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Highest Wicket Takers in All Formats of Cricket

The game of cricket has seen many legendary players grace its field over the decades. Once largely called a batsman’s game, bowlers have proved several times over the decades that cricket is equally about the bat and ball. 

Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka is the highest wicket taker in all formats of cricket, with an astonishing 1347 wickets. The top 10 list is dominated by bowlers from the cricketing powerhouses of Australia, Pakistan, and England and India. 

Check out a complete list of top 10 bowlers who picked up a great number of wickets in their careers. 

List of Highest Wicket Takers in All Cricket Formats

PlayerSpanMatBallsWktsBBIBBMAveEconSR
M Muralitharan1992-20114956313213479/5116/22022.862.9246.8
SK Warne1992-20073395134710018/7112/12825.512.9851.2
JM Anderson2002-2024400498839877/4211/7127.333.2450.5
A Kumble1990-20084035534695610/7414/14930.093.1157.8
GD McGrath1993-2007376422669498/2410/2721.762.9344.5
Wasim Akram1984-2003460408139167/11911/11023.573.1744.5
SCJ Broad2006-2023344409808478/1511/12127.833.4548.3
SM Pollock1995-2008423403088297/8710/14723.732.9248.6
Waqar Younis 1989-2003349289227897/3613/13523.703.8836.6
WPUJC Vaas1994-2009439393457618/1914/19128.443.3051.7

1. Muttiah Muralitharan – 1347 Wickets

Muttiah Muralitharan, widely regarded as one of the greatest bowlers in the history of cricket, is the highest wicket taker in all formats. His career spanned from 1992 to 2011, during which he played 495 matches across all formats, taking a staggering 1347 wickets. His unique bowling action and exceptional spin made him a formidable opponent for batsmen worldwide.

In Test cricket, Muralitharan’s record is unmatched. He played 133 matches, capturing 800 wickets at an average of 22.72. His best bowling figures in an innings were 9/51.

In ODIs, he played 350 matches, taking 534 wickets at an average of 23.08. His best bowling in an innings was 7/30. 

Read More: 10 Leading Wicket Takers in Test Cricket

2. Shane Warne – 1001 Wickets

Shane Warne, another legendary spinner, is second on the list. His career, spanning from 1992 to 2007, saw him play 339 matches and take 1001 wickets. Warne was known for his mastery of leg-spin, including his famous “ball of the century.”

Warne’s Test career was particularly remarkable. He played 145 Tests, taking 708 wickets at an average of 25.41. His best bowling in an innings was 8/71. In ODIs, Warne played 194 matches, taking 293 wickets with an average of 25.73. His best ODI bowling figures were 5/33. 

3. James Anderson – 987 Wickets

James Anderson is the most successful fast bowler in the history of cricket, with a career that began in 2002 and ended in 2024. He played 400 matches across all formats, taking 987 wickets. Anderson’s ability to swing the ball both ways has made him a potent force, particularly in English conditions.

In Test cricket, Anderson played 187 matches, taking 700 wickets at an average of 26.52. His best figures in an innings are 7/42, and in a match, 11/71. He has taken five wickets in an innings 32 times and ten wickets in a match three times.

In ODIs, Anderson played 194 matches, claiming 269 wickets at an average of 29.22, with best figures of 5/23. His T20 International career, though shorter, still saw him take 18 wickets in 19 matches, with best figures of 4/18.

Suggested Read: Most Wickets in ODI: List of Top 10 Most Wicket Takers in ODI

4. Anil Kumble – 956 Wickets

Anil Kumble, India’s highest wicket-taker, had a distinguished career from 1990 to 2008. He played 403 matches, taking 956 wickets. 

Kumble played 132 Test matches, taking 619 wickets at an average of 29.65. His best bowling in an innings was an extraordinary 10/74, making him the second bowler in history to take all ten wickets in an innings. In ODIs, Kumble played 271 matches, taking 337 wickets at an average of 30.89, with best figures of 6/12. 

