Reem With A View

"Names and attributes must be accommodated to the essence of things, and not the essence to the names, since things come first and names afterwards." – Galileo

Cricket’s Top 10 Test Batsmen and Bowlers of all time

The recent ICC rankings of the “greatest” cricketers of all time was so atrocious that it defies logic. The less said and written about it the better. Better rankings have been provided by Wisden and most recently by even Shane Warne.

There is even an acclaimed book written about the  100 greatest cricketers of all time by Geoff Armstrong. According to the summary in Flipkart,  the book

“presents a list of the best players, ranked from one to 100. It is complemented with a broad range of colour and black-and-white photographs, as well as individual statistics for each selected player. “

To know more, check out the book: The 100 Greatest Cricketers Of All Time by Geoff Armstrong

Here is my list of the Top 10 Batsmen and Bowlers of all time. But please note that this is not a “ranking” as different statistical models have different rankings…with the exception of the legendary Sir Don Bradman who is unanimously rated as the best. So this list shows the greatest “10” in any order you like and is not a “rank”.

Batsmen:

1. Don Bradman

2. Sachin Tendulkar

3. Barry Richards

4. Viv Richards

5. Garry Sobers

6. Brian Lara

7. Jack Hobbs

8. Sunil Gavasakar

9. Greg Chappell

10. Graeme Pollock

Bowlers:

1. Dennis Lillee

2. Wasim Akram

3. Imran Khan

4. Shane Warne

5. Sydney Barnes

6. Fred Trueman

7. Richard Hadlee

8. Waqar Younis

9. Malcolm Marshall

10. Courtney Walsh/Curtly Ambrose

Top All rounders lists would always include any of the following:

1. Keith Miller

2. Ian Botham

3. Imran Khan

4. Kapil Dev

5. Garry Sobers

6. Wally Hammond

7. Richard Hadlee

8. Shaun Pollock

9. Andrew Flintoff

10. Jacques Kallis

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65 Responses

  1. uday says:

    where is rahul dravid

  2. wayne says:

    i think your list is just as crazy as the icc list, first of all lara should be at second in the batsmen list and muralitharan should be at first in the bowlers list, marshall should be at second and ambrose and mcgrath should be in the top ten.

  3. wayne says:

    oh in any order you like, am sorry to have make that statement but as i said before muralitharan, ambrose and mcgrath should be in the top ten bowlers, dont forget murali is better than warne.

    • Reem Saied says:

      Hi Wayne,

      The problem with any top10 etc type of list is apart from a couple of players (say a Bradman or Sobers), there will be always be debate on a lot of the others . Liem you said “why not x or y”. The thing is there may actually be around 30 all time great players… and when compiling any top 10, a great 20 other may be always left out in one list or the other. This is a problem in any top10 list for any category (sport, movies…even scientists.)
      The reason Murali is conspicuous by absence is that I wanted a list of bowlers whose actions had unanimously no doubt about being legitimate. That is no natural “bent bones or degree” advantage which causes dispute. Like Murali (despite being cleared by ICC, one must understand would have NEVER been cleared if he was playing in 50s or 60s as to the naked eye, his action is suspicious, and his Doosra is a clear throw. (Bishen Singh Bedia one if India’s foremeost spinners, for example, says Murali is a “thrower” , while many other Indian spinners disagree with Bedi. But you will never find anyone doubt Akram’ action or Shane Warne’s.) Likewise, Shoaib Akhtar and Brett Lee (whose faster balls are a throw) will never make my list, while Lillee, Waqar Younis will. Please note that I have great respect for Murali as a human being and the amount of charity work he did for Tsunami victims is awesome.

  4. Nadeem says:

    I agree your list is good one. but you cannot number these players. except bradman.

    I think my top 5 batsmen of all time are.
    Bradman.
    Tendulkar
    Viv Richards
    Garry Sobers
    Brian Lara.

    I think my top 5 bowlers of all time are.
    Wasim Akram.
    Shane Warne.
    Mcgrath
    Murlitharan
    Dennis Lille.

    • Reem Saied says:

      Hi Nadeem, I agree players cannot be “numbered”. Which is why I have mentioned the following sentence in the post :
      “But please note that this is not a “ranking” as different statistical models have different rankings…with the exception of the legendary Sir Don Bradman who is unanimously rated as the best. So this list shows the greatest “10″ in any order you like.”

  5. Nadeem says:

    How many match Barry Richards played in International cricket. Greatest player doesnt mean player with less than 50 tests. So please dont include Barry Richards. He was good but not the greatest. OK.

