Perhaps the toughest delivery to bowl for a fast bowler is the yorker. While it may come naturally to some bowlers, most of the others spend almost a career trying to perfect the most lethal weapon in a pacer’s armoury.
There is very little margin for error for the bowler when attempting to bowl a yorker as even the most minute lapses may end up transforming it into a hittable delivery. This is precisely the reason why there have been very few who have managed to master this exceptional art.
The past two and a half decades have seen some of the most devastating exponents of the yorker. One of the primary factors behind this has been the lack of assistance pace bowlers have got from the playing surface.
Here are 5 best bowlers of the yorker over the past 25 years:
5. Mitchell Starc
The latest inclusion to the list of bowlers who have excelled at bowling yorkers is Australian express bowler, Mitchell Starc. The left-armer has been a revelation in terms of his ability to destroy the opposition with his incredible toe-crushers. Starc’s great skill came into prominence during the 2015 World Cup as he picked up a lot of wickets with the special ball.
The most memorable one turned out to be the delivery which got rid of Brendon McCullum in the final and helped set the tone for an Australian victory. Mitchell Starc’s yorkers have also created waves in major T20 tournaments like the IPL and the Big Bash League.
With a lot of time left to go in his career, Mitchell Starc could go on to create his own legacy in terms of being a great exponent of the yorker.
4. Zaheer Khan
If there has been one Indian bowler who can be considered a master of the yorker, it has to be the great former left-arm pacer Zaheer Khan. India’s most successful fast bowler after Kapil Dev, Zaheer had an excellent command over the delivery which has never been the specialty of bowlers from India.
Khan showed his prowess for bowling yorkers at the nascent stage of his career as he got regular wickets with the delivery. His most famous scalp in those days was the yorker which dismissed Steve Waugh in the 2000 ICC Knockout tournament. Throughout his international career and even during the IPL, the Indian quick made quite a reputation for himself, thanks to his dangerous yorkers.
Zaheer Khan will go down in Indian cricket history as the very first bowler who attained great control over the yorker.
3. Wasim Akram
There is something about Pakistani fast bowlers and yorkers which makes them unseparable. One of the country’s greatest pace bowling icons, Wasim Akram, is known to be among the best exponents of this difficult art. In fact, he went on to inspire the next generation of pace bowlers with his expertise over the yorker.
Wasim, along with his long-time partner Waqar Younis, blew away batting line-ups even on the flattest of pitches with a combination of yorkers and reverse-swing bowling. The pace at which the left-armer bowled this special delivery made it an even more potent weapon in his armoury. What also stood out was the consistency with which Akram dished out yorkers.
Wasim Akram is a legendary figure in world cricket without doubt; however, a part of his greatness should certainly be attributed to his abilities with the yorker.
2. Lasith Malinga
The greatest testimony to Lasith Malinga’s efficiency with the yorker is the fact that he has almost made a full career out of it. Such has been Malinga’s unbelievable control over one of the most difficult deliveries for a fast bowler that he can produce them at any stage of the match, irrespective of the format.
The Sri Lankan paceman has certainly been helped by his unconventional round-arm action in bowling the yorker. However, more than anything else, it has been the numerous variants of the delivery that he has invented is what sets Malinga apart. The most prominent one has been his slower yorker which regularly foxes the batsman into a false shot.
Lasith Malinga may be nearing the end of his career, but he will go down as the bowler who gave the yorker a new definition.
1. Waqar Younis
There is hardly any doubt about the fact that legendary Pakistani fast bowler Waqar Younis has arguably been the finest exponent of the yorker in cricket history. He, alongside partner Wasim Akram, was among the major driving forces behind Pakistan’s success throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.
Younis’ uncanny ability to make the ball move even before it was pitched made his yorkers all the more effective. They tended to dip on the batsman and left most of them clueless about what had happened. The great Pakistani bowler’s ballistic pace only added more zing to his toe-crushers and made them his key weapon.
Waqar Younis will always be remembered as the first true master of the most destructive delivery in world cricket.