Rabada youngest No 1 bowler since the 19th century!

2018-01-10 18:02
Kagiso Rabada (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Proteas fast bowler Kagiso Rabada made history by becoming the youngest player to reach the top of the ICC Test bowler rankings.

READ: Rabada surges to summit of Test rankings!

Rabada took 3/34 and 2/41 in the Proteas' New Year's Test victory over India at Cape Town.

The 22-year-old leapfrogged England's James Anderson to top the ICC Rankings for Test bowlers and became the seventh South African to occupy the top spot.

He followed Dale Steyn, Shaun Pollock, Hugh Tayfield, Peter Pollock, Vernon Philander and Aubrey Faulkner - who uniquely managed to top both Test batting and bowling tables.

According to the ICC website, Rabada became the youngest player to ever top the Test bowling table, surpassing a record which had stood since the 19th Century.

Here is a countdown of the youngest Test bowlers to reach the top spot:

5. Waqar Younis

Age: 8 448 days, January 1993

With his potent in-swinging yorkers and fearsome pace, the Pakistani speedster brought a new word to the cricketing vocabulary. 

At Hamilton in the 1993 New Year's Test, his figures of 4/59 and 5/22 helped his side to a thrilling 33-run victory when the home side collapsed to just 93 all out chasing a mere 127 to win. 

That effort moved him above Curtly Ambrose into top spot, wherein total he spent 39 matches (367 days) as the top-ranked Test bowler between 1993 and 1995.

4. Joey Palmer

Age: 8 410 days, March 1882

A medium-paced spinner who was often unplayable on pitches favouring his type of bowling, he led Australia's attack in the early years of Test cricket.

His figures of 5/46 and 4/44 in Sydney propelled him to the top of the bowling table, ahead of Fred Spofforth.

His reign at the top lasted 12 matches and 933 days between 1882 and 1886, when he fractured his knee and was never the same again.

3. Ian Botham

Age: 8 309 days, August 1978

It is doubtful if anyone has had such a spectacular start to their Test career as Ian Botham. It took him a mere 11 Tests to overtake team-mate Bob Willis and reach number one for the first time.  At that stage he had taken 64 wickets at just 16.54 runs apiece.

Injuries took their toll later in his career, but he still spent 60 Tests - 845 days - as the top-ranked bowler between 1978 and 1980 – no mean feat considering he was competing with the West Indian pacemen, Dennis Lillee and Richard Hadlee at the time.

2. George Lohmann

Age: 8 288 days, February 1888

Although the game has changed unrecognisably from the early days of Test cricket, George Lohmann's career bowling figures still inspire awe now – more than a hundred years after his death.

He still owns the best bowling average and strike rate of any bowler with more than fifty Test wickets and held the world record for the best innings bowling figures for more than sixty years.

He lost his top spot later that year but reclaimed it after a sensational 1896/96 series in South Africa in which he took 35 wickets at just 5.80 apiece. He spent a total of six matches and 339 days on top.

1. Kagiso Rabada

Age: 8 261 days, January 2018

And so to the latest table-topper. 

He first captured the limelight at ICC U/19 World Cup 2014 in the UAE when South Africa won the title.

Kagiso took a match haul of 13/144 against England at Centurion in early 2016 and took ten in the match against Sri Lanka at Cape Town in January 2017 to move into the world's top ten for the first time.

He continued to impress throughout the year, with another ten-wicket haul coming against Bangladesh at Bloemfontein in October before his Cape Town efforts finally pushed him top.

No one-trick pony, he also reached the top spot in the ODI bowling table - albeit for just five days - in May and June 2017.

Images: Gallo/Getty

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