India has become famous for producing some of the best cricketers to ever step foot onto the pitch. Across the generations, there have always been at least a dozen Indian players in the top 30 in world cricket.
This post will focus on the best bowlers to come out of the cricket loving country. Once again, India has produced a number of fast, medium, slow and spin bowlers, bowlers who win you bets, with a few easily being some of the best to ever play the game.
Anil Kumble, or “Jumbo” to those who watched him play, was one of the best leg-spin bowlers to ever play, let alone to come out of Indian. A man whose bowling was feared across the cricketing world, and a someone you could never underestimate.
In his career, he took 619 wickets in test cricket, and is still 3rd in the all-time wicket taking list, behind two other greats, Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne. Jumbo also holds a record that has only been done by one other bowler.
In 1999, in a match against Pakistan, Kumble dismissed every single Pakistan batsmen in one test innings, joining England’s Jim Laker who achieved the same feat. He is also the only Indian bowler to have done that. His place on this list isn’t up for debate.
There isn’t a single cricket fan who hasn’t heard of Kapil Dev. Arguably the best Indian player of all time, he is widely regarded as one of the best all-rounders to ever play, as well as one of the best captains ever.
Kapil Dev is the owner of a number of records, namely, at the time of his retirement in 1994, he held the record for most test match wickets taken. During his playing time he was also India’s wicket-taker in both ODI and Test cricket.
Dev was also the first player to take 200 ODI wickets, and he is still the only player to have taken more than 400 wickets and scored over 5000 runs in test cricket. Wisden named him the Indian Cricketer of the Century in 2002, a title that very few would argue with.
Javagal Srinath is another Indian bowler that has a number of records to his name. Most notably, he is the first Indian fast bowler to take 300 wickets in One Day International cricket. He is also the second Indian bowler, behind Kapel Dev, to take 200 Test wickets.
Srinath also took 44 wickets across 4 World Cups, in 1992, 1996, 1999, and 2003. This number makes him the joint highest Indian wicket taker in World Cups, with Zaheer Khan taking the same number.
A player whose influence may have been severely underestimated during his playing career, Ajit Agarkar was a fast bowler that bridged the gap between the old generation of Indian players, and the newer, younger generation that we have seen play over the past few years.
Agarkar was reliable and incredibly deadly with the ball in hand. As a player that many may have forgotten about, Agarkar was still a highly successful bowler, he holds the title as the third highest wicket taker for India in ODI’s.
Another very familiar name to cricket fans is that of Zaheer Khan. The pace bowler holds the record for being the second most prolific Indian bowler in history, behind Kapel Dev. Khan was an assassin with the ball in hand, being able to bowl pinpoint deliveries, but with incredible speed.
Zaheer was also very famous for his ability to bowl yorkers, as well as the knuckleball, a technique he was most definitely responsible for bringing to the forefront in the world of bowling.
Venkatesh Prasad may be a name you aren’t too familiar with, considering he played in the early 90’s during the same era as Javagal Srinath. But Prasad and Srinath were a deadly duo during that time, terrorising batsmen from their first, until their last ball.
Standing at 6 foot 3”, Prasad was an incredibly intimidating figure to face, and while he may not have had the same records as the likes of Kapel Dev, Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath, he was still an amazing bowler.
He took 96 wickets in his 33 test appearances, as well as 196 wickets in 161 ODI’s. In 1999 against Pakistan, he was able to take 5 wickets for 0 runs, while in December of 1996, he took 10 wickets in a single Test match against South Africa.
These are most definitely not all the great bowlers that have come out of India, they are definitely a handful of the ones that became greats, that were the best supporting acts, or the ones that were needed when there was no one else who could step up.
No matter how you look at it, it is undeniable that India is incredible at producing world class cricketers, cricketers that go on to be legends of the game, or legends in their own right. There is no doubt that we are living in a generation that will produce more greats, we just have to wait and see who they will be.