10 Rapid Express Pace Bowlers

Audrey you ain’t moving nice

You won’t take de doc advice

You know I suffering with the flu

The doctor tel you what you have to do

And now you telling me you don’t agree

With what de doctor tell you to gimme

Gimme de ting what de doctor order me, gimme de ting (girl you know it’s important)

Gimme de ting what de doctor order me, gimme de ting (why you acting so reluctant)

Gimme de ting what de doctor order me, gimme de ting (girl you know me condition)

Gimme de ting what de doctor order me, gimme de ting (and I need your attention)

Lord Kitchener – Gimme de ting

If there is any aspect of cricket that stirs fear, one would have to conclude its express pace. Undoubtedly, one has seen fast bowlers who are quick and foolish, but even then, most batsmen tremble in their boots on the sight of all express pace bowlers running into bowl.

And that, to me, is what a team should order against any opposition — pace like fire.

It makes for an exciting display between bat and ball, thus eliciting the game’s beauty and demonstrating how warriors of the game are made.

Of course, that is not to deny the effectiveness of spin bowling, but there is just something about pace!

The fact of the matter is the fast bowlers, more often than not, are the ones who will take the most wickets.

So, let’s take a look at the ten fastest bowlers who have made batters bob, weave, skip, duck, and jump.

10. Shane Bond (New Zealand)- 156.4 kph (97.1 mph)

Shane Bond played for New Zealand from 2002 to 2010.

Bond was New Zealand’s best pace bowler in the post-Hadlee era but missed more games than he played because of being plagued with injuries.

His peak came at the 2003 ICC World Cup when he sent the ball flying through at 156.4 kph.

Although his career was cut short because of injuries, he took 87 Test wickets, 147 wickets in ODIs, and another 25 in T20Is.

His best performance includes:

3 for 53 v Australia, Melbourne, 2001-02

6 for 23 v Australia, Port Elizabeth, 2003

6 for 51 and 4 for 48 v Zimbabwe, Bulawayo, 2005-06

The 45-year-old Bond is now part of the coaching staff at Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.

9. Mohammad Sami (Pakistan) – 156.4 kph (97.1 mph)

Swing and pace, they don’t come any better, and that’s Sammi’s bowling offering. He mastered the traditional outswing and reverse-swing and bowled a mean yorker.

Considered to be one of the fastest bowlers in Pakistan after Shoaib Akhtar and Waqar Younis, Sami was the first bowler in cricket to notch hat-tricks in all three formats of the game.

He debuted with a five-for in a Test match against New Zealand, and there was no stopping him after that onslaught.

He served out his ultimate dish running in at 156.4 kph bowling against Zimbabwe in a ODI in Dubai in 2003.

His overall performance includes 85 Test wickets, 121 in ODIs, and 21 T20I wickets.

8. Mitchell Johnson (Australia)- 156.8 kph (97.4 mph)

Mitch, the 39-year-old bowling leftie, played no ease up in coming at batters, and when he bangs it in, one must be on top of one’s game to take on his missile.

The English and South African batsmen had no answer to his pace during the 2013-14 series when in successive series, he browbeat their batsmen with his speed and aggression.

In those eight Tests, he collected 59 wickets at 15.23, along with banging batsmen’s helmets and giving them a lot of finger sores.

His fastest ball was against England on day three of the fourth Ashes Test in Australia in December 2013.

As a bowler, he took 313 Test wickets, 239 in ODIs, and 38 T20Is wickets.

He also proved handy with the bat scoring a century and 11 fifties.

He won the ICC Cricketer of the Year and ICC Test Player of the year in 2014.

7. Fidel Edwards (West Indies) – 157.7 kph (97.9 mph)

Edwards, a Barbadian and Windies cricketer, who plays all formats of the game, and at one time possessed the fastest ball Windies bowler had an offer.

With his round-arm action he made the ball sizzled and hissed at pace.

