600+ test wickets is no easy game for a bowler. It is hard to imagine how many overs for how many years a bowler has to bowl to achieve such a special landmark. The good thing is only the bests of the best reach to that stage where they can celebrate the less touched milestone.
With that being said, there are exceptional bowlers like Mutthiah Muralidharan, Shane Warne, James Anderson who kept their methods and largely due to their fitness streak, they were able to have 600+ test wickets to their name.
There are others who unfortunately couldn’t touch the landmark but they were best of their time. And only if late opportunity and injuries didn’t stop them, the cricket world would have seen more names adjourned to 600+ test wickets board.
Muttiah Muralitharan, the Sri Lankan spin wizard, etched his name in cricketing history with an amazing bowling career that left batsmen gobsmacked at some times. Making his Test debut on August 28, 1992, against Australia in Colombo, Muralitharan quickly established himself as one of the finest spin bowlers the game has ever seen.
His first Test wicket was none other than Australian opener Mark Taylor. This moment marked the beginning of a remarkable journey that would see Muralitharan become the highest wicket-taker in Test cricket, amassing a staggering 800 wickets in 133 Test matches.
Throughout his career, Muralitharan produced some unforgettable spells that left a lasting impact on the game:
9 for 65 against England: In 1998, during a Test match against England at The Oval, Muralitharan mesmerized the opposition batsmen with his spin wizardry, claiming a remarkable 9 wickets for just 65 runs in the second innings. This outstanding performance not only helped Sri Lanka secure a historic victory but also showcased Muralitharan’s ability to single-handedly dismantle batting line-ups.
7 for 30 against India: In 2001, during a Test match against India in Galle, Muralitharan produced another magical spell, scalping 7 wickets for just 30 runs in the second innings. His exceptional performance led Sri Lanka to a convincing victory, and Muralitharan’s masterclass demonstrated his unmatchable skill and guile as a spinner.
Unorthodox Bowling Action: Muralitharan’s unique bowling action, characterized by his remarkable wrist position, was a subject of much debate and scrutiny throughout his career. Despite facing criticism and accusations of a suspect action, he remained determined and proved the legality of his bowling style, becoming an inspiration for aspiring spin bowlers around the world.
The Magical Doosra: Muralidaran’s mastery of the “doosra” was legendary. This delivery spun away from right-handed batsmen, leaving them puzzled and adding to his reputation as a master of spin.
800 Test Wickets: Muralidaran holds the world record for the most Test wickets, an astonishing 800 scalps in 133 matches. His ability to consistently take wickets made him a nightmare for batsmen worldwide.
16-Wicket Haul: One of his most outstanding performances was against England in 1998 when he claimed a phenomenal 16 wickets in a single Test match, displaying his match-winning capabilities.
Performance in Australia: Contrary to conventional wisdom, Muralidaran was equally impressive on Australian pitches. He took 56 wickets in 11 Tests Down Under, proving his mettle on foreign soil.
Success in England: Despite challenging conditions, Muralidaran thrived in England. He claimed 112 wickets in 19 Tests on English soil, showcasing his adaptability and versatility as a bowler.
Best in India: India was a happy hunting ground for Muralidaran, where he claimed a remarkable 105 wickets in just 17 Tests, demonstrating his command over the spinning tracks.
Shane Warne, the Australian spin maestro, is undoubtedly one of the greatest bowlers to have graced the game of cricket. With his mesmerizing leg-spin and impeccable control over the ball, Warne bamboozled batsmen from all over the world throughout his illustrious career. Let’s take a closer look at the extraordinary bowling journey of this cricketing legend:
Debut for Australia: Shane Warne made his Test debut for Australia on January 2, 1992, against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground. His unique bowling action and prodigious turn on the ball immediately caught the attention of cricket enthusiasts.
First Wicket: In his debut Test, Warne’s first wicket was Ravi Shastri, an accomplished Indian all-rounder. It was a sign of things to come as Warne would go on to claim 708 Test wickets, becoming the highest wicket-taker for Australia in Test cricket.
