Monday, February 4, 2013

Is Dale Steyn the best Fast Bowler of All Time?

No one really expected Pakistan to win a test match in South Africa, but no one expected them to be bowled out for 49, their lowest test score ever, either.

It is very easy to point fingers at the Pakistan bastmen and criticize them for a poor technique, bad footwork,  and a lack of application.

However, one must remember that the same pace attack bowled out Australia for 47 and New Zealand for 45. When you are up against the number 1 team in the world that has a pace attack comprising of Steyn (Ranked 1), Philander (Ranked 2), and Morkel (Ranked 9) in their own backyard, batting is really really tough.

Pakistan's wrecker-in-chief was Dale Steyn who had match figures of 11-60, which is his best return ever in a career spanning 63 test matches.

With the new ball, Steyn was unplayable. Particularly in the first innings, where he produced a devastating spell and had astonishing figures of 6-8 !

Steyn's match haul of 11-60 earned him his fifth 10-wicket haul in test matches, which is now the most number of 10-wicket hauls for South Africa. Before this test, he was level with Makhaya Ntini on four.

His 5-wicket hauls in each innings of the match took his tally to 21 5-wicket in an innings hauls, surpassing the South African record of 20, which was held by Allan Donald.

Steyn's 323 test wickets are still behind those of Shaun Pollock (421), Ntini (390), and Donald (330), but he has also played a fewer number of tests than each of them. With age on his side (he is only 29), he looks well set to become the top South African wicket taker of all time.

Someone said that he's got Donald's pace, Ntini's fitness, and Pollock's seam and swing, which arguably makes him the best fast bowler ever to play for South Africa.

Currently, he is also the best fast bowler in the world.

But is Dale Steyn also the best ever fast bowler of all time?

Steyn is currently at number 17 among the top 20 wicket takers of all time in test cricket, but as I mentioned he has played fewer tests than the rest of them and has a long way to go still. Considering his fitness levels, he can play well beyond another 5 years easily.

Steyn's strike rate of 40.8 is the best among the top 20 bowlers. Better than McGrath's, Hadlee's, Waqar's, and Marshall's. In fact his strike rate is the 5th best strike rate of all time in test cricket behind Lohmann, Philander, JJ Ferris, and Shane Bond.

Steyn's five 10-wicket match hauls are level with Wasim and Waqar, and behind only those of Imran Khan, Dennis Lillee, and Richard Hadlee.

The most glaring statistic, however, is Steyn's wickets per match. He averages 5.13 wickets per test match, which is the most that any fast bowler with over 200 test wickets averages in test cricket.

Dennis Lille and Richard Hadlee are the only other two fast bowlers who averaged over 5 wickets per test match in their career.

If you include spinners into the equation, then Steyn's 5.13 wickets per test is the third highest behind Muralitharan's 6.02 and Grimmett's 5.84.

Those truly are some outstanding numbers.

Dale Steyn may well end his career as the best ever fast bowler to have played the game.

Make your pitch on this post...

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1 Pitched:

  1. Anonymous said...

    He may not individually be the best of all time, but he looks set to be part of the best trio of quicks of all time. I would rate Steyn, Morkel and Philander higher than any other bowling attack in living memory, and the only possible challengers would be the great West Indian attacks of the 70s and 80s.

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