5. Glenn McGrath – 949 Wickets

Glenn McGrath, one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time, played from 1993 to 2007. He participated in 376 matches, taking 949 wickets. McGrath’s strength was his impeccable line and length, making him a difficult bowler to face.

McGrath’s Test career included 124 matches, in which he took 563 wickets at an average of 21.64. His best figures in an innings were 8/24. In ODIs, McGrath played 250 matches, taking 381 wickets at an average of 22.02, with best figures of 7/15. 

Suggested Read: Best Bowling Figures in ODIs History

6. Wasim Akram – 916 Wickets

Wasim Akram, the Sultan of Swing, had a prolific career from 1984 to 2003. He played 460 matches and took 916 wickets. Akram’s ability to swing the ball both ways at high speed made him one of the most feared bowlers of his time.

In Tests, Akram played 104 matches, taking 414 wickets at an average of 23.62. His best bowling figures in an innings were 7/119. In ODIs, Akram was even more dominant. He played 356 matches, taking 502 wickets at an average of 23.52, with best figures of 5/15.

7. Stuart Broad – 847 Wickets

Stuart Broad has been a vital part of England’s bowling attack since his debut in 2006. At the time of his retirement in July 2023, he had played 344 matches and taken 847 wickets. 

In Test cricket, Broad played 167 matches, taking 604 wickets at an average of 27.68. His best bowling in an innings is 8/15. He has 20 five-wicket hauls and three ten-wicket hauls in Tests. In ODIs, Broad played 121 matches, taking 178 wickets at an average of 30.13, with best figures of 5/23. In T20 Internationals, he has taken 65 wickets in 56 matches, with best figures of 4/24.

8. Shaun Pollock – 829 Wickets

South African all-rounder Shaun Pollock had an illustrious career from 1995 to 2008. He played 423 matches and took 829 wickets. 

In Test cricket, Pollock played 108 matches, taking 421 wickets at an average of 23.11. His best bowling in an innings was 7/87, and in a match, 10/147. He had 16 five-wicket hauls and one ten-wicket haul in Tests. In ODIs, Pollock played 303 matches, taking 393 wickets at an average of 24.50, with best figures of 6/35. In T20 Internationals, he took 15 wickets in 12 matches, with best figures of 3/28. 

9. Waqar Younis – 789 Wickets

Waqar Younis, known for his deadly pace and reverse swing, played from 1989 to 2003. He featured in 349 matches and took 789 wickets. Younis was particularly known for his unplayable yorkers. 

In Tests, Younis played 87 matches, taking 373 wickets at an average of 23.56. His best bowling figures in an innings were 7/76, and in a match, 13/135. He had 22 five-wicket hauls and five ten-wicket hauls in Tests. In ODIs, Younis played 262 matches, taking 416 wickets at an average of 23.84, with best figures of 7/36. 

Further Read: Highest Test Score: 10 Highest Team Score in Test Cricket

10. Chaminda Vaas – 761 Wickets

Chaminda Vaas, one of Sri Lanka’s greatest fast bowlers, played from 1994 to 2009. He played 439 matches and took 761 wickets. 

In Tests, Vaas played 111 matches, taking 355 wickets at an average of 29.58. His best bowling in an innings was 7/71, and in a match, 14/191. In ODIs, Vaas played 322 matches, taking 400 wickets at an average of 27.53, with best figures of 8/19. Vaas also played 6 T20 Internationals, taking 6 wickets, with best figures of 2/14.

Conclusion

From Muttiah Muralitharan’s unparalleled mastery of spin to Glenn McGrath’s relentless accuracy, these bowlers have not only achieved extraordinary individual milestones but have also significantly contributed to their teams’ successes.

These players have always been phenomenal performers for their respective sides. Such players can be real match-winners and game changers in fantasy cricket as well.

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