Harbhajan Singh became the latest entry in the 700 international wickets club and achieved this feat in the 3 ODI against Zimbabwe. The turbanator playing his 1st odi after almost 4 years first came into the limelight after taking a hattrick against the Aussies in the Border Gavaskar trophy in 2001 at the Eden Gardens and also earned the man of the series award of the tournament. Harbhajan, an attacking-minded bowler is known for his ball control and ability to vary his length but is often criticised for his flat trajectory. His main wicket-taking ball, the top spinner climbs wickedly on the unsuspecting batsman from a good length, forcing him to offer a shot. The controversial spinner made batting great Ricky Ponting his bunny by getting him out on 10 occasions,
Often regarded as a bowling all rounder, he has saved India’s skin many a times and also scored 2 back to back centuries against New Zealand when India had their backs against the wall. One wonders what would have been his wicket tally if he would have been consistent and been a part of team India in the past 4 years.
We take a look at other bowlers in International Cricket who have more than 700 international wickets:11. Daniel Vettori
The former black caps captain is 11th in the list with 705 wickets. Currently coaching the RCB in the IPL he is the and New Zealand’s most capped test player with 112 caps, and New Zealand’s most capped One-Day cricketer with 284 caps.The clever left arm leg spinner was known for his flight and guile.He was a pretty decent batsman too with over 4000 runs and 6 centuries in tests. He made Shane Warne his bunny and got him out for 99 in Perth.
10. Brett Lee
The Australian fast bowler took 718 wickets to find himself in the 10th spot. Lee was known for his pace and he regularly clocked 90 mph and above. He is only behind Pakistani bowler Shoaib Akhtar (161.3 km/h, 100.2 mph) as the fastest bowler in cricket after he bowled at 161.8 km/h (100.5 mph), against West Indies. Lee was the first player in T20 cricket to take a hattrick. Binga is the fastest Australian ODI player to take 100 wickets(55 matches) He is also the fastest bowler to take 300 ODI wickets(171 matches). He was also awarded the Wisden young cricketer of the year in 2000.
His total of 746 wickets places him on the 9th position in this list. He is one of the best bowlers that west indies has ever produced and he and Curtly Ambrose formed a deadly duo in the 90’s. The then West Indian attack of Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner, Curtly Ambrose and Walsh was the most feared attack of that time. He has a unique record of taking 5 wickets in an ODI match conceding only one run against Sri Lanka in December 1986. His pursuit for break Kapil Dev’s record of 434 wickets ,also known as mission 434 was achieved in 2000. He also holds a dubious record for the most Test ducks (43), but also the most “not outs” – 61 times He became the first bowler to take 500 test wickets in 2004. He became the Wisden cricketer of the year in 1987 and was inducted in ICC hall of fame in 2010.
8. Chaminda Vaas
The most penetrative and successful new-ball bowler that Sri Lanka has ever produced scalped 761 wickets during his career. At the 2003 World cup, Vaas picked up 23 wickets, becoming the highest wicket taker in the tournament. This included a spell of 6–25 against Bangladesh, where Vaas also took a hattrick with the first three deliveries of the innings. He had a well disguised off cutter and inswinger and later on in his career he added reverse-swing to his armoury making him even more dangerous.
7. Waqar Younis
The king of reverse swing is 7th with 789 wickets to his credit.His ability to reverse the ball and high speed led to him becoming one of the most talented bowlers in modern cricket. He formed a lethal opening bowling partnership with Wasim Akram. Waqar was named the wisden cricketer of the year in 1992 for his achievements. He is also the only bowler to have taken 5 wickets in 3 consecutive One Day International matches. In terms of deliveries bowled, he has taken the fastest 50, 300, 350 and 400 wickets in One days. He was inducted in the ICC Hall of Fame in 2013.
6. Shaun Pollock
With 829 international wickets, he is 6th in the all time list. Regarded as one of the best all rounders, he had cricket running through his veins as both his father and uncle played for SA. He later went on to form a formidable opening bowling partnership with Allan Donald. The deadly duo were right up their in the league along with Courtney Walsh-Curtly Ambrose, Wasim Akram-Waqar Younis and Glenn McGrath-Jason Gillespie. in 2006, Pollock went on to become the first and only South African to pick up 400 wickets in Test matches. He had already scored 3,000 runs in the longer format of the game, making it a phenomenal feat for an all-rounder.
