‘Runs win you matches, bowlers win you titles’ is a widely used adage in cricketing circles. And it will be no different this time when India hosts the 2023 ODI World Cup and will look at the galaxy of stars the team boasts of.
In this article, we will focus on the top 5 Indian wicket-takers in the history of the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup. These players have showcased their skills and shone on the biggest stage of the game.
Zaheer Khan – 44 wickets (2003-2011)
Zaheer Khan, affectionately known as ‘Zak’, emerged as the leader of the Indian fast-bowling pack in the mid-2000s. He took over from the legendary Javagal Srinath and led the team’s bowling attack with immense success. Zaheer Khan tops the list with an impressive tally of 44 wickets across 3 World Cup editions. His best figures came in the 2003 edition, his debut in ODI World Cups, where he took 4/42 against New Zealand.
ODI WC Record: Innings: 23, Wickets: 44, Best Figures: 4/42, Average: 20.22, Economy Rate: 4.47
Javagal Srinath – 44 wickets (1992-2003)
Javagal Srinath, one of India’s fastest-ever bowlers, brought a period of awakening for pace bowling in the country. After Kapil Dev’s swing had captured the popular imagination, Srinath carried the legacy forward. When he retired from international cricket in 2003, Srinath was second only to Kapil in the number of Test wickets by an Indian paceman. In ODI World Cups, he showcased his excellent skills, taking 44 wickets across 4 editions. His best figures of 4/30 came in his swansong appearance in World Cups, against the Netherlands in 2003.
ODI WC Record: Innings: 34, Wickets: 44, Best Figures: 4/30, Average: 27.81, Economy Rate: 4.32
Mohammed Shami – 31 wickets (2015-2019)
Mohammed Shami played a crucial role as India’s leading fast bowler in the 2015 World Cup in Australia. Known for his ability to generate pace and accuracy, Shami’s skill in moving the ball, both old and new, sets him apart. He has taken 31 wickets in ODI World Cups and will be key to India’s chances in the upcoming ODI World Cup.
ODI WC Record: Innings: 11, Wickets: 31, Best Figures: 5/69, Average: 15.70, Economy Rate: 5.06
Anil Kumble – 31 wickets (1996-2007)
Anil Kumble, one of India’s greatest match winners in Test cricket, is often underrated in white ball cricket. However, his contribution to the Indian team in ODI World Cups cannot be overlooked. As the only spinner on this list, Kumble has picked up 31 wickets across 4 editions. Though his white ball cricket career pales in comparison to his legendary status in Tests, he still boasts a bag full of wickets in World Cups.
ODI WC Record: Innings: 18, Wickets: 31, Best Figures: 4/32, Average: 22.83, Economy Rate: 4.08
Kapil Dev – 28 wickets (1979-1992)
Kapil Dev, the iconic fast-bowling all-rounder, needs no introduction. As India’s ‘Cricketer of the Century’, he inspired an entire generation of cricketers. His most memorable moment came when he lifted the ODI World Cup trophy at the Lord’s balcony in 1983. Kapil Dev represented India in 4 World Cup editions and took 28 wickets.
ODI WC Record: Innings: 25, Wickets: 28, Best Figures: 5/43, Average: 31.85, Economy Rate: 3.76
These top 5 Indian wicket-takers in ODI World Cups have made their mark on cricket’s biggest stage. Their contributions have played a vital role in India’s performances in the tournament. As India prepares to host the 2023 ODI World Cup, fans will be eager to see if the current crop of bowlers can replicate the success of their predecessors.