One-Day International matches brought in a completely new era in the world of cricket. Initially, it was played in 60 overs and then got reduced to 50 overs. The modern-day cricket is far more complicated with many new rules compared to the very simple cricket played many decades ago. It is harder now for bowlers to bag a wicket compared to before because of the PowerPlays and other new batting-favored rules.
Well, yes, everybody loves to see a good batsman scoring a century or breaking run records, but it is much less common to be the witness of a hat-trick or some other bowling magic that changes the fate of the match completely out of the blue, because a class bowler will hunt down his prey regardless of his surroundings. This article talks about the top 10 such hunters of ODI cricket who have managed to collect the most number of wickets in their career.
Top 10 Bowlers with Most ODI Wickets
Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose, Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Shane Warn, Allan Donald, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoib Akhtar, Kapil Dev, Irfan Pathan, Mutthiah Muralitharan, Lasith Malinga and hundreds of such names have been created both terror among the batsmen and excitement among the fans for decades.
Muttiah Muralitharan: 534 ODI wickets
Many of them have created records, some of them have broken the old ones and recreated new records. They became legends because of their match-winning bowling mastery. And in that process, they have collected an unfathomable number of wickets under their names. Following is the list of the top 10 bowlers with the most wickets in ODI cricket and a little analyses about the bowling style of the top 5 of this list:
|M Muralitharan (SL)
|Wasim Akram (PAK)
|Waqar Younis (PAK)
|Chaminda Vaas (SL)
|Shahid Afridi (PAK)
|Shaun Pollock (SA)
|Glenn McGrath (AUS)
|Brett Lee (AUS)
|Lasith Malinga (SL)
|Anil Kumble (IND)
Muralitharan & Akram: The 500 Club
Reaching the milestone of taking 500 wickets in one’s ODI career is a feat in & of itself that tells a lot about the bowler’s talent, perseverance, fitness, integrity and sheer passion for the game. You end up being a legend on a list like this one, your career goes into the history of the game, you belong to the top-tier of your department- these all may seem very rosy, but the hard work behind it, the everyday stress remains the battle for the player alone. In this list, we have both a spinner and a pacer to decorate the 500’s club of ODI cricket.
Muttiah Muralitharan: 534 ODI Wickets
Honestly, it feels kind of sad to say that Muralitharan is equally known for his brilliance and the controversies that arouse centering him. While some cricket lovers believe that he is simply the greatest bowler of all time, others believe that he does not deserve to be in the game for being the reason behind changes in laws regarding throwing a delivery. And yet, here we are! For his ability to turn the ball curtly, on pretty-much any surface, he has been trusted by 6 Sri Lankan captains in his career- be that a home game or abroad.
Wasim Akram: 502 ODI Crickets
Now here we have someone who can be easily called the pioneer of modern day pace bowling, the man who has taken pace bowling to the level of art. This Pakistani legend is the idol for many fast bowlers throughout the world. There has never been such a pacer who has mastered the craft of swing & seam so naturally that he can not only swing the ball both ways in a single delivery but also deceive the batsman with a treacherous slower delivery or a bouncer, not to mention combined with blinding speed.
Younis & Vaas: The 400 Club
Waqar Younis: 416 ODI Wickets
Another Pakistani great, one of the W’s of Pakistan after Wasim, Waqar has been nothing short of a terror for the batsmen all over the world throughout his career and a mentor to many youngsters. But he is and will always be regarded for bringing in the reverse swing in pace bowling as well as for attacking the batsman’s toes or base of the leg stump with a tricky late inswinger. And his speed was also one of the top ones, especially in the early years.
Chaminda Vaas: 400 ODI Wickets
One of the highly revered as well as feared Lankan bowlers was Chaminda Vaas. He was exceptionally brilliant with the new ball. Although his unique bowling style was the late indipper, he could easily deliver a deceiving outcutter as well as reverse swing for his skill & mastery over swings & seams. All these specialities made it possible for him to pick wickets on a regular basis, specially on the grounds of the subcontinent.
Shahid Afridi: 395 ODI Wickets
Well, Afridi fell short of just 5 wickets to gain a place in the elite clubs of 400 & 500 wicket takers in ODI cricket, but that does not make him any less a legend as a bowler, not to mention his excellent record as an all-rounder throughout his career. An official leg-spinner, Afridi’s value as a bowler was more important for the varieties rather than any particular skill. There were two different googlies, a rarely seen faster than usual delivery, a traditional off-spin along with his conventional style. All these combined with a rather delayed drift was what gave him the capability to change the fate of the match at any time.
These 5 bowlers are still the top 5 with the most ODI wickets and there are many others on this very list whose bowling style can easily be the subject of research for anyone who has interest in it. Glenn McGrath or Brett Lee or Anil Kumble- can be the destroyer of any batting line-up even today. And, there are so many absolutely brilliant bowlers in ODI cricket, especially among the younger ones who have not yet played as many matches to get there in the elite clubs of wicket-takers, but honestly, they bear a lot more potential.
That can easily be credited to the guidance of these brilliant bowlers listed here who have impressed the cricketing world with their prowess to the bits while they were involved in the game as a player. It won’t be a long time when the top 10 bowlers’ names of this list will be completely changed with the ones’ who are still going through the middle-age of their career. With the game being more & more competitive, it won’t be wrong to say that there will soon be a few more names added to the elite clubs of both 400 & 500 ODI wicket-takers.