Identifying the Best Cricket Players of All-Time is no small task. But, every once in a while, a cricketer comes who changes the sport forever. This type of cricketer performs beyond the wildest imagination and takes the parameters to the next level.
He sets new standards and dimensions for future generations to meet or exceed. But then some players set benchmarks and records that may never be equaled. Here is a list of 7 of the greatest cricket players of all time, whose accomplishments and legacy will be cherished forever.
7 Best Cricket Players of All-Time
Here are our top seven.
1. Donald Bradman
Sir Donald Bradman, also known as The Don, is considered by most experts as the greatest batsman ever. His batting average in test cricket was a staggering 99.94, an achievement that is unmatched in any major sport. Bradmanesque is a term synonymous with exceptional excellence, not just in the world of cricket but also in other fields. He is considered the epitome of excellence in cricket.
With a Wisden rating of 1349, the right-handed batsman is the top Test batsman ever who outranks the No.2, Sachin Tendulkar, by 349 points. The Don has 29 Test cricket centuries and 117 First Class cricket centuries to his name. His top score in Test cricket is 334. There is no other Australian, except for Ned Kelly, who has more biographies written on them.
2. Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar is considered among the finest batsmen of all time. The right-handed Indian batsman is the highest run-scorer in international cricket. Interestingly, the legend made his cricket debut at the age of 16. Also referred to as the “Master Blaster” or “God of Cricket,” Tendulkar is the only cricketer to have scored 100 international centuries. There are dozens of records to his name that have not been equaled so far in cricket.
Sachin is the first cricketer to have scored 200 runs in a One Day International (ODI) game. He is the leading run-scorer in both Test and ODI cricket formats. And there is no other player so far who has completed over 30,000 runs in international cricket. The Master Blaster is also ranked as the second greatest Test batsman by the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, behind Don Bradman.
Tendulkar has 51 centuries in Test cricket and 49 centuries in One Day International cricket. His batting average is 53.78 and 44.83, respectively, in both formats of the sport. He has played in 200 Test and 463 ODI matches and has been one of the most consistent sports performers. Tendulkar scored more than 1000 runs in ODIs in a year 7 times. He also holds the record for the highest runs in a calendar year.
3. Vivian Richards
Sir Vivian Richards is a former West Indies right-handed batsman who is also regarded as among the greatest batsmen. The Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack recognized Richards to have played the best ODI innings ever. Wisden also recognized him as the best ODI batsman and the 3rd best Test Batsman of all time.
Richards is the first in ODI format and has achieved 20 Man of the Match awards. He is also among the 5 Wisden Cricketers of the Century. He played 187 ODI and 121 Test cricket matches with an average of 47 and 50.23, respectively. His highest scores are 189 not out and 291 in ODI and Test cricket. Richards was also a prolific bowler who took 118 wickets in ODI with two 5 wicket hauls.
4. Michael Bevan
Michael Bevan is a former left-handed Australian cricketer regarded as one of the most consistent performers in the ODI format. At 53.58, Bevan is the world record holder for the highest batting average in ODI by a retired player. He is part of the two World Cup-winning Australian teams. Popularly referred to as the ‘finisher,’ Bevan played an instrumental role in many matches to take his team to victory. There is almost no other batter as consistent in batting performance and in helping his team win. Bevan is also regarded as the best limited-overs batsman in the world.
5. Brian Lara
Brian Lara’s is the perfect example of an excellent meeting style on the cricket pitch. The former West Indies left-handed batsman is regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time. He holds the record for the highest runs in a First Class cricket match. Lara scored 501 not out in 1994, which is the only time over 500 runs were scored in the history of First-Class cricket. He also holds the record for the highest score in a single Test inning, scoring 400 not out in 2004.
Lara held Wisden’s second-best batting performance in Test cricket when he scored 153 against Australia in Barbados. He played in 299 ODI, 131 Test, 429 List A, and 261 First-Class cricket matches. His batting average of 40.48 in ODI and 52.88 in Test cricket is impressive. He scored 19 and 34 centuries, respectively, in the two formats. According to Wisden’s highest-rated bowler Muttiah Muralitharan, Lara is the toughest opponent he faced in his career. Lara received the Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World for two consecutive years.
6. Sydney Barnes
Sydney Barnes was an English right-handed cricketer who is considered one of the greatest bowlers of all time. The medium-fast bowler holds the record for the quickest 150 wickets in Test cricket. The 2008 ICC Best-Ever Test Championship Ratings ranked him at The Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack named him one of the players in its Six Giants of the Wisden Century in 1963. Barnes was included in the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2009.
Barnes played 27 Test matches and bowled with an average of just 16.43, and took 189 wickets. His First-Class cricket performance is even more impressive. In his 133 First-Class matches, he took 719 wickets and had an average of 17.09. He had seven 10-wicket and twenty-four 5-wicket hauls in Test cricket with the best bowling figure of 9 for 103. John Arlott, in his article in The Cricketer (May 1963), claimed that Barnes was considered the “greatest bowler that ever lived” by those who played during his matches.
7. Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli is a current right-handed Indian batsman who is considered one of the best batsmen in the world. He often ranks No.1 on ESPN’s list of most famous athletes. He played 208 ODI and 66 Test matches with a batting average of 58.10 and 53.40, respectively. In a career spanning just a decade, he already scored 35 ODI and 21 Test centuries.
Kohli won several ICC awards, including the 2016 Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World. No other batter averaged more than 50 in ODI, Test, and T20I formats of the sport. It is believed that if he continues to perform the way he does, he will break many of the records set by legends like Sachin Tendulkar.
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