He was spotted in the nets by former Windies captain and star batsman Brian Lara and was called up for his Test debut against Sri Lanka after just one match for Barbados.

His 157.7 kph ball was clocked in the first year of his international cricket against South Africa in 2003.

He boasts 165 Test wickets and 60 of them in ODIs. He last played for West Indies in 2012 but still plies his trade in franchise T20 competitions.

6. Andy Roberts (West Indies) – 159.5 kph (99.1 mph)

If there’s anyone pissed about the type of fast bowling the Windies currently have on display today, it must be Andy Roberts.

In his heyday, he dishes it out not only hot and spicy but emotionlessly. He had the ‘wickedest’ and most dangerous bouncer in the game in the 70s.

He varied his pace, often setting batsmen up with a slower one and then poleaxing them when they were late on the draw.

His 159.5 kph delivery came against Australia in 1975, and his bowling figures reveal the following:

7/54 Test

5/22 ODI

8/47 First-class

5/13 List A

5. Mitchell Starc (Australia) – 160.4 kph (99.7 mph)

Starc is one of the fastest bowlers in the world, with speeds regularly hovering around 146.4 kph.

On 15 November 2015, Starc delivered the fastest recorded delivery in a Test match, of 160.4 km/h against Ross Taylor of New Zealand.

Starc is a leftie and is known for his fast, in-swinging yorkers.

He has taken 244 Test wickets and 184 ODI wickets.

He was part of the Australia side who won the World Cup in 2015.

His career-best match haul of 11 for 94 came in the familiar surroundings of Galle – albeit in an Australia defeat – and he claimed 22 wickets in four Tests during the 2017-18 Ashes.

He took his 200th Test wicket in his 50th Test in February of 2019, joining an elite group of Australian bowlers.

Starc is married to Australian women’s wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy.

4. Jeff Thomson (Australia) – 160.6 kph (99.8 mph)

“Thommo”, as he is affectionately called, was considered by many in the sport to be the fastest bowler of his generation.

He was the opening partner of fellow fast bowler Dennis Lillee; their combination was one of the most fearsome in Test cricket history.

His fastest delivery was against West Indies in Perth, 1975.

He took 200 Test wickets and 55 ODI wickets.

He was inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame in 2016.

3. Brett Lee (Australia)- 160.8 kph (99.9 mph)

Lee is one of Australia’s most successful bowlers with 310 wickets in 76 matches, 280 ODI wickets, and 487 first-class wickets.

He helped Australia take the 2003 and 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup titles.

His fastest delivery was against New Zealand at Napier in 2005.

He was the first cricket player to take a hat trick in Twenty20 international cricket.

2. Shaun Tait (Australia)- 161.1 kph (100.1 mph)

Shaun William Tait was a quickie not only in bowling but also in terms of his career span.

At his best, he was one of the fastest bowlers in the world, but his best was seen only in the shorter formats of the game for Australia, and even then, only for a short period.

A brutal bowler with a shoulder-strong action, Tait’s body found the workload too challenging in the long-form and played only three Tests, and by the time he was 25 years old, he called it quits with first-class cricket.

As a late addition to Australia’s one-day squad in 2010, he unleashed a ball against England at Lord’s that registered at 161.1kph, the second-fastest of all-time.

He was highly sought after in franchise cricket, playing for Kolkata Knight Riders, Rajasthan Royals, Adelaide Strikers, Hobart Hurricanes, and Melbourne Renegades.

1. Shoaib Akhtar (Pakistan)- 161.3 kph (100.2 mph)

Shoaib emerged on the scene in the late 90s with a swagger and always liked to be recognized and acknowledged.

Nicknamed the Rawalpindi Express, Akhtar was the first bowler to break the 100-mph mark.

His fastest delivery was against England in the 2003 ICC World Cup.

When in his elements, there wasn’t a more thrilling sight in the world. He was devasting at his best.

He took 178 Test wickets and 247 ODI wickets in a career spanning from 1997-2011.

Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Contributor

Edited by Jesus Chan

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