10 best part-time bowlers in cricket right now
There are times in any form of cricket when the frontline bowlers are simply unable to stem the flow of runs or take wickets and the match seems to be drifting away. In such a situation, captain often turns to bowlers, who hardly ever bowl with the aim of turning the tide of the game by giving the batsmen a challenge they might not have seen coming.
Part-timers are however rarely successful and more often than not, they go for runs. However, there are exceptions and there are part-time bowlers who are far better as bowlers than they are given credit for. This article looks at some of the best part-time bowlers plying their trade in international cricket at the moment.
10 Kedar Jadhav
Kedar Jadhav might be classified as an all-rounder, but he hardly ever bowls for India and when he does, it is almost always as a last resort when nothing else seems to work. His round arm slow off spinning deliveries are what Kevin Pietersen would have called 'pie chuckers' but if the pitch is responsive and if it is a slow one, then Jadhav is notoriously difficult to get away. Case in point being his 3/29 v New Zealand last year in a spin rout. He might not bowl much but Virat Kohli will surely have him at the back of his mind when his frontline bowlers find it tough going.
9 Travis Head
Australian batsman Travis Head is known more for his hard-hitting batting in the middle order but ever since he made his debut for his country back in January 2016, he has often been called upon to roll his arm over by captain Steve Smith.
Head bowls right arm off spin and although he doesn't look like the most menacing bowler, he can do a job in slowing the game down a bit if the opposition looks particularly menacing.
He has taken 12 wickets in 28 ODIs at an economy rate of 5.59, which is not bad for a part-time bowler. However, in T20 cricket his economy rate is on the higher side (8.33) and needless to say, he would need to work on it if he is to be considered a worthy part-timer in the shortest format of the game.
8 Glenn Maxwell
Australian star Travis Head is one of the biggest names in limited overs cricket due to his immense six hitting abilities but what makes him a complete limited overs cricket is his ability to chip in with a few overs whenever the captain asks for it.
Maxwell bowls steady, no-nonsense off-spin and tries to bowl as accurately as possible in order to keep the runs in check. In ODIs, he has an economy rate of 5.53 and has claimed 45 wickets in 80 games with an impressive strike rate of 41.9.
He doesn't bowl much in Tests but he does roll his arm over from time to time in T20 cricket.
7 Kraigg Brathwaite
West Indian opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite was in the news recently after his bowling action had been cleared by the ICC and following the clearance, his national team will again be able to call upon his considerable skills as a right arm off spinner when they so wish.
Brathwaite is a steady off-spinner who, much like Moeen Ali, believes in landing the ball in the right areas and allowing the pitch to do the rest. Unlike many other part-time bowlers, he has actually bowled more in Tests instead of limited overs games and has best figures of 6/29 in a Test in Sri Lanka.
Now that the bowling action has been cleared, Brathwaite will surely look forward to improving his bowling record since the talent is definitely there.
6 Kane Williamson
New Zealand captain and currently considered one of the world's best batsmen, Kane Williamson's orthodox off-spin bowling has often provided an extra edge to the team's bowling attack.
Williamson has a classic bowling action and is often able to extract turn, while his accuracy as a bowler helps him in keeping the loose balls to a bare minimum. On helpful pitches, Williamson has proven to be a difficult bowler to negotiate on a number of occasions and a strike rate of 38.4 in ODIs is a testimony to his effectiveness as a part-timer.
He has taken 29 wickets in Tests and 33 in ODIs, with averages of 38.93 and 35.6 respectively. His numbers are great and in fact, one can speculate whether he can turn into a full-time off-spinner for New Zealand or not like Moeen Ali has for England.
5 Kieron Pollard
The West Indian looks like the most unthreatening of bowlers but over the years, he has become a vital cog in the wheel for his team's bowling unit. Although he looks like a fast bowler, he bowls slow mediums that are often quite hard to hit and if the pitch is on the slower side, then it becomes an uphill battle.
Pollard mixes it up as well and often alters the length by bowling from a few feet behind the crease. In 101 ODIs, he has claimed 50 wickets at an economy rate of 5.74, which is rather impressive. In T20 internationals, however, his economy rate shoots up to 8.25 but by modern standards, it is not too high.
4 Joe Root
One of the best things about the current England team is the all-round abilities of most of the players and the team's best batsman Joe Root epitomises it. Root is usually called upon to bowl by his limited overs captain Eoin Morgan when all other options seem ineffective but his classic right arm off spin has often helped England in stopping the opposition from running away with the game.
An economy rate of 5.66 in ODIs in this era is perfectly acceptable for a part-timer and in the years to come, Root should emerge as one of the best part-time bowlers in world cricket.
3 Chris Gayle
There used to be a time when Chris Gayle used to bowl quite regularly for the West Indies, but over the past few years, he bowls only when the captain is at his wit's end. Gayle's fast off-break does not spin much but he is deadly accurate and that often makes him hard to score against.
He has a perfectly acceptable economy rate of 4.76 in one-dayer while it shoots to a shade over 7 in T20 Internationals. In Test cricket, he has claimed 73 wickets across 103 Tests which is not a bad haul for a part-time bowler but in one-dayers his tally stands at 163, which is not to be sniffed at.
2 Marlon Samuels
Among the many part-time bowlers that the West Indies have had over the past decade or so, Marlon Samuels is probably the best and throughout his career, his bowling has added a new dimension to their attack.
Samuels, like most part-time bowlers, has had a bigger contribution in limited overs cricket and his accurate, fairly quick off-spin bowling is often very hard to get away.
In addition to this, he is one of those rare spinners who can actually bowl yorkers. An economy rate of 4.81 in 190 ODIs is a testament to his prowess as a bowler in limited overs cricket. He does not, however, bowl as regularly in T20 cricket.
1 Jean-Paul Duminy
JP Duminy recently retired from Test cricket, so his brand of classic right arm off spin will be on show in limited over cricket and over the years, he has perhaps been the best part-time bowler going around.
What makes Duminy a unique part-time bowler is that he does not only do a containing job but has the ability to take wickets.
On conducive pitches, he can spin the ball and trouble the best batsmen, while on an unresponsive pitch he often varies his length in order to take wickets.
With a strike rate of 49.3 and economy rate of 5.31 in ODIs, he is a very handy bowler and has claimed 63 wickets in 177 that format of the game.