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Home Sports Cricket 10 Bowlers with the Most wicket in ODI Cricket (Updated)

10 Bowlers with the Most wicket in ODI Cricket (Updated)

Mcgrath KreedOn
BASSETERRE, ST KITTS AND NEVIS - MARCH 14: Glenn McGrath of Australia exchanges banter with the crowd during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 Group A match between Australia and Scotland at Warner Park on March 14, 2007 in Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Cricket is a sport dominated mostly by batsmen. Viewers all over the world love watching their favorite batsmen score centuries, hit the ball out of the park and win matches for their respective teams. And it is also true that the players with the most popularity and the biggest fan bases are always batsmen. Very less bowlers have received the amount of love and support from the fans as compared to that received by the batsmen, even if they have most wicket in ODI or any other format of cricket. And today, with the introduction of T20 cricket, high scoring games have futher elevated the hardhitting batsmen’s value in the sport.

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Scoring 350+ runs in an ODI has a become a very easy task for the batting teams and hence, today majority of the bowlers have lost their credibility. Let us take you down to the era of the 1990s and the early 2000s when the world’s best bowlers ruled the roost and won almost every other game with the ball for their team. Here is a list of the bowlers with most wicket in ODI.

10Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka)

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Most Wicket in ODI: Jayasuriya tossing up the ball in an ODI against England in 2011 credits:crickettracker

Usually known for being an explosive opening batsman and one of the biggest hitters of the cricket ball, Sanath Jayasuriya has also contributed equally well with the ball for Sri Lanka. He has taken 323 ODI wickets in the 368 innings he has bowled in at a fair economy of 4.78 in his 22 years long cricket career. Although Sanath had a very common bowling action, just like any other left arm orthodox, but his ability to beat the batsmen with the flight and getting them bowled at a 110 kmph+ Yorker in the same over got him his success as a bowler. His most memorable spell came in 1996 World Cup semi final against India when he picked 3/12 in 6 overs and got the most important wicket of Sachin Tendulkar, which helped them clinch their maiden world cup title.

ODI Wickets: 323

Matches: 445

Economy: 4.78

Best Figures: 6/29

5Wicket Hauls: 4

9Anil Kumble (India)

Most Wicket in ODi:Kumble played his last ODI against Bermuda in 2007 ICC World Cup (Credits: crictraker)

Anil Kumble is India’s leading wicket taker in ODI as well as Test Cricket. Also known as ‘Jumbo’, the 6 feet 1-inch tall leg-break bowler from Bengaluru has picked 337 ODI wickets for India. This former Indian test captain was known for not beating the batsmen with the flight and turn but beat them with his bounce and the turning ball. He generated a natural drift which he got because of his unorthodox action. His most memorable performance came against West Indies in the year 1993 when he picked his best bowling figures 6/12 only in 6.1 overs. He is the finest bowler India has ever produced and hence was rightfully given the ICC Hall of Fame Award in 2015 for his terrific contribution to the game in his 17-year long career.

ODI Wickets: 337

Matches: 271

Economy: 4.30

Best Figures: 6/12

5Wicket Hauls: 2

8Brett Lee (Australia)

Most Wicket in ODI: Brett Lee bowling a lethal yorker to dismiss the batsman in 2009 (Credits: gettyimages)

Next in this list is one of the fastest bowlers to play international cricket- Brett Lee. Also known as ‘Binga’, the lethal right arm fast bowler from New South Wales, Australia has picked 380 wickets in just 221 ODIs that he has played. He became the first bowler to take a hat-trick in international T-20 cricket against Bangladesh. Brett’s ability to constantly bowl at a speed of 150 kmph+ and to swing the ball both in and out to the batsman made him the second most successful bowler in Australian cricket. Brett Lee played the game with aggression and was usually involved in a lot of banters to keep the opponent on his toes every time he came to bowl. He is a very popular figure for bowling as well as his acting and singing skills, that have earned him a huge female fan base all across the globe.

ODI Wickets: 380

Matches: 221

Economy: 4.76

Best Figures: 5/22

5 Wicket Hauls: 9

7Glenn McGrath (Australia)

McGrath was adjudged Man Of The Tournament in his last world cup in 2007 (Credit:Getty Images)

Although not being one of the quickest bowlers in international cricket, Glenn McGrath is the most consistent pace bowler the world has ever seen. His ability to consistently bowl accurately on a perfect line and length made him Australia’s most successful ODI bowler. The 6’6 feet tall right arm fast-medium pacer has claimed 381 wickets in 250 ODIs at an economy of only 3.88. McGrath played a key role in Australia cricket’s golden era between 1998-2008. He was a pivotal part of the World Cup Winning squad in 1999, 2003 and 2007. McGrath has the record for picking up the most wickets in ICC World Cup matches (71 wickets in 39 matches). In the ICC World Cup 2007, he was awarded with the “Man of the Tournament” award for scalping 26 wickets in only 11 matches -the most by any bowler in the World Cup. 

