Best Opening Batsmen in Cricket History

Cricket is a sport that some people call the gentleman’s game. Throughout the years, many amazing players have started batting first, called opening batsmen.

It’s a game that has seen some of the greatest players ever grace a cricket field, and the opening batsmen are no exception. The opening batsmen set the foundation for the innings and are crucial to the success of any team.

With that in mind, I dive into the top 10 best opening batsmen in cricket history, exploring their stats, facts, and various other information that makes them true legends of the game.

We’ve taken into account their batting averages, strike rates, centuries, and other important stats to give you an accurate list of the best of the best.

Here Are The Top 10 Best Opening Batsmen in Cricket History

Batsmen Average (all formats)
Sir Don Bradman 99.94
Sachin Tendulkar 44.46
David Warner 41.42
Rohit Sharma 39.05
Chris Gayle 36.9
Desmond Haynes 41.85
Hashim Amla 43.52
Tillakaratne Dilshan 33.82
Gordon Greenidge 44.85
Quinton De Kock 37.12

1. Sir Don Bradman (Australia)

Sir Don Bradman

Total Runs (all format) 6996
Career 1928–1948
100s 29
Highest Score 452

Sir Donald Bradman, affectionately known as “The Don,” is widely regarded as one of the greatest opening batsmen of all time.

Arguably Sir Don Bradman is the best cricketer ever. His stats show why people think that. With an astonishing Test average of 99.94, Bradman is a true legend of the game.

Sir Don Bradman’s incredible average will likely remain unbeaten for an eternity. His batting average of 99.94 is often cited as the greatest achievement by any sportsman in any major sport.

At the age of 20, Bradman was selected for the Australian Test team. Bradman was also an excellent opening batsman and was renowned for his ability to score quickly and efficiently.

Born on August 27, 1908, in Cootamundra, Australia, Bradman represented Australia in 52 Test matches. His batting style was characterized by his strong footwork and powerful strokes, which enabled him to score runs quickly. Bradman’s batting technique was renowned for its simplicity and efficiency.

He was a master of the straight drive and was able to score runs quickly and consistently. He was also known for his ability to quickly assess a bowler’s line and length and adjust his stance accordingly.

Bradman’s success as an opening batsman was unparalleled. He scored 6,996 runs in 52 Test matches with an average of 99.94. This included 29 centuries, the highest of which was 452, not out against England in 1930.

He also scored 12,000 runs in first-class cricket, and his average was 95.14. In addition to his batting prowess, Bradman was also a brilliant captain. He led Australia to four Ashes series victories in a row from 1946-48.

His record speaks for itself, and for generations to come, his name will continue to be revered in the cricketing world.

2. Sachin Tendulkar (India)

Sachin Tendulkar

Total Runs (all format) 36691
Career 1989 – 2013
100s 100
Highest Score 248*

Sachin Tendulkar is often referred to as the “God of Cricket”! He debuted at the age of only 16 in 1989. He scored an impressive unbeaten century against Pakistan in his first Test match. He was known for his ability to play shots all around the ground and his talent for timing the ball perfectly.

Tendulkar’s contributions to opening the batting for India have been immense. He was a master of the straight drive and could also hit powerful square cuts and pulls. Tendulkar’s success as an opening batsman was based on his ability to play shots all around the ground.

He was particularly adept at playing the cut shot and was able to score runs quickly by playing shots through the off-side. Tendulkar’s success as an opener was also due to his ability to build partnerships with other batsmen.

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With an international career spanning 24 years, Tendulkar broke numerous records and set new milestones that will be tough to surpass.

Tendulkar’s incredible consistency across formats and his ability to handle the pressure of carrying a nation’s expectations make him one of the best opening batsmen in cricket history.

His ability to dominate the bowling of both spin and pace bowlers meant that he could convert any good start into a dominant inning.

Tendulkar’s success was further reflected in his statistics. In international cricket, he scored 15,921 runs in ODIs, 34,357 in Tests, and 2,278 in T20Is. This places him at the top of the all-time leading run-scorer list in both the ODI and Test formats. He holds the record for most centuries in both ODIs and Tests.

He was also renowned for his ability to play shots off both feet and could work the ball around the field with ease. Off the field, Tendulkar was known for his discipline and dedication to the sport.

He is a true legend of the game, and his legacy lives on.

3. David Warner (Australia)

David Warner

Total Runs (all format) 22940
Career 2009 – Present
100s 49
Highest Score 335*

David Warner is arguably one of cricket’s greatest ODI opening batsmen. His phenomenal batting record speaks for itself. Known for his aggressive style and ability to dominate bowlers, Warner has been a linchpin for the Australian cricket team across formats.

He is known for his powerful hitting and attacking strokes and often takes on the most difficult bowlers in the opposition. He has scored a number of match-winning innings and has been instrumental in Australia’s success in ODI cricket over the last decade.

