The first installment of hopefully many in my Greatest Ever series is here! In this series I will look at the greatest talents to grace various sports. Enjoy!
There have been many great batsmen over the years. From W.G Grace to Sachin Tendulkar, it seems that every generation throws another great into the mix. I have condensed it down to a list of the top ten, in my opinion.
10. W.G. Grace (ENG) - Playing in the 1800s, William Gilbert Grace was the first star of cricket, putting it on the map. His displays are stuff of legend, and, although his average seems worse than others, that may be because he played well into his fifties in a 44 year career. Immediately distinguishable by his bushy beard, he played in an era without the high tech bats and the protective gear in use today. He's the type of player we may never see again in the game.
9. Ricky Ponting (AUS) - The captain of the dominate force in world cricket, Ricky Ponting has been consistently putting in match winning performances for the Aussies, helping them to Ashes victories and a World Cup victory, and that's just on the Test scene. He holds numerous records and is one of a handful of people to reach over 10,000 Test match runs.
8. Sunil Gavaskar (IND) - Gavaskar is one of the greatest opening batsmen in cricket history. Although he played during a time when the Indian team weren't hugely successful, especially when he was captain, he stood out as a great batter. Another one of the handful to have achieved over 10,000 Test runs.
7. Sir Jack Hobbs (ENG) - Jack Hobbs was often referred to as "The Master", and it's easy to see why. Widely regarded as the greatest opening batsmen of all time, he was voted as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Century. Playing in the early 1900s, Hobbs didn't get a huge amount of Test runs, but was still seen as a formidable force. His records in First Class cricket still remain, where he scored over 60,000 runs, and took 108 wickets, a phenomenal record.
6. Allan Border (AUS) - Former captain of the mighty Australia, Border still holds the record for amount of consecutive Test appearances (153). He, again held numerous World Records at the time of his retirement. One of which was the most Test runs ever, with 11,174, a record since passed by number two on this list.
5. Sir Garfield Sobers (WIN) - Widely regarded as the greatest all-rounder the game has ever seen, Sobers became the first ever player to hit six sixes in an over. Another one voted as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Century, it was easy to see why he was regarded so highly. His records of over 8,000 Test match runs as well as 235 Test match wickets, coupled with over 28,000 First Class runs and over 1,000 First Class wickets, show what a great all-rounder he was.
4. Sir Viv Richards (WIN) - Despite not really being classed as an all-rounder, Richards could deliver a ball as well as knocking it out of the park. The third man on this list so far to be named as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Century, his swagger when at the crease has become legendary. Often chewing gum and opting to where a cap instead of a helmet, Richards seemed to banish some of the best bowlers of his generation without much effort.
3. Sachin Tendulkar (IND) - "The Little Master" has a claim to be up in at least second in this list, with many regarding him to be the best of all time. If this list was exclusively for ODI batsmen, he would probably be in number one. A true legend of the game already, Tendulkar is looked upon with almost god-like status in India. He is only one of three men to score over 11,000 Test match runs.
2. Brian Lara (WIN) - The greatest run scorer in Test match history, with an unparallelled 11,953 runs, Brian Lara is a personal favourite of mine, as is Sachin Tendulkar. His 501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham and his 400 not out for West Indies against England are stuff of legend, and remain unbeaten records and perhaps unbeatable records. His retirement game didn't do justice to his career, being run out on just 18, but throughout his career he wowed crowds around the world.
1. Sir Don Bradman (AUS) - Fitting that the greatest batsman of all time belongs to the greatest cricketing nation. "The Don" had a remarkable career and, like Lara, had a tragic end to it. With an unprecedented batting average of 99.94, had he just got a four in his last innings, he would have made it 100. Unfortunately he get bowled for a duck, a terrible end to the greatest career. To put that batting average in perspective, second place on this list Brian Lara's Test match average was 52.88. The fourth member of this list to be included in the top five of Wisden Cricketers of the Century.
Coming soon - the great bowlers of all time!