Why these bowlers are special for cricket -part 2

So we are continuing from where we left. We are done with rank 50, 49, 48, and 47 of all time great bowlers in cricket. In this article we will talk about the next 4. So here we go….
46. Vernon Philander – Vernon Philander was this one pacer who you would call the dark horse of the South African pace lineup, for his presence was overshadowed by Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. However, this man could bowl impeccable lines and lengths and bamboozle the opposition with his swing. He probably was one of the most disciplined bowlers I have seen after McGrath along with Anderson. After his test debut, he has impressed everyone with his splendid performance. If you see his year-wise stats, you will see that in the 10 years he played international test cricket,his average has been over the 40s only for 3 years (2014,2015 and 2020). In the other years, he averaged either 20 or even lesser,which is exceptional for any fast bowler. His bowling average, 22.32 in the longest format, is the eight-best among bowlers who have picked up 200-plus wickets.His Strong point was unlike other South African pacers his pace was never his forte. His average pace was (135–137) kmph. He wasn’t very tall either(only 5′11″). But his swing was masterclass. Slight cloud cover, damp pitch, windy conditions and the batsmen would face the wrath of Vernon’s swing magic. Spending his entire career in the shadows of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, who used to be pace heavy-weights for the Proteas, Philander had a sound test career,returning with 224 test wickets at an average of 22 from 64 tests.Graeme Smith gave Vernon Philander the new ball ahead of Morne on the former’s Test debut. Philander returned figures of three for 63, but the real performance came in the second innings: he finished with five for 15 as Australia were bowled out for 47 (at one stage they were 21 for nine with Philander on five for nine). He has never looked back since as wickets have kept tumbling in front of him. He had four five-wicket hauls in his first three Tests, and two more in his next four, and reached the 50-wicket mark in only seven Tests, the second-fastest in history. In april 2018, Vernon Philander produced the finest innings haul of his career, claiming 6-21 to destroy Australia in the space of an hour on the final morning of the fourth Test held at Johannesburg. It was a dismal ending to Australia’s tour, which they lost 3-1 to surrender a Test series in South Africa for the first time in the post-Apartheid era. The then 32-year-old claimed his 200th wicket in a spell of six wickets for three runs in the space of 32 balls. Despite making his ODI debut way back in 2007, Philander has played just 30 ODIs and seven T20Is. While there is nothing wrong with his ODI record with 41 wickets at 24.04, modern-day 50-over cricket is generally harsh on medium pacers, who tend to hit repeatable lengths and hope for a bit of assistance off from the surface.
*Country: South Africa*Career span: 2007- 2019*Career stats in Tests: 64 matches, 224 wickets, 22.32 average, 50.85 strike rate, 2.63 economy, 6-21 best bowling, 13 5wicket-haul*Career stats in ODIs: 30 matches, 41 wickets, 24.04 average, 31.1 strike rate, 4.62 economy, 4-12 best bowling, 0 5wicket-haul
45. Jason Gillespie – Jason Gillespie was Australian fast bowler who was also a handy lower order batsman with a double test century to his name as a nightwatchman. He was a great bowler but was overshadowed by other great bowlers in his team which included Warne, McGrath & Lee. Jason Gillespie forged a successful bowling partnership with Glenn Mcgrath during Australia’s golden years in the 2000s. The duo was a nightmare of quality batsmen, too. Gillespie unsettled the batsmen with his movement off the pitch, and plays and misses often were a sight when he was bowling. Since batsmen missed many balls, he didn’t get the number of wickets he deserved. And while there are some fine memories of subduing the West Indies at their home in 1996, and of trouncing England in the Ashes, 2005, the finest tribute to Gillespie was done by his famous bowling partner. Glenn McGrath credited Gillespie for possessing both nagging pace and accuracy that championed Australia’s cause. In McGrath’s view, there haven’t been many who’ve elicited as many plays-and-misses as Jason.It was never easy for batsmen when a ball was thrust with pace and aggression from a frame of 1.95 meters. Yet, somehow, Jason managed a fantastic aggregate of 401 international wickets. 259 of those in Tests, including 8 five-fors. 158 of those came against opposition that mattered- India, New Zealand, South Africa and England.
*Country: Australia*Career span: 1996-2006*Career stats in Tests: 71 matches, 259 wickets, 26.13 average, 54.9 strike rate, 2.85 economy, 7-37 best bowling, 8 5wicket-haul*Career stats in ODIs: 97 matches, 142 wickets, 25.42 average, 36.2 strike rate, 4.21 economy, 5-22 best bowling, 3 5wicket-haul
