Bowling fast is art so to speak as it extracts a tremendous amount of energy from a bowler’s body. Pounding one’s ankle and knee over many times throughout the career results in a relatively short career for the faster bowlers, but still, they have the most impact in the history of Test cricket.
There have been bowlers in the era before the speed guns who were definitely faster than today’s pacers like Wes Hall, Fred Trueman, Frank Tyson, the West Indies quartet of Holding, Garner, Marshall, and Roberts. Australia’s Jeff Thomson has been regarded as the first genuine quick bowler in Test history, while Shoaib Akhtar of Pakistan was the first to breach the 100mph barrier officially.
Keeping this theme in the mind, we present to you the fastest bowlers in current times with their quickest recorded delivery listed alongside.
10. Pat Cummins – 151 KPH
Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins had made a terrific comeback into Test cricket after missing out on 5 years of his career, which he had started so promisingly against South Africa in 2011 at the age of 18 years. A back injury meant that he underwent surgery and intense rehabilitation in Australia, before playing his first game back in 2015.
He was back in 2015 in full flow and made his Test return against India in India in 2017, which proved to be a watershed moment in his career, as he bowled as fast as he was in his debut series and got the purchase out of dead Indian wickets. This also proved his fitness to the Australian selectors and they found their successor to Mitchell Johnson as leader of Kangaroos’ bowling attack.
Cummins’ fastest clocked delivery has been 151 kph, but he has constantly bowled in 150 kph bracket no matter what the surface he has played on. With his sheer pace and skills, Cummins has well established himself as the best bowler in the world, which the ICC rankings also support as he is the no.1 ranked Test bowler.
9. Mohammad Amir – 151.9 KPH
Mohammad Amir’s return to international cricket has been underwhelming, to say the least. He has spent some time out of the team as well, given that he failed to pick up wickets in a string of matches while giving away easy runs. But the left-arm pacer made a good comeback in the 2019 World Cup.
The bowler who used to regularly clock over 145 kph in his initial time in cricket, the speed might have reduced a bit, but he can still rip one, as he showed in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 against India when he removed the cream of Men in Blue top order. His speeds still touch 140 kph regularly, but his fastest ball was recorded as 151.9 kph.
27-year-old Amir has decided to retire from Test cricket in order to pursue limited-overs career, which in the hindsight is a good decision given that the coming three years will see multiple ICC events taking place and Pakistan will be eager to add more silver to their trophy cabinet and a fit and raring to Amir is a good omen for them.
8. Umesh Yadav – 152.5 KPH
India’s Umesh Yadav is a perfect example of what a fast bowler must be built like. He is muscular with huge thighs and muscled legs which help him stay fit for longer durations and his smooth long run-up has given him the ability to bowl really fast and he is one of the few Indian bowlers to breach the 150 kph barrier.
He achieved this feat against Sri Lanka in the 2012 Commonwealth Bank Tri-Series in Australia. He bowled a 152.5 kph speed delivery to Tillakaratne Dilshan in Brisbane. He, along with Jasprit Bumrah are the few Indian bowlers who constantly bowl in higher 140 kph brackets.
Not only is Umesh fast, but he is durable as well, as he has shown the penchant for bowling long spells without dropping his pace, especially in Indian conditions. He is a valuable part of the Indian team in longer formats and has even pushed his way through to the limited-overs team as well after some good performances in domestic cricket.
7. Kemar Roach – 152.7 KPH
Kemar Roach has often flown under the radar despite his talent, given the unfortunate situation with the West Indies team in the last decade or so. He has been one of the best and fastest bowlers in world cricket ever since making his debut in 2008.
Roach has a whippy action that helps him generate tremendous ball speed from a short runup and he has kept himself very fit for a fast bowler. His fastest ball came in the ICC World Cup 2015 when he sent down a 152.7 kph dart and registered his name in annals of fastest bowlers in the world.
He regularly clocks in high 140 kph speeds and at 31 years of age, is still going strong, carrying the Windies pace attack and helping the young guns of the team out.
6. James Pattinson – 153 KPH
James Pattinson has battled a serious back injury that could have brought his career to a premature end and was recently seen bowling in the 2019 Ashes series against England. He had broken into the Australian cricket seen as an out and out fast bowler.
His fastest delivery came against India in 2011-12 Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia, during the first Test match at the MCG in Melbourne. He bowled a 153kph shooter to Rahul Dravid in India’s first innings and had the veteran batsman in trouble with his pace.
