Who Truly is the Fastest Bowler in Cricket History?


The world of cricket has witnessed numerous fast bowlers, but the question persists: who holds the crown for the fastest delivery? Shoaib Akhtar, fondly referred to as the “Rawalpindi Express”, made a mark in the annals of cricket by reaching a blistering 161.3 km/h (100.2 mph) during a 2003 World Cup match against England.

  1. Summary of fastest bowler in cricket history
  2. Shoaib Akhtar The Reigning King of Speed
  3. Top Ten Fastest Bowlers in Cricket History
  4. Historical Perspective
  5. Other Notable Fast Bowlers
  6. India’s Fast Bowling Transition
  7. Miscellaneous Records
  8. FAQs

However, the realm of cricket has much more to offer when it comes to speedsters.

Summary of fastest bowler in cricket history

Bowler Speed
Shoaib Akhtar 161.3 km/h (100.2 mph)
Jeff Thomson 160.6 km/h (99.5 mph)
Brett Lee 157.7 km/h (98.2 mph)
Shaun Tait 157.7 km/h (98.2 mph)
Dale Steyn 156.8 km/h (97.4 mph)

Shoaib Akhtar The Reigning King of Speed

Dubbed the “Rawalpindi Express”, Shoaib Akhtar stands out in the fastest bowler in cricket history debate. His unparalleled run-up, combined with a unique delivery action, not only made him the fastest but also one of the most fearsome bowlers of his era.

The legend of Shoaib goes beyond just speed. His fiery temperament and aggressive approach towards the game cemented his position as a cricketing icon.

Top Ten Fastest Bowlers in Cricket History

If we were to rank the speed demons of cricket, the list would look something like this:

  • Shoaib Akhtar (Pakistan) – 161.3 km/h (100.2 mph)
  • Jeff Thomson (Australia) – 160.6 km/h (99.5 mph)
  • Brett Lee (Australia) – 157.7 km/h (98.2 mph)
  • Shaun Tait (Australia) – 157.7 km/h (98.2 mph)
  • Dale Steyn (South Africa) – 156.8 km/h (97.4 mph)

… and the list goes on. It’s evident that Akhtar’s position at the top remains unchallenged.

Historical Perspective

The fastest bowler’s title isn’t without its controversies. Back in the 1930s, Harold Larwood, the English speedster, was a contender. His menacing pace, rumored to reach up to 96 mph, terrorized batsmen.

From the Australian soil, Jeff Thomson’s name emerges. In the 1970s, Thomson recorded a delivery at 160.6 km/h (99.5 mph), making it one of the fastest in international cricket.

Other Notable Fast Bowlers

Cricket’s rich history boasts of other speed legends:

  • Glenn McGrath from Australia with his consistent line and length.
  • Wasim Akram of Pakistan, who could swing the ball both ways at great speed.
  • Dale Steyn from South Africa, with a pace that matched his fiery attitude.

India’s Fast Bowling Transition

Historically, India produced legendary pacers like Kapil Dev and Zaheer Khan. However, the current Indian fast-bowling landscape is undergoing a transformation. The new generation, while not breaking speed records, combines pace with strategy, troubling the batsmen with consistency.

Miscellaneous Records

Speed thrills! And in the world of cricket, speed records are always a topic of intrigue. While Shoaib Akhtar’s 161.3 km/h stands tall, Brett Lee’s fastest test delivery at 157.7 km/h (98.2 mph) in 2005 also deserves mention.


Q: Who is considered the fastest bowler in cricket history?
A: Shoaib Akhtar, also known as the “Rawalpindi Express”, holds the record for the fastest delivery in international cricket.

Q: Which delivery is the fastest in test cricket?
A: Brett Lee bowled the fastest delivery in a test match, clocking 157.7 km/h (98.2 mph) in 2005.

Q: Are there any notable fast bowlers from India?
A: India has produced legends like Kapil Dev, Javagal Srinath, and Zaheer Khan. The current generation, although not record-breaking in speed, remains formidable.

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— by Prateek Srinivasan