44. Lance Gibbs – Lance Gibbs, in full Lancelot Richard Gibbs was born in September 29 1934 at Georgetown, British Guiana [now Guyana]). The West Indian cricketer was one of the most successful bowlers of the 1960s and the longtime record holder for most wickets taken in Test matches. He is remembered as one of the most effective spin bowlers in the history of international cricket. Gibbs was the first spinner, the first West Indian, and the second bowler in the history of the game to take more than 300 Test wickets. He collected these wickets at the remarkably economical rate of 1.98 runs per over. Gibbs first came into his own during the 1960–61 series in Australia, taking a hat trick in the fourth Test at Adelaide. His career-best performance came against India at Bridgetown, Barb., the following year, when he took 8 wickets while limiting his opponents to 38 runs, including 37 maidens in 53.3 overs. Gibbs’s catching and reflexes were spectacular especially in the gully area, where he took most of his 52 catches in Test cricket. He also enjoyed a successful career in the English county circuit with Warwickshire. He was selected Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1972. Considering that the only West Indian spinner since Gibbs to take a hundred wickets has been Carl Hooper and the name after that is Devendra Bishoo it seems unlikely that he will ever be surpassed by a tweaker from the islands anytime soon. Gibbs indeed represents a very special breed.
*Country: West Indies*Career span: 1958-1976*Career stats in Tests: 79 matches, 309 wickets, 29.09 average, 87.7 strike rate, 1.98 economy, 8-38 best bowling, 18 5wicket-haul*Career stats in ODIs: 3 matches, 2 wickets, 29.50 average, 78.0 strike rate, 2.26 economy, 1-12 best bowling, 0 5wicket-haul
43. Lasith Malinga – Lastih Malinga’s action may be a purist’s nightmare, but it cannot be denied that he has helped redefine death-bowling with his toe crushers that batsmen find a hard time to keep off their toes. A master of the yorker, Malinga is also a clever exponent of variation of pace. To make things worse, his slinging action that earned him the nickname “Slinga” . He has often left batsmen wondering about the extent of swing, whether with the old ball or new. Malinga holds the record of clinching most number of hat-tricks in white-ball cricket (ODIs – 3, T20Is – 2). He is the only bowler to take four wickets from as many consecutive deliveries in both ODI (vs South Africa March, 2007) and T20Is cricket (vs New Zealand, 2019). Notably, Malinga is also the only player to take two World Cup hat-tricks (2007 and 2011). Malinga is the second-highest wicket-taker in T20 cricket, having taken 390 wickets at a remarkable average of 19.69. He is only behind West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, who have mote than 500 T20 wickets under his belt. Having represented Sri Lanka in 226 ODIs, he has snapped up 338 wickets at an average of 28.87.The incredible tally includes 8 five-wicket hauls and 11 four-fors. Malinga also has 107 T20I and 101 Test wickets to his name at 20.79 and 33.15 respectively. Malinga is one of the four bowlers to have taken over 50 wickets in ODI World Cup. He became the second Sri Lankan after Muttiah Muralitharan (68) to have attained the distinction.Malinga’s bowling figures of 0/27 from 4 overs in the 2014 World T20 final against India, on the face of it, are nothing exceptional, but it’s the context of his last 2 overs, in particular, that make his efforts praiseworthy. Malinga, himself, had something to prove, as the feeling was that the Indian batsmen had the measure of him having meted out severe punishment to him on several occasions in the past. Conceding 18 runs off his first 2 overs gave even more credence to that segment, but Malinga came roaring back at his critics as he gave away just 9 runs from his final 2 overs, thereby restricting India to a below par score of 130.Even though Lasith Malinga is not successful in Tests as in ODIs and T20Is, but this spell had turned out to be a game changing spell for Sri Lanka against India. This spell can be said as his all time best bowling in the longest format of the game. This spell was a real special one for him as he made a come back in to the Test team after three years wait. And that match was the final test match for the Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan. Lasith Malinga took a memorable five wicket haul that included the wickets of Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulkar and Dhoni in his come back game and enusred a winning note farewell for the spin legend.
*Country: Sri Lanka*Career span: 2004-present*Career stats in Tests: 30 matches, 101 wickets, 33.15 average, 51.5 strike rate, 3.86 economy, 5-50 best bowling, 3 5wicket-haul*Career stats in ODIs: 226 matches, 338 wickets, 28.87 average, 32.3 strike rate, 5.35 economy, 6-38 best bowling, 8 5wicket-haul

-Paramdeep Rathee

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