Fast bowling is a mixture of art and skill. For long they have considered to be the stereotyped, less thinking individuals but as the world has seen, mastering the art of fast bowling requires a lot of smartness as well as a big heart. The main concern for the really quick bowlers is the injuries which regularly affect their performance and more often than not dictate their careers as we have seen in the case of Shane Bond, the really talented New Zealand fast bowler whose career was prematurely cut short due to injuries. While some of the fast bowlers resort to maintaining line and length sacrificing a bit of pace, some of the quick bowlers consider bowling quick as the only way to go. This article lists some of the quickest fast bowlers in current day world cricket and ranks them according to their speeds. While making of list of this type several criteria are followed like fastest delivery, average speed, hostility etc.
10. Umesh Yadav, India
At last India has got a fast bowler who clocks mid 140s (kmph) with some promise of keeping the pace up for a long time. India has had a fair share of swing bowlers in the recent times but express pace bowlers are hard to come by. While Ishant Sharma and Munaf Patel showed great promise in the early part of their career, they failed to live up to the expectations. However it seems that this new brand of bowlers like Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron has given India hope that all is not bad. While he still has a long way to go, the prospects seem bright.
9. Junaid Khan, Pakistan
Pakistan has a very bright history and a grand tradition of producing good fast bowlers. The latest in the line of pacers is Junaid Khan. Apart from being very quick he has shown tremendous abilities to swing the ball both ways. This deadly combination has made experts around the world take notice of this talent. He has shown great promise of emerging into a world class fast bowler and currently bowls at about 145km per hour speeds.
8. Mohammed Irfan, Pakistan
Another promising bowler form Pakistan is Mohammed Irfan. He entered the international cricket scen a couple of years back, however, he was quickly dropped out of the national side after failing to deliver in his first couple of matches. He burst into the scene once again in an away series versus India and he was back with a bang. This time his speed increased by about 10km per hour and he was in the mid-140s. He mesmerized the Indian batsmen with his pace and aggressive lengths. In the recently concluded Champions Trophy Campaign, he was an important member of the Pakistan squad. However in order to continue in the national side, he has to continuously perform at the highest level as many other bowlers are waiting in the ranks.
7. Kemar Roach, West Indies
West Indies Cricket has been in controversy for all the wrong reasons in the past few years. Amidst the temporary mindset of players towards the national team and the conflict between the players and the board, players like Kemar Roach have impressed a lot with his fast and hostile bowling. Perhaps the only bowler, who has tried to keep up the grand tradition of fast bowling in West Indies. Kemar Roach constantly bowls in the mid to high-140s and can be a very dangerous bowler when he is in his rhythm. The major concern for him over the years has been that he is sometimes unable to control the ball and generally strays in his line. If he is to become one of the best bowlers in the modern times, it is imperative to try to fix that problem.
6. Mitchell Johnson, Australia
In a rapidly degrading Australian side, few bowlers have been able to get it right. Mitchell Johnson is currently one of the fastest bowlers in the national cricket team of Australia. He generally bowls in the mid 140s and has a great ability to swing the new ball. He possesses the ability to swing the ball both ways and causes a great threat to the opening batsmen. However, his performances have been inconsistent with superb spell few and far between some average performances. After the exit of McGrath, Gillespie and later that of Brett Lee, a lot of responsibility has fallen on the shoulders of the young fast bowlers. With Mitchell Starc, and McKay, Johnson has taken up the responsibility to share the new ball. It remains to be seen how he performs in the upcoming all important Ashes series against England.
5. Peter Siddle, Australia
As far as fast bowling is concerned, Australia has got a good one in Peter Siddle. Due to injury concerns and lack of consistent performance, Peter Siddle has been regularly kept out of the national side. However, he has got serious pace; he is in fact one of the very few bowlers who can touch the 145 km per hour mark at will. He made a very good entry in the international arena with a decent debut followed by a good test series. But his recent form hasn’t been good.However he has been a consistent pick in the test side. I remains to be seen how things turn out for him in the ashes.
4. Morne Morkel, South Africa
Perhaps one of the best fast bowlers in today’s international cricket scenario is Morne Morkel. Along with his fellow fast bowler Dale Steyn, Morne Markel presents one of the deadliest opening bowling combination under any conditions. He has always been a hit-the–deck bowler and quite regularly gets seam movement off the pitch. In the South African bouncy pitches, he is all the more deadly. Every touring team to South Africa has found it difficult to deal with Morne Morkel. The main concerns for him remain the injuries. If he manages to stay away from recurring injuries, it is believed that a great career awaits him.
3. Steven Finn, England
Little is known about this tall, lanky fast bowler from England. He has made a very good entry into international cricket and has had a very good recently concluded tour to India. He is currently the second best bowler according to the latest ICC rankings. He is one bowler of England who constantly bowls in the high 140s and can occasionally touch the 150 mark. Along with fellow teammates James Anderson and Stuart Broad, Finn presents a very formidable bowling line up. However his has been kept on his toes by another very decent bowler waiting in the ranks: Tim Bresnan. Bresnan has been sometimes preferred over Finn in the current Champions Trophy because of the field conditions and so in order to become a permanent member in the current England squad, honing his skills is mandatory.
2. Dale Steyn, South Africa
Dale Steyn, for many years now has been considered as the best fast bowler in world cricket. Not only he is fast, but also he is generally quite accurate. Moreover he is a very good swing bowler unlike his fellow teammate Morne Morkel who is more kind of a hit-the-deck bowler. The key to Steyn’s success has been the ease with which he has been able to control the swing at speeds well above 140 on a regular basis. In recent times he has been prone to a few injuries but still he remains to be a very important part of the South African outfit.
1. Brett Lee, Australia
The story of Brett Lee has been a mixed one so far. He started his career as a very fast and aggressive bowler who constantly bowls over 150km per hour. During his early years he bowled with a pack of good Australian bowlers and was generally kept as first change. His international performance peaked during the 2003 and 2007 ICC World Cup where he took one of the leading roles in the Australian bowling line up. As the years have gone by, the lethal Brett Lee has slowly degraded in pace and sting. He has also had his fair share of personal tragedies. In the Indian Premier League he was picked by the Kolkata Knight Riders but he failed to make a mark for himself. He retired from the shortest format as well after the last edition of the Indian Premier League. But the skill set he presented while bowling, the combination of pace and swing, was a treat to watch when he was at his peak form.