Former Australian skipper Ian Chappell picked his Top 5 bowlers in the Test format and interestingly named the Indian trio of R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami, while overlooking James Anderson. Chappell picked Australia’s Pat Cummins as the number one bowler in the longest format.
The 2000s decade was notorious for flat wickets in Test cricket, owing to which batsmen feasted on runs, but the past 10 years have well and truly been a bowler’s decade. Australia, South Africa, India, England and New Zealand have all produced world-class talents worthy of being hailed as their respective country’s greatest ever, and West Indies, too, have made themselves relevant in the longest format through their bowling. The last 5 years have been a golden era for bowlers - fast bowlers, in particular - and what the paradigm shift has done is resurrect Test cricket, which, a decade ago, owing to being extremely batsman dominated, was on the verge of dying.
It is a next-to-impossible task to label five among the current lot as the ‘best in the world’, but former Australian skipper Ian Chappell compiled an interesting list. When asked to pick his Top 5 bowlers in Test cricket, currently, Chappell chose Ishant Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Kagiso Rabada and Pat Cummins as his picks.
The list, notably, did not feature the legendary Jimmy Anderson, and when asked why Ishant was picked ahead of the veteran, the 77-year-old said that injury troubles encountered by the Englishman stopped him from choosing the 160-Test veteran.
"Ishant's record if I see since looking at his stats since 2018, his record is extremely good. But if you narrow it down to best swing bowler and probably the best swing bowler of all time then I would say Jimmy Anderson as number 1. But Jimmy hasn't played a lot, he has a lot of injuries. When he is playing he is very good but he has missed a lot of cricket and that's probably the only reason." Chappell said on ESPN Cricinfo's 'Runorder'.
Of the five, Chappell chose Australia’s Pat Cummins as the best bowler in the world. Cummins is currently the number one ranked bowler in Test cricket, and Chappell said that the heart shown by the 28-year-old reminded him of Dennis Lillee.
"If you want me to pick one out of these five as the best then I think for everything that he contributes I have to go with Pat Cummins. The example I would cite was the last Test against India at the Gabba when Australia produced that ridiculous tactic of bowling bouncers for an hour. Mitchell Starc was shocked to pieces he had nothing to come up with but somehow or the other Cummins gave everything he had in the last hour.
“I have the good fortune to captain Dennis Lillee and Dennis was always the last guy in our team who thought victory was impossible and I put Pat Cummins in that same category.”
Ian Chappell's Top 5 bowlers in Test cricket
Pat Cummins, Kagiso Rabada, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma