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Top 10 leg spinners of all time

Cricket, being a century-old game, has witnessed a very few exceptional leg spinners. It is because of the reason that leg spin is one of the facets parts of the game, therefore, people rarely witness the classy and exemplary spinners coming and going through over the years.

If only a little bit goes wrong in bowling for a leg spinner, the whole pretty-going spell can be bashing for him ever. It requires immense control. However, these players have the ability to dismiss world-class batters and destroy destructive top-order. Even on the tough pitches, spinners can be the assets for their teams. Yet, they can be a great risk due to their inclination towards giving extra runs.

Over the years, world cricket has embraced exceptional control from the quality bowlers, who have made good use of their skills. Undoubtedly, a few among them, with the courtesy of their bowling, have been included in the ICC Hall of fame. With too many variations available in the area, some have even inspired the watchers on their debut, whereas the rest took some time to settle, yet ending in the list of top 10 leg spinners of all time.

Despite the fact that very few such bowlers have proved themselves in the unit, we have gathered the top 10 greatest leg spinners of all time, who proved their talent and inspire the masses with killing leg breaks. Have a look at the list of those who are yet remembered due to their experienced legacy.

Here are the Top 10 leg spinners of all time

Shane Warne

Shane Warne - one of the top 10 leg spinners of all time

It would not be wrong to say that Shane Warne died unrivalled having no one of his matches in the spin bowling depart. Although he started his career poorly seeing which no one could suspect that he will turn out on the top of leg spinners list. But, he had that spin bowling talent in abundance, which he utilized, not being among the greatest bowlers of all time, but probably the best leg spinner international cricket has witnessed.

Surprisingly, Warne conceded 150 runs grabbing one wicket in his first Test versus India. But, it did not take long for him to establish in the leg break field. He made the world take note of his blonde hair and remember him by them with the majestic spell against the West Indies in just his 5th Test with a match-winning 7/52 at the iconic MCG.

There must be something extraordinary that Warne is still remembered for his services even after his demise. It must be noted he died of a sudden heart attack in his villa in Thailand and is missed receiving an outpouring of well wishes and tributes from all across the globe.

Anil Kumble:

Anil Kumble - one of the top 10 leg spinners of all time

It would not be wrong to say that Anil Kumble closed up his career as India’s best leg spinners with his cricket yet remembered to nourish the upcoming. He is India’s leading wicket-taker in Test cricket, surprisingly, much ahead of well-known Kapil Dev, who is the second-highest wicket-taker with 434 scalps to his name.

It is unlikely that anyone, or at least from the Indian fraternity, will touch his records nearby. Kumble was the cricketer who made the most use of his abilities. He writes that he was not the great turner of the ball in starting days but he used his accuracy in conjunction with bounce, with the help of which, Kumble has 956 wickets to his name.

As far as Test cricket is concerned, the right-armed bowler has gathered 619 wickets from 132 games averaging 29.6 at an economy of 2.69. In his times, Kumble was also the only bowler after Jim Laker to take all 10 wickets in an innings in Test cricket history. He gathered all ten wickets (10/74) versus the Pakistan cricket team in 1999.

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Abdul Qadir:

Abdul Qadir - one of the top 10 leg spinners of all time

Cricket owes a big thanks to the late Abdul Qadir who kept the wrist spin alive through the darkest years of the late 1970s and 80s. He was blessed with the temperament of a fast bowler and surrounded his craft with mystique.

No doubt, Imran Khan had been a major role to dig the most out of Qadir. He told the leg-spinner to grow a french beard to increase the aura, and it worked. Qadir’s favourites were England to rival. And his finest hours came during 1977-78, and the home series later that year. He plucked 30 scalps in three tests.

According to him, he contrived his action to distract the batsman. People still say that Qadir had six different types of bowling styles in an over, therefore, variety was the key.

It is not possible to believe that leg-spin has been bowled finest by anyone than Qadir as he did in his home city Lahore versus the favourite victims England. He took 9 wickets for 56. Graham Gooch, who faced him that day, termed him even a better leg-spin bowler than Shane Warne. The Pakistani cricketer, who no more exists, but his stats are unmatchable, closed his career with 236 wickets in 67 Test matches.

As of now, Usman Qadir is modelling his late father, proving the legacy and continuing with it in modern cricket. The lad often remembers his father in his time, who kept the leg-spin art alive in the darkest years of the game. It is said that Pakistan is yet to produce a leg spinner like the late Abdul Qadir.

BS Chandrasekhar:

BS Chandasekhar - one of the top 10 leg spinners of all time

Apparently, BS Chandrasekhar’s cricketing years are not discussed just like his mates from the 1970s are mentioned and highlighted for their achievements. Although the leg spinner enjoyed the finest career, but like some of the top-rated cricketers, Chandra seems forgotten too.

It is strange not to see his name dominating cricket, or at least Indian cricket since he has 242 Test wickets to his name which come only in 58 Tests at an average of 29.74. The player suffered a polio attack which disturbed his right arm but the player, dedicated to his game, turned that massive setback into an opportunity.

