The sport of cricket has seen several players who have left a mark on the world stage. Be it a batter, a bowler, or an all-rounder, it is always challenging to pick one from the lot. That being said, the following cricketers had a great impact on their national sides and had a significant impact on the world of cricket.
In this article, I present to you my top ten best male cricketers of all time.
Also Read – Top 10 Richest Cricketers in the World
#1 Sachin Tendulkar
The best cricketer in the world by a slender margin is, for me, Sachin Tendulkar. The little master stands ahead of some of the game’s greats like Sir Vivian Richards and Muttiah Muralitharan. One thing Tendulkar has over most people on this list is an elongated career. He made his debut way back in 1989 and played until 2013.
Tendulkar’s records stand above everyone else on this list. He has a hundred international centuries to his name, over 15,000 Test runs, and over 18,000 ODI runs. Tendulkar was no muck with the ball either. He took over 200 international wickets to go alongside his impressive batting record. Not to forget, Tendulkar is also a World Cup winner, a dream he waited to live for 22 years since his debut.
#2 Sir Viv Richards
The West Indies’ best cricketer of all time is Sir Vivian Richards. He falls short of the talented little master by a narrow margin. He was known for his aggressive batting style and fearless attitude, taking on the best bowlers and leaving them startled by his shots. Sir Viv played a vital role in the double World Cup victories for the West Indies (1975, 1979), including his memorable 153* in the 1979 final.
Sir Viv scored over 15,000 runs in just 121 Tests and 187 ODIs, making him one of the best batters in the history of the game. To the surprise of many, he was an exceptional captain, having won every series between 1984 and 1991. He retired from his beloved game with an Average of 50+ in Tests and an overall Strike Rate of 90+.
#3 Jacques Kallis
South Africa’s strongest side came to fruition during Jacques Kallis’ run in the senior team. Kallis played in the South African side for 19 years. He was one of the best batters of his time and incredibly skilled with the ball as well. Many forget that Kallis was extremely potent in the slips, helping his fast bowlers out during the game.
Kallis played over 500 international matches, during which he scored over 25,000 runs. He picked up close to 600 international wickets as well during his time in the South African side. Although South Africa could not clinch the World Cup for this legend, his memory remains with fans all over the world.
#4 Muttiah Muralitharan
Muttiah Muralitharan can be argued to not only be the best spinner ever to play the game, but probably the best cricketer in the world period. The Sri Lankan off-spinner was incredibly difficult to read. He had a deadly Doosra that went the other way, and batters would be left dumbfounded when this particular delivery came out of Murali’s hand.
Despite the challenges he faced with his unorthodox action on multiple occasions, Murali stayed strong and worked around these issues. He is the only bowler ever to take 800 Test wickets. He has over a thousand wickets in international cricket, a simply staggering record.
Murali’s last-ever game was the 2011 World Cup final. Although it was a game he would like to forget given that his side lost, Murali’s legacy will live with the many cricket fans who adore him.
Also Read – World’s biggest cricket stadiums
#5 Ricky Ponting
Many would disapprove of the Australian way and the manner in which Ponting led his side. However, his aggression and grit made him one of the best cricketers in the world. Ponting came into a star-studded Australian side. He waited his turn and made an impression which led him to take the No. 3 batting spot in the side.
Ponting scored over 10,000 runs in both Test and ODI cricket. Apart from being a great batter, Ponting was a successful captain as well. He led the Australian side to two back-to-back World Cup triumphs in 2003 and 2007. Ponting has carried on his journey in cricket as a mentor and is currently giving back to the game he loves.
#6 Jimmy Anderson
James Anderson debuted with a magical spell against Pakistan in 2003 and has stuck by ever since. Jimmy is known for this artistry in fast bowling, wildly swinging the ball on home grounds. He was almost unplayable during his peak between 2007 and 2011, when he bowled his best at the prestigious Lord’s Cricket ground. His career-best of 11-wicket haul against Pakistan at Trent Bridge also came during this term.
Jimmy is the highest wicket-taking fast bowler in Test cricket, with 640 wickets in 169 matches. This is an exceptional achievement for any fast bowler, let alone in one of the most competitive teams in the game’s history. Anderson also has won three Ashes series during his time with the England national team.
#7 Wasim Akram
For me, the greatest cricketer ever to emerge from Pakistan is Wasim Akram. He is the only left-arm bowler on this list and is probably the greatest-ever left-arm bowler to play the game. Akram was deadly with both the new and the old balls. He was a genius who could get the more natural swing with the new ball and reverse swing with the old ball. His ability to swing both the red and white balls made him extremely tricky to face.
Akram picked up nearly a thousand wickets and, more shockingly, had a higher number of wickets in white-ball cricket as compared to red-ball cricket. Pakistan have struggled to replace Wasim Akram since he departed from international cricket, which has led to the side’s downfall over the last two decades.
#8 Brian Lara
Along with Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara is regarded to be the best cricketer of his era. Lara is definitely a strong contender for the best cricketer in the world as well. He was monumental with the bat and has an exceptional record to his name: he was the first batter to score 400 runs in one innings of an international Test match.
Lara scored over 10,000 runs in both Test and ODI formats. He also had an incredible Test Average of 52. However, compared to some other players on this list, Lara had a short career, which pushes him down the pecking order.
#9 Shane Warne
A true entertainer and crowd-pleaser, the late great Shane Warne was also a master of the art of leg-spin bowling. At a time when leg-spin bowling was dying, Warne revived the art and helped it thrive in the sport once again. Every delivery bowled by Shane Warns was an event, and he ensured he gave it his all in every delivery.
Apart from Warne’s magic deliveries, including that Andrew Strauss dismissal, his stats back up his place on this list. Warne took over a thousand wickets in international cricket, which is a stunning feat given that Warne played most of his cricket only on Australian wickets, which are not spinner-friendly.
#10 Adam Gilchrist
Adam Gilchrist is widely considered to be the best-ever wicketkeeper-batter to play the game. Gilly could play at any position: at the top of the order with Matthew Hayden or lower down the order with the tail. His explosive batting style made him dangerous at any spot. His constant chirping and quick hands made him a task to deal with behind the wickets as well.
Gilchrist scored over 5,000 Test runs, which is extremely impressive for a player who spent the majority of his Test career batting at No. 7. However, his Test Strike Rate of 80+ is what made him fearsome. All in all, Gilchrist was a handful who added to the might of the incredible Australian side in the 2000s.