ODI Wickets: 381

Matches: 250

Economy: 3.88

Best Figures: 7/15

5Wicket Hauls: 7

6Shaun Pollock (South Africa)

Shaun Pollock has been South Africa’s most successful bowler in ODI cricket. He has picked 393 wickets at an unimaginable economy rate of 3.67, which is the best among this list. Pollock had led the South African team as a captain from 2000-2003 and led the foundation of one of the best bowling team international cricket has ever seen. The right-arm fast medium pacer had the ability to swing the ball both ways and always defeated the batsmen with his accuracy and bounce. He holds the record to pick up most number of wickets at home soil in South Africa (193). Pollock was an asset to the South African team and was one of the best all-rounders of cricket.

ODI Wickets: 393

Matches: 303

Economy: 3.67

Best Figures: 6/35

5Wicket Hauls: 5

5Shahid Afridi (Pakistan)

Most Wicket in ODI: Shahid Afridi celebrated in his trademark style after every wicket (Credits: gettyimages)

Shahid ‘Boom Boom’ Afridi is fifth in this list. Afridi has had a wonderful bowling record for Pakistan. He has picked 395 wickets for Pakistan in 398 international appearances. He has been one of the best all-rounders Pakistan has ever produced. The right-arm leggie from Khyber had a unique bowling action where he approached the popping crease sprinting. His variations of bowling googlies, leg breaks and quick Yorkers (sometimes quicker than Munaf Patel) were a key to his success in his 21-year old long cricketing career.

ODI Wickets: 395

Matches: 398

Economy: 4.62

Best Figures: 7/15

5Wicket Hauls: 9

4Chaminda Vaas (Sri Lanka)

Most Wicket in ODI: Vaas celebrating after taking the hat-trick against Bangladesh in World Cup 2003 (credits:@thecricketer)

WPUJC Vaas was Sri Lanka’s most successful pace bowler. The left-arm medium fast bowler has picked 400 ODI wickets in the 320 ODIs he has appeared in. Prominently a swing bowler, Vaas proved that accuracy of hitting the correct line and length is more important than having pace. He holds the record for taking the best ODI bowling figures (8/19 vs Zimbabwe, 2001). By picking up 23 wickets, he became the leading wicket taker in 2003 ICC World Cup.  His ability to take early wickets in the powerplay overs were the key to his as well as Sri Lanka’s success. He also is the only bowler in international cricket to take a hat-trick in the first 3 balls of an innings (against Bangladesh in 2003).

ODI Wickets: 400

Matches: 320

Economy: 4.18

Best Figures: 8/19

5Wicket Hauls: 4

3Waqar Younis (Pakistan)

Most Wicket in ODI: Waqar Younis was one of the best bowlers to bowl the Yorkers (Credits: photosport)

Number 3 on this list is Waqar “The Toe crusher” Younis. Waqar has picked 416 wickets in the 262 matches he has played for Pakistan. Waqar (along with Wasim Akram) revolutionised bowling in limited overs cricket. The right arm fast bowler had the skill set to constantly bowl at speeds more than 150 kmph. His aggressive style of bowling Yorkers and bouncers consistently helped him to win majority of the matches for his nation. He was the one of the only fast bowlers in cricket history to use reverse swing effectively in the later stage of the game when the ball used to be old and not swing naturally. He has the record of being the only bowler till date to pick 5-wicket hauls in three consecutive ODIs.

ODI Wickets: 416

Matches: 262

Economy: 4.68

Best Figures: 7/36

5Wicket Hauls: 13

2Wasim Akram (Pakistan)

Wasim Akram played his last World Cup in 2003 (Credits: Reuters)

“The Sultan of Swing”, Wasim Akram comes second in this list. Wasim is the only pace bowler to pick more than 500 ODI wickets in ODI cricket. The left arm fast bowler has taken 502 wickets in 356 ODI appearances at an amazing economy of 3.89. As mentioned earlier, he along with Waqar, led the foundation for Fast Bowling in modern cricket. He could swing the ball both ways and his ability to reverse swing the ball troubled every batsman. Wasim played a vital role in winning the 1992 ICC World Cup for Pakistan where he bowled a magical spell of 3/49 in the final vs England. Both Wasim and Waqar together scalped 918 wickets for their team and international cricket is yet to find a better bowling pair than the “Sultans of Multan”.

ODI Wickets: 502

Matches: 356

Economy: 3.89

Best Figures: 5/15

5Wicket Hauls: 6

1Muttiah Muraitharan (Sri Lanka)

Most Wicket in ODI: Murali’s legendary career ended on a sad note when India beat Sri Lanka in 2011 WC Final (credits: ICC)

First on this list is the legend himself, Muttiah Muralitharan. Murali is the leading ODI as well as Test wicket taker in international cricket. He has picked 534 wickets in 350 ODIs at an economy of only 3.93. The right arm off spinner has taken 1334 international wickets just by himself! The mystery spinner from Kandy was named as the Best Test Bowler in cricket history by Wisden’s Almanac in 2002. He has the record of taking the most number of 5-wicket hauls in international cricket. He has been the pride of Sri Lanka and is an inspiration to all the young bowlers all across the globe.

ODI Wickets: 534

Matches: 350

Economy: 3.93

Best Figures: 7/30

5Wicket Hauls: 10

As you might have noticed, all these are retired cricketers. We as cricket fans hope to see more and more present day-cricketers in this in the next 5-10 years.

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