After batting let’s discuss about the bowling now. In cricket generally, the batsmen are the more glamorous ones and the bowlers are the hard-working contributors of the game. However, a lot believe that a cricket match, especially a Test match can be won mainly based on good bowlers. Here we have tried to recall some moments in the history of bowling that will be remembered forever.
1. Overarm bowling introduction
Till the first half of the 19th-century cricket world only knew about underarm bowling. Then in a match between Kent cricketer John Willes and his sister Christina Willes, Christiana could not deliver the underarm bowling because of her skirt. She improvised her style and raised her arm higher than usual while bowling to John. The brother adapted the style instantly and introduced the same in a match against MCC at Lords in 1822. Although he is considered to be the champion of the patter, the popular saga hints at his sister innovating the same.
2. Larwood’s Bodyline
One of the most controversial series ever played in cricket history was the 1932-33 Ashes series in Australia widely known as Bodyline. The England captain Douglas Jardine was the mastermind to stop the Australian run-machine Don Bradman and Harold Larwood was his main weapon. Larwood was one of the fastest bowlers ever and his accuracy helped him to maintain the leg theory consistently. No other bowler ever was in so much focus during a series when in one hand he was the hope of entire England and on the other hand the most hated figure by the Aussie fans. England reclaimed the Ashes 3-1 and Larwood finished with 33 wickets with an average less than 20. The series ended for him with an injury but by then the mission was accomplished.
3. Jim Laker and Anil Kumble
During Australia’s tour of England in 1956, Jim Laker was in wonderful form. He already took all ten wickets in an innings, playing for Surrey against the Australians in one of the side games. In the Test matches, he carried on his form and took himself to record books at Old Trafford in Manchester. England scored 459 runs in the first innings and won the match by an innings and 170 runs as Australia were bowled out for 84 and 205. Laker got 9/37 in the first innings and not being contained with that took all 10 wickets for 53 runs in the second innings. Laker finished the match with 19 for 90, greatest ever match figure in history and a record which will be very difficult to break. Indian legend Anil Kumble was the only other bowler to take all 10 wickets in an innings in Test matches.
4. First hat-tricks
Till now there are 45 hat-tricks in Tests, 49 in ODIs and 13 in T20 Internationals. The first Test hat-trick dated back to 1879 when the great Australian fast bowler Fred ‘The Demon’ Spofforth achieved the first one at Melbourne Cricket Ground against England. In One Day Internationals, it was the Pakistani fast bowler Jalal-ud-Din against Australia who got selected because Imran Khan was resting. The first hat-trick in T20 International also involves an Australian as the speed-star Brett Lee completed the hat-trick against Bangladesh during the inaugural T20 World Cup.
5. Muralitharan – 800 wickets and what not!
Muttiah Muralitharan is one of the greatest bowlers in Test cricket history. A controversial figure because of his bowling action Murali was one of the biggest match-winner during his prime. The fans were divided regarding his greatness and his constant duel with Shane Warne, another magical spinner. This was something cricket fans cherished during the second half of the 90s and first few years of the new millennium. Where Warne finished with 708 wickets and widely considered as more skilful among the two, Murali finished with a magical wicket tally of 800 wickets with 67 five-wicket and 22 ten-wicket hauls, both are world records.
6. Shoaib Akhtar and the fast bowlers
There are various aspects of bowling which is as charming as anything. One of those is speed. From the very beginning, a set of speed merchants have made the game more exciting and competitive. Obviously historically the technology was not that advanced and speed measurement was not as easily available as now. But people like Roy Gilchrist and Frank Tyson did create fear among batsmen during the 50s. Jeff Thomson and Andy Roberts were the threats during the 70s and 80s followed by some modern greats in the turn of the 21st century. Brett Lee, Shane Bond, Shaun Tait all made their name by bowling tear-away fast. One of the most skilful bowlers who also scared the batsmen all over the world with his pace was Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar. The injury did have a negative impact on his career but till now he has recorded the fastest delivery with the pace of 161.3 KM/hour.