If all facets of the game of cricket were based on music genres, fast bowling would certainly qualify as heavy metal. The reason for this is simple; both have the calibre to blow your brain out.Although there have been hundreds of great fast bowlers who have represented different countries throughout the history of cricket, there are a few among them who have made fast bowling an instrument for instilling fear into the minds of batsmen.These men broke speed barriers in much the same manner as they broke bones and their acts made them appear like demons in human form to those who faced them.
Dennis Lillee’s partner-in-crime Jeff Thomson is considered to be one among the fastest bowlers of all time. His slinging action, which was quite unusual for his time, and hostile approach made him a strong force to reckon with for the batsmen. At his best, Thomson was absolutely lightning fast and caused trouble to the best of batsmen from around the world.
In the 1974-75 Ashes series, he along with Dennis Lillee left the England batsmen gasping for breath as they delivered relentless spells of quick and dangerous fast bowling. Thomson was unable to match his initial pace in the years that followed due to a grave shoulder injury which he suffered due to his strong action. However, his very presence in the Australian team in the final few years of his career was at times enough for them to gain a psychological edge over the opposition, due to his past exploits.
Andy Roberts is one of the scariest fast bowlers to have set foot on a cricket field. Such was the West Indians fast bowling prowess that he had floored many a batsman in his time. He derived his pace from the extremely powerful pair of shoulders that he possessed and he is also among the best exponents of the bouncer.
However, he did not depend on his pace alone; he also had a shrewd head upon his shoulders. He was one of the first few bowlers in the cricketing world who used the slower delivery to great effect in Test matches as he fooled batsmen who mostly expected a bullet coming out of his hand.
Towards the fag end of his career though, his pace fell off drastically and he was left to rely on the movement he derived off the pitch. But he will always be remembered for being part of an exclusive league of deadly fast bowlers.
Australia’s Dennis Lillee is one of the most devastating bowlers cricket has ever seen. His raw and aggressive brand of genuine fast bowling made him an icon not only for fans from his own country but from all over the cricketing globe. He notched up his fear factor further with his famous handlebar moustache and a headband which he wore for a large part of his career.
He and his equally efficient partner Jeff Thomson were always busy pushing the speed limits as they tore apart many a batting line-up with their incredible pace. England were probably the greatest victims of Lillee’s fury as he tormented them in almost every Ashes series and claimed close to half of his career scalps against the arch-rivals.
In a 13-year career, Lillee took as many as 355 wickets while having played only 70 Tests and his average was an outstanding 23.92 with 23 five-wicket hauls against his name. But more than anything else, it was the terror he incited that made him the legend that he is today.