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Rediff.com  » Cricket » The King of Speed joins the 400 Club

The King of Speed joins the 400 Club

Last updated on: August 03, 2015 15:09 IST

Dale Steyn made his debut against England in 2004. 80 Tests and 16,634 deliveries later, he hit the 400 Test wickets mark. Rajneesh Gupta looks at the Speed King's career.

Dale Steyn

IMAGE: Dale Steyn is the joint second fastest bowler to reach the landmark. Photograph: Bangladesh Cricket/Twitter

Dale Steyn took 400 wickets in Test cricket when he had Bangladesh's Tamim Iqbal caught at slip by Hashim Amla on the opening day of the Mirpur Test.

Steyn is the second South African after Shaun Pollock and only the 13th bowler in Test history to reach the cherished landmark.

The 13-member club had three Indians, two Australians, two West Indians, two South Africans and one each from Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Pakistan and England.

New Zealand's legendary Richard Hadlee was the first bowler to accomplish the feat, against India in February 1990.

His great Indian rival, that magnificent all-rounder Kapil Dev, joined him two years later, followed by the lanky West Indian pace genius Courtney Walsh (in 1999), arguably the greatest left-arm fast bowler ever Wasim Akram (in 2000), the amazing Curtly Ambrose (in 2000).

The greatest leg-spinner of all time, Shane Warne, became the first spinner (in 2001) to join the illustrious club.

Warnie was soon joined by another spinner, Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan in 2002.

'Pigeon' Glenn McGrath -- he of the lethal deliver in the corridor of uncertainty -- (in 2002), the fabulous Anil Kumble (in 2004), the consistent Shaun Pollock (in 2006) and the shrewd Harbhajan Singh (in 2011) are the most recent members of this august company.

The 400 Test wickets club now has nine pace bowlers (eight right-arm and one left-arm) and four spinners (two leg-spinners and two off-spinners).

Meet the 400 Club

Dale Steyn

IMAGE: The world's top-ranked Test bowler exults after another wicket. Photograph: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Bowlers with 400 wickets in Test cricket

 

Mts

Balls

Runs

Wkts

Best

Avg

SR

5I

10M

Muttiah Muralitharan (SL)

133

44,039

18,180

800

9/51

22.72

55.05

67

22

Shane Warne (Aus)

145

40,705

17,995

708

8/71

25.41

57.49

37

10

Anil Kumble (Ind)

132

40,850

18,355

619

10/74

29.65

65.99

35

8

Glenn McGrath (Aus)

124

29,248

12,186

563

8/24

21.64

51.95

29

3

Courtney Walsh (WI)

132

30,019

12,688

519

7/37

24.44

57.84

22

3

Kapil Dev (Ind)

131

27,740

12,867

434

9/83

29.64

63.92

23

2

Richard Hadlee (NZ)

86

21,918

9,611

431

9/52

22.29

50.85

36

9

Shaun Pollock (SA)

108

24,353

9,733

421

7/87

23.11

57.85

16

1

Harbhajan Singh (Ind)

102

28,430

13,447

416

8/84

32.32

68.34

25

5

Wasim Akram (Pak)

104

22,627

9,779

414

7/119

23.62

54.65

25

5

James Anderson (Eng)

107

23,826

12,134

413

7/43

29.38

57.69

18

2

Curtly Ambrose (WI)

98

22,103

8,501

405

8/45

20.99

54.58

22

3

Dale Steyn (SA)

80

16,716

9,040

402

7/51

22.48

41.58

25

5

The 400 Club members with the number of wickets against each opponent:

 

Wkts

Aus

Ban

Eng

Ind

NZ

Pak

SA

SL

WI

Zim

Wld XI

Muttiah Muralitharan (SL)

800

59

89

112

105

82

80

104

X

82

87

X

Shane Warne (Aus)

708

X

11

195

43

103

90

130

59

65

6

6

Anil Kumble (Ind)

619

111

15

92

X

50

81

84

74

74

38

X

Glenn McGrath (Aus)

563

X

5

157

51

57

80

57

37

110

6

3

Courtney Walsh (WI)

519

135

X

145

65

43

63

51

8

X

9

X

Kapil Dev (Ind)

434

79

X

85

X

25

99

8

45

89

4

X

Richard Hadlee (NZ)

431

130

X

97

65

X

51

X

37

51

X

X

Shaun Pollock (SA)

421

40

9

91

52

43

45

X

48

70

23

X

Harbhajan Singh (Ind)

416

95

9

45

X

43

25

60

52

56

31

X

Wasim Akram (Pak)

414

50

0

57

45

60

X

13

63

79

47

X

James Anderson (Eng)

413

87

9

X

82

52

32

57

30

53

11

X

Curtly Ambrose (WI)

405

128

X

164

15

13

42

21

14

X

8

X

Dale Steyn (SA)

402

69

28

46

63

58

47

X

35

48

8

X

Steyn is the joint second fastest to reach the landmark in terms of fewest Tests taken with Richard Hadlee -- both took 80 Tests to do so.

Only Muttiah Muralitharan reached the mark in fewer Tests.

