From Shane Warne to Anil Kumble | Most Wickets in All Formats
Muttiah Muralitharan has 800 Test wickets [Source: Twitter]
Truth be told, there is no other sight than seeing a batter's stumps get uproot and cartwheel onto the ground. With the advent of T20 cricket, the pressure on bowlers to reinvent themselves is at an all-time high, with batters finding more and more innovative ways to score.
With bowling becoming ever-so tough, wicket-taking ability solely depends on the bowler's acumen, skillset, and talent, which over the years has seen the rise of spinners, swing-bowlers, and out-and-out fast bowlers.
Let's take a look at which bowler has the most number of wickets across formats i.e. Tests, One-Day International, and T20Is, combined.
Muttiah Muralitharan - 1,347 wickets
The undisputed wicket-taker across formats in Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan. Muralitharan made the batters dance to the tune of his bowling, where he showed absolute disdain for the pitch conditions and claimed wickets for fun. The 51-year-old has the most number of international wickets i.e. 1,347, which includes 800 Tests, 534 ODI, and 13 T20I scalps, respectively.
Muralitharan is the leading wicket-getter in both Tests and ODIs as well.
Shane Keith Warne - 1,001 wickets
Shane Warne claimed 708 Test wickets [Source: Twitter]
Australia's Shane Warne is remembered as one of the most charismatic bowlers of his time. Warne bamboozled the batters with his leg spin from an early age and continued to challenge the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara, who were ruling the batting charts.
Warne was the second bowler after Muralitharan to cross 1,000 wickets; 708 in Tests and 293 in ODIs. His delivery to Mike Gatting in The Ashes 1993 is known as 'Ball of the Century'.
James Anderson - 972 wickets
James Anderson has 685 Test wickets [Source: Twitter]
England's James Anderson broke the monopoly of spinners to become the third-highest wicket-taker in international cricket. Anderson, 40, has often been praised for his longevity and is regarded as one of the most potent swing bowlers of the modern age.
Anderson is the leading wicket-taker in England's Test history, with 685 wickets, apart from picking up 269 ODI and 18 T20I scalps, taking his overall tally to 972.
Anil Kumble - 956 wickets
Carrying India's spinning legacy, Anil Kumble created a niche for himself as a leg-spinner. Kumble, who, unlike Warne, deceived the batter with pace, relied mainly on the bounce.
The second bowler to take 10 wickets in an innings after England's Jim Laker ended with 956 international scalps, which included 619 red-ball and 337 white-ball victims for India.
Glenn McGrath - 949 wickets
A member of Australia's 90s unbeaten team, Glenn McGrath harassed the batters with his discipline. McGrath tormented opponents with his immaculate line and length, despite not being the paciest of the attack, finished with as many as three ICC World Cup medals to his name.
Regarded as Australia's greatest fast bowler, the 53-year-old claimed 649 international wickets, which include 563 Tests, 381 ODI, and 5 T20I.
Wasim Akram - 916 wickets
Wasim Akram has four international hat-tricks [Source: Twitter]
Pakistan's Wasim Akram instilled fear in the batters with his swing bowling, which went both ways, making it impossible for many. A member of Pakistan's 1992 World Cup side, Akram took a hat-trick at the tender age of 23 and finished his career with four in international cricket (two each in ODIs and Tests).
Known as 'Sultan of Swing', the 56-year-old picked up 916 international wickets for Pakistan, with 414 coming in Tests, and 502 in ODIs. Akram is also the second-highest wicket-taker in 50-over cricket.
Shaun Pollock - 829 wickets
Shaun Pollock, a third-generation cricketer, is regarded as the best South African bowler who relied mostly on seam bowling. Coupled with both line, length, and pace, Pollock formed an envious partnership with Allan Donald.
The former was not a mug with the bat, amassing 7,386 runs across three formats. The first South African to breach the 400-wicket barrier in red-ball format, ending his career with 829 scalps, which included 421 Tests, 393 ODIs, and 15 T20I wickets, respectively.
Stuart Broad - 819 wickets
Stuart Broad is England's second-highest wicket taker [Source: Twitter]
One-half of the highest-wicket-taking duo, Stuart Broad, has found a new mojo in the past year or so. Broad, much-like Anderson, shifted focus from limited-overs cricket to Test to extend his stay.
A rhythm bowler, Broad has often used his aggression with the ball to perfection. The 36-year-old has to his name 819 international wickets, which include 576 Tests, 178 ODI, and 65 T20I victims.
Waqar Younis - 789 wickets
Waqar Younis terrorised batters with his toe-crushing yorkers, which even the best could not survive. Pakistan's Younis exploited the reverse swing to perfection, which added another dimension to his already pacey bowling, forming a lethal pairing with Akram.
The 'Burewala Express', which fans fondly call Younis, is the third-highest wicket-taker (416) in ODI cricket and also the youngest-ever. Overall has taken 789 scalps, 416 in ODIs, and 373 in Tests.
Chaminda Vaas - 761 wickets
Chaminda Vaas claimed hat-trick against Bangladesh in ICC WC 2003 [Source: Twitter]
In an era dominated by Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas craved a path for himself with the new ball. An expert in swing and seam bowling developed the in-dipper and slower ball which elevated him to a cut above the rest of the bowlers.
The first bowler to claim eight wickets in an ODI and made history by claiming a hat-trick (his second) on the first three deliveries of the match in 2003. Vaas caps off an incredible top 10 list of bowlers with the most international wickets with a tally of 761( 355 Tests, 400 ODIs, and six T20I).
Amongst active players apart from Anderson and Broad, who are already in the list, India's Ravichandran Ashwin and Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan have a shot at entering the top 10, however, it will take quite an effort.
Ashwin has 697 international wickets, while Hasan has 670 scalps.