Ex-cricketer turned commentator, Aakash Chopra, has named six bowlers in his list of the Greatest Test bowlers of the 21st century. The list comprises three fast bowlers and three spinners, and Chopra also mentions their averages at home and away.
Although sometimes such lists are subjective, they become more evident when backed by facts. Chopra does the same and starts his list with Indian off-spinning maestro Ravichandran Ashwin. Talking on his YouTube channel, Chopra said:
“Ravichandran Ashwin definitely comes in 21st century’s greatest Test bowlers. Having played in 79 matches, Ashwin has picked up 413 wickets at an average of 24.56. These are phenomenal numbers. He has claimed 288 wickets in Test matches where India has won. Whenever he takes wickets, India ends up winning the game.”
Next up on the list were Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath and South Africa’s Dale Steyn. They’ve picked up 427 wickets and 439 wickets respectively, with the latter having a stellar average all around the world.
“He’s a great bowler with a beautiful and easy-going action. He was never rated by anybody but took the world by storm after Muralitharan retired. These are numbers that make you envy. Next is Dale Steyn. He’s my favorite. He’s one of the greatest and when he bowled, it was like poetry in motion. A player who can bowl at 145+ kmph, swing the new and the old ball and move the Dukes ball and the Kookaburra – that’s Dale Steyn for us,” he observed.
Muralitharan, Broad, and Anderson filled up the rest of Aakash Chopra’s list
Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan and English pacers Stuart Broad and James Anderson completed Aakash Chopra’s list of greatest Test bowlers of the 21st century.
“Muralitharan, who has played just 75 matches but picked up 498 wickets in the 21st century. He has the most five-wicket hauls in this century (43). Only thing that might go against him is that he hasn’t played many games outside Sri Lanka,” Chopra stated.
Talking about Broad and James Anderson, he mentioned that their team plays a lot of Tests but their fitness and longevity need to be praised. They’ve picked up 523 and 617 wickets respectively, leading the list for the most wickets among active cricketers.
“Broad’s specialty is that he bowls beautifully and has also maintains fitness. His average in Asia is 38.1 and average in India is 61.7. These are okay numbers in Asia but terrible numbers in India. His overall average, however, is acceptable. He may not be at No.2 on most people’s list,” he reckoned.
Aakash Chopra concluded by saying Anderson has stayed fit and performed well for over 160 matches. Notably, Anderson is the only fast bowler to cross the 600-wicket mark in the history of Test cricket.
Aakash Chopra’s Greatest Test Bowlers List (No particular order):
- Ravichandran Ashwin
- Dale Steyn
- Rangana Herath
- James Anderson
- Stuart Broad
- Muttiah Muralitharan