5. Wasim Akram
With a sum of 916 wickets, the sultan of swing Wasim Akram is ranked no 5 in the list. He has 414 wickets in tests and 502 in one days. He has taken the most no of hattricks by a player during his career- 4 hat-tricks in International cricket – two in ODIs and two in Tests. During his career he bowled with genuine speed and swing and his ability to reverse the cricket ball made him the most dangerous bowler towards the end of the innings. Akram would bowl stump to stump and had a lethal inswinging yorker. Of his 414 Test wickets, 193 were taken caught, 119 were taken leg before wicket and 102 were bowled. These figures bear testimony to the fact that he made life miserable for the batsmen. He also has a record of taking 4 wickets in an over against west indies which did not include a hattrick. His 257 not-out against Zimbabwe is the highest score by a number 8 batsman in tests. He hit 12 sixes in that, most by anyone in a test innings. He also has the-third highest number of Man of the Match awards in Test cricket, that is, 17 MoM’s.
With a tally of 944 wickets on No 4 is Australia Glenn Mcgrath. He has the most no of wickets in his kitty for a fast bowler. McGrath was never an express bowler. Rather, he relied on his accuracy, swing and seam movement which he got due to due to his high wrist action with the help of his height and a high arm action, he was able to extract extra bounce from most pitches often surprising batsmen. He represented Australia for 16 years which for a pacer is a very long time. Also known as the pigeon he tended to engage in sledging with opposition batsmen and targeted the opposition’s leading batsmen,thus distracting him. He was inducted in the ICC hall of fame in 2012. He also has the most no of runs(603) in tests for a no 11 batsmen and was the man of the series in the 2007 edition of the world cup and has the maximum no of wickets in world cup games- 71 wickets of 39 games.
On no 3 with a total of 956 wickets is Indian legend Anil Kumble,the only leg spinner to have captained India. Kumble is one of the two bowlers ever to have taken all ten wickets in a Test innings, taking 10 for 74. Kumble achieved this feat against arch rivals Pakistan thus making it more special in the second Test played in Delhi in February 1999. In 2004, Kumble became India’s highest wicket taker surpassing Kapil Dev’s haul of 434 wickets. He also has a century to his name after he scored 110 against England at the Oval in London. He was awarded the Arjuna award and Padma Shri by Indian govt and was the Wisden cricketer of the year in 1996 and was inducted in the ICC Hall of Fame in 2015.
2. Shane Warne
Shane Warne revolutionised cricket with his mastery over leg spin, a dying art revived by Warne. Controversial yes, but Warne has reserved himself a place in cricketing posterity as he was the one who overturned the domination of cricket by fast bowling as he took a whooping 1001 wickets during his tenure. Warne combined the ability to turn the ball, with spot on accuracy to trouble the batsmen even in unhelpful conditions. He had many variations up his sleeve especially the flipper to trouble the batsmen. Warne was instrumental in helping Australia win the 1999 Cricket World Cup in England. He bowled the famous “Gatting Ball”, also known as the “Ball of the Century” which turned sharply and bowled a bemused Mike Gatting in the 1993 Ashes series. Andrew strauss became his 700 victim as he became the first bowler to reach 700 wickets.
The bowling great led Rajasthan Royals who were considered minnows to victory in the first edition of the IPL. He was named the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in the 1994, Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World 1997, Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World for the year 2004 in 2005. In 2000, he was selected by a panel of experts as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Century, the only specialist bowler selected and the only one still playing at the time.
1. Muttiah Muralitharan
And on the numero uno position is the superman from Sri Lanka, Muttiah Muralitharan. He has 800 test wickets, 534 in ODI’s and 13 in T20 Internationals taking his tally to 1347 wickets in international cricket. His off spinners proved to be lethal for the opposing batsmen and his well disguised doosra foxed many. There were many chucking alligations on him but he was cleared of all charges in 1999. Not only does he hold the record for the highest number of international wickets in Tests and ODIs but also for the most no of 10-wicket hauls in a match at Test level (22) and The most 5-wicket hauls in an innings at Test level (66). He is the only player in the history of the gamer to take 10 wickets/match against every Test playing nation. He was the fastest to 400, 500, 600 and 700 Test wickets, in terms of matches played. No one has sent down more than his 43,669 deliveries in international cricket proving that in his long and illustrious career spanning 18 years, he won the trust of each and every captain he played under. He is the Only player to take 10 wickets in a Test in four consecutive matches and he has achieved this feat twice.
He and Jacques Kallis are the only bowlers to receive the most number of ‘Man of the Match’ awards in test cricket (18). For his contributions to cricket He was named as the leading player in the world by Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack (2006).