5 best first change bowlers in ODIs
One day internationals (ODI) can be an unforgiving format of the game for bowlers and due to the way in which it favours batsmen, it can be tough for the best new ball bowlers to hold their own even against relatively mediocre batsmen.
In such a situation, the role of the first change bowler becomes crucial. The bowler often needs to do damage control by either stifling the flow of runs or picking up a few wickets so that the batting team has to slow down a bit.
That is the sort of role that usually belongs to some of the best bowlers in the game and if the bowler is not good enough, then it is quite likely for him to go for runs as well. Over the course of ODI history, plenty of superb first change bowlers have managed to change the course of games with excellent spells in that role and here is a look at five of the most successful ones.
#5 Andrew Flintoff
The former all-rounder may not have played in one of the more successful periods for the English ODI side but when it came to his prowess as a first change bowler for them, then Andrew Flintoff was peerless.
He might have suffered from a lot of injuries and that cut his career short as well, however, when he was fully fit, there were very few bowlers who could be better than him. He could bowl at a serious pace, move the ball either way, extract seam movement and fire in those yorkers at will.
One of the most important jobs that Flintoff did for England during the majority of his career was that he helped them in pulling back the batting team’s run rate if they managed to get off to a lightning start. There had been plenty of instances in which he helped repair the slack work of the opening bowlers.
Out of the 141 ODIs in his career, Freddie Flintoff bowled as first change in 81 of them and picked up 114 wickets at an excellent average of 25.14. Additionally, he had an economy rate of only 4.25 and an outstanding strike rate of 35.4.