Cricket is one of the most played sports in the world and is also the 2nd most-watched sport. Without a doubt, a sport of such stature will have a list of outstanding players. In this article, we will look at some of the greatest cricketers in the world of all time. The best cricket players in the world definitely have some interesting statistics to their name and we shall look at exactly that.
We will look into the statistics of these players and see what gives them a spot on this list of the greatest cricketers in the world. Every cricket lover is entitled to their opinion of the best cricket players in the world, but in this article, the list is unbiased and based on hard facts that prove the player’s worth. So let’s take a look at these phenomenal cricketers of the world and see if you agree that they are the best cricket players in the world.
Let us look at the Top 5 best cricket players in the world from the perspective of two categories.
A. Best Cricketers in The World (Batsmen)
Batting is more than just hitting a ball with the bat. It a skill that requires a lot of practice and is mastered by few. From the square drive to the helicopter shot batting isn’t as easy as it seems. We shall take a look at the world’s best cricket batsmen who have truly mastered the art of batting and have won matches for their respective teams single-handedly.
1. Sir Donald Bradman
- Career – 1927 – 1948
- Country – Australia
- Domestic Teams – New South Wales, South Australia
- Career Stats In Tests – 6,996 runs from 52 matches, an average of 99.94, highest score 334, 29 career centuries.
Sir Donald George Bradman most famously known as Don is the greatest cricketers of all time to have ever graced the sport. His record average of 99.94 is certainly impossible to even think about breaking. When Bradman stepped on the pitch to bat for the final time, he was short of only 4 runs to get a phenomenal average of 100.
He was unmatched in his ability to play long innings. Sir Bradman not only bagged 12 200s but also 6 100s in six consecutive matches. Adding to this he still holds the record for the most number of runs (974) in a Test series from 7 innings. He is undoubtedly a deserving candidate of the number 1 position for the best cricketers in the world.
2. Sachin Tendulkar
- Career 1989 – 2013
- Country – India
- Domestic Teams – Mumbai Indians, Mumbai
- Career Stats In Tests – 15,921 runs from 200 matches, an average of 53.78, highest score of 248, and 51 centuries.
- Career Stats In ODI’s – 18,246 runs from 463 matches, 44.83 average, highest score of 200, and 49 centuries.
Sachin Tendulkar is our very own homegrown phenomenon. He is an outstanding batsman and is also referred to as the ‘God of Cricket’. Sachin Tendulkar has 100 international centuries to his name and also has scored the most runs (2,278) in a World Cup.
To sum up he has been a huge inspiration to millions of people. Sachin also had a great technique of batting which attracted viewers to watch him play. He carried the nation on his shoulders and has won games single-handedly and truly is one of the best cricketers in the world of all time.
3. Ricky Ponting
- Career – 1995 – 2012
- Country – Australia
- Other Teams – Mumbai Indians, Somerset, Surrey, Tasmania
- Career Stats In Tests – 13,378 runs from 168 matches, an average of 51.85, 58.72 strike rate, highest score of 257 runs, and 41 centuries.
- Career Stats In ODI’s – 13,704 runs from 375 matches with an average of 42.03, 164 highest score, and 30 centuries.
In the modern era, Ricky Ponting is the greatest batsman for Australia. The right-handed Aussie is the Second highest run-getter in World cups and Tests, and third highest in ODI’s. He also scored an excellent 140 (128) against India in the 2003 World Cup final. In conclusion, just a glance at his stats ensures his position as one of the greatest cricketers of all time.
4. Brian Lara
- Career – 1990 -2007
- Country – West Indies
- Other Teams – Northern Transvaal, Southern Rocks, Trinidad & Tobago, Warwickshire
- Career Stats In Tests – 11,953 runs in 131 matches, 52.88 average, 60.51 strike rate, highest score of 400, and 34 centuries.
- Career Stats In ODI’s – 10,405 runs from 299 matches, 40.48 average, a strike rate of 79.51, highest score of 169, and 19 centuries.
