In the third episode of Wisden and CricViz‘s new podcast, The Greatest T20, the panel of Tymal Mills, Freddie Wilde and host Yas Rana named Lasith Malinga as the greatest T20 fast bowler in the history of the format.
“I think it is the longevity, what a brilliant career he’s had over a long period of time. He’s done it consistently at the biggest events, the highest levels of the game. In the IPL in the World Cups in the Big Bash at the Melbourne Stars,” Mills said.
“The hardest skill in the game is being able to bowl yorkers. If you’re the best yorker bowler in the world consistently, you’re the best player in the world aren’t you? If you just look at it like that, it has to be Malinga.”
The 36-year-old has taken 390 wickets in 295 T20 internationals averaging 19.69 at an economy rate of 7.08. He was part of the Sri Lanka side which lifted the ICC World T20 trophy in 2014. CricViz analyst Freddie Wilde agreed with Mills adding: “His effectiveness especially with the yorker is second to none. That comes from the action he’s got. The low arm allows him to bowl the yorker more effectively than anyone else.
“That’s something we can back up with stats. Malinga’s success rate with his yorker is 63 per cent which is the best of any bowler ever to play T20 cricket. Not only that but if he misses his yorker and say he bowls a full toss, traditionally full tosses go around 10 or 11 runs per over, Malinga’s go at seven and a half. And that’s because his low action means he’s difficult to pick up.
“He’s better than anyone at that. And he’s been doing that for such a long time now. I think two or three years ago people thought he was finished; he’d lost a bit of his pace. But what he keeps bringing is a huge amount of experience.”