Most wickets in cricket history: Top 10 list

The record for the most wickets in cricket history goes to Muttiah Muralidaran, who has 1347 wickets to his credit in international cricket. The game of cricket has seen some legendary bowlers over the years. From Fred Trueman in the 1950s to Derek Underwood in the 60s-70s to the likes of Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner, Richard Hadlee in the 80s to Curtley Ambrose, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis in the 90s, there have been some glorious careers. 

Today we take a look at the bowlers with the most wickets in cricket history – that is – across three formats in international cricket. 

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Top 10 bowlers with most wickets in cricket history 

Muttiah Muralidaran1347495Sri Lanka1992-2011
Shane Warne1001339Australia1992-2007
James Anderson 977396England 2002-present
Anil Kumble 956403India1990-2008
Glenn McGrath 949376Australia1993-2007
Wasim Akram 916460Pakistan 1984-2003
Stuart Broad847344England 2006-2023
Shaun Pollock829423South Africa 1995-2008
Waqar Younis 789349Pakistan 1989-2003
Chaminda Vaas761439Sri Lanka1994-2009

1. Muttiah Muralidaran – 1347 Wickets 

The Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralidaran goes down in the history books as the most prolific bowler in international cricket. He took a total of 1347 wickets in international cricket, with his career spanning from 1992 to 2011. Controversies followed him for the majority of his career, often due to his bowling action which divides opinions to this day. 

Muralidaran played 133 Test matches for Sri Lanka and picked a mammoth 800 wickets at an average of 22.72. It is highly unlikely that any bowler will ever break that record. He also took 534 scalps from 350 ODI matches at 23.08 apiece. Muralidaran played 12 T20Is and picked 13 wickets. 

2. Shane Warne – 1001 Wickets 

The late Australia leg-spinner is widely regarded as the greatest spinner the game has ever seen. Shane Warne had a lavish lifestyle and was famous for his affairs with models and countless controversies, but on the field, he was the man. Warne claimed a total of 1001 wickets during his career from 1992 to 2007, the second most wickets in cricket history.

Shane Warne played 145 Tests for Australia, snaring 708 wickets at an average of 25.41 with 37 five-wicket hauls. He also picked 293 wickets from 194 games in ODIs at 25.73 runs apiece. Warne had an inspiring stint in franchise T20 cricket at the end of his career but never played international T20s. 

3. James Anderson – 977 Wickets 

Most wickets in cricket history
Photo by Icon Sport

James Anderson is third on the list of most wickets in cricket history with 977 wickets. He is the only active cricketer on this top 10 list and has a chance of surpassing Warne for second place. Having been playing international cricket since 2002, that longevity is a testament to his fitness and hunger. 

Anderson has represented England in 183 Tests for England to date and has taken 690 wickets at 26.42 apiece. The right-arm pacer also bagged 269 scalps from 194 ODI matches at a 29.22 average. Anderson played 19 T20Is and took 18 wickets at 7.84 economy. 

4. Anil Kumble – 956 Wickets 

When you talk about Anil Kumble, you can't help but picture the bandage around his head and jaw after a fractured jaw in Antigua, and how he delivered a memorable spell. He played with the same grit all his career, spanning from 1990 to 2008 and picking 956 wickets in international cricket. Kumble snared 619 wickets in Test cricket from 132 games at 29.65 average and 337 more from 271 ODIs. 

5. Glenn McGrath – 949 Wickets 

Glenn McGrath is arguably the greatest seamer the game has ever seen. The skill set he had and the sheer consistency at which he performed everywhere and in every tournament, it remains unparalleled. McGrath has the fifth most wickets in cricket history, having dismissed 949 batters at the highest level. He claimed 563 wickets from 124 Tests for Australia at an incredible average of 21.63. He had a glorious ODI career as well, where he had 387 wickets from 250 games at 22.02 apiece. 

6. Wasim Akram – 916 Wickets 

Wasim Akram, one of the greatest pacers ever, sits sixth on the list with 916 wickets. Akram and his partner in crime Waqar Younis are widely considered the best exponents of reverse swing. The left-arm pacer took 414 wickets from 104 Tests for Pakistan at 23.62. Akram has the second most wickets in ODIs with 502 scalps from 356 matches at 23.52. 

7. Stuart Broad – 847 Wickets 

Stuart Broad played under the shadow of Jimmy Anderson's greatness but still managed to carve out his legacy. The England seamer is known for his hostile spells where he used to run through the opponents when on song. He picked up 847 wickets in international cricket from 344 matches. Broad claimed 604 wickets from 167 Tests at a 27.68 average and 178 scalps in ODIs.  

8. Shaun Pollock – 829 Wickets 

The South African great occupies the eighth spot on the list of most wickets in international cricket with 829 wickets. Shaun Pollock was a bowling all-rounder and had a huge impact on South African cricket. He played 108 Tests, claiming 421 at an average of 23.21. He was an excellent white-ball bowler as well, picking 393 wickets at 24.50 apiece. 

9. Waqar Younis – 789 Wickets 

The Pakistan speedster was one of the pioneers of reverse swing and enjoyed immense success with it. Waqar Younis represented Pakistan in 349 international matches and claimed 789 wickets. He bagged 373 scalps from 87 Test matches at 23.56 and one of the best strike rates – 43.4. In the fifty-over format, he snared 416 wickets from 262 games at a 23.84 average. 

10. Chaminda Vaas – 761 Wickets 

The Sri Lankan left-arm seamer didn't have speed but he more than made up for it with his ability to swing and seam the ball. He is 10th on the most wickets tally with 761 wickets from 439 international matches. He took 355 wickets from 111 Tests at an average of 29.58, along with 400 scalps in ODIs at 27.53 apiece. 


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