All top-flight bowlers of the early 2000s and 1990s would agree to the fact that Brian Lara was the toughest to bowl to. Not only could he handle pace balls but slammed spin balls as well.
In addition to his amazing stats, he holds the record for the highest individual scorer in Tests for his massive 400 runs against England in 2004. Another interesting fact is that Lara was the only person to appear twice in ESPN’s Top 25 Test Batting Performances.
Click here to see the entire list of ESPN’s Top 25 Test Batting Performances.
Truly another phenomenal addition to the list of the best cricketers in the world.
5. Viv Richards
- Career – 1974 -1991
- Country – West Indies
- Other Teams – Glamorgan, Leeward Islands, Queensland, Somerset, Combined Islands
- Career Stats In Tests – 8,540 runs in 121 matches, 50.66 average, 50.23 strike rate, highest score of 294, and 24 centuries.
- Career Stats In ODI’s – 6,721 runs from 187 matches, 47.00 average, 90.20 strike rate, highest score of 189, and 11 centuries.
Viv Richards was a leader among his contemporaries. While others were batting with strike rates of 60 – 70, Richards was way ahead with a strike rate of 90.20 in ODI’s. Additionally, he held the record for the fastest century from 56 balls in tests. However, this record was later broken by Brendon McCullum in 2015.
Nevertheless, Richards also led his nation to a world cup win in 1979 scoring 138 (155) against England. Also, he had an outstanding average of 90 with 7 100s in 11 Tests in 1976.
To conclude, Viv Richards is the perfect addition to the greatest cricketers of all time.
B. Best Cricketers in The World (Bowlers)
Although batting is considered the audience favorite, bowling plays a very important role in deciding the fate of a match. However good the batsman is, a bowler can change the course of the game at any time with a little change in delivery or pace. In addition, it really is satisfying to see a batsman get clean bowled.
Here is our list of the top 5 best Cricket players in the world.
1. Muttiah Muralitharan
- Career – 1992 – 2011
- Country – Sri Lanka
- Other Teams – Kent, Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club
- Career Stats In Tests – 800 wickets from 133 matches, 22.72 average, 55.0 strike rate, 2.47 economy, 9-51 best bowling, 67 5w.
- Career Stats in ODI’s – 350 matches, 534 wickets, 23.08 average, 35.2 strike rate, 3.93 economy, 7-30 best bowling, 10 5w.
Muttiah Muralitharan is the only player to bag 800 test wickets. In addition, he is the fastest bowler to 350, 400, 450, 500, 600, and 700 Test wickets. Not only is he the highest wicket-taker in Test Cricket but also in ODI’s with a total number of 534 wickets to his name.
In conclusion, he was an exceptional player with outstanding statistics and also was a winner in the true sense. Hence, he rightfully takes his place at the no. 1 position of the Best Cricketers in the World for Bowling.
2. Glen McGrath
- Career – 1992 -2010
- Country – Australia
- Other Teams – New South Wales, Worcestershire, Middlesex, Delhi Daredevils
- Career Stats In Tests – 563 wickets from 124 matches, 21.64 average, 51.9 strike rate, 8-24 best bowling, 29 5w.
- Career Stats In ODI’s – 381 wickets from 250 matches, 22.02 average, 34.0 strike rate, 7-15 best bowling, 7 5w.
Not only was McGrath a fast bowler but an extremely successful one at it. Additionally, he is famously known for maintaining an accurate length and line throughout his career. Also, McGrath is the second most successful fast bowler of all time. He has also taken the 7th highest number of ODI wickets (381).
Glen McGrath definitely is one of the greatest cricketers of all time and has also been inducted in the ICC hall of fame as well.
3. Shane Warne
- Career – 1992 – 2007
- Country – Australia
- Other Teams – Melbourne Stars, Hampshire, Rajasthan Royals.
