No delivery seems as effective in cricket for stopping the batsman from scoring than a yorker. But even among this variety, one that uproots the stumps sets the pulse racing more than any other. Bowlers who can efficiently execute this kind of delivery are considered extremely useful.
With the growth of ODI and, lately, T20 cricket as well as the steep rise in scoring rates and average totals, the value of a good yorker has seen a corresponding increase. More and more bowlers are working on improving their ability to bowl a perfect toe-crusher.
But the yorker has been in the game and used as a potent weapon by the bowlers for a long time. Even before ODI cricket assumed its present importance, this delivery was regarded as very special.
When we look at the history of cricket, we find many great exponents of this art. While ascertaining who was best in using this famed delivery, we must be clear about our parameters of judgment.
A good yorker prevents the batsman from scoring but a great one gets him to lose his balance as he tries to avoid getting his toe broken, and sends the stumps flying. With this in view, let’s countdown to the five best deliverers of yorker cricket has seen.
#5 Lasith Malinga
No bowler in recent times has been associated with yorkers as much as the Sri Lankan veteran. Lasith Malinga made a career out of these devastating deliveries and managed feats like getting multiple hat-tricks and picking up wickets on four consecutive deliveries.
But the reason why he is placed at the bottom of this ranking is that his yorkers were not always accurate. In fact, very often, his attempts at bowling this delivery resulted in low full-tosses. Those deliveries still got wickets due to his unique, slingy action that batsmen found hard to get used to.
But the Indian batsmen, especially, Virat Kohli became nearly immune to his threat because of their great exposure to Malinga during IPL. Since the action was no longer a novelty for them, they were able to block out the good yorkers and punish those which just missed the mark.
A yorker has a very small margin of error – slightly fuller length makes it a full-toss while slightly shorter a half-volley. Malinga bowled so many yorkers that there were bound to be some imperfect ones. The likes of Kohli never missed out cashing in on those.
Still, he is the man who made the yorker fashionable and inspired many bowlers around the world to work on this delivery. As mentioned earlier, his side-arm action made his toe-crushers all the more troubling for the batsmen. However, at this stage of his career, he seems like a spent force.