And rightly so. Over the years we have had some great fast bowlers, who have not only performed exceptionally well but also adjusted to different conditions and changes in the rules and regulations.
I am not ranking my choices in any particular order so those who may want to, feel free to place them as you see most appropriate.
Not shy of height, he was naturally seen as Joel Garner’s replacement early in his playing days. He did not disappoint either. Like Joel, Curtly had a very dangerous yorker, was very accurate and did not like to give away runs. He was so tight that getting a drink off him at the bar was hard work! Curtly played in 176 ODIs, taking 225 wickets at an average of just over 24. He had six four-wicket hauls and four five-wicket hauls, and will always be remembered for that memorable spell in Sydney when he was asked to remove his wrist bands by Dean Jones and responded by taking 5-32.
Allan had real pace, enough to have batsmen around the world hopping around against the new ball. He led the South Africa attack for some time, playing in 164 matches and taking 272 wickets with 11 four-wicket hauls. His economy-rate was just over four and for an out-and-out strike bowler that's pretty good. Allan enjoyed many battles with opening batsmen of high quality, but never held back with his effort.
This giant of a man made life very difficult for batsmen around the world. You had to make massive adjustments when facing him because of his height, but what was most impressive about him was his accuracy. Joel would get good bounce on any surface because of his height, but to me his yorker was one of the best, if not the best. He really mastered it and made it special. In 98 ODIs, he took 146 wickets at a remarkably low average of just 18.84, with an economy rate of 3.09.
Hadlee was the main pace bowler for New Zealand for a long time and in assessing his returns, this should earn him lots of credit. He only played 115 ODIs, taking 158 wickets, but his average of 21.56 and economy-rate of 3.30 is excellent. Most times he was the strike bowler, so batsmen would wait for him to just bowl out his spell. So, imagine how good he was for his stats to be as impressive as they are.
It seems now that 102 ODIs is not such a big amount, but in those days it was the norm. Mikey and Andy Roberts were the strike force for the West Indies before we had Joel Garner, Colin Croft and Wayne Daniel. Mikey had one of the best approaches in the business of fast bowling, but what he also had was real pace and that would test any batsman’s skills. In his limited overs career, he took 142 wickets at an average of 21.36, with a miserly economy rate of 3.32.
Brett had genuine pace and was always coming at you. He was very accurate and, in my view, got better as he lost just a bit of pace. He was, to me, the perfect foil for Glenn McGrath. Having played in 221 ODI games and taken 380 wickets with an average under 24, including 14 four-wicket hauls and nine five-wicket hauls, he played a vital part in Australia’s success in this format of the game. His raw pace helped him stand out.
To me, Malcolm was the complete fast bowler. He was not as tall as a lot of us, but he had lots of pace and could swing and seam the ball both ways. This made him very dangerous.