According to the cricket giants ESPN Cricinfo, Chandra was a rare jewel and the biggest match-winners of his country overseas. After a long and bouncy run-up unlike other spinners, he dispatched sharp googlies at a medium pace with from the back of his hand using a whipping action. No one in India’s famed spin list was able to deliver unplayable balls like him.

His 6 for 38 gave India their first victory against England in 1971 at the Oval. Also, his instrumental contributions in India’s maiden victory versus Australia included the spell of 12 for 104 at Melbourne.

Bill O’Reilly:

Billy O'Reilly - one of the top 10 leg spinners of all time

Billy O’Reilly although did not get many years to play, but all he played, turned out to be an inspiration for the spinner’s career. He could play 27 Tests for Australia and astonishingly clutched 144 wickets at an appealing average of 22.59.

One can analyze his supreme quality with the fact that he dismissed the greatest batsman of his time, Walter Hammond. His cricket showed that spin was not necessarily a gentle art. He used to release the bowl at a pace almost equivalent to fast-medium. He bowled leg breaks, top-spinners, and googlies in an intimidating manner.

It looks like Englishmen have been his favourite victims. Out of 144 wickets, 102 of them were against them including vital cog Walter 10 times.

Richie Benaud:

Richie Benaud - one of the top 10 leg spinners of all time

Richie Benaud, with the courtesy of his stylist leg-spin bowling and amazing average, is listed among the greatest spinner of all time. After his great cricketing career as the huge turner of the ball, he has been the voice of cricket.

The Australian cricketer who became the voice of cricket after his retirement struggled for the first six years of his career. However, enjoyed the span later becoming one of the greatest Australian cricketers. His stats spoke in favour of him as he started settling in the ground gradually after there were notable backlashes due to the ill start.

His standout performances came in Manchester in 1961 as he showcased appealing performances with a spell of 32-11-70-6 in the final inning, which helped out Australia win the match by 54 runs. Apart from all-rounding contributions, Benaud’s wrist spin became worth discussing. Benaud’s career came to an end in 1964 with 248 wickets in 63 Tests.

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Danish Kaneria:

Danish Kaneria - one of the top 10 leg spinners of all time

Danish Kaneria’s career has unluckily been handed over to his controversies and quarrels with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). However, his talent with the ball in hand cannot be neglected. The right-arm leg spin bowler played for the country between 2000 to 2010 and gathered 261 scalps in 61 matches averaging 34.8. He could amass 18 wickets from ODIs, and was not seen on the field later despite requesting too much.

Although he ended his career as the highest wicket-taking spinner for Pakistan, but he will be more remembered as a cricketer who was banned by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for a spot-fixing scandal.

One of the finest leg spinners world cricket has ever produced saw his career diminishing after the scandal. He could have touched the skies but had to bid farewell after gathering more than 1000 first-class wickets.

Kaneria’s best year probably was 2004 when he performed across the world and tore apart Sri Lanka’s, England’s, Australia’s, India’s, and West Indies’ line-ups.

Benaud, one of the top 10 leg spinners of all time himself came in favour of Kaneria’s skill and regarded his googlies as the best disguise. The player slowly was sidelined as the performances deteriorate, and is now gathering attention through his social media forums.

Stuart MacGill:

Stuart MacGill - one of the top 10 leg spinners of all time

Stuart MacGill is one of those wrist spinners who made their stats even more interesting with the appealing bowling figures. What makes him one of the great leg spinners was his capability to dispatch better googlies than Warne.

MacGill played 44 Tests and bagged 208 wickets. Out of 44 encountered, most of them came with mate Warne. If he would have played in some other era, he would not have been overshadowed by the late cricketer.

Mushtaq Ahmed:

Mushtaq Ahmed - one of the top 10 leg spinners of all time

Mushtaq Ahmed apparently modelled his bowling skills from the country-fellow, late Abdul Qadir and ended up succeeding him in the team’s red-ball squad. After playing 52 tests for the men in green, the master of leg spin bowlers recorded 185 wickets, the last of which came versus South Africa.

He was a match-winner with plenty of variations. His enthusiasm was not touched although he had ups and downs and eliminations throughout his career. Not much behind Warne, Mushtaq is yet discussed in the leg spin fraternity as his impact seems to be lasting.

Apart from rendering his spinning bowling to the nation, he had a long career with English counties. Mushtaq, in his long career, served three different counties including Sussex, Somerset, and Surrey and always gathered applause through his exemplified bowling.

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Subhash Gupte:

Subhash Gupte - one of the top 10 leg spinners of all time

Another bowler who can be added to the list of top 10 leg spinners of all time is probably Subhash Gupte. The world’s greatest all-rounder ever, Garry Sobers termed him the greatest leg spinner that he ever faced throughout his batting career. He said Gupte was better than Warne but no one could notice.

It is said that slow and steady wins the race. Subhash proved it right. From a slow start to his career, being wicketless on debut, to inspiring and appealing to the watchers to no end – Gupte’s career has been amazing. Despite taking no wicket versus England in 1951, he was picked for the later encounter against West Indies and he did not look back then. The player plucked 27 wickets from five matches and went on to develop himself into the greatest leg spinner of that time. Closure to his playing career saw 149 wickets from 36 Test matches.

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