Who Is The All-Time Greatest Cricket Test Player?
There have been many great cricketers over the 100 plus years of Test cricket history, and determining the greatest ever is never an easy challenge. The discussion below is only about Test cricket players as other forms of the game have only recently become popular and it would not unfair to compare cricketers of the past with player results from one day and 20-20 cricket matches.
Based on the discussions below, we have created two polls, where you can vote for the greatest batsman and greatest bowler of all time. Once the winners of individual sports is determined, a vote will be had to find what you think is the greatest athlete ever (all sports). The game is not made up of just batters and bowlers, the fielders and more importantly the wicketkeeper play very important jobs in the team. See our discussion about who is the greatest ever fielder.
An Economists View
In 2011, a list of the top Test batsmen who ever lived was compiled by Griffith University's Dr Nicholas Rohde. Using data up until December 2011, the top of the list was Sachin Tendulkar, only just above Donald Bradman. See more.
Wisden's Greatest Ever Player
In the early 2000's, Wisden released a list of the all-time top 100 greatest Test players, using a unique rating system. The highest ranked batsman was Donald Bradman, a clear leader above Sachin Tendulkar. In the bowling stakes, Muttiah Muralitharan won ahead of Richard Hadlee. There are many other top lists of cricketers, and more of them will be discussed here in the future.
Highest Test Run Scorers
The aim of a cricket batsman is to make as many runs as possible, so what better way to rank the best batters than by listing the total runs scored. The greatest cricket batsman (vote) may come from this list, though there are other considerations such as the number of matches played (and batting average) and the conditions played under and the quality of the opposition. The highest test run scorer is the Indian player Tendulkar, though the other commonly nominated greatest batsman, Bradman, is not even in the top 10! The Don was ranked 39th as did not play anywhere near as many Test matches are these players. The table below was created in July 2011. Several players are still active and the figures will have changed since then.
|1||Sachin Tendulkar (India)||1989 +||177||290||14692||248*||56.94||51||59||14|
|2||Ricky Ponting (Aus)||1995-2010||152||259||12363||257||53.51||39||56||14|
|3||Rahul Dravid (India)||1996 +||153||265||12314||270||52.4||32||60||8|
|4||Brian Lara (WI)||1990-2006||131||232||11953||400*||52.88||34||48||17|
|5||Jacques Kallis (SA)||1995 +||145||246||11947||201*||57.43||40||54||10|
|6||Alan Border (Aus)||1978-1994||156||265||11174||205||50.56||27||63||11|
|7||Steve Waugh (Aus)||1985-2004||168||260||10927||200||51.06||32||50||22|
|8||Sanil Gavaskar (India)||1971-1987||125||214||10122||236*||51.12||34||45||12|
|9||Mahela Jayawardene (SL)||1997 +||119||196||9630||374||52.62||28||38||11|
|10||S Chanderpaul (WI)||1994 +||133||227||9367||203*||49.04||23||55||13|
Greatest Test Averages
As the list above of top Test run scorers did not include what many consider to be the greatest batsman ever, here is a list that does have him on top. Below are the top test batting averages for players who have batted for 10 or more innings in Test matches. Now the highest run scorer does not make the list, though he would not be far off the top 10 with a current average of 56.94 (July 2011).
|DG Bradman (Aus)||1928-1948||52||80||10||6996||334||99.94||29||13||7|
|CS Dempster (NZ)||1930-1933||10||15||4||723||136||65.72||2||5||0|
|SG Barnes (Aus)||1938-1948||13||19||2||1072||234||63.05||3||5||1|
|Taslim Arif (Pak)||1980-1980||6||10||2||501||210*||62.62||1||2||1|
|IJL Trott (Eng)||2009 +||21||34||4||1867||226||62.23||6||6||1|
|RG Pollock (SA)||1963-1970||23||41||4||2256||274||60.97||7||11||1|
|GA Headley (WI)||1930-1954||22||40||4||2190||270*||60.83||10||5||2|
|H Sutcliffe (Eng)||1924-1935||54||84||9||4555||194||60.73||16||23||2|
|E Paynter (Eng)||1931-1939||20||31||5||1540||243||59.23||4||7||3|
|KF Barrington (Eng)||1955-1968||82||131||15||6806||256||58.67||20||35||5|
|ED Weekes (WI)||1948-1958||48||81||5||4455||207||58.61||15||19||6|
|KS Duleepsinhji (Eng)||1929-1931||12||19||2||995||173||58.52||3||5||0|
|WR Hammond (Eng)||1927-1947||85||140||16||7249||336*||58.45||22||24||4|
Highest Wicket Takers
The goal of a cricket bowler is to take as many wickets as possible with minimal runs taken, so what better way to rank the best test bowlers than by listing the total number of wickets taken. The greatest ever cricket bowler (vote) will probably come from this list, though there are other considerations such as the number of matches played and the conditions played under and the quality of the opposition. The table below was created in July 2011, and none of this list are currently playing. Based purely on wickets taken, Muralitharan is the greatest, though he has had the advantage over Warne of playing more often on spin-friendly wickets.
|1||M Muralitharan (SL)||1992-2010||133||230||44039||18180||800||9/51||22.72||2.47||55|
|2||Shane Warne (Aus)||1992-2007||145||273||40705||17995||708||8/71||25.41||2.65||57.4|
|3||Anil Kumble (India)||1990-2008||132||236||40850||18355||619||10/74||29.65||2.69||65.9|
|4||Glenn McGrath (Aus)||1993-2007||124||243||29248||12186||563||8/24||21.64||2.49||51.9|
|5||Courtney Walsh (WI)||1984-2001||132||242||30019||12688||519||7/37||24.44||2.53||57.8|
|6||Kapil Dev (India)||1978-1994||131||227||27740||12867||434||9/83||29.64||2.78||63.9|
|7||Richard Hadlee (NZ)||1973-1990||86||150||21918||9611||431||9/52||22.29||2.63||50.8|
|8||Shaun Pollock (SA)||1995-2008||108||202||24353||9733||421||7/87||23.11||2.39||57.8|
|9||Wasim Akram (Pak)||1985-2002||104||181||22627||9779||414||7/119||23.62||2.59||54.6|
|10||CEL Ambrose (WI)||1988-2000||98||179||22103||8501||405||8/45||20.99||2.3||54.5|
Some Great Cricketers
Below are some of the greatest cricketers ever, compiled using other published lists and visitor feedback. The players are listed in no particular order. This list is not complete - if you believe that there is someone missing from this list, please place a comment below, including any relevant details about the person.
- vote for the greatest batsman and greatest bowler of all time.
- discussion about who is the greatest ever fielder
- profiles of the legends of cricket
- other lists: Wisden and Rohde
- more about cricket
- all time greatest index of sports
comment from Hemanth Kumar Achilles (July 2012)
comment from Dan Maloney (Jan 2012)
Here are some hard truths that Tendulkar worshippers will have to stomach. These are historical facts, and can be researched with ease.
So furious were the Australians at this dirty and unsportsmanlike conduct, and so arrogant were the English that they were inflamed at being called cheats, that the two nations were thinking of possible political retribution, in terms of trade embargoes, and even worse, military action.