Arguably, leg-spin is one of the most challenging facets of Cricket. Consequently, there can be no better explanation for the availability of rare top-notch spinners but plenty of fast bowlers all across the world. In Cricket’s 140-year long history, we have witnessed very few leg spinners of all time with the tactics requiring control.
On the one hand, where leg spinners proffer delights to the team and can take wickets on easy wickets, remove the opener, break the partnership, being gold for the team. But, on the other hand, they can be too dangerous at specific points. This is because of their inclination to leak the run and concede surplus boundaries.
Here are the top 10 leg spinners of all time cricket world has produced over the years.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Shane Warne is one of the greatest leg spinners to play the game of Cricket. He was blessed with an abundance of leg-spin. Surprisingly, he did not have a great start to his career but proved the critics wrong with time.
He conceded 150 runs for a single wicket in his first Test versus India in Sydney. The player proved himself to be an asset for his side developing his underlying skills with time. His metamorphosis to one of the rarest potent holders let people enjoy and notice his magnificent bowling as he brought the match-winning 7/52 against the West Indies in MCG in his fifth red-ball encounter.
Danish Kaneria’s reputation is one of the things often discussed about his cricketing career that is the matter off the field. The other thing is his leg-spin tactic. Unfortunately, that too is now off a field matter after he no more plays for Pakistan and condemns racism in the board as the reason to sideline him despite his excellent bowling set.
Kaneria was Pakistan’s finest legspinner, and the nation is yet to produce anyone of his kind. He is the highest wicket-taker among the Pakistani spinners, and years later, the country is yet to make a spinner eligible to break his record. Kaneria enjoys 261 wickets from 61 Tests.
Despite being one of the greatest leg spinners of all time, Stuart MacGill was one of the unlucky players. His entire player surpassed under the shadow of Warne. If he had played in any other era, he would have played over a hundred Tests and grabbed more than 400 Test wickets.
He played 44 Tests and gathered 208 wickets. Most of the 44 Tests came alongside Warne, and interestingly, he out-bowled Warne in the majority of the matches. Although they had googlies that turned gigantic, MacGill’s were reckoned deadly and more better.
A chubby legspinner with googlies in abundance was inspired by the nation’s star, Abdul Qadir, whom he succeeded in the squad. With a full-house of leg-spin varieties, Ahmed was a match-winner.
Mushtaq ended his career with 185 wickets playing 52 Tests for Pakistan. His last wicket came versus South Africa in 2003. The player had a long-standing career in counties as he played for Surrey, Somerset, and Sussex.
One of the cricket greats, Sir Gary Sobbers, said Subhash Gupte is the toughest and best spinner he faced in his entire career and even termed him better than Warne.
Gupte’s Test career kick-started slowly; he remained wicketless initially versus England in 1951. After a few years, he was picked again for the West Indies tour and did not look back to the steady start.
Gupte clutched 27 wickets in five tests on the most challenging pitches versus the men in maroon. He established himself as one of the spin sensations, putting a full stop to his professional career with 149 wickets from 36 Tests.
Despite being one of the top 10 leg spinners of all time, Richie Benaud is the most respected voice in Cricket for commentating in the game during the 1970s for Channel Nine. Benaud, making his Test debut for Australia in 1952, did not have much to portray in the first five years but became one of the leading Australian spinners during the 1960s.
His standout performance came in Manchester in 1961 with a superb spell of 32-11-70-6 in the final inning and won the game for his team by 54 runs. Richie played his last red-ball extravaganza in 1964 and coiled up his career with 248 wickets in 63 Tests.
Billy O’Reilly, who died in 1992 in a Sydney hospital, was one of the great spin bowlers the cricket game has ever produced. Not only the bowler, but Billy was an outstanding cricketing figure, a person, a player, and then a cricket writer.
He used to release the bowl at the pace that could be termed as the medium-fast. The player played 27 Tests for Australia and took 44 wickets at a fabulous average of 22.59.
When O’Reilly died, Bradman said he was the greatest bowler he had ever faced or watched.
BS Chandrasekhar turned out a match-winner and a rare jewel for the team with 42 wickets in five red-ball matches for a nation striving to win overseas.
The batters did not know what to expect from him, and sometimes, BS Chandrasekhar himself did not understand what he was about to produce as he once admitted himself.
An attack of polio in childhood left his right arm withered, but Chandra turned his handicap into an advantage. After a long and bouncy run-up, he dispatched sharp googlies, top-spinners, and leg-break at the medium pace with a whipping action from the back of his hand. No one among Indian spinners was able to deliver like Chandra. He has 242 Test wickets to his name in 58 matches with a BBI of 8/79.
Abdul Qadir is yet one of the greatest leg spinners of all time and distinguished from Pakistan. He has the best figures among all Pakistani spinners of 9/56 against England in 1987 and gave up on his cricket profession with 236 wickets in 67 Tests.
Cricket owes thanks to him for keeping the wrist spin alive during the dark years of 1970-80. Now, his son, Usman Qadir, is keeping the father’s legacy alive, establishing himself thoroughly for fate.
India’s Anil Kumble typifies a cricketer making the absolute most of his capabilities. He was written off very early in his career as he wasn’t a big ball turner, but he used his precision in concurrence with the bounce that he dragged to influential impact to conclude up with 619 wickets from 132 Tests.
He is men in blue’s leading wicket-taker in Test cricket and much ahead of Kapil Dev, who is 2nd with 434 wickets. It is unlikely that anyone will catch up with Kumble anytime soon.