With around 2.5 billion fans around the world, cricket is the second most popular sport behind football. Yes, it outranks American football, baseball, and basketball. It’s similar to baseball in that you need a ball and a bat, but the rules are much different. Some special players dominated the field, which is known as the ground and in turn helped shape the game as we know it. Just like with any other sport, there is going to be the creme of the crop, so here are the greatest cricket players of all-time.
The Name’s Hobbs, Jack Hobbs
Born on December 16, 1882, Jack Hobbs gets to kick this list off. Hobbs played for Surrey from 1905 to 1934 and also for England for 61 test matches between 1908 and 1930. He had some quality years on the ground.
Referred to as “The Master,” many experts like to say he’s one of the greatest batsmen ever to pick up the sport of cricket. Maybe because he has the most hundreds in first-class cricket with 199. The Master is also the leading run-scorer in first-class too (61,760).
Premier Batsman Wally Hammond
In case you’re unaware, test cricket is the form of the game with the longest match duration, and is the game’s highest standard. Only the national representative teams can gain “Test status.” Aided with that information, you should know that Wally Hammond had over 7,000 runs in test cricket.
Throughout his whole career, he racked up over 50,000 runs. The typical career batting average in cricket is in the range of 20 to 40. Hammond averaged 58.45 during his time in test cricket! Many say he’s the best batsmen from the ’30s as well.
South Africa’s Shaun Pollock
Throughout history, two of the best to ever play cricket have come from South Africa. One of them is Shaun Pollock. There are 11 fielding positions in cricket, and Pollock was a bowler. As the name implies, the bowler sends the ball towards the wickets that the batsman tries to protect.
Pollock was an all-rounder bowler who was capable of causing trouble to anyone he bowled against on the field. Overall, he took 421 wickets in test matches and 667 in First-class games.
Current Indian Team Captain, Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli is the current captain of Indian national team and boy is he fun to watch. The batsman plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore and has served as their captain since 2013. He won the ICC Test Player of the Year in 2018 as well as the ICC Cricketer of the Year in 2017-18.
In 77 Test matches so far, his batting average is 53.76, and in 228 ODI matchups, his average is 59.47. In ODI, he’s scored 10,943 runs. He’s quickly become the current top player in cricket.
Warne Is The Benchmark
Shane Warne was one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in the 1994 Wisden Cricketers Almanack. They say Warne is the greatest leg spinner (right-arm with a wrist spin action) of all-time as well. In 1997, he was the Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World.
Leg spinners understand Warne’s career to be the benchmark of success. If they think they’re doing anything of importance and it doesn’t even come close to Warne, then they need to head back to the drawing board.
A Formidable All-rounder
Jacques Kallis is a South African who used to serve as the Test and ODI captain for them. He was a right-handed batsman and right-arm fast-medium swing bowler. Not only is he one of the best cricketers, but he’s also probably the greatest all-rounders as well.
His batting average in Test was 55.37, and in ODI it was 44.36. His runs scored were 13,289 and 11,579, respectively. His class really is matchless when it comes down to it.
The Greatest Batsman Pakistan Has Ever Produced
ESPNcricinfo described Javed Miandad as “the greatest batsman Pakistan has ever produced.” That’s high praise that Miandad rightfully deserves. He played for Pakistan in tests between 1975 and 1996. Some intangibles that stood out for him were his impressive control and unique technique.
Many know him due to the historic last ball big six when his team played India in 1986 at Sharjah when four runs were needed to win. Miandad’s attitude helped him stand out as one of the best, with a batting average of 52.57 in Test.
The Great Bowler Glenn
Glenn McGrath was born in Australia and played all formats of cricket for 14 years total. He is the principle reason why the Australian team dominated world cricket from the mid-’90s to the mid-2000s.
He’s considered the top bowler of Australia and world cricket. His fast-medium pace was a pivotal part of his skillset. In 124 test matches, McGrath took 563 wickets! He even managed to bowl ten wickets in one match three times during test matches.
The Greatest From Sri Lanka
Meet Sanath Jayasuriya, the most celebrated Sri Lankan cricket player and former captain of the Sri Lankan national team. Not only is he the best Sri Lankan, but many consider him one of the greatest One Day International (ODI) player as well.
He was criminally well-rounded in both batting and spin bowling, but it was his aggressiveness in batting that put him over the top. He’s played 445 ODI matches and scored 13,430 runs in the process.
Two-Time Champion Ponting
When you lead a country to secure two consecutive World Cup titles as the captain of the team, you’re as great as they come. That’s the case for Ricky Ponting, who led his Australian team in 2003 and 2007. He’s become regarded as the most exceptional cricket captain ever.
