5 underrated bowlers in cricket at the moment
Sport throws up many paradoxes. One of the most common ones is the way players are stereotyped or branded. Once an image is created, it is very difficult to shrug away the impression of a player among the audience. Given how much modern day sports is driven by statistics, it is surprising that impressions play such a massive role. After all, the worth of the bowler can easily be decided by looking at his numbers over a decent period of time – numbers like economy rate in ODIs and bowling average in Tests.
Nevertheless, some bowlers go under the radar for some weird reason. This could be because of several reasons. Some of these underrated bowlers often play in the shadow of a superstar, who takes away all the attention. That is not very different from what happened to selfless batsmen like Rahul Dravid, sandwiched between players like Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar.
Another reason is the bowler’s style of bowling which could be in contrast to his team’s most dominant style – a workhorse pace bowler like Ishant Sharma in a spin-heavy bowling attack, for example. It could also be because of the team’s fortunes in international cricket. Here, we look at some of world cricket’s most underrated bowlers – bowlers who deserve mentions more often than they get!
#1 Josh Hazlewood
All of 26 years, Hazelwood is already an important cog in the new-look Australia team. The New South Wales bowler is a Glenn McGrath clone - consistent, accurate and hit-the-deck-let-the-seam-do-the-rest type of bowler. Hazlewood is generally overshadowed by the fast, left-arm quick Mitchell Starc and generally doesn’t get his due.
Nevertheless, Hazlewood is seventh on the list of the most prolific wicket-takers in Test cricket in the last three years. He has 109 wickets in 26 Tests at an incredible 24.78 with four five wicket-hauls. During the same time, Starc has 102 wickets in 22 Tests at 26.15.
Another man just as underrated is Hazlewood’s teammate Nathan Lyon who has 122 wickets in 32 Tests, sixth highest in the last three years. Yet, Lyon’s place in the team is perpetually under threat. Hazlewood has 42 wickets in 10 Tests at 25.9 in the last 12 months, seventh highest, showing his consistency in the whites.
Lyon has 36 wickets in 10 Tests albeit at a much higher average. Hazlewood also has 54 wickets in 33 ODI matches in the last three years at an average of 24.77 and a measly economy of 4.64, with 28 wickets in 18 games in the last 12 months at the same economy, 0.1 less than Starc’s 4.74. Impressed already?