Best Spell: Shane Warne took 7 wickets for 23 runs in 15.4 overs. This spell is considered one of the best bowling performances in Test cricket history. Warne’s magical leg-spin completely dismantled Pakistan’s batting order. He bowled with incredible control, guile, and turn, leaving the Pakistani batsmen clueless.
The ‘Ball of the Century’: One of the most iconic moments in cricket history was Warne’s first Ashes Test in 1993. In a breathtaking delivery, he bowled Mike Gatting with a ball that pitched outside leg stump and spun sharply to hit the top of off stump. This delivery was famously termed the “Ball of the Century,” showcasing Warne’s unmatched talent.
708 Test Wickets: Shane Warne’s Test career is highlighted by his record-breaking 708 wickets in 145 matches. He was a master at outfoxing batsmen with his variations in flight, turn, and pace, making him one of the most lethal bowlers of all time.
Spin Wizard in India: India proved to be a happy hunting ground for Warne, where he claimed 43 wickets in just eight Tests. His ability to extract turn from subcontinental pitches was a testament to his skill and adaptability.
Ashes Dominance: Warne’s performances in the Ashes series against England were nothing short of exceptional. He tormented English batsmen throughout his career, claiming 195 wickets in 36 Ashes Tests, reaffirming his status as an Ashes legend.
1000 International Wickets: Across all formats, Warne took a staggering 1001 wickets in international cricket. This includes 293 wickets in One-Day Internationals and nine wickets in T20 Internationals.
Anil Kumble, the iconic Indian leg-spinner, reached a historic milestone in his illustrious career as a bowler by becoming only the second player in Test cricket history to claim 600 or more wickets. The momentous achievement occurred during the third Test match against Australia in Melbourne on December 17, 2007.
Let’s take a look at summarised journey of this Indian leg spin master:
Debut for India: Anil Kumble made his Test debut for India on August 9, 1990, during the tour of England at Old Trafford, Manchester.
First Wicket: In his debut Test innings, Kumble’s first-ever Test wicket was the seasoned English batsman, David Gower, an accomplished left-handed batsman.
Leg-Spin Maestro: Known for his leg-spin prowess, Kumble was a master of flight, turn, and bounce, making him a formidable bowler in all conditions.
Iconic “Perfect Ten”: One of the most memorable moments of Kumble’s career was during the second Test against Pakistan in Delhi in February 1999. In this historic match, he achieved the remarkable feat of taking all ten wickets in the second innings, becoming only the second player in Test history to do so after Jim Laker.
600-Wicket Club: On December 17, 2007, during the third Test against Australia in Melbourne, Anil Kumble reached an unprecedented milestone by becoming the second bowler in Test cricket history to claim 600 or more wickets.
Consistency and Durability: Kumble’s career longevity and consistency were commendable. He played an astounding 132 Test matches, making him one of India’s most enduring and reliable bowlers.
Overseas Success: Kumble’s success was not limited to Indian pitches. He performed admirably on overseas tours, showcasing his ability to adapt to different conditions and consistently trouble the world’s best batsmen.
Best Spells: Apart from the “Perfect Ten,” Kumble delivered several other remarkable spells throughout his career. His 10-wicket haul against Pakistan in 1999 remains an unforgettable achievement.
Trivia: Anil Kumble’s nickname, “Jumbo,” was given to him by his teammates during the 1995 tour of Sri Lanka due to his tall and sturdy physique. He was known for his never-say-die attitude, never shying away from a challenge and giving his all for the team’s cause.
In cricket, James Anderson is the living definition of longevity. At age 41, he is still going strong, bowling exceptionally well against top sides. Currently, he has 688 wickets in test cricket as a pace bowler which is most by any bowler.
Against the odds of time, James Anderson has been persistent to perform incredibly well for his side, it will be better to say that he has aged like a fine wine, still going strong and becoming oldest bowler to claim number 1 ranking in ICC Test Bowlers rankings. Let’s take a look at what his stats say:
Debut for England: James Anderson made his Test debut for England on May 22, 2003, during the tour of Zimbabwe at Lord’s Cricket Ground. Since then, he has been a mainstay of the English cricketing setup, consistently leading the pace attack.