Quickest to 400 wicket mark

(Least matches taken)

Player

For

Mts

Muttiah Muralitharan

SL

72

Richard Hadlee

NZ

80

Dale Steyn

SA

80

Anil Kumble

Ind

85

Glenn McGrath

Aus

87

Shane Warne

Aus

92

Wasim Akram

Pak

96

Harbhajan Singh

Ind

96

Curtly Ambrose

WI

97

Shaun Pollock

SA

103

James Anderson

Eng

104

Courtney Walsh

WI

107

Kapil Dev

Ind

115

Steyn needed to bowl only 16,634 deliveries (legitimate) to reach this mark, which is the least among all 13 bowlers.

While it is not possible to ascertain the exact number of deliveries bowled by each bowler to reach the landmark, it is pretty much clear that no one else did so in fewer than 20,000 balls.

Richard Hadlee is a distant second taking anything between 20,317 and 20,450 balls.

Calculating the strike-rate for each bowler up to the end of innings in which the record was made will give us a fairly good idea about a bowler. Steyn is just phenomenal on that count.

He, in fact, is the only one in this exclusive club to take less than 50 balls for each wicket.

Quickest to reach 400 wicket mark in Tests

South Africa's Dale Steyn

IMAGE: Dale Steyn celebrates after taking a wicket. Photograph: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

(Best strike-rate)

SR

Player

For

Mts

Balls

Runs

Wkts

Avg

41.58

Dale Steyn

SA

80

16716

9040

402

22.48

50.75

Richard Hadlee

NZ

80

20453

8914

403

22.12

51.40

Glenn McGrath

Aus

87

20559

8658

400

21.65

52.63

Wasim Akram

Pak

96

21261

9220

404

22.82

54.19

Curtly Ambrose

WI

97

21785

8427

402

20.96

57.77

James Anderson

Eng

104

23166

11763

401

29.33

57.91

Courtney Walsh

WI

107

23165

10144

400

25.36

58.15

Shaun Pollock

SA

103

23375

9325

402

23.20

60.15

M Muralitharan

SL

72

24061

9484

400

23.71

62.26

Kapil Dev

Ind

115

24967

11894

401

29.66

63.07

Shane Warne

Aus

92

25418

10526

403

26.12

67.21

Anil Kumble

Ind

85

26885

11358

400

28.40

67.45

Harbhajan Singh

Ind

96

26981

12722

400

31.81

Figures calculated up to the end of an innings

Glenn McGrath is the quickest to the 400 wicket mark in terms of least days since making his Test debut. He did so in 3,266 days (under 9 years). At the other end of the scale Richard Hadlee took the longest -- just over 17 years!

Quickest to reach 400 wicket mark

South African paceman Dale Steyn

IMAGE: Dale Steyn prepares to bowl. Photograph: Morne de Klerk/Getty Images

(Least days from debut)

Days

Player

For

 Started on

 Reached on

3266

Glenn McGrath

Aus

 12 Nov 1993

 21 Oct 2002

3428

Muttiah Muralitharan

SL

 28 Aug 1992

 15 Jan 2002

3524

Shane Warne

Aus

 02 Jan 1992

 25 Aug 2001

3878

Dale Steyn

SA

 17 Dec 2014

 30 Jul 2015

4049

Shaun Pollock

SA

 16 Nov 1995

 16 Dec 2006

4391

James Anderson

Eng

 22 May 2003

 29 May 2015

4521

Curtly Ambrose

WI

 02 Apr 1988

 17 Aug 2000

4853

Harbhajan Singh

Ind

 25 Mar 1998

 07 Jul 2011

4859

Kapil Dev

Ind

 16 Oct 1978

 03 Feb 1992

5173

Anil Kumble

Ind

 09 Aug 1990

 06 Oct 2004

5230

Courtney Walsh

WI

 09 Nov 1984

 05 Mar 1999

5622

Wasim Akram

Pak

 25 Jan 1985

 16 Jun 2000

6212

Richard Hadlee

NZ

 02 Feb 1973

 04 Feb 1990

Three of the four spinners in the club are the youngest to reach the mark, with Muttiah Muralitharan on the top -- aged 29 years, 273 days.

Richard Hadlee -- the first bowler ever to reach the milestone -- remains the oldest.

Youngest to reach 400 wicket mark

South African bowling coach Allan Donald with pacer Dale Steyn

IMAGE: South African bowling coach Allan Donald, a bowling legend himself, with Dale Steyn during a practice session. Photograph: CSA/Twitter

Age

Player

29 Yrs 273 Days

Muttiah Muralitharan (SL)

31 Yrs 4 Days

Harbhajan Singh (Ind)

31 Yrs 346 Days

Shane Warne (Aus)

32 Yrs 33 Days

Dale Steyn (SA)

32 Yrs 254 Days

Glenn McGrath (Aus)

32 Yrs 303 Days

James Anderson (Eng)

33 Yrs 28 Days

Kapil Dev (Ind)

33 Yrs 153 Days

Shaun Pollock (SA)

33 Yrs 355 Days

Anil Kumble (Ind)

34 Yrs 13 Days

Wasim Akram (Pak)

36 Yrs 126 Days

Courtney Walsh (WI)

36 Yrs 331 Days

Curtly Ambrose (WI)

38 Days 216 Days

Richard Hadlee (NZ)

All statistics updated till July 30, 2015.

Rajneesh Gupta