Meet Zimbabwe’s Top Five Wicket Takers of All Time
You’ve probably never heard of Tendai Chatara. He’s a Zimbabwean cricketer who has taken more than 150 wickets in his career. But, unlike some of the more famous cricketing nations, Zimbabwe doesn’t have a long history of international cricketing success.
This is why we’ve decided to shine the spotlight on Zimbabwe’s top five wicket-takers of all time. These are the players who have made the biggest contribution to Zimbabwe’s cricketing history, and we think you should know who they are with recent cricket news.
Bowling is one of the most popular sports in Zimbabwe. The country has produced some of the best bowlers in the world, with several of them making a name for themselves in international cricket.
In this article, we will take a look at the top five wicket-takers of Zimbabwe. These are the bowlers who have taken the most wickets for their country, and they have all played an important role in its cricketing history.
Eddo Brandes – The Country’s All-Time Top Wicket Taker
Eddo Brandes is Zimbabwe’s all-time top wicket-taker, with 221 wickets to his name. He played for Zimbabwe from 1988 to 2004 and was a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2000. A fast bowler, he was known for his aggressive tactics and regularly achieved speeds of over 90 mph.
Brandes was also a capable batsman and made four centuries in Test cricket. He scored 4,945 ODI runs, with a career-best score of 108*. He is the only Zimbabwean cricketer to have scored an ODI century batting at number 11.
A bowling all-rounder, Brandes was especially adept at bowling yorkers right at the end of the innings. In the 1996 Cricket World Cup, he had the third-best economy rate in the tournament, posting an impressive 3.3 runs per over. His best bowling figures were 5-37, which he achieved against Sri Lanka in the 1999 tournament.
He was awarded the Zimbabwe Order of Merit in 2000 to recognize his achievements in the sport. Brandes was also part of the Zimbabwe side that competed with national pride at the 1999 World Cup.
Since retiring, Brandes has continued to serve Zimbabwean cricket, first becoming the national team’s bowling coach in 2006. He was later appointed as the Zimbabwe Cricket Union’s Director of Cricket in 2007, where he has helped identify and nurture young talent. He has contributed to numerous coaching courses, and in 2015, was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame. Thanks to Brandes and the other Zimbabwean legends of cricket, the game has become a source of immense pride for people all over the country.
Duncan Fletcher – The Allrounder
Duncan Fletcher was an allrounder who played for Zimbabwe from 1971 to 1984. He took 111 wickets in his career at an average of 26.58, with best figures of 7/27. Fletcher was also a handy batsman, scoring 1,732 runs at an average of 24.06, with a high score of 107*.
In addition to being a top wicket-taker, Fletcher was renowned for his stamina and athleticism. He could bowl long spells and often kept an end up all day with his accurate, probing, and nagging line and length. Although his bowling average was not the best, it was still good enough to put him in the top five wicket-takers in the country.
Fletcher was a member of the Zimbabwean side that made its Test debut in June 1992. In this series, he took seven wickets, including a five-wicket haul against New Zealand. He also featured in the one-day international circuit, where he was a mainstay. His most memorable moment in ODIs came in March 1983 when he took a five-wicket haul against India at Harare Sports Club.
Fletcher is one of the most respected players in the cricketing world and his name is still a byword for the game. He has been inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame in recognition of his contribution to the game. He was also a batting coach to the successful England side that won the Ashes in 2005-06. He was part of the successful coaching staff that enabled England to reach the rankings of number one in the world.
Bryan Strang – The Record Breaker
Coming in at number four on our list is the great Bryan Strang. During his career, Strang took an impressive 123 wickets, a record that still stands today. His average of 27.67 places him amongst the most economical bowlers in Zimbabwe’s history.
Strang was known for his pinpoint accuracy, as well as his ability to remain composed under pressure. He had an uncanny knack for predicting where batsmen would hit the ball, and often had them trapped before they knew what was happening.
The veteran bowler was also an excellent team leader and mentor to younger players, helping to shape the careers of many of Zimbabwe’s top wicket-takers to come.
Mluleki Nkala – The Multi-Talented Player
Last but not least, we have Mluleki Nkala, the multi-talented player who is Zimbabwe’s fifth-highest wicket-taker of all time. A right-arm fast bowler, Nkala could bowl at a good pace and had the potential to swing the ball both ways. He was also renowned for his athletic fielding and aggressive batting style.
In 24 Tests and 63 One Day Internationals for Zimbabwe, Nkala picked up 112 wickets in total, including a career-best 6/70 against Bangladesh in 2004. This performance earned him the man of the match award and etched his name into Zimbabwe’s cricket history forever.
It’s safe to say that without Mluleki Nkala, Zimbabwe would not be where it is today in terms of cricket success. He truly was an unsung hero of our national team!
Heath Streak – The Former Captain and Record Holder
Coming in at number six is the former Zimbabwe captain, Heath Streak. During his international career, Streak was one of the most successful bowlers in Zimbabwean cricket and holds the record for the most wickets taken in a single match – 12.
Streak’s bowling style was highly acclaimed. He was known for his ability to bowl with long spells of accuracy and stamina, and extract difficult patches of turf that created challenging batting conditions. During his time as captain, he led Zimbabwe to series wins against India and Bangladesh, and to the final of the 2004 Champions Trophy.
Overall, Heath Streak was a standout performer for Zimbabwe who remains an icon in their cricketing history. With a total of 216 wickets taken over 66 matches, he is easily one of the top five wicket-takers of all time for his country.
To date, only five Zimbabwean bowlers have taken more than 100 wickets in international cricket. Among them, the record holder is Mluleki Nkala, with 248 dismissals. Who will make it to the top of the list next? Only time will tell.
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