Top 10 Fastest Bowler in the World 2023

Know who is the fastest bowler in the world of cricket and what is the highest speed that one has bowled. Also, know the opponent team and the year of the delivery.

Subhayan Dutta
Subhayan Dutta

Last Updated: 2023-11-24

Dillip Mohanty

5 minutes read

The fastest bowler in the world is Pakistan’s Shoaib Akhtar whose 161.3 kmph delivery against England in 2003 became the fastest ball in international cricket. No bowler has since breached that mark with Shaun Tait and Brett Lee coming close.

Below we list the ten fastest bowlers in international cricket. 

Fastest bowler in the world

Top 10 list

RankBowlerSpeed (kmph)CountryOpponentYear
1Shoaib Akhtar161.3PakistanEngland2003
2Shaun Tait161.1AustraliaEngland2010
3Brett Lee160.8AustraliaNew Zealand2005
4Jeff Thomson160.6AustraliaWest Indies1975
5Mitchell Starc160.4AustraliaNew Zealand2015
6Andy Roberts159.5West IndiesAustralia1975
7Fidel Edwards157.7West IndiesSouth Africa2003
8Mitchell Johnson156.8AustraliaEngland2013
9Mohd. Sami156.4PakistanZimbabwe2003
10Shane Bond156.4New ZealandIndia2003
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Shoaib Akhtar - 161.3 kmph, England vs Pakistan - 2003

The top-speed ball in cricket history was bowled during a 2003 World Cup game between Pakistan and England in South Africa’s Capetown on February 22. Pakistan’s premier pacer Shoaib Akhtar was hitting the right momentum and after bowling consecutive lightning-quick deliveries of 153.3kmph, 158.4kmph, 158.5kmph, 157.4kmph and 159.5kmph, Akhtar needed just one more dot ball to finish his maiden over. He had then come up with the fastest ball in cricket history.

Shaun Tait - 161.1 kmph, Australia vs England - 2010

Shaun Tait in ODI 1.jpeg
The second-highest ball speed in cricket history was generated by former Australian pacer Shaun Tait. Having stopped himself after just three Test matches, the South Australian lad always knew what he would excel in. Tait returned to the ODIs in 2010 and produced the second-fastest ball in cricket at the Lord’s against England. His 161.1kmph ripper came against English opener Craig Kieswetter in his very first over. 

Brett Lee - 160.8 kmph, Australia vs New Zealand - 2005

Brett Lee ODI.jpeg
The former Australian wrecker-in-chief had tough competition with Shoaib Akhtar in the 2003 World Cup where the Pakistani reigned supreme. However, Brett Lee would come back with his slinging rocket two years later in a match against New Zealand at Napier, as his 160.8lmph delivery was hurled at former Kiwi opener Craig Cumming in the first over.

Lee had also bowled a mind-boggling 161.8 kmph delivery during a Test match against West Indies in the 2000-01 season, but the Brisbane match’s official broadcaster Channel Nine had admitted that recording to be a mistake.

Jeff Thomson - 160.6 kmph, Australia vs West Indies - 1975

Jeff Thomson Bowling.jpeg
While not many of the fearsome West Indies bowlers of the 1970s and 80s feature on this list, one of their contemporaries Jeffrey Thomson recorded a superquick delivery while facing the Caribbean at the WACA in 1975. The New South Wales man had bowled a 160.6kmph delivery, spurring many to debate that Thomson would have easily broken the 100mph milestone if speed guns were available in the ‘70s. 

Mitchell Starc - 160.4 kmph, Australia vs New Zealand - 2015

Mitchell Starc Test Bowling.jpeg
One of the few active bowlers from the above list, Australia’s Mitchell Starc has bowled the fifth fastest ball in cricket history while playing against New Zealand in a Test in 2015. The quickest bowler to reach 150 ODI wickets, Starc is known for his venomous in-swinging toe-crushers and is a lethal weapon with the red ball as well. Starc’s rocket delivery came against Ross Taylor.  

Andy Roberts - 159.5 kmph, West Indies vs Australia - 1975

Andy Roberts West Indies Bowling.pngOne of the fastest bowlers of his time, West Indies’ AndyRoberts was part of the 1975 and 1979 World Cup-winning side and finished his career with 202 Test wickets and 87 ODI scalps. He unshackled his pace against Australia in Perth in 1975, which is counted among the top five fastest deliveries at the WACA ground, as documented by Dennis Lillee in the book “The Art of Fast Bowling”.

Fidel Edwards - 157.7 kmph, West Indies vs South Africa - 2003

Fidel Edwards West Indies Test Bowling.jpegOne of the few active West Indies players, who has kept the nostalgic perception of the Caribbean being a fast-bowling talent pool still intact, Fidel Edwards had bowled a superfast delivery during his early playing days against South Africa in 2003. Though Edwards could never reach his potential, he has one of the best fast-bowling actions in the world.

Mitchell Johnson - 156.8 kmph, Australia vs England - 2013

Mitchell Johnson Australia Test Bowling.jpegYet another Australian on this list of elite fast bowlers, Mitchell Johnson had reserved his fastest ball for the Ashes series before unleashing it in the fourth Test match between Australia and England in 2013. Johnson is known for his searing pace and bodyline-specific bowling, executing which he has broken former South African captain Graeme Smith’s hand twice apart from fracturing Ryan McLaren’s right arm.

Mohammad Sami - 156.4 kmph, Pakistan vs Zimbabwe - 2003

Mohammad Sami Pakistan Test Bowling.jpegBowling alongside the likes of Shoaib Akhtar, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, Mohammad Sami wasn’t as revered as he deserved to be. However, he had reminded all of his pace with a 156.4kmph delivery against Zimbabwe in 2003 to become the second fastest Pakistani bowler ever. He ended his career with 85 Test wickets and 121 ODI scalps.

Shane Bond - 156.4 kmph, New Zealand vs India - 2003

Shane Bond Bowling in ODI.jpeg
Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar had stated him to be one of his most dangerous adversaries and Shane Bond had remained New Zealand’s premier pace bowler for long. Though frequent injuries limited Bond’s international career to just eight years, it was enough for the bowler to come up with one of the fastest deliveries in cricket, which was bowled against India in the 2003 World Cup. 

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Subhayan Dutta
Subhayan DuttaSports Writer

An M.A. in English Literature, Subhayan is an experienced journalist and sports writer. Having worked as a journalist at Hindustan Times, Subhayan covered diverse beats including sports, education, and health, showcasing his versatility and in-depth understanding of various subjects.