Australia’s fifth most successful bowler figures in this list because I believe that with his enormous talent, he should have reached the same heights as his more illustrious colleague Glenn McGrath.
One of the best fast bowlers on sub-continental pitches, “Dizzy” had the ability to move the ball both ways, get the ball to deviate off the pitch (on the deadest of wickets) and most importantly he had a big heart.
He’d probably figure in the list of bowlers who have beaten the bat most.
Starting off as a tearaway quick in the mid nineties, his career never really took off as he met with many stress injuries. He reinvented himself through the years, adding more and more weapons to his repertoire every season.
During the first half of this decade, he had become Australia’s most consistent fast bowler along with McGrath.
His was dropped during Ashes 2005 and subsequently called it a day in 2008.
He constantly performed under the shadow of McGrath. Many a time, his outstanding ability to move the ball both ways off the deck resulted in batsmen falling at the other end.
He played 71 Tests, took 259 wickets at an impressive average of 26.13 and 54.19 strike rate. If it were not for his periodic stress fractures, ailments and other injuries, he might well have played at least 25 Tests more and bagged a few dozen more wickets.
Blame it on his luck that he had to play in the same era as McGrath. Blame it on his fitness problems that he played fewer matches than he could have. Blame it on the selectors who dropped him without giving him his due.
But the fact remains Jason Gillespie could have done a lot better. It could have made him an all-time great that he could not become.