The role of a part-time bowler is always a challenging one. The skipper hands over the ball to a part-timer whenever a situation arises when his main bowlers are not able to pick wickets. A part-time bowler can do what the team’s main bowlers can’t do. Earlier, we had witnessed quite a few part-time bowlers who did the job more often than not for their team. These part-timers went through their overs quickly to slow down the scoring rate.
Some part-time bowlers mentioned in our list were great batters during their time, but when it came to pulling the team out of a critical situation with their part-time bowling, they stepped up whenever their team required during their cricketing career. The bowlers mentioned in our list had different variations and bowling actions, but they were pretty effective during pressure situations.
We look at these top ten part-time bowlers who delivered for the team during demanding conditions in all three formats.
#10 Chris Gayle
Although Gayle has been included in this list of best part-time bowlers, the Jamaican was more than a part-timer. The 43-year-old bowled off-break, but it wasn’t easy to judge his length as some of his deliveries didn’t turn much. The former opener often used straighter ones as he rushed the batters with faster ones. In 103 Tests, the Jamaican took 73 wickets with the best bowling figures of 5/34.
#9 Mohammad Hafeez
Hafeez started his career opening the batting for Pakistan in 2003 in ODIs but slowly started working on his bowling. The 42-year-old became a penetrative option for the team at one stage. The all-rounder worked on his skills and variations. The former Pakistan opener troubled the batters with his straighter ones.
He tried bowling in the rough areas, creating problems for the batters with his faster ones. Hafeez bowled quicker through the air while sometimes outsmarting the batters with his wrong ones. The Sargodha born took 53 wickets in 55 Tests with the best bowling figures of 4/16.
#8 Tillakaratne Dilshan
Dilshan began his career as an off-spinner who could bat. The 46-year-old possessed skills to turn the ball on turning wickets. The former opener used his fingers cleverly to bowl the wrong ones, which even foxed the best batters. The Kalutara born took 39 wickets in 87 Tests with the best bowling figures of 4/10.
#7 Grant Flower
The Zimbabwean’s left-arm orthodox off-spin was challenging to read on slow wickets. The 51-year-old bowled a tidy length as he used his fingers cleverly to bowl slower through the air.
Flower took 25 wickets in 67 Tests with the best bowling figures of 4/41. Flower bowled well on slow wickets. The Zimbabwean’s action was a combination of high arm and side arm action, which made it difficult for the batters to judge the length.
#6 Shoaib Malik
The off-break bowler wasn’t a big-turner, but his doosra was quite effective combined with his flighted ones. Malik’s biggest strength was his ability to bowl a tight line, especially in the middle overs. The all-rounder bowled with variations. The 40-year-old took 32 wickets in 35 Tests with the best bowling figures of 4/33.
#5 Sanath Jayasuriya
Jayasuriya was a clever left-arm spinner who was sometimes quicker through the air, while sometimes he delivered clever floaters outsmarting the batters in the air. His sidearm action was difficult to read.
The 57-year-old took 98 wickets in 110 Test matches with the best bowling figures of 5/34. He bowled round the wicket and over the wicket but with effectiveness. The Matara-born wasn’t afraid to pitch the ball up.
#4 Mark Waugh
Mark Waugh was one of the best part-time bowlers during the 1990s, like his brother Steve Waugh. The 57-year-old bowled clever top spin deliveries that were a combination of flight and straighter. He could also bowl exceptional medium pace deliveries with top-class accuracy. Waugh took 59 wickets in 128 Tests with the best bowling figures of 5/40. Find out about Mark Waugh’s dramatic entry to his cricketing career.
#3 Steve Waugh
Waugh bowled a deceptive right arm medium pace that was difficult to judge due to his line. The 57-year-old also swung the ball late, putting the batters in two minds while his clever seam movements outsmarted the batters.
The former captain took 92 wickets in 168 Tests with the best bowling figures of 5/28. The New South Wales born was handy when picking crucial wickets during the run of play, as he had this knack for breaking partnerships.
#2 Sourav Ganguly
The former skipper was called the ‘Man with the Golden arm,’ rightly so. He could get crucial breakthroughs when the team’s main bowlers struggled.
The former captain’s gentle medium pace and off-cutters put the batsman in two minds. In 113 Test matches, Ganguly took 32 wickets with the best bowling figures of 3/28.
#1 Sachin Tendulkar
Tendulkar was a threat to the opposition with the bat, but the legend could put a halt to the opposition’s scoring rate with his bowling when the team’s main bowlers couldn’t.
The 48-year-old bowled medium pace during the early 1990s but started bowling leg break or off-break from the mid-nineties. Tendulkar was quite effective with his leg break variations. He foxed the batters with his flight as well as googlies. Tendulkar took 46 wickets in 200 Test matches with the best bowling figures of 3/10.
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