Cricket’s longest format is also it’s most enjoyable and testing format. Cricketers get to display their real skills in Test cricket, while ODIs and T20s is a bigger challenge when it comes to mind games.
Test Cricket is widely known as the main format of the game and even after several critics calling for an end to the game’s oldest format, there is almost no doubt that Test cricket will remain the game’s biggest prospect.
Similarly, Test cricketing records are also bigger achievements for cricketers who get to show their skills to the max and make an indelible impact in their career and also for their team.
Bowling in Test cricket is also far more challenging and testing, and hence a real bowler can only prove their overall worth through good performances in this format.
With records being made and broken on a daily basis, here is a list of the 5 quickest men to 200 wickets in Test cricket.
#5 Dennis Lillee – 38 Matches (9 years 3 days)
Born on July 18, 1949, Dennis Lillee from Australia is regarded as the "outstanding fast bowler of his generation". His temperament was what helped him rise to success and help Australia build their ‘never-say-die’ attitude in an era when Test cricket was booming.
In the early part of his career, Lillee was an extremely fast bowler, but a number of stress fractures in his back almost ended his career. His quickness was the reason behind the reason why he took just 38 matches to get to 200 Test wickets, which he achieved in just a tad above 9 years into his career.
It took him so long because injuries kept him in and out of the game, but he rarely ever lost form because of that. By the time of his retirement from international cricket in 1984, he had become the then world record holder for most Test wickets (355) and had firmly established himself as one of the most recognizable and renowned Australian sportsmen of all-time.
Lillee was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2009.
#4 Waqar Younis – 38 Matches (6 years 23 days)
Waqar Younis is widely regarded as one of the greatest right-arm fast bowlers of all time. Born on 16 November 1971, he has achieved a lot over his illustrious career and even coached the Pakistani cricket team in the past.
Waqar has scalped 373 in just 87 matches in his Test career which included some deadly toe-crushers and in-swinging delivery as high speeds. His partnership with Wasim Akram is still known as the most lethal bowling pairing in the history of cricket.
Waqar grabbed his 200th Test wicket in just his 38th match and in about 6 years and one month. He is also the youngest man to captain Pakistan in Test cricket and the third youngest Test Captain in history at 22 years and 15 days.
After Dale Steyn, he also holds the record for the best strike rate for any bowler with over 350 Test wickets. This was probably the reason behind his immense success at the international circuit.
#3 Ravichandran Ashwin – 37 Matches (4 years 321 days)
Ravichandran Ashwin was born on September 17, 1986, in India. Widely regarded as an all-rounder, he bowls right-arm off breaks and has reached the pinnacle of success in a very short time.
Ashwin is unsurprisingly the fastest Indian bowler to reach the 50, 100, 150, 200, 250 and 300-wicket mark in Test cricket. His achievements helped him become the ICC Cricketer of the year in 2016.
Ashwin is still the spin bowling wizard of the Indian team and has helped the team win matches single-handedly on many occasions. He has amassed 336 wickets in 64 Test matches, which allowed him to reach the 200-wicket mark in less than 5 years and in 37 matches.
With a lot of Test cricket left in him, the off-spinner is destined to break many more records in the years to come and can prove to be one of the highest wicket-takers in the game’s longest format.
#2 Clarence Victor Grimmett – 36 Matches (10 years 353 days)
Clarrie Grimmett was born on 25 December 1891 and is the earliest of the cricketers to make the list. Born in New Zealand, he played most of his cricket in Australia where he shot to fame.
He is believed to be one of the finest spin bowlers in history and is usually credited as the developer of the flipper delivery which is widely used today. The fact that it took him almost 11 years to take 200 wickets proves that he was an incredible bowler who stayed potent for such a long period of time even though only played an average of three to four matches a year on the international level.
A schoolmaster has encouraged a young Grimmett to focus on spin bowling rather than fast bowling, and that was the time he started working on the art. He moved to Australia in 1914 which was known as the sport’s superpower.
He ended his career with 216 wickets in 37 matches, which is a remarkable achievement for a sportsman of his time.
#1 Yasir Shah – 33 Matches (4 years 42 days)
Yasir Shah was born in Pakistan on May 2, 1986. He broke the 82-year-old record held by Clarrie Grimmett on December 6, 2018, against Grimmett’s native team New Zealand and became the quickest bowler to 200 wickets in Test cricket history.
Will Somerville was caught leg before wicket in New Zealand’s second innings to hand the record to the 32-year-old Pakistani leg-spinner at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi in only his 33rd Test.
This means that Yasir Shah broke the record dominatingly by grabbing his 200th wicket in three matches lesser as compared to the previous record holder and just a little over 4 years into his Test career.
It’s interesting to note that Yasir has taken 114 of his 200 wickets in Pakistan’s home away from home, the UAE, which is widely regarded as a spin-friendly region.
His 114 wickets in the UAE has come in just 17 Test matches, and records will surely tumble further for the leg-spinner if he continues playing Test cricket at Pakistan’s make-shift home.