This series proved to be Dravid’s last ever, as he retired from cricket afterward. In a start-stop career due to injuries, Pattinson has 74 wickets in 19 Tests and 16 wickets in 15 ODI matches.
5. Jasprit Bumrah – 153 KPH
India’s Jasprit Bumrah has captured the imagination of everyone with his success despite a unique action from which he generates tremendous speed without having a long runup. Though it defies every possible coaching manual, Bumrah’s success in all formats of the game has dispelled the notion that he is primarily as a limited-overs bowler.
Bumrah regularly bowls in the high 140kph bracket, but his fastest delivery was 153 kph which he bowled during the 2018-19 Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia. He bowled that ball in the first Test at Adelaide Oval and the commentators were amazed to see an Indian bowler reaching such speeds and giving their own bowlers a run for their money.
Bumrah became the first Asian bowler to pick five-wicket hauls in Tests in South Africa, England, Australia, and West Indies. He added a Test hat-trick against the Windies just for an extra boost to his already impressive resume.
4. Adam Milne – 153.2 KPH
Adam Milne of New Zealand is one of the fastest bowlers on the circuit at the moment. With the likes of Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson vying for a spot in the New Zealand team, Milne has found himself out of action for quite some time now.
But when on the song, the 27-year-old is a sight to behold. A natural speedster, Milne clocked his highest speed delivery of 153.2 kph in a T20I game against West Indies in Eden Park. This proved to be the second quickest delivery by a New Zealand fast bowler, just behind Kiwi great Shane Bond.
Injuries and form issues have meant that Milne has fallen behind in the pecking order for international cricket but has 66 wickets in 61 international matches so far and he is yet to play a Test match.
3. Wahab Riaz – 154.5 KPH
Wahab Riaz is perhaps one of the most underrated Pakistan fast bowlers ever. He has the ability to bowl really quick and swing the ball menacingly at that high pace. He can bowl a mean bouncer with that round-arm delivery action of his and it’s only the lack of consistency that has held back the left armer from achieving great things for the team.
Wahab Riaz’s moment of limelight came in the ICC World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand, especially in the quarter-final match against Australia when he bowled perhaps the most fearsome and fastest over ever seen in ODI cricket to Shane Watson to bring his team back in the contest. He bounced out Watson and hit him a couple of times.
But Riaz’s fastest ball was bowled against arch-rivals India earlier in the same tournament, as he sent down a 154.5 kph thunderbolt. He recently announced his retirement from Test cricket to prolong his limited-overs career.
2. Jofra Archer – 155 KPH
Jofra Archer has taken the world cricket with a storm ever since his pace and bounce took the English county cricket with surprise. Archer has also taken the Indian Premier League by storm with his performances on dead pitches in the league for Rajasthan Royals. He made an impactful contribution to England’s maiden World Cup triumph, especially in the final match against New Zealand.
However, in his short career, Archer has impressed the best of the best with his ability to generate serious pace and bounce from a relatively stress-free bowling action and something sinister was on display when he made his debut for England in Ashes 2019 against Australia. He started off with a loosener at 88.3 mph (142 kph) at Lord’s in London, but cranked it up to 93.7 mph (151 kph) and ended the over with a flash-like 96.1 mph (155 kph).
The highlight of that match was Archer felling the star Australian batsman Steve Smith in the first innings with a vicious bouncer, which hit the batsman on the back of the head and resulted in him being ruled out of the Lord’s Test and the next Test due to concussion issues. Jofra Archer had arrived in style.
1. Mitchell Starc – 160.4 KPH
Australia’s left-arm quick Mitchell Starc has taken over from where Mitchell Johnson left off in 2015. The speedster is known for his amazing ability to bowl yorkers at will and his average speed is usually in high 145 kph limits, but he is known to have hit 160 kph a couple of times.
One such occasion came in a Test match against New Zealand in Perth, WACA when he sent down a 160.4kph delivery to Ross Taylor, who was batting at 140. Starc has been the highest wicket-taker in World Cup two times in a row and was named the Player of the tournament when Australia won the trophy in 2015 at home.
He has been one of the premier fast bowlers in terms of speed in recent times. The left-arm pacer is also one of the few bowlers to take two hat-tricks in the same first-class match, a feat he achieved in the 2017/18 Sheffield Shield match between New South Wales and Western Australia.
- Adam Milne
- James Pattinson
- Jasprit Bumrah
- Jofra Archer
- Kemar Roach
- Mohammad Amir
- Pat Cummins
- Wahab Riaz
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