5 bowlers who have dominated Number 1 Test rank: The Sports Rush present before you five bowlers who have retained their top rank.
There is a very limited section of bowlers who get to become the No. 1 ranked Test bowler. Not just playing constantly at the highest level but the milestone demands a bowler to continually dismiss opposition batsmen in a bid to achieve the top rank.
Becoming the top-ranked bowler is one thing and securing it for the years requires a whole different level. As far as bowlers who have retained this highest rank for years under their belt, it speaks highly about their consistency across conditions and oppositions.
5 bowlers who have dominated Number 1 Test rank
Ravichandran Ashwin (2015-2017)
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin might not have featured in India’s Playing XI during the recently concluded tour of West Indies but it won’t take away from him the fact that he was once the top-ranked bowler for a couple of years.
— BCCI (@BCCI) September 17, 2019
Having achieved the top-rank first in 2015, Ashwin retained it till 2017. Playing a grand home season in 2016 aided Ashwin to stick tight to his rank.
Having picked 342 wickets in 65 Test matches at an average of 25.43, an economy rate of 2.43 and a strike rate of 53.7, the 33-year old cricketer has several bowling record to his name.
Shane Warne (1994-1995, 2005)
Legendary Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne falls in the rare breed of bowlers who reached the No. 1 rank in ICC Test rankings twice or more during their career. Having first reached the top of tree in 1994, Warne replicated the feat a decade later in 2005.
Having dismissed 708 batsmen in 145 Test matches at an average of 25.41, an economy rate of 2.65 and a strike rate of 57.4 in his 15-year long Test career, Warne deceived the opposition batsmen at will at the highest level for years.
Warne registering the numbers that he has despite playing 120 Test matches outside Asia speaks highly of his ability as a spinner who played 69 home Tests in Australia.
Muttiah Muralitharan (2003, 2006-2008)
Much like Warne, Muralitharan was another spinner who made the batsmen dance to his tunes throughout his nearly two-decade long career. Right from his action to his mystery deliveries, the legendary Sri Lankan spinner is till date among the toughest bowlers to read in world cricket.
Having picked 800 wickets in 133 Test matches at an average of 22.72, an economy rate of 2.47 and a strike rate of 55, Muralitharan is the highest wicket-taker in Test matches.
While Muralitharan became the top-ranked ICC bowler for the first time in 2003, he repeated the feat in 2006 and made sure that retained it till 2008.
Glenn McGrath (1996-1997, 2001-2004)
Former Australia pacer Glenn McGrath was an epitome of consistency not only with respect to his line and length but also when it came to dismissing the opposition batsmen. Having made his debut in 1993, McGrath became the No. 1 ranked bowler for the first time in 1996 and retained the rank till the next year.
Much like Warne, McGrath was part of the legendary Australian team which dominated for years at the highest level. The pair played a vital role in numerous significant Test victories for Australia.
Having dismissed 563 batsmen in 124 Test matches at an average of 21.64, an economy rate of 2.49 and a strike rate of 51.9, McGrath was the highest wicket-taker among fast bowlers until England’s James Anderson surpassed him recently.
Dale Steyn (2008-2014, 2016)
The lowest strike-rate of any bowler with more than 200 Test wickets 👏
More Test wickets than any other South African cricketer 🙌
Top of the ICC MRF Tyres Test bowling rankings for 263 weeks 😱
A great of Test cricket retires today. pic.twitter.com/fDt0GYInyU
— ICC (@ICC) August 5, 2019
Had it not been for injuries, the recently retired South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn had it in him to become the highest wicket-taker among fast bowlers. In 93 Tests, Steyn dismissed 439 batsmen at an average of 22.95, an economy rate of 3.24 and a strike rate of 42.3 including 26 five-wicket hauls.
What puts Steyn at contrast from the other bowlers in this list is him remaining the top-ranked bowler for a brilliant seven years.
The fact that the 36-year old retained the rank for as many as six year tells why he was among the most feared fast bowlers of his time.