India has produced many top-notch spinners. Around 75% of the Indian cricket pitches are spin-friendly. It’s also the reason why Indian batters play spin bowling very well. Indian spinners play a crucial role in the winning cause for India. Let’s take a look at the top ten best Indian bowlers of all time.
Best Indian Spin Bowlers
Anil Kumble – (1990–2008)
Anil Kumble is the best Indian spinner to date. He is the greatest in terms of statistics and the number of wickets. Kumble was unable to get significant turns while bowling leg breaks. Hence, he started flat bowling at a high pace, which is lethal for any batter.
Anil Kumble is the only Indian bowler to claim all ten wickets in an inning. Moreover, he is the highest wicket-taker of India in international cricket. Kumble has 619 wickets in 132 tests and 337 wickets in 217 one-day internationals.
Kumble is a fighter. His jaw was fractured while playing against West Indies in 1999, and everyone thought that he might not play the rest of the matches. Even the doctors advised him to stay away from cricket. However, Kumble entered the ground with a white bandage and claimed the wicket of Brian Lara.
Bishan Singh Bedi – (1966–1979)
The next Indian spin bowler has an excellent record of taking 266 wickets in only 67 test matches. Apart from that, he claimed 1560 first-class wickets. It’s the highest number of wickets by an Indian bowler. However, these numbers cannot justify the caliber of Bedi.
Bedi has a lot of variations. Loop, flight, pace, and spin made him very lethal. Plus, he used to deceive the balls endlessly. Bedi might have got more platforms and opportunities in today’s cricket era.
Subhash Gupte – (1951-1961)
Let’s go back in time to know another legend who was in the Indian national cricket team from 1951 to 1961. He played 36 test matches and took 149 wickets. Looking at the figures, you can easily guess that Gupte was a top-notch performer. Moreover, notable cricketers like EAS Prasanna, Jim Laker, and Sir Garry Sobers called him the best leg spinner they have ever witnessed on the cricket ground.
Subhash Gupte was able to confuse the batters with significant turns and googlies. He took 9 wickets against West Indies in 1958 at Kanpur, but India lost the match. It’s the fourth-best performance by a spinner in a losing cause. He has a set of two googly variations. He was unable to play for long due to some controversies. Otherwise, Gupte could have created multiple records.
Bhagwat Subramanya Chandrasekhar (1964 – 1979)
Polio affected Bhagwat Chandrasekhar during his childhood, which eventually paralyzed his hand. Hence, his bowling action was unorthodox. His bowling style made him successful on both home and overseas grounds.
Chandrasekhar was one of the reasons why India was able to win their first match on Australian soil. He took 12 wickets in the match to a winning cause. Chandrasekhar was also helpful in the first series win of India over England in 1971. He played 58 tests and took 242 victims. Such a performance made him the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1972.
Erapalli Prasanna (1962 – 1978)
Here comes another unique spinner who left cricket for a while to complete his education. Erapalli Prasanna was heavily dependent on flight. Still, he was one of the best off-spinners on the Indian national side.
Erapalli Prasanna used to bowl in a deceiving manner. It’s the primary reason why he is one of the best Indian spin bowlers of all time. Prasanna was awarded Padma Shri in 1970 and a Lifetime achievement award by Castrol in 2006.
Mulvantrai Himmatlal Mankad/ Vinoo Mankad (1946–1959)
Known by his nickname Vinoo Mankad, Mulvantrai Himmatlal Mankad is one of the greatest all-rounders Indian cricket has ever seen. He was a slow left-arm orthodox bowler and a right-handed batter. Not only did Mankad collect 162 wickets in 44 tests, but he was also an opener.
Vinoo Mankad is famous for its world record of opening partnership with Pankaj Roy in 1966. In addition, he sent a batter back to the pavilion because he was backing up at the non-striking end. The term Mankading in cricket is named after him.
Srinivas Venkataraghavan – (1965 – 1983)
You might know him as a reputed umpire, but Srinivas Venkataraghavan used to be an off-spinner. In his time, India used to include three and sometimes four spinners on their national side. So, Venkataraghavan had to shine among the likes of Prasanna and Bedi. He did that in style and was tough to score. Hence, the batters used to get frustrated and lose their wicket.
Srinivas Venkataraghavan played more tests than one-day internationals. He appeared in 57 test matches and took 156 wickets. Apart from that, Venkataraghavan played only 15 ODIs and claimed five victims.
Harbhajan Singh – (1998–2016)
Harbhajan Singh is one of the most magnificent spinners India has ever manufactured. He used to get under the batter’s skin and get a breakthrough. It’s one of the reasons why Bhajji is one of the most successful spinners in recent times.
Also known as Bhajju Pa and The Turbantor, Singh made his debut against Australia in 1998. He played for the Indian national side for 18 years, appeared in 103 matches, and took 417 wickets. Apart from that, Bhajji played 236 one-day internationals and sent 239 batters back to their pavilion. He is the first Indian spin bowler to celebrate a hat-trick in test cricket.
Ravichandran Ashwin (2010 – present)
R. Ashwin is an important figure in Indian cricket. The off-spinner is tall at 6 feet and 2 inches. Hence, he can get some extra bounce to disturb the batters.
Ashwin had a lot of variations, which is the primary reason he has taken 442 wickets in 86 tests, and 151 wickets in 51 one-day internationals. What’s more? He is an all-rounder and can bat well whenever required.
Ravindra Jadeja (299-present)
A slow left-arm orthodox, Ravindra Jadeja is in the Indian national side since 2009. He is also a fixed player in Chennai Super Kings (IPL). In 2017, Jadeja became the first Indian left-arm spinner to take 150 wickets in one-day internationals.
Overall, he has played 168 ODIs and claimed 188 victims till now. Apart from that, he has sent 242 batters back to the pavilion within only 60 tests.
Ravindra Jadeja was the top-ranked bowler in the world in March 2017. Apart from that, Jadeja is considered one of the best fielders in the current cricket era. He was the captain of CSK in IPL 2022 but stepped down in the middle of the tournament.
You must have your favorite all-time Indian spin bowler. Most probably someone who you watched while growing up. Let us know if we missed someone. Anil Kumble is still the best spinner, but skillful bowlers can break his records and set new ones. Let’s wait and watch.
Mayank Chowdhary is a professional cricket player in domestic cricket in India. He is very passionate about cricket and knows ins and out of cricket betting. With this long experience, now he has decided to share his experience with other cricket lover like you. Know more at the about me page.