- Career Stats In Tests – 708 wickets from 145 matches, 25.41 average, 57.4 strike rate, 2.65 economy, 8-71 best bowling, 37 5w.
- Career Stats In ODI’s – 293 wickets from 194 matches, 25.73 average, 36.3 strike rate, 4.25 economy, 5-33 best bowling, 1 5w.
Shane Warne is famously known for his expertise in the leg-spin and is regarded as one of the greatest cricketers of all time. Additionally, he holds the record of 708 wickets in as little as 145 Tests with an average of 25. Furthermore, he was named Wisden Leading Cricketer in the world as well as was part of the Wisden Cricketers of The Year.
Although Warne had a few disciplinary actions taken against him, but can be looked over considering his brilliant form. In conclusion, his outstanding record perfectly justifies his inclusion in the list of best cricket players in the world.
4. Wasim Akram
- Career – 1984 – 2003
- Country – Pakistan
- Other Teams – Pakistan Automobiles, Lahore, Lancashire, PIA, Hampshire
- Career Stats In Tests – 414 wickets from 104 matches, 23.62 average, 54.6 strike rate, 2.59 economy, 7-119 best bowling, 25 5w.
- Career Stats In ODI’s – 502 wickets from 356 matches, 23.52 average, 36.2 strike rate, 3.89 economy, 5-15 best bowling, 6 5w.
The Sultan of Swing Wasim Akram is a left-handed pace bowler who was a nightmare to batsmen not only locally but around the world as well. He had tremendous pace in as well as accuracy. He led Pakistan to the World Cup win in 1992 and also bagged the most number of wickets in the tournament. Wasim is the second-highest wicket-taker in ODI’s as well as international cricket as a pace bowler.
Additionally, Wasim is the only Pakistani cricketer to be named in the all time Test World IX.
5. Richard Hadlee
- Career – 1973 – 1990
- Country – New Zealand
- Other Teams – Canterbury, Nottinghamshire
- Career Stats In Tests – 431 wickets in 86 matches, 22.29 average, 50.8 strike rate, 2.63 economy, 9-52 best bowling, 36 5w.
- Career Stats In ODI’s – 158 wickets from 115 matches, 21.56 average, 39.1 strike rate, 3.30 economy, 5-25 best bowling, 5 5w.
During his prime Richard Hadlee was the main driving force behind New Zealand’s bowling. Additionally, he was the first to secure 400 wickets in Tests. Furthermore, he had a pretty impressive average of 22.9 in his Test career.
In addition, he was chosen by Wisden as the 2nd greatest test bowler of all time and was also inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.
In conclusion, Richard Hadlee is not only known for being a great bowler but also is greatly known for being an all-rounder and undoubtedly makes a perfect fit in the list of best cricket players in the world of all time.
Editor’s Note | Take on Best Cricketers in The World
To sum up, all of the players mentioned above are truly the best cricket players in the world of all time. They have not only been spectacular individually but have also been great teammates and mentors to other players in their respective teams. They are an inspiration to many budding players as well as players who are already playing in the top flight and as one can see the talent playing currently is absolutely phenomenal. In addition, these cricketers have not only been inspirational on-field but off-the-field as well and that’s what makes them the best cricket players in the world of all time.
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FAQ Regarding Best Cricketers in The World
Undoubtedly Sachin Tendulkar is the greatest ODI batsman of all time 18,426 runs to his name.
Without a doubt, Sir Donald Bradman is the greatest batsman of all time with a phenomenal average of 99.94 that is almost impossible to break.
Former Pakistani captain Wasim Akram is famously known as the Sultan of Swing. Furthermore, Wasim and Waqar Yunis caused great trouble to batsmen during their prime.
Sadly Shane Warne proved guilty for the use of an illegal substance. Consequently, he was banned for a year from organized Cricket.
Despite retirement, Muthaiya Muralitharan still holds the record for the most number of wickets. He still has this record to his name even after 9 years of retirement from cricket.