In the glorious history of Australian cricket, it is surprising to know that no fast bowler was handed Test captaincy. Well, that case can now be put to rest as 26th November 2021 marked a special day for Pat Cummins and Australia's fast bowling community.
After a turbulent week post the resignation of Tim Paine, Cricket Australia confirmed Cummins as the 47th player to lead the side starting with the Ashes on 8th December at the Gabba.
"I am honoured to accept this role ahead of what will be a massive Ashes summer. This is an unexpected privilege which I am very grateful for and am very much looking forward to," he said in a statement with Cricket Australia.
Over the years, the team management and the selectors have been skeptical about handing over the reins to a fast bowler for reasons unknown. With Cummins becoming the first fast bowler to lead Australia, we take a look at the list of fast bowlers with 50+ wickets who have captained the side.
Fast bowlers at the helm Shaun Pollock
Matches: 26 | Win - 14 | Loss - 5 | Draw - 7
In the span of three years, from 2000 to 2003, Shaun Pollock led South Africa in 26 games and helped them get over the line in 14 encounters. The fast bowlers picked 103 wickets at an average of 21.36, including four five-wicket hauls during his tenure as the leader. With a win percentage of 53.8, Pollock was regarded as one of the most successful captains of South Africa.
Matches: 25 | Win - 12 | Loss - 8 | Draw - 5
One of the greatest fast bowlers in the history of the game, Wasim Akram was at the helm of affairs for Pakistan for six years, starting 1993 to 1999. In the 25 matches, the left-arm pacer picked 107 wickets at an average of 23.35, guided the team through with 12 wins, and had a win percentage of 48.
Matches: 22 | Win - 6 | Loss - 7 | Draw - 9
Courtney Walsh was one of the mainstays in the bowling unit of the West Indies. Walsh led the side for a period of three years from 1994 to 1997 in 22 games. Despite picking 85 wickets at an average of 25.71, Walsh could manage to lead Windies to six wins and had a win percentage of 27.2.
Matches: 21 | Win - 4 | Loss - 11 | Draw - 6
With 216 wickets, Heath Streak is the most successful bowler for Zimbabwe in this format. However, the right-arm pacer endured a tough time as the captain of the side and picked 56 wickets at an average of 34.80 compared to an average of 25.81 as a non-captain. Under him, the team lost 11 games and had a win percentage of 19.
Matches: 18 | Win - 7 | Loss - 5 | Draw - 6
Bob Willis captained England in 18 Test matches and propelled them to wins in seven games. The tall fast bowler scalped 77 wickets, including three five-wicket hauls as a skipper. Despite five losses for England, his performance improved when he was the skipper as opposed to a non-captain, as he picked up wickets at an average of 26.31 compared to an average of 21.59 as captain.
Matches: 17 | Win - 10 | Loss - 7 | Draw - 0
Along with Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis forged a formidable bowling attack for Pakistan. Waqar led Pakistan in 17 matches and has a win percentage of 58.8 with ten wins. The right-arm pacer picked 67 wickets during his tenure at an average of 23.47.
Fast bowling all-rounders
Matches: 48 | Win - 14 | Loss - 8 | Draw - 26
Imran Khan was in charge of the Pakistan side for a decade from 1982 to 1992 for 48 matches. In the 48 games, Imran scalped 187 wickets at an average of 20.26, including 12 five-wicket hauls to power the team to 14 wins and recorded a win percentage of 29.1.
Matches: 37 | Win - 11 | Loss - 21 | Draw - 5
With 100 wickets as the skipper of the Windies in 37 matches, Jason Holder has been the pick of the bowlers for West Indies in the recent past. The right-arm pacer has an average of 26.76 with the ball as a captain and led the side to 11 wins. However, the side has lost 21 matches under his tenure and have a win percentage of 29.7.
Matches: 26 | Win - 4 | Loss - 7 | Draw - 23
One of the legends of Indian cricket, Kapil Dev, picked up 111 wickets at an average of 26.35 in four years during his leadership from 1983 to 1987. The right-arm pacer led India to four wins in 26 matches and had a win percentage of 11.7.
Matches: 30 | Win - 8 | Loss - 12 | Draw - 10
Darren Sammy led the West Indies side for three years from 2010 to 2013 and picked 57 wickets in 30 matches at an average of 39.61. Under Sammy, the Caribbean side had a win percentage of 26.6 with eight wins and 12 losses.