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Top 10 Best Spin Bowlers in Cricket History [2022 Updated]

Who are the best spin bowlers in cricket history? Spin bowling is a skill that enhances the beauty of cricket. The sight of a ball drifting through the air, pitching, and then changing direction is poetic in motion. Several spinners have mastered this difficult art form over the years and have entertained the world with their skill. Let us pay homage to these magicians who made the batsmen struggle.

Here is a list of the top ten best spinners in the world of cricket.

Top 10 Best Spin Bowlers in Cricket History [2022 Updated]

10. Rangana Herath – Sri Lanka

Rangana Herath

Quick Facts
Age in 2022 44
Team Sri Lanka
Status Retired
Wickets 181

Rangana Herath was dominated by Muralitharan for the majority of his career, but after Murali’s retirement, Herath has emerged as Sri Lanka’s undoubted spin leader. Herath achieved international recognition late in his career, but he persevered and continued to bowl his left-arm spin effectively. He is the most prolific spinner in the world in the post-Murali era.

Herath’s drift and line control were the keys to his success. His intelligent mind aids in the preparation of the batsmen as well. In 93 Tests and 71 ODIs, the Sri Lankan spinner has 433 and 74 wickets respectively. In addition, he played in 17 T20 internationals, taking five wickets for three runs in the World T20 2014 quarter-final against New Zealand.

09. Saeed Ajmal – Pakistan

Saeed Ajmal - Greatest spinner in cricket history

Quick Facts
Age 44
Team Pakistan
Status Retired
Wickets 447

Ajmal is one of Pakistan’s most dangerous off-spinners who has played international cricket. He established himself as one of the best bowlers in the world thanks to his excellent performance.

This player made his reputation as one of the toughest nightmares for batsmen since playing his first test match at the age of 32. Saeed Ajmal is the quickest Pakistani cricketer to cross 100 Test wickets. His career numbers are remarkable and reflect the talent he possessed.

He only played 35 Tests for Pakistan, but he has 178 dismissals to his credit. In 113 One-Day Internationals, he has 184 wickets. Ajmal has also taken 85 wickets in 64 T20I matches at an impressive average of 17.83.

08. Harbhajan Singh – India

Harbhajan Singh - best indian spinner ever

Quick Facts
Age 41
Team India
Status Retired
Wickets 711

Harbhajan Singh is regarded as one of India’s greatest bowling figures. Harbhajan Singh debuted in the Indian jersey in 1998, dominating the ground with his Doosra. He made his first series one of the greatest he has ever seen. Bhaji made history by being the first Indian player to score a hat-trick in a test match.

He’s also the tenth Indian player to appear in 100 test matches. He is India’s third-highest wicket-taker in Test matches, behind only Anil Kumble and Kapil Dev. Harbhajan Singh has 417 wickets in 103 Tests for India. He appeared in 236 One-Day Internationals and taken 269 wickets.

07. Graeme Swann – England

Graeme Swann - best spinners in cricket

Quick Facts
Age 43
Team England
Status Retired
Wickets 410

Right-arm off-break retired Englishman Since Jim Laker, Graeme Peter Swann became the first modern-era English off-spinner to take ten wickets in a contest. He’s also known for inventing the “flying saucer ball.” From 2008 to 2013, he grabbed 255 wickets in 109 innings in 60 test matches, with the top bowling performances comprising 6/65 in an innings and 10/132 in a single test match. His test bowling average is 29.96, and he has a 2.98 economy rate.

In test cricket, Graeme took 17 five-wicket hauls and three ten-wicket hauls. Between 2000 and 2013, he also took 104 wickets in 79 ODI matches, with the best ODI of 5/28. In one-day internationals, Graeme Swann has a bowling average of 27.76 and an economy rate of 4.54, and he has taken five wickets once. Swann, regarded as one of the most successful wicket-takers in ODI cricket, is deserving of a position among the Top 10 Best Spin Bowlers of All Time.

06. Abdul Qadir – Pakistan

Abdul Qadir - Best pakistani spin bowler

Quick Facts
Age Died in 2019
Team Pakistan
Status Died
Wickets 368

Right-arm leg spinner from Pakistan retired Abdul Qadir is generally known as the bowler who “mastered the googlies, flippers, leg-breaks, and topspins.” “Qadir was much finer than Shane Warne,” according to former English captain Graham Gooch.

In 67 test matches from 1977 to 1990, he took 236 wickets in 111 tests, with the finest bowling performances comprising 9/56 in an innings and 13/101 in a single test match. With an economy rate of 2.71, his test bowling average is 32.80. Furthermore, in test cricket, Abdul Qadir took 5 wickets 15 times and 10 wickets 5 times.

Between 1983 and 1993, he also took 132 wickets in 104 One-Day International matches, with a best ODI finish of 5/44. In one-day internationals, Qadir has a bowling average of 26.16 and an economy rate of 4.06, and he has taken 5 wickets twice. And it’s for that reason that he’s ranked in the Top 10 Best Spin Bowlers of All Time.