First Wicket: Anderson’s first Test wicket came during his debut match against Zimbabwe. He dismissed Mark Vermeulen, marking the beginning of what would become an illustrious journey in international cricket.
Milestone Achievement: In August 2020, James Anderson became the first fast bowler in the history of Test cricket to claim 600 wickets. Achieving this remarkable feat against Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl, he solidified his status as one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time.
Swing King: Anderson is famously known as the “King of Swing” due to his exceptional ability to swing the ball both ways, often making life difficult for even the most accomplished batsmen.
Memorable Spells: Over his career, Anderson has delivered several match-winning spells. Notable among them is his 7-wicket haul against the West Indies in 2007, which earned him the Man of the Match award.
Record-Breaking Performance: In 2010, Anderson produced a stunning performance against Pakistan, taking 10 wickets for 158 runs in the match, his best figures in Test cricket to date.
Ashes Heroics: Anderson has been instrumental in England’s Ashes triumphs. During the 2010-11 Ashes series in Australia, he took 24 wickets, helping England secure their first Ashes victory Down Under in 24 years.
Enduring Legacy: James Anderson’s remarkable career and the milestone of 600+ Test wickets have cemented his place among the cricketing legends. As he continues to don the England jersey, fans eagerly await to see his best career performance at later stage of his career.
If James Anderson is the prime swing bowler for England then Stuart Broad is a bowler who gets definite movement off the pitch which often makes him ultimate threat in bowling friendly conditions.
On Wednesday, he dismissed Travis Head who was his 600th prey in test cricket. After being absense for few months from cricket, he has made a phenomenal comeback in test cricket, haunting a number of left handers especially David Warner.
Debut for England: Stuart Broad made his Test debut for England on December 9, 2007, against Sri Lanka at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground in Colombo. Since then, he has been a key figure in England’s bowling attack, known for his pace, swing, and ability to trouble batsmen.
First Wicket: Broad’s first Test wicket came during his debut match against Sri Lanka. He dismissed Chaminda Vaas, signaling the beginning of a promising international career.
A Member of the “300 Club”: Stuart Broad achieved the remarkable milestone of taking 300 Test wickets during England’s tour of South Africa in January 2020. His consistent performances over the years have made him one of England’s all-time leading wicket-takers.
Best Spells: Broad has delivered several memorable spells throughout his career. One of his standout performances came during the Ashes series in 2015. In the fourth Test at Trent Bridge, he produced a sensational spell of 8-15, which decimated the Australian batting lineup and earned him the Man of the Match award.
The Ashes Hero: Broad has been a key player in England’s Ashes triumphs. In the 2013 Ashes series, he played a crucial role in helping England secure a 3-0 victory against Australia, finishing as the highest wicket-taker with 22 wickets.
Trivia: Stuart Broad is known for his exceptional ability to dismiss left-handed batsmen. He has dismissed left-handers 208 times in Test cricket, making him one of the most prolific bowlers against that particular batting stance.
The Second Generation: Stuart Broad comes from a cricketing family. His father, Chris Broad, also represented England in Test cricket, making them one of the few father-son duos to have played for the national team.
Captaincy Stint: In 2017, Broad had the honor of leading England in a Test match against West Indies at Lord’s. He captained the side in the absence of regular skipper Joe Root.
So this is the list of bowlers who has 600+ test wickets in their career. The common ground among them all is their greatness and dedication to the serve the beautiful game of cricket.
Stuart Broad is 37 and still going strong, while James Anderson has done incredibly well but in this Ashes series, he hasn’t looked at his best. Other bowlers have already retired and Shane Warne has departed to the heaven with glory and greatness.
Which bowler do you think has been the most consistent throughout his career among the six. Despite having 600+ test wickets, these bowlers remained hungry because every wicket ultimately contributes to chances of victory for a team.