    • Reem Saied says:

      Hi Nadeem, Barry Richards those days after the southafrican ban, played in Australian & English domestic tournaments where he was rated as one of the greatest by almost all players… every cricketer who has played against him rates him as one of the best..His case is unique and the best example is Soccer, where one fo the world’s best players George Best could NEVER play world cup because his National team , Ireland, never qualified. But all footballers rate him as a legend, but world cup statistics show he is absent.

  6. jimmy says:

    thats v. good top ten batsman

  7. jimmy says:

    thats v.good top ten batsmen

  8. Venkat Reddy says:

    where is dravid… if there is no dravid means how come sachin/gavaskar fits in…

    He is the class player test game ever seen who can play on any soil unlike few you mentioned in the top 10

    • Reem says:

      Hi Venky,

      Dravid will make it to a top 20 list.

      The quality if bowlers Sachin faced early in his career (imran, waqar/wasima t their peakm mcdermott etc) and Gavaskar (west indian fast bowlers) shows they deserve in top10 list. Dravid is world class, am also a big fan of Dravid. But a top 10 ALL TIME lsit, players like Dravid, Kallis, Ponting difficult to place.

      Warm regards. Reem

  9. Praveen says:

    Good job

  10. sachin tendulkar u are the best batsmen ever and u are my favourite batsmen.your h.score is 186 u are rank 8 in odi rankings and rank 9 test rankings.your h. scorein test is rank 1 and in odi your h.ranking is 1.

  11. deepak says:

    nonsense, that’s what anyone can say abt this list. What’s the reason for missing anil kumble, mcgrath, kapil dev, lara, ponting, dravid, border?

    And your explanations!!!!! how could u say all these..

    Shame on u

  12. deepak says:

    ok, so lara was there.

  13. Reem says:

    Hi Deepak,

    Please read article properly. This is a top 10 list…you cant squeeze ALL your favourite players.

    And what is so “shameful” about any explanation?

  14. Jenny says:

    This list isnt bad but is in no way a true list of all time great batsmen. Barry Richards probably wouldf have been good but only played four tests, I know he promised the world and did alot but with only four tests can in no way be included in this list, same goes for graeme pollock. This list also has the notable exception of Ricky Ponting, a clear indicator of a bogus list. For some reason Ponting hasent captured the hearts of people in the same way that Sachin Tendulkar has but he clearly has the ability and record to be in this list. There are some batsmen who prove themselves constantly, Lara, Bradman, V Richards, Sobers but very few others. I would eliminate pollock, b richards, chappell from this list and add ponting, hammond and hayden. My only other question mark is with tendulkar being at 2. He is a great batsmen but there are some glaring inadequecies in his game and record. Most of his records by the way have come through a long time span in the game not because he is a great batsmen.

  15. Azar says:

    How you missed Muralitharan in the top 10 bowlers.

    • Reem says:

      Because Muralitharan hasn’t got 100% consensus from test bowlers about his action. ICC has cleared him…but many commentators, critics, test players feel it is unfair.

  16. jenny says:

    how do people compare tendulkar with lara and ponting? Tendulkar has just scored centuries in three consecutive tests for the first time, strange for such a great batsmen that it has taken him 165 tests to do that.I rate tendulkar highly but unlike lara and ponting I think there are some question marks over tendulkars performances.

    • Reem says:

      Hi Jenny,

      1. comparison with Ponting: The best bowlers were on Ponting’s side. Tendulkar smashed Shane Warne and McGrath at will
      2. comparison with Lara: consistency. Sachin was way more consistent. Lara had a more chequerd graph

      Also, Shane Warne, arguably the greatest bowler of this era, himself rated Sachin as the best batsman in his top50 list. Not Lara.
      Even Don Bradman accepted that Tendulkar batted just like him.

      But, youa re entitled to your opinion. This is a blog, and everyone is free to select their top 10. You too can include your top 10 test batsmen and bowlers.

  17. Jenny says:

    Hi Reem,

    I dont agree that tendulkar “smashed warne and mcgrath at will”. He did get the better of them on occassion but they certainly had his measure on alot of occassions too. Tendulkar certainly is more consistent than lara was but has never been able to produce the huge and often match winning or saving innings that lara has. Ponting didnt have to face warne or mcgrath but he can only face the bowlers who are presented to him and I think his record is at least as good as tendulkars.

