Be it Test or One Day cricket, over the years fast bowlers have provided the heavy artillery to a team’s bowling arsenal by running through batting lineups and winning matches. It is one of the most ecstatic sights in cricket when a fast bowler gets through the defenses of a batsman with sheer pace or seam movement.
In the 90s, most of the top ODI teams had some world class fast bowlers who were great exponents at swinging the ball. While Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis formed a deadly seam duo for Pakistan, the South Africans had a lethal pace attack led by Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock. Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh spearheaded the Windies attack and Australians had their pace ace in Glenn McGrath. India looked pretty comfortable with their seasoned new ball pair of Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad. Meanwhile the likes of Heath Streak, Danny Morrison, Chaminda Vaas, Damien Fleming and Aaqib Javed were right up there among the best seamers in terms of fast bowling skills.
With a plethora of quality seamers, it would be interesting to compile a list of the top ten fast bowlers in ODI cricket during the 90s.
For my selection, I have taken those seamers who regularly played ODI cricket and spearheaded their team’s pace attack by becoming strike bowlers. I have also considered bowling average, strike rate and economy rate to rank the pacers from 1 to 10. The period taken into consideration is 1990-1999.
There were some major contenders who are worth a mention as they were premier fast bowlers in ODIs during the 90s but didn't make the cut as they either played second fiddle to the front line strike bowlers or didn't get a long enough run to play ODIs for their respective teams.
West Indies – Ian Bishop, Winston Benjamin, Patrick Patterson, Cameron Cuffy, Anderson Cummins, Reon King
South Africa – Fanie De Villiers, Craig Matthews, Brian McMillan, Lance Klusener
Australia – Damien Fleming, Paul Reiffel, Craig McDermott, Mike Whitney
Pakistan – Aaqib Javed, Shahid Nazir, Ata-ur-Rehman, Abdul Razzak, Azhar Mahmood
India – Kapil Dev, Venkatesh Prasad, Manoj Prabhakar, Ajit Agarkar, Debasish Mohanty
New Zealand – Danny Morrison, Chris Cairns, Chris Pringle, Geoff Allot
England – Chris Lewis, Phil DeFreitas, Allan Mulally, Dominic Cork
Sri Lanka - Pramodya Wickramasinghe, Sanjeewa De Silva, Nuwan Zoysa.
Zimbabwe - Heath Streak, Eddo Brandes, Henry Olonga