Since debuting in 2009, Warner has scored over 22,000 runs in international cricket, including 49 centuries and 140 half-centuries. He holds the record for the highest individual score in a Test match innings by an Australian, with 335 runs against Pakistan in 2019.

Warner’s rise to the top of world cricket began with his first-class debut in 2007. He scored a century in just his fourth ODI and a double century in his ninth Test match.

His record speaks for itself, and he has been a major driving force behind Australia’s success in international cricket.

4. Rohit Sharma (India)

Rohit Sharma

Total Runs (all format) 22893
Career 2007–present
100s 44
Highest Score 264

Rohit Sharma, affectionately known as the “Hitman”! He is renowned for his ability to time the ball exquisitely and score at a prolific rate.

Over the years, Rohit has broken numerous records and is the only player to score three double centuries in ODIs.

He has scored an astonishing 7,360 runs off 136 innings in ODIs, with 25 centuries and 36 half-centuries. His strike rate of 91.32 is the highest among all openers in ODI history. Similarly, in T20I cricket, he has scored 2,698 runs off 78 innings with 4 centuries and 22 half-centuries.

He has a wide range of shots, from the classical cuts and drives to the innovative scoops and reverses sweeps. This shot has become Rohit Sharma’s signature move, and it has helped him score runs in all sorts of situations.

Moreover, Rohit Sharma has the ability to adapt quickly to different conditions. He has an impressive array of shots, an ability to adapt to different conditions, and a prolific run-scoring rate.

The qualities he has and his impressive stats make him on the list of all-time greats.

5. Chris Gayle (Jamaica)

Chris Gayle

Total Runs (all format) 24558
Career 2000-2022
100s 48
Highest Score 333

Chris Gayle, mostly known as the “Universe Boss,” is a Jamaican cricketer who has made a significant impact on the game with his aggressive batting style and ability to clear the boundary with ease. He is one of the greatest opening batsmen in cricket history.

Gayle has scored centuries in all three formats of the game and holds several records, including the fastest ODI double century.

Gayle began his career in the West Indies in 1998 and quickly became a fan favorite with his hard-hitting style and powerful stroke play. He is known for his powerful pulls and lofted drives, which often result in sixes.

Gayle’s powerful hitting and ability to take the game away from the opposition make him one of the most entertaining and effective opening batsmen in cricket history. Gayle’s success has been built on his ability to score quickly and consistently.

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Gayle’s statistics are nothing short of extraordinary.

The Caribbean batsman has also scored more than 10,000 runs in T20 cricket and is currently the second-highest run-scorer in the format. He has an impressive strike rate of 145.39 in T20s, making him one of the most explosive batsmen in the game.

His aggressive batting style has seen him score centuries off just 30 balls in T20 matches, and he has hit over 500 sixes in international cricket.

He holds the record for the most centuries in Twenty20 Internationals (19) and most sixes in international cricket with 534 sixes in all formats and is the only batsman to have scored two Twenty20 International centuries in a single match. He also has the highest career average of any opener in ODIs, with over 45 runs per innings.

Gayle’s skill, power, and popularity have made him one of the greatest opening batsmen in cricket history.

6. Desmond Haynes (Barbados)

Desmond Haynes

Total Runs (all format) 16135
Career 1978 – 1994
100s 35
Highest Score 184

Desmond Haynes is one of the greatest opening batsmen in cricket history. Haynes was known for his patient batting style but was also capable of playing big shots when the situation demanded it.

He was born in Barbados in 1956 and represented the West Indies in 116 Tests and 238 One day internationals (ODIs) between 1978 and 1994. Haynes was also a reasonably successful bowler, taking 32 Test wickets and 29 ODI wickets.

He was an aggressive yet technically sound batsman who was able to build innings and score big runs.

Haynes was a prolific run scorer and is the third-highest run scorer in Test cricket history.

In 116 Test matches, he scored 7487 runs at an average of 42.29 and scored 19 centuries and 37 half-centuries. In One Day International (ODI) cricket, he scored 6648 runs at an average of 41.37 and scored nine centuries and 46 half-centuries.

Haynes’ highest Test score was an unbeaten 184 against England in 1984, a masterful display of batting that has since become one of the most celebrated innings in cricket history.

All in all, Desmond Haynes was a perfect opening batsman.

7. Hashim Amla (South Africa)

Hashim Amla

Total Runs (all format) 19249
Career 2004–2019
100s 57
Highest Score 311*

Hashim Amla’s rise to becoming one of the greatest opening batsmen in cricket history is an inspiring one. Born in Durban, South Africa, in 1983, Hashim Amla was raised in a family of devout Muslims. From a young age, Amla was passionate about cricket and showed immense talent with the bat.

Amla is known for his outstanding technique and ability to score runs consistently.