    • Reem says:

      Hi Jenny,

      Below is Richie Benaud (one of Australia’s greatest cricketers)who says “Tendulkar is the best batsman since Bradman”

      Likewise, am sure there are many who vote for Lara and now Ponting.
      So this is a hugely debatable issue.
      I myself am a big fan of all 3 batsmen. So if I had a top15, I wud have put all 3 🙂

      • FazalZada says:

        OH COME ON WHY U ALL SAID TENDULKAR A BEST BATSMEN WHILE V HVE MANY MORE BEST BATSMEN THEN HIM
        ND Y HE WOULDN’T RETIRED YET HIS AGE IS 2 REST HAAN.
        ND IF HE SAID HM A BST PLAYER SO HE WOULD BE FOR HIM NT 4 ALL

  18. Jenny says:

    Yes im aware of what Richie has said. Ian Chappell, Tony Greig and Mark Taylor are also fine commentators and and players say that Lara and Ponting are better than Tendulkar. I agree I am a fan of all three and all three have their unique qualities but sadley my heart tells me Tendulkar cannot be ranked alongside Lara and Ponting but just behind.

    • Reem says:

      As I said, its a matter of personal choice and I respect it.
      Apart from Bradman, no player ever is considered automatically in anyone’s top 10 list.

  19. Jenny says:

    Yes agreeed. Bradman is the only aiutomatic selection, the rest are subjective. Makes for interesting debate though lol.

  20. KEVAL THAKER says:

    BEST BOWLERS ARE:
    W.AKRAM
    W. YOUNIS
    S. WARNE
    G. MCGRATH
    S. POLLOCK
    K. DEV
    I. KHAN
    S. AKHTAR
    K .THAKER

  21. abu says:

    where is shewag real tes entertainer and most destructive test batsman of all time.

  22. abu says:

    where is shewag real test entertainer and most destructive test batsman of all time.put the shewag in top 5 list

    • Reem says:

      All rankings/lists keep changing..they are not “fixed”…
      Once Sehwag complete his career, am sure he will come in top 5 easily…but there are more than 20 players deserving to come to top 10, so any top 10 is always debatable.

  23. mihir says:

    Hi Reem
    i respect your list but i still think sachin should be at 1st place instead of sir don.because bradman has played less than the half games of sachin so consistency over 21 years is always difficult.also today’s cricket is much more difficult.

  24. Rajiv Narayan says:

    Would Vengsarkar come in top 20??

  25. Yasir Hasan says:

    I would include Miandad in the top batsmen list. Not because I am a Pakistani, rather because of his street fighting abilities, his impact on opposition (like Viv Richard) and the way he mentored the juniors under him for instance the way he made a then youngster Inzamam performed in semi final against NZL in 92 World cup. So my batsman list would be
    Bradman, Viv Richards, Tendulkar, Lara, Miandad.

    Bowlers:
    Dennis Lillie, Wasim Akram, Shane Warne, Malcom Marshal, Hadlee

    Alrounders:
    Garry Sobers, Imran Khan.

    I would not include Kallis as an all rounder, cause his effectiveness reduces drastically in non-favored conditions.

    • Reem says:

      Miandad wud not make top10 but make top20-30 for sure… credit to Inzy performance in 1992 goes to Imran Khan who told him to follow his instinct…

      • Yasir Hasan says:

        Yes you are right, Imran gave him confidence oveeall. However during the very inning you can see Miandad guiding him. I wil have to us some urdu/hindi here… Miandad khelta bhee tha aur khilata bhee thaa.. (Miandad not only played but also facilitated others to play along… :-). Though I have to admit that his performance against WestIndies was not that great apart from twin hundreds in 88 series.

      • Reem says:

        the thing is…u can see Miandad “talking” to Inzy… we dont know what he was saying… Do u really think any Pak player wud listen to anyone except for Imran?

  26. Yasir Hasan says:

    BTW there are few individuals which may not be great statistically but they used to perform brilliantly under pressure (a separate list for such individuals won’t be the worst idea). For instance Gandapa Vishwanath, Laxman, Dravid, Inzamam, Arvinda De Silva, Thorpe, Gilchrist etc…

    • Reem says:

      This is a top 10 list… all of these wud come in a top 50 list… am still doing research for it…not as easy as many ppl think..you have ti take into account performances home/away, type of wicket, avg runs or wickets per innings etc Ex: a 45 in a inings when avg scores of batsmen were just 20 is a superb efort and diff from a 100 scored in a flat wicket..similar for bowlers… taking wickets in batting tracks is more effort

      • Yasir Hasan says:

        Sure man your effort is highly appreciated. However issue will always remain with the reliance on stats, for example Flintoff may not have greatest of the statistics, but no one can deny his impact on 2 Ashes victories. I like your way of approaching the players and factors that you are considering. Keep the good work going.
        Regards,
        Yasir

  27. zuhair khan says:

    rahul dravid at num 2

  28. ganesh says:

    well lara should be in the top three ranks…….no way and where punter and murali

    • Reem says:

      Ganesh, as mentioned in bold letters this is not a top 10 “rank”..but a list of 10 BEST…these 10 can be arranged in any order u like.
      ponting doesnt make top10… will make top20
      murali chucks in my view…doesnt matter what icc “robots” say… Bishen Singh Bedi & many cricketers point out murali chucking even BEFORE he started taking big no. of wickets… many many yrs back.

      will be interesting to see ur top 10 list…u can add it as a comment in this blog

  29. Rakesh P says:

    hi

    your effort on this rating is attractive and you really deserves the appreciation.But the decision to exclude V.Shewage is in doubt.i think shewag is a man who made a revolution in world cricket

    • Reem says:

      Rakesh… I believe in future lists, Sehwag will 100% make it top top10
      this current SA-IND tour, if Sehwag slams big tons and makes India win the FIRST ever series in SA..it will help

  30. Harsh Thakor says:

    My top 10 batsmen of all time

    1.Don Bradman
    2.Jack Hobbs
    3.Viv Richards
    4.Gary Sobers
    5.Sachin Tendulkar
    6.Brian Lara
    7.Walter Hammond
    8.Ricky Ponting
    9.George Headley
    10 Graeme Pollock

    Top 10 fast bolwers
    1.Dennis Lillee
    2.Malcolm Marshal
    3.Glen Mcgrath
    4.Richard Hadlee
    5.Imran Khan
    6.Wasim Akram
    7.Ray Lindwall
    8.Curtly Ambrose
    9.Fred Trueman
    10.Andy Roberts

    Top 10 bowlers overall
    1.Shane Warme
    2.Murlitharan
    3.Dennis Lillee
    4.Malcom Marshall
    5.Sydney Barnes
    6.Richard Hadlee
    7.Imran Khan
    8.Wasim Akram
    9.Bill O’Reilly
    10.Curtly Ambrose.

    Allrounders
    1.Gary Sobers
    2.Keith Miller
    3.Ian Botham
    4.Imran Khan
    5.Kapil Dev
    6.Jacques Kallis
    7.Richard Hadlee
    8.Tony Greig
    9.Shaun Pollock
    10.Andrew Flintoff.

    Hope you appreciate my lists, Reem.Please reply without fail.

  31. tashreeq adams says:

    allan donald has to be in the top 10 he played less matches than most players if he played the amount of matches akram played he wouldve had more wickets

  32. tashreeq adams says:

    1.A DONALD 2.W AKRAM 3.S WARNE 4.C AMBROSE 5.C WALSH 6.M MURALIDREN 7.G MCGRATH 8.W YOUNIS 9.I KHAN 10.K DEV

  33. priyanka says:

    ohh plzz..RAHUL DRAVID certainly deserves a place in this list..

  34. Umair Khan says:

    Hey Reem,

    Excellent list you’ve made there. But I don’t think you can miss out Dravid in the top 10. Dravid is a classical test batsman. He has saved many a matches for India with his batting performance in the second innings of a test match. If you compare Sachin’s performances in the first innings and second innings, you’ll notice that Sachin has performed well in the first innings but has failed to give good performances in the second innings, unlike Dravid and Laxman. Of all the stats you’ve considered in creating this list, I think this should have also been an important aspect.
    When it comes to class and elegance, no one beats Rahul Dravid. But yes, to some extent his inclusion in the list is debatable with regard to his consistency in recent times.

    About the bowlers, how about the idea of including Anil Kumble?

    • Reem says:

      Umair… this list was made a couple of years back (2009)… in good time, I will revisit the list… Dravid & Laxman have a string case… so do so many others..but when there are 20 amazing cricketers and we make a “top 10”..some talent is bound to be left out…dont forget even SEHWAG is making a huge case for test greatness

  35. FazalZada says:

    I think the best five bowlers are
    1.Wasim Akram
    2.Glen Mcgrath
    3.Shane Warne
    4.Imran Khan
    5.Waqar Younus

  36. george says:

    ok , first of all i must say am a young cricket fan originally from the westindies , i was at the ground when lara made the 400 n.o , . i understand to some degree , but in truth and fact i know more about the modern players than the old school players like sobers … if i was to make a list of the top 5 bats men without any bias it would have to be
    1. Sachin Tendulkar

    2. Viv Richards

    3. Brian Lara

    4. Don Bradman

    5. Garry Sobers

    that is it … i think lara position is three because though he has some of the highest individual score in cricket history his consistency was another issue , tendulkar is just awesome he has consistency and class , viv takes second because he was a very good bowler , great fielder and awesome batsman and at his time there wasnt all this technology about the game it was pure skilled and he dominated with sheer power , bradman i dont know much about this player but from reading about this player the stats i saw if it is correct he has to be in this list , the list is then completed with sobers who without a doubt is one of the gratest batesmen ever so … here you go thats my list and reasons

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