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5 Bowlers who ruled No. 1 ODI ranking for years

The limited-overs cricket has not been very kind to bowlers, but despite the adversities, some of them managed to excel in it.

Saeed Ajmal
Saeed Ajmal. (Photo by DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

“The format would destroy bowlers” – said many experts during the time when ODI cricket rules were being set up. The dynamics of the game had changed drastically to meet the needs of scoring quickly, thus resulting in the batsmen becoming more innovative at the expense of these bowlers’ fate.

With improved protective gear for the batsmen, the audacity went up and once again, it came at the peril of bowlers. The fear of being struck down started perishing to an extent, giving the batsmen more confidence to go after everything that’s thrown at them. The limited-overs cricket has not been very kind to bowlers, but despite the adversities, some of them managed to excel in it.

It has been difficult for bowlers in this format to keep hold of their top position for a long period of time, but here are five bowlers who bossed the ODI rankings for the bowlers during their prime years.

1. Shaun Pollock – 1997, 1999

Shaun Pollock
Shaun Pollock of South Africa. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

One of the finest medium pacers of all time, Shaun Pollock was a top-notch contributor to South African cricket. He could pick wickets at will and also scored some vital runs coming in the lower order for the team. Formerly the highest wicket-taker in Proteas ODI history, Pollock was a king when it came to the rankings.

He was nearly impenetrable for a very long period of time. At the start of 1997,  Pollock was 35th in the rankings, but he took a steep jump to rise up to the top spot in December that same year. He stood there for a few months before Curtley Ambrose dispossessed him. He was back again on top in February 1999 and finished on the top spot that calendar year.

His true dominant period in these rankings came in 2002, from where he finished on top of the rankings at the end of a year on five occasions in the next six years. He was on top of the rankings when he quit the game in 2007, ensuring that he finished his career on a high.

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