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The Kyle Jamiesons of the 21st century: 10 bowlers who had great starts to their Test careers

by Wisden Staff 4 minute read

Kyle Jamieson has had a dream start to his Test career, clocking the best average (min 10 innings) by bowlers in Tests since 1900 after his latest blast in the World Test Championship final against India.

We look back at a few bowlers from this century who had amazing starts to their Test career.

Shane Bond

After 10 Tests: 43 wickets @ 24.30

Shane Bond played just 18 Test matches in a career marred by injury, but the New Zealand fast bowler was impactful with his short, quick bursts with the ball. He picked up 87 wickets in the 18 Tests, averaging just over 22 and picking up wickets at a brilliant strike-rate of 38.7, including five five-wicket hauls.

Stuart Clark

After 10 Tests: 51 wickets @ 18.78

Like Bond, Clark played only a handful of Test matches, but left fans wanting for a lot more with a career that could have blossomed into something special. He averaged 23.86 over his 24-match Test career, but started off even better, picking up a nine-wicket match haul on debut against South Africa. After 10 Tests, Clark had 51 wickets at an average of just 18.78.

Mohammad Asif

After 10 Tests: 50 wickets @ 21.66

Mohammad Asif, often hailed as a fast bowler who could have gone on to become an all-time great, had a remarkable start to his Test career before it derailed completely following the spot-fixing scandal. In his first 10 Tests, Asif picked up 50 wickets, averaging just 21.66 with the ball. Before it all went downhill, Asif picked up a six-wicket haul in Sydney in 2010 where nearly every ball was worthy of making it to the highlights package.

Vernon Philander

After 10 Tests: 63 wickets @ 15.97

Few bowlers have had a better debut in Test cricket history. Vernon Philander, a limited-overs discard at the time he made his Test debut in 2011, picked up an eight-wicket haul against Australia in his first Test, including a stunning 5-15 that helped reduce the Aussies to 47 all out. He picked up a five-for in each of his first three Tests, and after 10 Tests had 63 Test wickets, the fourth-most in Test history at that stage.

Kyle Abbott

After 11 Tests: 39 wickets @ 22.71

South Africa’s fast bowling factory produced some real gems in the early 2010s and Abbott was another who had a stirring start to his career. A dream debut saw him scalp 7-29 in the first innings against Pakistan in 2013. He went on to pick up a five-wicket haul in India and another six-for in Australia. A year later, though, he left international cricket for good to take up a Kolpak deal. In his 11 Tests, Abbott took 39 wickets at an average of 22.71.

Mohammad Abbas

After 10 Tests: 59 wickets @ 15.64

Mohammad Abbas was Pakistan’s answer to replacing a dream bowler like Mohammad Asif. The first time Abbas went wicketless in an innings was only in his 11th Test match. In his first 10, Abbas had 59 wickets, the 10th most in Test history after 10 career Tests. He averaged a stunning 15.64 and struck every 38th ball on an average at the time. The law of averages caught up with him eventually, but Abbas still has a formidable average of 22.80 after 23 Test matches.

Duanne Olivier

After 10 Tests: 48 wickets @ 19.25

Another South African who took to Test cricket like fish to water, Olivier picked up 48 wickets in his first 10 Test matches, averaging a miserly 19.25 and striking every 30th ball on an average. The strike-rate is to date the best in Test history for anyone with more than two wickets in a minimum of 10 Tests. However, a Kolpak offer brought a premature end to Oliver’s honeymoon period in Test cricket.

Yasir Shah

After 15 Tests: 90 wickets @ 27.56

The only spinner in this list, Yasir Shah had an outstanding start to his Test career, snaring 90 wickets after his first 15 Tests, the most any bowler has taken after as many career matches. Yasir boasted of an average of 27.56, with five five-fors in his first 15 Tests.

Jasprit Bumrah

After 10 Tests: 49 wickets @ 21.90

While his limited-overs proficiency was evident for everyone to see, Bumrah’s success as a Test bowler took several aback. After an outstanding start to his career in South Africa in 2018, Bumrah showed his extraordinary skills in England too before playing a major role in India’s maiden Test series triumph in Australia in 2018. After 10 Tests, Bumrah had 49 wickets at an average of 21.90.

Kyle Jamieson

After 7 Tests: 39 wickets @ 15.15

Kyle Jamieson picked up his fifth five-wicket haul in Test cricket in the WTC final against India, which was just the eighth Test match in his career. The New Zealand quick currently averages 14.13 in Test cricket, the best by anyone to bowl in as many innings in Tests since 1900.

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