Sultans of swing: Wasim Akram leads list of all-time top five swing bowlers

Alex Broun 14:40 05/03/2018
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The art of swing bowling is one of the more nuanced in the game of cricket. Rather than relying on brute pace the bowler needs to out-think the batsman – swinging the new ball and reversing the old. Over the years there have been many great exponents of the art. Here we name our top five:

1 Wasim Akram (Pakistan)

There isn’t much dispute about No1. The King of Swing is rated the best left-arm bowler of all time. Akram’s stock ball was a vicious in-swinger to a right hander. In total he took 414 wickets in a 104 Tests over a 17-year Test career.

2. James Anderson (England)

The 35-year-old’s command of out-swing bowling, especially on home grounds, has seen England achieve three victorious Ashes campaigns. The first England bowler to take 500 Test wickets, his current mark is 523 wickets in 134 Tests. England fans will hope he can play on for a while yet.

3. Waqar Younis (Pakistan)

The man who put reverse into swing and the second Pakistan bowler in the top three. His stock ball was a toe crushing in-swinging yorker bowled at over 150 kph – and this was after he cut down on his pace following back problems. 373 wickets in 87 Tests.

4. Terry Alderman (Australia)

Many may be surprised to see the West Australian at No4 but there are few greater exponents of out-swingers and off-cutters than Alderman. The “Swing Genius” was at his best in English condition,s taking over 40 wickets in both the 1981 and 1989 Ashes. Played only 40 Tests due to injury and suspension but took 170 wickets.

5. Zaheer Khan (India)

Khan had all the traits that made Akram and Younis so great. He swung the new ball and reversed the old, doing well on flat subcontinent pitches and relishing the helpful decks when they came his way. He also controlled all three balls well – SG, Duke and Kookaburra – resulting in 311 career wickets in 92 Tests.

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