In ODIs, he has scored the most centuries (25) by a South African batsman, along with the most runs (7,177). He also holds the record for the highest individual score (278*) by a South African batsman in ODIs. Amla has also been successful in Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is).

Amla’s greatest asset is his technique and temperament. He has elegance and grace about him when batting and is able to score runs in all parts of the ground.

Hashim Amla’s achievements have made him one of the best opening batsmen in cricket history. His impressive batting stats, consistent performances, fielding ability, and occasional off-spin bowling make him an invaluable asset to the team.

8. Tillakaratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka)

Tillakaratne Dilshan

Total Runs (all format) 18824
Career 1999–2016
100s 39
Highest Score 193

Tillakaratne Dilshan is one of the most successful opening batsmen in cricket history. Dilshan made his international debut in 1999 and soon established himself as a powerful batsman. Dilshan was particularly successful in the shorter formats of the game.

But Dilshan’s success wasn’t limited to the shorter formats of the game. He also excelled in Test cricket, scoring over 6,000 runs at an impressive average of 40. He was able to use his powerful hitting to score quickly in the shorter formats while also displaying the patience and technique needed to excel in Test cricket.

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Dilshan’s natural batting style was unorthodox, as he constantly innovated and improvised, making him an unpredictable batsman for the opposition. He was particularly renowned for inventing the ‘Dilscoop,’ a shot played by scooping the ball over the heads of the wicket-keeper and slip fielders.

Throughout his career, Dilshan scored a total of 18824 runs in international cricket, including 39 centuries and 92 half-centuries. His highest Test score of 193 came against England in 2011.

Tillakaratne Dilshan is undoubtedly one of the greatest opening batsmen in cricket history, and his contribution to the game has been immense. He has paved the way for future generations of Sri Lankan players to follow and has set a high standard for those who aspire to become openers.

9. Gordon Greenidge (Barbados)

Gordon Greenidge

Total Runs (all format) 12692
Career 1974-1991
100s 30
Highest Score 226

Gordon Greenidge is widely considered one of the greatest opening batsmen of all time. Playing for the West Indies from 1974 to 1991, Greenidge was known for his aggressive batting style and sheer determination on the cricket field.

Greenidge soon became a key member of the West Indian cricket team, and in 1976 he made his debut in Test cricket. A tall, imposing figure at the crease, Greenidge was renowned for his ability to play shots all around the ground.

His batting record was second only to the legendary Viv Richards. In the 1980s, Greenidge was part of a formidable West Indian batting line-up that included the likes of Richards, Desmond Haynes, and Larry Gomes.

Together, they formed a formidable partnership, and Greenidge was instrumental in helping the West Indies to become the world’s greatest cricket team. Greenidge’s record in Test cricket speaks for itself. He scored 12,692 runs at an average of 44, including 30 centuries and 65 half-centuries.

Greenidge was renowned for his leadership skills, and he captained the West Indies in 22 Test matches, winning 15 of them. He was also a shrewd tactician and innovator, introducing the concept of ‘field-placing’ to the game and helping to revolutionize the way the game was played.

Greenidge finished his career with an impressive batting average of 45.72 in Tests and 45.0 in ODIs. He was inducted into the International Cricket Council’s Hall of Fame in 2009. He will always be remembered as one of the greatest opening batsmen in cricket history.

10. Quinton De Kock (South Africa)

Quinton De Kock

Total Runs (all format) 14169
Career 2012–present
100s 25
Highest Score 178

Quinton De Kock is one of the most promising cricket players of the last decade for his amazing batting skill. De Kock is also known for his innovative stroke play and ability to find gaps in the field.

His Test match average is a handsome 43.53, and his ODI average is an impressive 45.86. De Kock’s success has been built on an ability to adjust to any conditions and to any type of bowling. He is adept at playing spin and is also capable of hitting big shots against fast bowlers.

De Kock’s record in T20 cricket has been particularly impressive. As of March 2023, De Kock has scored 25 centuries and 84 half-centuries in his international career. This includes a career-best score of 178 against Australia in a Test match in 2016.

His great form in the limited-overs format has earned him a place in many ‘Best XI’ teams, and he was recently named in the ICC Men’s Team of the Decade in both ODI and T20I cricket.

De Kock’s performances have been instrumental in South Africa’s success in recent years. His achievements and high level of skill have made him a fan favorite.


There is no doubt that these 10 opening batsmen have made a lasting impact on the history of cricket. Their skill, determination, and sheer grit have revolutionized the game and given us some incredible memories.

As long as cricket is played, these legends will remain in the hearts of those who appreciate the beautiful game. From Chris Gayle to the calm and composed David Warner, each of these batsmen has given us something to cherish and look back upon.

Golam Muktadir is a passionate sports fan and a dedicated movie buff. He has been writing about both topics for over a decade and has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with his readers. Muktadir has a degree in journalism and has written for several well-known publications, including Surprise Sports.


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