05. Saqlain Mushtaq – Pakistan

Saqlain Mushtaq - best spinner

Quick Facts
Age 45
Team Pakistan
Status Retired
Wickets 496

Right-arm off-break retired Pakistani Saqlain Mushtaq is widely regarded as the creator of the “doosra.” He was the quickest bowler in the history of One Day Internationals to reach 100 wickets. From 1995 to 2004, he bagged 208 wickets in 86 innings in 49 test matches, with the best bowling outputs in an innings of 8/164 and a single test match of 10/155. Furthermore, his test-blowing average is 29.83, with a 2.64 economy average.

Mushtaq took 5 wickets 13 times in test cricket and 10 wickets three times. He also took 288 wickets in 169 One-Day International (ODI) matches between 1995 and 2003, with a best ODI finish of 5/20. In one-day internationals, Saqlain has a bowling average of 21.78 and an economy rate of 4.29, and he has taken five wickets six times. Saqlain deserves to be ranked in the Top 10 Greatest Spin Bowlers of All Time since he regularly marks one of the greatest bowling figures in tests.

04. Anil Kumble – India

Anil Kumble - greatest Indian spinner

Quick Facts
Age 51
Team India
Status Retired
Wickets 956

The number four player on the list of the Top 10 Greatest Spin Bowlers of All Time is Anil Radhakrishna Kumble, a retired right-arm leg-break bowler and former captain of the Indian cricket team was named one of Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1996.

In February 2015, he became the fourth Indian cricketer to be inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame. Anil took 619 wickets in 236 innings in 132 test matches between 1990 and 2008, with the top bowling performances comprising 10/74 in an innings and 14/149 in a single test match.

His test bowling score is 29.65, and he has a 2.69 economy rate. In test cricket, Kumble took 35 wickets and 10 wickets eight times. Between 1990 and 2007, he also took 337 wickets in 271 ODI matches, with a best ODI score of 6/12. In one-day internationals, Kumble has a bowling average of 30.89 and an economy rate of 4.30, and he has taken five wickets twice.

03. Shane Warne – Australia

Shane Warne - best spin bowlers

Quick Facts
Age 52
Team Australia
Status Retired
Wickets 1001

In the 1994 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, iconic Australian right-arm leg break bowler Shane Keith Warne was named one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year.  From 1992 to 2007, he took 708 wickets in 273 innings out of 145 test matches, with the best bowling outcomes coming in an innings of 8/71 and a single test match of 12/128. His blowing average is 25.41, with a 2.65 economy rate.

Furthermore, in test cricket, Warne took 5 wickets 37 times and 10 wickets 10 times. He also took 293 wickets in 194 One-Day International matches between 1993 and 2005, with a best ODI result of 5/33. In one-day internationals, Warne has a bowling average of 25.73 and an economy rate of 4.25, and he has taken five wickets once. Warne is unquestionably one of the greatest spin bowlers of all time.

02. Ravichandran Ashwin – India

Ravichandran Ashwin

Quick Facts
Age 35
Team India
Status Active
Wickets 611

In the current cricket world, Ashwin is one of the most dangerous off-spinners. Many times, his remarkable turn has perplexed batsmen. With just 18 test matches under his belt, Ashwin is the quickest Indian bowler to reach 100 wickets in test cricket.

Ravichandran Ashwin has only played 71 Matches, but he has collected 365 wickets, including 27 five-wicket hauls and seven ten-wicket hauls. He has appeared in 111 One-Day Internationals for India and has 150 wickets to his credit. In his 46 T20I appearances for India, Ashwin has taken 52 wickets.

He has gained the distinction of a bowling all-rounder, with 4 Test hundreds and 11 half-centuries to his credit.

He is the second-best spin bowler of all time.

01. Muttiah Muralitharan – Srilanka

Muttiah Muralitharan - The best spin bowlers in cricket history

Quick Facts
Age 49
Team Sri Lanka
Status Retired
Wickets 1347

Muralitharan is a popular name when it comes to spinners. He is commonly known as the game’s most prolific and best off-spinner. This player popularised the tactic of misleading the adversary by spinning the ball with his wrist.

Later, he introduced Doosara, the most lethal tool, to his arsenal. About the fact that his bowling action was often questioned, testing still cleared his reputation.

Muralitharan has the most wickets in both ODI and Test cricket. On the final delivery of his final test match, he took his 800th and last wicket. He has also captured 534  wickets in ODIs at an average of 23.08. He is the best spin bowler in the history of cricket.

The top 10 best spin bowlers in the history of cricket are:

01. Muttiah Muralitharan – Srilanka

02. Ravichandran Ashwin – India

03. Shane Warne – Australia

04. Anil Kumble – India

05. Saqlain Mushtaq – Pakistan

06. Abdul Qadir – Pakistan

07. Graeme Swann – England

08. Harbhajan Singh – India

09. Saeed Ajmal – Pakistan

10. Rangana Herath – Sri Lanka

So who is your favorite spin bowler of all time? Drop your thoughts in the comments.

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