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India's Top 5 Wicket-Takers: Unveiling the Legends of Bowling

By Akanksha - June 15, 2023 - Last updated on Jun 15, 2023 05:41 AM
India's Top 5 Wicket-Takers: Unveiling the Legends of Bowling India's Leading Wicket-Takers: A Glorious Legacy of Spin and Pace

Cricket, often regarded as a religion in India, has produced some exceptional talents who have etched their names in the history of the sport. One of the most significant achievements for any cricketer is the number of wickets they claim, reflecting their mastery of the art of bowling.

In this article, we delve into the fascinating world of India's top wicket-takers across formats, exploring the remarkable careers of legends like Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Kapil Dev, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Zaheer Khan.

Player Test wickets ODI wickets T20 wickets Total wickets
Anil Kumble 619 334 - 953
Harbhajan Singh 417 265 25 707
Kapil Dev 434 253 - 687
Ravichandran Ashwin 460 151 72 683
Zaheer Khan 311 269 17 597

1. Anil Kumble: The Untiring Workhorse

When it comes to India's leading wicket-takers, the name Anil Kumble resonates strongly. Making his international debut in 1990 against England, Kumble embarked on a stellar career that spanned over 17 years. Across formats, he snared a remarkable 953 wickets for India in 401 matches, leaving an indelible mark on the cricketing world.

1.1 Test Cricket:

Known for his unwavering determination and unrelenting spirit, Kumble, a legendary leg-spinner, scalped 619 wickets in 132 Test matches. With an average of 29.65, he showcased his ability to consistently trouble batsmen with his deceptive variations. Kumble's impressive tally included an astonishing 35 five-wicket hauls and eight ten-wicket hauls, solidifying his status as one of the all-time greats.

1.2 One-Day Internationals (ODIs):

Kumble's prowess extended beyond the longest format, as he showcased his skills in the limited-overs arena as well. Featuring in 269 ODIs from 1990 to 2007, he claimed 334 wickets at an average of 30.83. His ability to extract turn even on unresponsive pitches made him a potent force against batsmen across the globe.

2. Harbhajan Singh: The Turbantor's Reign of Spin

Following in the footsteps of Kumble, Harbhajan Singh carved his own niche in the annals of Indian cricket. Fondly known as 'The Turbantor', Harbhajan established himself as a quality off-spinner who bamboozled batsmen with his sharp turn and bounce.

2.1 Test Cricket:

Harbhajan's Test career spanned 103 matches, during which he amassed 417 wickets at an average of 32.46. His knack for picking crucial breakthroughs in high-pressure situations endeared him to fans and teammates alike. His impressive tally further contributed to India's success in Test cricket during his playing days.

2.2 One-Day Internationals (ODIs):

In the ODI format, Harbhajan featured in 234 matches, claiming 265 wickets at an average of 33.47. With his cunning variations and ability to extract spin from any surface, he often turned the tide of matches in India's favor. His performances in crucial tournaments, including the 2011 World Cup, were instrumental in India's triumph.

3. Kapil Dev: The All-Round Marvel

No discussion about Indian cricket is complete without mentioning Kapil Dev, the charismatic leader who guided India to its first-ever World Cup victory in 1983. Kapil Dev's contributions to Indian cricket extended far beyond his skills as a medium-fast bowler.

3.1 Test Cricket:

With a total of 434 wickets in Test cricket, Kapil Dev played a pivotal role in India's bowling attack. Known for his ability to swing the ball both ways, he posed a constant threat to batsmen. His versatility as an all-rounder added tremendous value to the Indian team, making him one of the most revered cricketers of his time.

3.2 One-Day Internationals (ODIs):

In the ODI arena, Kapil Dev's prowess shone bright. With 253 wickets in 225 matches, he showcased his ability to deliver impactful performances when it mattered most. His unforgettable innings of 175* against Zimbabwe in the 1983 World Cup will forever be etched in the memories of Indian cricket fans.

4. Ravichandran Ashwin: The Modern-Day Maestro

Continuing the legacy of Indian spin bowling, Ravichandran Ashwin has emerged as one of the most effective bowlers in contemporary cricket. Known for his vast array of variations and the ability to outfox batsmen, Ashwin has reached remarkable heights in a relatively short span.

4.1 Test Cricket:

Ashwin's Test career has been nothing short of extraordinary. With 457 wickets in 89 matches, he holds the second-highest position among Indian bowlers in the format. His impeccable control over line and length, coupled with his crafty spin, has made him a nightmare for batsmen, both at home and abroad.

4.2 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and T20Is:

In addition to his stellar Test performances, Ashwin has also showcased his skills in limited-overs cricket. With 151 wickets in ODIs and 72 wickets in T20Is, he has been a consistent performer across formats. Ashwin's ability to adapt to different conditions and deliver match-winning performances has further cemented his status as a vital cog in the Indian bowling arsenal.

5. Zaheer Khan: The Left-Arm Pacer Extraordinaire

Completing the list of India's leading wicket-takers is the left-arm seamer, Zaheer Khan. Known for his smooth run-up and ability to swing the ball, Zaheer brought immense value to the Indian team during his playing days.

5.1 Test Cricket:

In Test matches, Zaheer Khan collected 311 wickets in 92 matches. His uncanny ability to generate movement off the pitch, combined with his accuracy, made him a potent threat to batsmen. Zaheer's contributions were crucial in bolstering India's pace attack and spearheading victories in challenging conditions.

5.2 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and T20Is:

In the shorter formats, Zaheer's ability to control the flow of runs while taking wickets made him a key asset for India. He claimed 269 wickets in ODIs and 17 wickets in T20Is, often providing early breakthroughs and containing the opposition's batsmen during crucial phases of the game.


India's rich cricketing heritage is embodied by the exceptional bowlers who have donned the Indian jersey over the years. From the legendary Anil Kumble to the modern-day stalwart Ravichandran Ashwin, each bowler has left an indelible mark on the sport with their skill, dedication, and passion. As the legacy continues, Indian cricket enthusiasts eagerly await the rise of new talents who will carry forward the baton of success in the world of bowling.

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