Bowling, arguably, is one of the riskiest and least rewarding disciplines of cricket. The bowlers are often the workhorse who bowl copious amounts of overs with rage and fury to get a single wicket for the team.
The constant peril of career-threatening injuries always keeps lingering over the head of any bowler, but yet they leave no stones unturned to put their best foot forward.
When it comes to ODI cricket, whether it’s the shortening of boundaries or the field restriction, the development of the game always benefits the batsmen, not bowlers.
Despite that, some bowlers rise above all these challenges and become the most vital cogs of their team, often delivering whenever the team requires and performing beyond expectations.
Let’s have a look at bowlers with the best ODI average with a little condition that they must have taken a minimum of 200 wickets in their respective career.
Allan Donald ➜ 21.78
Allan Donald, famously nicknamed as ‘the white lightning’ for his aggression and hostility, is one of the greatest speedsters ever to come out from South Africa.
Donald made his ODI debut against India at the Eden Garden in 1991. Although South Africa fell short of three wickets to win that game, the debutant showed enough promise to take a five-for, scalping off top-four Indian batsmen all alone.
Featuring for Proteas in 164 matches, Donald had accumulated 272 wickets at an astounding average of 21.78 in ODI cricket.
Glenn McGrath ➜ 22.02
Glenn McGrath is one of the greatest fast bowlers ever to have graced this game.
McGrath was never the quickest bowler in his side, neither he appeared aggressive or intimidating enough as fast bowlers generally do. The Aussie pacer had just mastered the skill to give regular breakthroughs whenever his team needed.
His partnership with Shane Warne terrorized opposition batsmen to the core.
McGrath boasts of 381 wickets in 250 matches at a remarkable average of 22.02
Brett Lee ➜ 23.36
The raw pace and unbridled aggression of Brett Lee perfectly encapsulate the threatening aura Australian team carried under the leadership of Ricky Ponting.
As if facing McGrath and Warne was not challenging enough, the opposition batting unit had to face the lethality of Lee, who was almost unplayable in his heydays.
The New South Wales pacer picked 380 wickets in 221 ODI at an average of 23.26, including a five-wicket haul nine times.
Lee’s last appearance for Australia came against England in 2012. He couldn’t bowl more than two overs due to some fitness issue ravaging his body.
Wasim Akram ➜ 23.52
With 502 wickets at an average of 23.52, Wasim Akram was the first-ever bowler to have surpassed the 500-wickets landmark in ODI cricket.
Akram revolutionized the game of cricket by pioneering a unique art of reverse-swing. Even now, if any bowlers exhibit a pleasing ability to move a ball both ways, the first and foremost comparison he drew is to Akram.
Akram bid farewell to limited-overs cricket after playing the 2003 World Cup.
Waqar Younis ➜ 23.84
Waqar Younis is another Pakistani in the list. Along with Akram, Younis formed the most formidable bowling duo in the history of cricket.
Younis’ had 416 wickets in his tally at an average of 23.84 and an economy of 4.68 in ODI cricket. With an astonishing 13 five-wicket hauls, the pacer holds the record for the most number of fivers in the 50-overs format.
The masterful career of a bowling legend ended in an agonizing way as he ran out of favour for Pakistan after a horrible 2003 World Cup.