However, he had a tough World Cup and it may have been the first tournament where he struggled. But he still remains as one of the best bowlers in the world at the moment.
4. Pat Cummins
Pat Cummins. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
At one point, it seemed like Pat Cummins’ career was almost over. Multiple injuries kept him out for a long time and every time he returned there was an element of doubt. Cummins made his debut in 2011 but injuries kept him out. He played the 2015 World Cup but he was injured again. Thus, it was not until March 2017, he played his second Test. Since that time, he hasn’t looked back one bit.
Cummins has become Australia’s premier fast bowler in all formats of the game. While Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood have also been around, it is Cummins who has carried the torch. He is the workhorse of the Australian side. No bowler has picked more wickets than Cummins this year (all formats combined). He has taken 64 wickets in 2019.
The 26-year-old has been brilliant in Test cricket while he has been the support bowler in ODIs. He quietly did his job in the World Cup and played second fiddle to Starc. The New South Wales pacer has also done decently in the shortest format. Thus, he is definitely one of the best bowlers going around in world cricket at the moment.
3. Trent Boult
Trent Boult. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Year after year, season after season, Trent Boult has churned out performances. The left-arm pacer has been the premier fast bowler for New Zealand in all three formats. In fact, he’s been New Zealand’s best bowler in this decade.
Four years ago, Boult was the best bowler in the World Cup alongside Mitchell Starc. He couldn’t quite replicate the same this time but he was still very effective. He troubled the batsmen with movement at a brisk pace and used the left-arm angle really well. The 30-year-old has been doing that for a while now. He has done well in the shortest format too and has a good record as well.
In Test cricket, Boult has constantly threatened to blow away opposition top orders and has done that a few times as well. In recent times, he was even effective in Sri Lanka which hasn’t been a great place for fast bowlers in the recent past. Thus, Boult has picked up 59 wickets this year and has been magnificent across formats.
2. Kagiso Rabada
Kagiso Rabada. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Kagiso Rabada has taken giant strides in international cricket in a very short span of time. It was only a little more than four years ago that the world first saw him in international cricket. He made an impact instantly and challenged some of the best batsmen in the world.
Be it with the white-ball or the red-ball, Rabada has constantly delivered for South Africa. He is their premier fast bowler and has carried the bowling attack for the last couple of years. The 24-year-old fast bowler has shown that he can adapt to any conditions and be effective. Moreover, it’s Rabada’s attitude that makes him stand out. He wants to bowl in tough and pressure situations and prove that he is among the best.
Rabada may have had an underwhelming World Cup but he has been brilliant for the last few years. He has led the South African attack really well. This year, he has picked up 44 wickets across all formats and is third on the list of most wickets in 2019.
1. Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah. (Photo by RANDY BROOKS/AFP/Getty Images)
There is little doubt on who the best bowler is across all formats. Jasprit Bumrah may have been around only for about three and a half years but the impact he’s had is remarkable. He is India’s premier fast bowler in all three formats.
Bumrah made an impact early with white-ball cricket but there were a lot of people who doubted if he could be effective and last long enough in Test cricket. It’s been 21 months since Bumrah’s Test debut and he has proved all his doubters wrong. He played 12 Test matches and he has already picked up 62 wickets. He has already taken five five-wicket hauls and has led the Indian attack beautifully.
His ability in white-ball cricket is no secret either. He is one of the best death bowlers going around and he can be very effective in the powerplay as well. Thus, every time Virat Kohli wants a wicket or needs to stem the run-flow, he looks at Bumrah and the latter seldom disappoints. Thus, Bumrah is arguably the best bowler in world cricket at the moment.
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