Fastest Ball Ever in Cricket: Breaking all Speed Limits

Express Fast Bowling in Cricket is a spectacle every cricket fan loves to watch. The thrill of watching a leather cricket ball thundering towards the batsman at incredible speeds is an experience like no other. Fast bowlers can be lethal, with players like Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson in the 80s, then Shoaib Akhtar and Brett Lee in the 2000s, and Shaun Tait and Mitchell Starc in the modern times. It’s amazing how these bowlers haunted batsmen with their speeds of over 150 Kmph, with batters having no option but to play a safe cricket shot. It’s like the batsman is no longer in control of what’s happening, just his reflex actions helping him play stroke. Pace bowling is one of the major reasons for injuries in cricket. Jeff Thompson once even went to say that his fast bowling did not cause injuries, but instead, it caused accidents. Also, the sight of watching the leather ball at this speed hit the stumps and rip in half is pure cricketing poetry. That’s the beauty of fast bowling, and in this article by ZAP, we will look at players who have bowled the fastest balls ever in cricket history

Mitchell Starc bowling in a Test Cricket Game

Credit: Cricnerds

How to calculate the fast ball speeds in cricket?

Calculating the speed of a cricket ball is the same as calculating the speed of any object.

Remember, Speed = Distance / Time.

The ball has to travel 22 yards or about 20 metres to reach from one end from the bowler to the other end to the batsman. Distance is known, but calculating the time can be a bit tricky. A stopwatch could be used to time when the ball leaves the bowler's grasp and when it whizzes by or hits the bat's wood. But this technique can be very inconsistent and prone to human error. 

A Speed Gun Calculates the Speed of a Cricket Ball

Credit: Quora

But the best way of doing this is to use speed guns. A speed gun positioned near the sight screen uses microwaves to track the ball's path in the air, allowing it to continuously measure the ball's velocity. Microwaves are chosen for this purpose because their longer wavelengths enable them to travel through the air with minimal distortion, which helps in accurately determining the ball's speed.

The original purpose of this technology was to assess tennis serve speeds, but it is also being used in cricket. 

Which Bowler Bowled the fastest ball in cricket history?

Cricket history is replete with fast bowlers who have consistently pushed the boundaries of speed. But, there have been only a few who have crossed the 100 Miles club (160.934 km/h), the pinnacle every pacer wishes to reach. Reaching this level takes consistent hard work, fitness, proper bowling technique, mental toughness, consistency, proper training and mentorship and discipline over years. 

Read More: Cricket Exercises and Workouts

It's also important for you to remember that reaching the 100 Miles club is not the sole indicator of a great player. Many legendary bowlers have had long and successful careers without reaching this specific milestone. Ultimately, the journey to becoming a fast bowler capable of such astonishing speed is a combination of natural talent, unwavering commitment, and relentless hard work.

Here are the Fastest Bowlers of all time in Cricket History:


Speed (km/hr)

Speed (mph)



Shoaib Akhtar





Shaun Tait





Brett Lee



New Zealand


Jeffrey Thomson



West Indies


Mitchell Starc



New Zealand


Andy Roberts





Fidel Edwards



South Africa


Mitchell Johnson





Mohd. Sami





Shane Bond





Shoaib Akhtar 161.3 Km/h : The fastest ball ever bowled

Shoaib Akhtar, also referred to as the "Rawalpindi Express," is the fastest bowler in the history of cricket and currently holds the record for highest speed. He had a unique runup in which he would take his run up from the boundary line towards the pitch and deliver the ball. His slinging bowling action and his muscular frame, greatly complemented his natural pace and bounce and helped Shoaib Akhtar bowl consistently over 150 kmph.

Shoaib Akhtar clocked a speed of 161.3 km/h in a match against England in Capetown, South Africa, during the 2003 Cricket World Cup. With this, He became the first player in cricket history to break the 100-mile mark on the speed gun.

Brett Lee 161.1 Km/h : 2nd fastest ball bowled ever in cricket

Brett Lee has the record for being the second-fastest bowler in history and has highest bowling speed among Australians.

Brett Lee was one of the front-line pacers in the Australian attack which also included players like Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath. In an ODI game against New Zealand in 2005, he broke the 100-mile mark with his fastest delivery, clocking it at 161.1 km/h. In addition to his pace, his precision and his swing often left the batsmen in a fix. Also, his action is one of the most efficient motions that helped I'm deliver ball at such high speeds.

Shaun Tait 161.1 Km/h : 3rd fastest bowled cricket ball

Shaun Tait was another Australian Cricket Team player who could bowl fast, extremely fast consistently. Like Shoaib Akhtar, he too had a muscular build, with broad shoulders and a slinging action that helped him bowl a express speed without breaking a sweat. Though he did not receive much success at the international level, he still haunted every batsman that he faced. 

Shaun Tait delivered his fastest ball during a T20I game against Pakistan clocking a speed of 161.1 km/h on the speed gun. 

Jeff Thomson 160.6 Km/h :  4th fastest ball in international cricket

Jeff Thompson completes his bowling action and bowls a rapid fast delivery

Credit: SportsCafe

Jeff Thomson was one of the quickest players during his prime in the 80s. In an era where proper cricket protection wasn't a thing and batsmen often walked out without wearing a batting helmet, he was a terrifying sight for batsmen to witness. Together with Dennis Lillee, Thomson would be the most formidable fast-bowling team in the 1974–75 campaign.

He delivered one of the fastest balls ever at a speed of 160.6 km/h against West Indies at Perth during a 1974-75 Test Series. 40 years later, He is still on the list of highest ball speed bowled in cricket because tremendous pace, and remains an underrated legend in the cricketing books. 

Mitchell Starc 160.4 km/h : Cricket history’s 5th fastest ball

Mitchell Starc is the 4th Australian in this list and one of the best left armers ever. His tall stature, quick load up action and high arm release is what gives him the pace an bounce. Combine all of this with his ability to both swing the ball with the new leather and bowl pinpoint yorkers in the death, and you get the perfect all-format fast bowler, and that is what Starc has been for so many years for the Australian Cricket Team. In two consecutive 50-over World Cups in 2015 and 2019, he claimed the most wickets. In a Test match against New Zealand in Perth, the speedster recorded the fastest delivery in Test cricket history, clocking in at 160.4 km/h

In his career, the 31-year-old has taken 255 Test wickets and 184 ODI wickets. Starc is one of Australia's top pacers in the Test format, if not the greatest fast bowler in the world, despite his recent decline in form.


What is Dale Steyn’s fastest ball?

Dale Steyn, one of the greatest fast bowlers of his era, consistently pitched deliveries at speeds exceeding 150 kilometers per hour. Although he didn't hold the record for the fastest ball, his express pace, his swing and accuracy made him a force to be reckoned with in international cricket.

What is the fastest ball by Indian bowler?

The Indian cricket Team has witnessed some genuinely skilled pacers. But, when it comes to the quickest ball by an Indian in international cricket was by, Umran Malik leads the pack. In a 2023 T20I match against Sri Lanka, he bowled at 155 kph.

What was the fastest ball by Shoaib Akhtar?

Shoaib Akhtar bowled the fastest delivery in cricket history at 161.3 Km/h.

How fast was the Fastest ball by Umran Malik?

In the 2022 Indian Premier League match between Hyderabad and Delhi on May 2, 2022, Umran Malik delivered the his fastest ball, clocking in at 157 km/h. But in international cricket, his fastest delivery was at 155 km/h against Sri Lanka in a 2023 T20I.

Now That you have read about the Fastest Bowlers in the World, here are some more records and skills that we recommend you read. 

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