5 best first change bowlers in Test cricket
The new ball is a sacred thing in Test cricket and usually, the best fast bowlers in the team get to share it at the outset. The ball moves more in the air and that is primarily the reason why the best fast bowlers always want to bowl with the new ball. In addition to that, there is the little matter of taking early wickets. The first change bowler, on the other hand, has to bowl with a slightly older ball.
If he is a spin bowler then it is perhaps ideal but for fast bowlers, it is theoretically a disadvantage. However, plenty of fast bowlers have revelled in their roles as first change bowlers. One would expect fast bowlers to have been the most successful first change bowlers in Test cricket but the stats say otherwise.
Here is a look at 5 of the best.
#5 Clarie Grimmett
He is one of the greatest spin bowlers to have ever played the game and during the course of his illustrious career from 1925 to 1936, Clarie Grimmett reigned as one of the world's foremost bowlers. Although he was a leg-spinner, he was not known for being a big turner of the ball and instead, depended on his accuracy, variations of pace and length to pick up his wickets.
Out of the 37 Test matches that the Australian leg-spinner played in his career, he bowled first change in 28 of those and remains the 5th most successful first change bowler in Test cricket history, with a tally of 158 wickets (out of 216 overall). He recorded an excellent average of 23.31 and strike rate of 67.1. Australia have had only one bowler who has done better than Grimmett as a first change bowler.