5 bowlers who ruled No. 1 Test ranking for many years

These bowlers mastered topping the ranking charts for years.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin of India. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

We often tend to talk a lot more about the batsmen. Be it in the past or present, batsmen tend to get a lot more limelight when compared to bowlers. Even today, we compare the batsmen and have a ‘Fab 4’ as well. However, there’s hardly any such thing for bowlers.

However, there have been bowlers who have dominated in certain eras as well. The likes of Sir Richard Hadlee, Malcolm Marshall, Curtly Ambrose and many others have been at the top for long. However, there are many other bowlers who have ruled the No. 1 Test ranking once it was introduced in 1987.

At the moment, it is Kagiso Rabada who leads the bowling charts. However, here we take a look at five bowlers who ruled the No. 1 Test ranking for a long period of time.

1. Dale Steyn (2008-2014, 2016)

Dale Steyn
Dale Steyn. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Dale Steyn is perhaps one of the best fast bowlers to have ever played the game in the modern era. The South African pacer dominated world cricket for almost a decade and a half. No other South African bowler has more Test wickets than Steyn (439 wickets).

Steyn was one of the reasons for a large part of South Africa’s success during his time. His strike-rate of 44.3 is one of the best in the history of Test cricket. He could rip through batting line-ups with ease and when on song, he was too hot to handle.

The South African first rose to the No. 1 Test ranking in 2008 and was tied with Muttiah Muralitharan. However, from 2009, he absolutely dominated that spot. For more than four years, he was at the top of the ICC rankings before his countrymate Vernon Philander took over.

However, he reclaimed the top spot in 2014 before he lost it as he missed a lot of cricket due to injury. But he was back at the top in 2016. However, a shoulder injury in November 2016 which ruled him out for more than a year saw him lose the No. 1 Test rank.


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