If that wasn’t enough, in July 2018, he was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame. His batting average in test matches is 51.85, which is well above the standard.
Record Man Brian Lara
When you’re discussing cricket players from the West Indies, Biran Lara of Trinidad is more than likely top two if not number one. He’s set several records in his day, including the one for the highest individual score in first-class cricket (501).
Another record we’re sure he’s glad to hold is the for the highest individual score in a Test innings when he scored 400. Overall, Lara set the standard for fantastic cricket players hailing from the West Indies.
The Destructive Bowler Wasim Akram
Wasim Akram of Pakistan was a phenomenal bowler. He was left-armed and bowled with significant pace. They called him the “King of Swing,” as his bowling caused substantial problems for batsmen. Many consider Akram to be the top left-arm fast bowler to play.
He’s bowled 22,627 in Test and 18,186 balls in One Day International competition. Akram also shares the record for most international hat-tricks with Lasith Malinga. His top number of scores in a test match is 257.
Ranked The Greatest At One Point
The Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan was a bad man on the field. In 2002, Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack rated him the greatest Test match bowler ever. He deserves to be on this list more than anyone else.
Do you want to know why they rated him the best in Test? Muralitharan took 800 wickets in his Test career, a record that might not ever get broken. His batsman skills weren’t that bad either, as he accumulated 1,256 runs scored in Test.
Lillee Was No Slouch On The Field
Rated as the “outstanding fast bowler of his generation,” Dennis Lillee was a sensational Australian player. Lillee was a fan favorite and had a “never-say-die” attitude which won over the fans even more. Lillee ranks number 22 on the list of players who have taken 300 or more wickets with 355.
In 2009, Lillee officially entered the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. A decade before that, he was one of ten inaugural inductees to enter the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame (1996).
The Greatest England Product
Every country has a player that is undoubtedly the best from that region in all sports. For cricket players from England, Ian Botham takes the throne in those regards. Not only was he the greatest from England, but he’s also known as the best all-rounder from the ’70s.
He might not have played as many matches in Tests or ODI as some of the other players on this list, but his numbers speak differently. In only 102 Tests, he took 383 wickets and scored 5,200 runs.
Khan The Minister
Today, you can find Imran Khan as the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan. He figured once he finished with cricket, he could do his country some justice off the field. On the ground, he led his country towards World Cup glory in 1992.
Khan demonstrated immaculate leadership and skills during his playing days and earned himself the reputation of a top tier bowling all-rounders. He played his highest number of matches in List A cricket, where he took 507 wickets across 425 games.
In 2002, Wisden named Kapil Dev the Indian Cricketer of the Century, so that lets you know how amazing this man was on the ground. Something else amazing about him is his captain skills. Up until 1983, India had never won a World Cup.
When he became the leader, he led them to their first victory as a gifted batsman and bowler. Dev epitomized what it meant to be an all-rounder without a doubt, and that’s why he’s so high on this list.
Sir Vivian Richards
Earlier we discussed a different player from the West Indies, Brian Lara, and how he was one of the best from that area. Well, this man is right up there with him. Sir Vivian Richards, known as Viv Richards, is a top tier batsman and that isn’t up for discussion.
His batting average for Test matches was 50.23, and that is utterly insane. He accomplished that in 121 games and scored 8,540 times while he was at it. He only lost eight times as a captain.
All-rounders display different types of styles and techniques that enable them to dominate the game on all fronts. The 5’11” Gary Sober started as a bowler but quickly got promoted to the batting order early in his career for Barbados.
To classify him in the same group as the other West Indies men on this list might be slightly unjust because Sober is widely considered to be cricket’s best all-rounder. In 93 Test matches, his batting average was 57.78, and he took 235 crickets on top of scoring 8,032 runs.
Sachin The Great
When you talk about records that seem impossible to break in sport, surely Sachin Tendulkar’s name gets mentioned. The former captain of the Indian national team was masterful with the bat and scored a hundred 100’s in his career. That means he’s scored 100 or more runs in a single innings, one hundred times.
Not only that, but he also is the highest run scorer ever in International cricket. No wonder one of his nicknames is “God of Cricket.” We would hate to bowl against him.
Considering Don Bradman as the best cricket player of all-time is justifiable for several reasons. Referred to as “The Don,” this Australian player achieved a feat that many consider the best achievement by any sportsman across all major sports.
The Don had a batting average of 99.94 in Test, which is entirely absurd. There’s a folklore that says Bradman used to practice alone with a golf ball and a cricket stump to hone his skills. There might be some legitimacy to that.