They say batsmen win you matches and bowlers win you tournaments. In the year 2021, two major ICC events were played, the first was the World Test Championship final and the T20 World Cup 2021. Both the marquee events were dominated by the bowlers. New Zealand's Kyle Jamieson was named the Man of the Match in the WTC final while Sri Lanka's Wanindu Hasaranga took the T20 WC by storm. Another notable performance in the year 2021 was Mumbai-born Kiwi spinner Ajaz Patel claiming the perfect 10 against India in Mumbai Test.
We at India TV sports will take you through the list of top 10 bowlers in the year 2021 across all formats of the game.
Top 10 bowlers of 2021
Nine Test matches, 52 wickets with three five-wicket hauls in the year 2021. These are the stats of India's premier red-ball cricketer R Ashwin. The off-spinner has the average of 16.23 with the best of 6/61 against England at his home ground in Chennai. Ashwin's form in the overseas Test was the talk of the town ahead of India's tour of Australia but he shut his critic's mouths by taking the wickets of David Warner and Steve Smith in the Sydney Test. Another notable performance by Ashwin came in the World Test Championship final where he took four wickets in the match against New Zealand.
Shaheen Shah Afridi
Pakistan's left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi is going through a dream year across the formats. Especially in Test, Afridi has picked 47 wickets in just nine Test matches that he has played in 2021. Pakistan pacer has three five-wicket and one 10 wicket hauls to his name. He is averaging just above 17 and has the best of 6/51.
They say bowlers hunt in pairs and the Pakistan duo of Afridi and Hasan Ali has done the same in the year 2021. Hasan is the third-highest wicket-taker in the longest format of the game this year. In the eight matches that he played for Pakistan this year, the right-arm pacer picked 41 wickets at an average of 16. Ali has clinched five five-wicket hauls and one 10-wicket haul in 2021.
'You must be feeling Test cricket is very easy?,' this was the question asked by Murli Karthik to Axar Patel at the end of his debut series against England where he picked 27 wickets in three Tests. Axar made his Test debut in 2021 and he has 36 wickets to his name in just five Test matches to be more specific in just 10 innings. The left-arm spinner has five five-wicket hauls and a 10 wicket haul this year.
England's veteran bowler James Anderson is ageing like fine wine. The 39-year-old is the fourth-highest wicket-taker in the year 2021 with 39 wickets in 12 Tests with an average of 21.74. English pacer has two five-wicket hauls in this match.
Sri Lanka's spin bowling all-rounder Wannindu Hasarang took the world by storm in the year 2021 as he picked 36 wickets in 20 T20I at an average of 11.63 and economy of 5.44. Hasaranga was also the top wicket-taker in the 2021 T20 World Cup.
South Africa's Tabraiz Shamsi is second on the list of highest wicket-taker in the year 2021. He has played 22 matches where he took 36 wickets at an average of 13.36 and an economy of 5.72. Shamsi played a vital role in South Africa's performance in the 2021 T20 WC. South Africa won four games in the mega event yet failed to qualify for the playoffs.
Bangladesh's left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman has picked 28 wickets in the year 2021. He has an average of 17.39 with an economy of 7.00. He has a four-wicket haul to his name as well.
In the year 2021 where the T20 World Cup and WTC Final was held, very few ODI matches were played over the year. Sri Lanka played 14 ODI matches in the year in which Dushmantha Chameera picked 20 wickets. He has an economy of 5.51 and a strike rate of 31.9. The right-arm pacer also picked one five-wicket haul in the year.
After a ban of one year, Shakib Al Hasan made his return to international cricket in the year 2021. The left-arm spinner played nine matches for Bangladesh where he picked 17 wickets with an impressive economy of 3.67. In the year 2021, he has one four-wicket and one five-wicket haul.