While Australia have Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne and several others, South Africa have Dale Steyn, England have Stuart Broad and James Anderson and the West Indies have Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose, it’s slim pickings for the Black Caps.
They’re never going to be involved in an Ashes series either, like Anderson and Broad currently are. Anderson, of course, is sidelined by injury for now. He’ll be back, surely. Regardless of the stature of the series, though, be it an Ashes or something in isolation, it takes a hang of a lot for bowlers to be really great in tandem for sustained periods of time. This info graphic shows how Walsh and Ambrose did it for 230 matches, with 920-plus wickets en route. Their numbers are not even the best, epitomising the growing reality that world cricket – especially Test cricket – might not have seen the best bowling partnership yet.
At the top of the list is Sir Richard Hadlee, followed by the Daniel Vettori. Hadlee was outstanding as a fast bowler. Vettori’s feat was all the more impressive because he had a role to play with the bat – and captained the team for a large part of his career.
Nowadays, though, the Kiwis have Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson rocketing in. Both were key to the Kiwis’ campaign at the 2019 World Cup campaign. Although the New Zealanders failed at the final hurdle in controversial circumstances, the performances of Boult and Ferguson throughout the tournament sparked conversation and prediction about the future of fast bowling in the country.
In combination, they have many of the attributes Walsh and Ambrose had back in the day and Anderson and Broad have today. Individually, they are strong. Collectively, they are lethal to batsmen. Walsh and Ambrose definitely set the bar high, as this Betway blog reminds us, but it’s there for Ferguson and others to match and beat. To reiterate, however, it is going to take a long time for them to even contemplate being right up there with the best – and renowned as one of the best bowling partnerships since Ambrose and Walsh.
While they might never reach the heights of Lillee, Steyn, McGrath and other legendary names, Ferguson and Boult have a big role to play in modern-day cricket. The one is a right-armer and the other a southpaw – advantageous in its own right amid a slew of samey seam attacks over reliant on just right-armers.
The next time New Zealand are in the Test arena, against Sri Lanka later this year, Boult and Ferguson will likely be there too – and able to continue what Walsh and others started all those years ago.