Ranking the best Indian part-time bowlers

Part-time bowlers are a treasure to any team. Along with their expected role as batsmen, such players tend to be useful when the regular bowlers need rest in between their spells in a Test or sometimes as wicket-taking options in limited-over games. Throughout history, cricket has seen batsmen like Chris Gayle, Aravinda de Silva, Sachin Tendulkar, Vivian Richards and many others who have doubled up as useful bowlers for their team.

In this article, we try to rate the Indian part-time bowlers of the modern era based on their contributions with the ball.

5. Suresh Raina

Suresh Raina has only 62 international wickets to show, but he was more useful than what that number says. He often relieved the bowlers having a bad day with the ball by bowling 2 or 3 overs from their quota without giving away too many runs.

Although he couldn’t get much turn with the ball, Raina was very decent as an off-spinner and has also shown his prowess with the ball a few times in the IPL. What is interesting is that, out of the 101 innings he bowled, he’s remained wicket-less in over 75 occasions.

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His most memorable bowling performance would definitely be the one in the ODI match against Bangladesh in which he followed a quick-fire 38 runs with a spell of 3-45 and ended as the leading wicket-taker in the game.

4. Virender Sehwag

Virender Sehwag was a great off-spinner too. Unlike his batting, which was extremely destructive, his bowling was much calmer. There have been occasions where he had bowled his complete spell of overs in ODIs. And this is evident from his wicket tally, he has 136 international wickets to his name.

Sehwag was a regular bowler in his U-19 days and was selected as an all-rounder when he was initially picked for the Indian team. Sehwag has often partnered Anil Kumble or Harbhajan Singh to gift India some memorable games with the ball.

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Sehwag has had quite a few unforgettable games with the ball including his iconic spell of 5/104 in which he bowled 40 overs against Australia in the 3rd Test match of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Another of his best performance would be 4/6 against Bangladesh in 2010 when he completely bamboozled the opponents in just 17 balls.

3. Sourav Ganguly

Rahul Dravid once jokingly said during commentary that, “Sourav was very serious about his bowling. He considered himself to be a genuine all-rounder.” That was Ganguly for you, ultra-passionate for the game and his bowling too.

Unlike many Indian part-timers, Ganguly was a medium-pace bowler with an accurate seam, genuine cutters and a good change in pace. He often bowled at the speeds of around 120 km/h, and on his good days, he crossed the 130km/h mark too.

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Ganguly has 100 wickets to his name in the ODIs including two five-wicket hauls. His most memorable bowling performance would be back in 1997 when he skittled the Pakistani batsmen with his bowling and ended up with astounding figures of 5/16 in ten overs.

2. Yuvraj Singh

Yuvraj grew up aiming to become a fast-bowler until he fell in love with batting. He too was an off-spinner like the rest and the high of his bowling career would be the instance in which he picked Kevin Pietersen after being called a ‘pie-chucker’ by the latter.

Yuvraj bowled very regularly in limited-over games particularly under Dhoni’s captaincy. He finished just 2 wickets short of 150 in international games.

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Although his career’s best figures of 5/31 and his only five-wicket haul came against Ireland in 2011’s World Cup, he is also remember for picking 13 wickets along with scoring 362 runs in the same World Cup.

1. Sachin Tendulkar

VVS Laxman mentioned in his biography that

If Sachin had put more attention to his bowling, he could have turned out to be a world-class leg-spinner.

And, although Sachin didn’t give the expected attention to his bowling, he was more than useful with the ball. He bowled leg-spin and off-spin with a very little change in the action which was very deceiving to the batsmen.

Sachin would definitely be counted among the greatest part-time bowlers of all time. He could turn the ball both ways and had a good flighted delivery and rescued India from many crunch situations.

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He has over 150 wickets in ODIs to his name and two five-wicket hauls too. His best figures of 5/32 came against Australia in 1998 where he won ‘Man of the Match’ award for his bowling efforts. And how many of you remember the time when he choked South Africa with his bowling in the last over in a match in the 1993 Hero Cup?

Featured Image: Sachin Tendulkar in action Twitter/BCCI

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