Cricket is a game that is played for over 200 years. Test cricket itself is 135 years old. During this period the world has seen some great fast bowlers. Most of them have been from the West indies and the old world, namely Australia and England. It is a sad commentary that none features from India. We have heard of Harold Larwood, Fred Truman, Ray landwall, Roy Gillchrist, Wes Hall and Malcolm Marshall. All of thenm clocked over 155 km per hour. This is a hell of a speed and an opposing batsman would need all his skill to face these speed merchants.
The mantle of the fastest bowler in test cricket however is not easy to decide as in the old age, the system of clocking a ball for speed just did not exist. Despite India not featuring in the list of the fastest bowlers, the same cannot be said of India's twin from the sub-continent. A number of express pace bowlers have emerged from Pakistan. The reason is difficult to pin point, but could have something to do with diet and race.
One bowler who emerged from Pakistan was Shoib Akhtar. He is certainly a contender for the mantle of the fastest bowler in test cricket history. In fact he was clocked at over 160km an hour on many occassions. His express pace at a number of times unnerved many oppossing batsmen. One incident in the Calcutta test of 1995 is worth mentioning. So fast was he that in successive balls he clean bowled two of India's greatest batsmen in Sachin tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. It was a fiery exhibition of fast bowling.
Shoib however was a moody player and sometimes he just didn't try hard enough. In addition he was injury prone and on a number of occassions he just broke down and left the field. Thus Shoib lacked in consistency, though he was the fastest bowler in the world. But it is a matter of pride that the sub-continent produced a bowler like Shoib Akhtar.
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