The Term 'Fab-4' is often used to describe the modern greats in the batting department. It consists of the Indian captain Virat Kohli, England test captain Joe Root, New Zealander Kane Williamson, and former Australian captain Steve Smith. The term was coined to indicate the batsmen who excel in all the three formats simultaneously.
Over the last year and a half, Kohli has certainly moved leaps and bounds ahead of the other three. The Indian captain has been in a purple patch over the last three years and 2018 saw him win the prestigious ICC Cricketer of the Year, Test and ODI player of the year, making him the first person in the history to do so.
For the bowlers, there really is no such thing called as Fab-4, as it is difficult for bowlers to maintain their consistency and fitness for all thee formats. Also, not all great bowlers play every format in a calendar year, plus many bowlers don't perform well in all the conditions around the globe.
With this in mind, this is an attempt to figure out the best bowlers as of 2019, who excel in all the formats, or at least are superb in a couple of them. The list doesn’t rank any one particular player over the other and just looks at the modern greats in the bowling department.
2018 was the year of Patrick James Cummins as far as the Australians are concerned. As a team, Australia had the worst of the starts to the season after their captain and vice-captain along with Cameron Bancroft were banned due to the Sandpaper-gate in Newlands, South Africa. Australia had hit the lowest in their career performance wise.
However, there was one bright spot, it was the man from New South Wales, Pat Cummins. Cummins has been in terrific form over the last two years and has been Australia’s spearhead this season, even ahead of the lethal Mitchell Starc. He has performed well across formats and will be the go-to man for Australia in the upcoming Cricket World Cup and Ashes.
In the 20 test matches that he has played, Cummins has a staggering 94 wickets at an amazing average of 20 and a strike rate of 46. In ODIs and T20s too, he has performed really well for the men in yellow. His all-around performance saw him winning the Allan Border Medal for the year 2018.
Trent Alexander Boult, the left arm quick from New Zealand, has been rated as one of the best new ball-bowlers to have ever played for the Kiwis by the Great Sir Richard Hadlee.
Boult poses a significant threat to all the batsmen around the world with an ability to swing the ball both ways. Boult also has the capability to generate high speed with his average speed ranging around 90 miles an hour.
Over the last couple of years, he has really come into his own and his fitness levels are second to none as he manages to play all the formats consistently for his side. Apart from his national commitments, Boult even manages to play a full season of the IPL.
Maintaining fitness levels of this standard is not easy and not common, and is certainly praiseworthy. In 59 tests, Boult has managed to take 233 scalps at an average of 27. In ODIs he has had 147 victims at an impressive average of 24.
Kagiso Rabada has been a revelation to the pace attack of South Africa for quite some time now. With Dale Steyn not as fit as he used to be and Morne Morkel retiring, Rabada has certainly become the spearhead for the South African cricket team.
Kagiso has been brutalising all batting line-ups in the world ever since he made his debut back in 2015 against India. He is remembered for keeping the chase master MS Dhoni quiet, limiting him to five balls in the 50th over during his debut tour. Apart from intimidating the batsmen with his brutal bouncer, the man from Highveld Lions also has great ability to swing the ball conventionally with no compromise in line and length.
At 23, he already has 176 wickets in 37 tests at an agonizing average of 21. In the 62 ODIs he has played so far, he has scalped 98 wickets at an economy of fewer than 5 runs per over. Rabada is undoubtedly an all format player and in the years to come, he could well be the next big thing for South African cricket after Steyn.
This list will be incomplete without the mention of Jasprit Bumrah. At 25, Bumrah is certainly the go-to bowler for India in all formats. Known for his toe-crushing yorkers and slower deliveries, he made a great impact in the limited overs format and had become a great asset to the one day and the T20 side since his debut in 2016.
In the 44 games he has played, he has picked up 78 wickets at a mere economy of 4.45 (considering he bowls majority of the overs at the death). In T20I, he has picked up 51 wickets so far, just one short of all time highest wicket-taker for India - Ravichandran Ashwin.
However, no one really believed that the Baroda allrounder will make it big in the Test arena. And the credit must go to the Indian skipper who unleashed him against South Africa in early 2018.
The move surprised many, as Bumrah played ahead of the Test regulars Ishant Sharma and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar in the series. But the guy from Mumbai Indians didn’t give anybody a chance to raise a finger. He had announced his arrival in the Test arena by picking up 14 wickets in the series.
Later that year, he made significant impact in England and his role was crucial in India winning the historic series in Australia 2-1. In the ten tests he has played so far, he has bagged 49 wickets at an impressive average of 21, with 5 wicket hauls in South Africa, England, and Australia.