India has been predominantly a batting powerhouse. Yet, India has produced some fine bowlers, both spinners and pacers. It is hard to believe that once an Indian held the record for the most number of wickets in Test cricket (Kapil Dev held the record till Courtney Walsh broke it in 2000).
To find out the best bowler India has produced, let us consider the top 5 highest wicket takers for India in ODIs and Tests combined.
1) Anil Kumble (956 wickets)
2) Kapil Dev (687 wickets)
3) Harbhajan Singh (665 wickets)
4) Zaheer Khan (573 wickets)
5) Javagal Srinath (551 wickets)
1. Economy rate
Here, to calculate the points each player gets for economy rate, the formula used is
[100-economy rate of the player]/[100-least economic rate among the players] * 10
2. Strike rate
Here, to calculate the points each player gets for strike rate, the formula used is
[100-strike rate of player]/[100-least strike rate among the players] * 10
3. Bowling average
Here, to calculate the points each player gets for bowling average, the formula used is
[100-average of the player]/[100-least average among the players] * 10
4. Ratio of Man-of-the-match awards won to number of matches played
Even a player’s contribution to team’s victory must be considered. Which, according to me is reflected in the man of the match awards won. So, if one sees the ratio of man of the match awards won to the number of matches played, one might get some idea of the bowler’s contribution towards his team’s victory.
Here, the points for the above ratio are calculated by
Ratio for the player/highest ratio among the players
Now, adding the points given for these 4 parameters, we get the final total for each player as follows:
From the above calculations, statistically, Zaheer Khan is the best ODI bowler India has produced.
1. Strike rate
2. Bowling average
3. Ratio of man-of-the-match awards to number of matches played
Now, we add the points for these 3 parameters in Tests:
Surprisingly, according to above calculations, Javagal Srinath has been India’s best Test bowler, thanks to the more number of match-winning performances from the pacer.
Points table (Test + ODI combined)
Statistically, Javagal Srinath is the best bowler India has ever produced, with Zaheer Khan being a close second. Many prominent bowlers like Bishen Singh Bedi could not make it to the list as they did not satisfy the criteria required.