Cricket is hailed as a batsman’s game. While some have the ability to paint beautiful pictures with their stroke play, others prefer to make runs with patience and grit. While some destroy bowling attacks with their onslaught, there are other who tire bowlers with their discipline. No matter the style, batsmen have always made fans fall in love with the game with masterful strokes and the footwork of an artist.
Yielding a piece of wooden stick, the game’s best batsmen have made a name for themselves with their consistency. Here we take a look at the greatest batsmen of all times.
Sir Donald Bradman (Australia) – 6,996 runs
Sir Donald Bradman is one of Australia’s most iconic sportsmen and widely regarded as the greatest batsman of all time for his unparalleled batting average.
With an astonishing average of 99.94 in Tests, one thing is certain that Bradman’s record will not be broken anytime soon. When the great batsman went to bat for the final time, he needed to score four runs to mark a phenomenal average of 100. But he was bowled by a nought.
Still, Bradman’s consistency and his ability to play long innings were unmatchable. He notched twelve 200-plus scores and scored six hundreds in six consecutive matches in the 1937-38 season.
The Australian legend scored 6,996 runs in 52 matches with 29 centuries to his name.
Sachin Tendulkar (India) – 34,347 runs
A modern legend of the game, Sachin Tendulkar is India’s very own ‘God of Cricket’, a world class batsman who also had decent bowling ability. Having made his debut as a teenager against Pakistan, Tendulkar never looked back, amassing the most runs in both ODI cricket and Tests.
The right-handed batter has scored 100 international centuries, 29 more than second-best Ricky Ponting. He has also scored the most runs in World Cups, 2,278, at an undeniably incredible average of 56.95.
Tendulkar, who carried the hopes of millions every time he walked up to bat, rarely disappointed. His career spanned over 24 years, where he scored 15,921 runs in Test cricket and 18,426 runs in ODIs.
Sir Vivian Richards (West Indies) – 15,261 runs
Almost unequivocally regarded as the greatest One Day International batsman of all time, Sir Vivian Richards was also the most destructive and feared cricketer, someone who gave “swagger” new meaning in cricket.
Viv Richards was voted one of the five cricketers of the century by Wisden, along with Sir Donald Bradman, Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Jack Hobbs, and Shane Warne. Richards was way ahead of his contemporaries — he had a strike rate of 90.2 in ODIs in the 1970s and 1980s and scored 8,540 runs in Test cricket at an average of 50.23 and another 6,721 runs at 47 apiece in ODI cricket.
Sir Garfield Sobers (West Indies) – 8,032 runs
Another batsman for the Caribbean in the list of the greatest batsman of all-time, Sir Garfield Sobers is arguably the greatest cricketers of all time. Bradman once called him a “five in one cricketer” because Sobers excelled in all cricketing skills, with wicket-keeping being the only exception.
Sobers broke the record of the highest individual score against Pakistan in 1958 by scoring 365, a record which stood for 36 years. It’s still the fourth-highest individual score in Test cricket. His average (57.78) is the best among players who has made 8,000-plus runs. Sobers scored 8,032 runs in Test Cricket and played a solitary ODI match, where he was out for a duck.
Ricky Ponting (Australia) – 27,082 runs
One of the most successful Australian captains, Ricky Ponting deserves a place in the list of the greatest batsmen of all-time. Ponting’s uncompromising nature made him one of Australia’s most-successful run maker. His array of shots with a full flourish of the bat — the cover drive and the pull shot being particularly productive for the right-hand bat. Ponting breathtaking, dead-eye fielding in itself was a force to reckon with.
Only Tendulkar has more centuries in Tests and ODIs combined than Ponting. The Tasmanian ended his career with 13,378 runs in Test cricket at an average of just a shade under 52 and with another 13,704 runs in ODI cricket. Ponting also won three back-to-back World Cup titles, the last two under his captaincy.
Rahul Dravid (India) – 24,177 runs
Widely known as “The Wall”, Rahul Dravid has all the reasons to be in the list of batting greats. With an amazing ability in defense, Dravid played the game with utmost patience. They say every sports has some unsung heroes, and Rahul Dravid is perhaps cricket’s biggest unsung hero. Dravid had a say in most of India’s notable victories in the 21st century. Fondly remembered is his 180 in the match-winning 376 runs partnership with VVS Laxman (281) against Australia in Kolkata. Dravid also scored 233 and 72 not out in India’s famous overseas win against Australia in Adelaide.
Dravid, who has scored 13,288 runs in Tests and 10,889 runs in ODIs, holds the record of facing the most deliveries (31,258) in Test cricket.
Brian Lara (West Indies) – 22,358 runs
Who was the toughest to ball to? If you were to ask this question to premier bowlers of the 1990s and early 2000s, most would say it was Brian Lara. The elegant left-hander played pace and spin equally well and to date has the highest individual score in Test cricket — 400 not out.
The classical West Indian has 34 Test centuries and 19 ODI centuries to go with his 11,953 runs in the longer format of the game and 10,405 runs in ODI cricket.
Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka) – 26,634 runs
Think about this, these are Kumar Sangakkara’s last five innings in his ODI career: 105, 117, 104, 124, and 45. Sanga stopped playing when he was at his peak, and is still the only player to hit four consecutive centuries in ODIs. To top it off, he achieved the feat in the World Cup.
The left-handed batter is the second-highest run-getter in ODIs and sixth-highest run-getter in Tests. His Test average (57.4) is the highest among batsmen who made 10,000-plus runs. Sangakkara’s career spanned 15 years, where he scored 12,400 runs in Test cricket with 38 centuries and 14,234 runs in ODIs, accompanied with 25 centuries.