Many cricketers who have played in the past have been exceptional, and many of them have demonstrated extraordinary talent. A sport of such stature is bound to have several outstanding athletes. We can attempt to figure out the greatest cricketers of all time who have graced the field of cricket throughout history. The legends of cricket have made it a source of mass entertainment throughout modern times.
Greatest Cricketers In History | All-Time Ranking
Without any doubt, cricket is the most popular sport in India. Besides, it is also the second most popular sport in the world right now. And several greatest cricketers now have their special places in the heart of cricket fans. So, here they are!
10. Ricky Ponting
Primary Role: Right-Handed Batsman
Cricket Career: 1995-2012
Total Runs: 13,378 (Test) & 13,704 (ODI)
Total Matches: 168 (Test) & 375 (ODI)
One of the greatest cricket captains, Rickey Ponting, was born on 19th December 1974. He is an Australian former cricketer and former captain of Australia’s national cricket team in Test cricket during its “golden age.” He is often also dubbed as one of the greatest fielders in cricket history. The work covered the years 2004 to 2011 and between 2002 and 2011 for One Day International.
Throughout his 17-year international career, he played both formats for his country and completed more than 27,000 runs. A feat he shares with Steve Waugh. In his career, Ponting played in 168 Tests. The eleven-year-old joined his first cricket team. He debuted in 1995 for both Tests and ODIs.
Owning the title of one of the most successful captains in cricket’s history, Ponting proved the world with his remarkable career. He is known as one of the greatest cricketers of all time. With 46 matches played, Ponting holds the record for the most World Cup appearances. He captains a squad that won the World Cup in 2003 and 2007 and competed in the 1999 squad headed by Steve Waugh.
In the 77 Test matches Ponting has captained, the Australians won 48 of them, 162 of the 229 One-Day Internationals, and 7 of the 17 Twenty20 games. Also, he is the most capped Australian captain in the history of the One Day International format. With 8497 runs, Ponting holds the record in ODI history for most runs as a captain.
9. Kumar Sangakkara
Primary Role: Left-Handed Batsman – Wicketkeeper
Cricket Career: 2000-2015
Total Runs: 12,400 (Test) & 14,234 (ODI)
Total Matches: 134 (Test) & 404 (ODI)
Sangakkara was born on 27th October 1977 and played cricket for Sri Lanka. His presidency currently governs the Marylebone Cricket Club. Sangakara, the famous batsman and one of the greatest wicketkeepers of all time, is widely considered one of the greatest cricketers ever to play the game. His international career has seen him among the top 3 batsmen in ICC rankings in all three game formats at various times.
Sangakkara has played international cricket for 15 years and scored 28,016 runs across all formats. Sangakkara, who has eight double centuries in his career, is behind Bradman’s 12 and Lara’s 9 in the all-time tally. As the classiest member of the island’s illustrious history, he combines style, pedigree, and panache.
He was a somewhat reluctant captain — the selectors initially preferring the more down-to-earth diplomacy of Mahela Jayawardene. Sangakkara accepted his buddy’s leadership, becoming a loyal advisor. Their friendship and contribution to Sri Lanka’s cause were sealed when they added 624 against South Africa at Colombo.
Between 2009 and 2012, Kumar Sangakkara skippered 15 Test matches for Sri Lanka, winning five and losing three. Similarly, he also led Sri Lanka to the World T20Is in the 2009 and 2011 World Cup. After winning the ICC World Twenty20I title in 2014, he was the best batsman on the team.
8. Jacques Kallis
Primary Role: Right-Handed Batting All-Rounder
Cricket Career: 1995-2014
Total Runs: 13,289 (Test) & 11,579 (ODI)
Total Wickets: 292 (Test) & 273 (ODI)
Jacques Kallis is a former South African international cricketer who played test cricket, ODI cricket, and Twenty20 cricket from 1995 to 2014. A native of Cape Town, South Africa, Jacques Kallis was often dubbed as one of the most destructive hard-hitters in cricket. As a batsman, he played an important role with an influential portfolio and as a supporting bowler, especially in test cricket.
A leader in both departments for ODIs, Jacque showed excellent fielding skills as well. The weight of the man did not prevent him from flying high in the air while diving. Especially in the modern era, Kallis is unquestionably among the greatest cricketers from South Africa. In terms of the number of centuries, he was right behind Sachin Tendulkar.
As a result, Kallis became just the third player in the game’s history to score 13,000+ runs. Jacques Kallis’s career could be characterized as defensive rather than offensive. He accelerated his career slowly while avoiding confrontation with his opponents.
One of the world’s leading all-rounders from 1998 to 2002, Jacques Kallis was the world’s top all-rounder between these two years. 1998, he played two “Man of the Match” and “Player of the Series” matches as South Africa won the ICC Champions Trophy. Despite his relatively early age of just 23, he achieved such a great deal of success.
7. Shane Warne
Primary Role: Right-Arm Leg Break Bowler
Cricket Career: 1992-2007
Total Wickets: 708 (Test) & 293 (ODI)
Total Matches: 145 (Test) & 194 (ODI)
The former Australian bowler Shane Warne specialized in right-handed leg-breaks. In his era, he was the world’s most stylish cricketer and one of the most popular cricketers. There is no end to Shane’s fame, from Melbourne all the way to Los Angeles. In the 1992-93 season, the 6-foot boy made his debut against India.
Shane Warne retired from international cricket in 2007 after concluding the Ashes successfully. The remarkable career of Warne makes him one of the greatest cricketers in Australia. Beyond cricket, Warne enjoys professional poker, football, and tennis more than anything else due to his passion for playing the game.
The most wickets (96) taken in a calendar year in Test matches belong to Shane Warne. In addition to holding the record for scoring the most runs in Test cricket without scoring a century, Shane is also the first bowler in cricket history to take 600 wickets.
As a tribute to their achievements, a Test series between Australia and Sri Lanka was known as the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy. As far as spin bowlers go, he is the only one chosen as a “Wisden Cricketer of the Century” in 2000. Warne is second to the Sri Lankan cricketer Muralitharan with 708 wickets in the international test cricket bowling statistics.
6. Brian Lara
Primary Role: Left-Handed Batsman
Cricket Career: 1990-2007
Total Runs: 11,953 (Test) & 10,405 (ODI)
Total Matches: 131 (Test) & 299 (ODI)
Santa Cruz, Trinidad, was the birthplace of Brian Lara, who was born on 2nd May 1969. When Lara was a child, he was ignored and left out by his parents, only when Lara decided to be someone. During his time at Fatima College in the neighborhood, Lara became interested in cricket and eventually made his way to a professional career. In the past, Brian Lara led the world in batting and was known as one of the greatest cricketers. Besides, he is undoubtedly among the greatest left-handed batsmen.
As a West Indian player for many years, he was a one-person show. Sir Viv Richards’ replacement, Lara, broke all his records or came close to them. When he visited Trinidad, former US President Obama insisted on meeting Brian Lara. In later interviews, he described the superstar as “the Michael Jordan of cricket.”
Brian is the only batsman to have reached the highest individual score in two different tests during his active career. His batsmanship has earned him a position among the best in test matches. He scored 277 runs against Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground in 1993, regarded as the fourth-highest maiden century in test history.
Lara’s match-winning score of 153 runs against Australia in 1999 at Barbados had been ranked as the second-best in the history of test cricket. In 2004, Brain Lara thrashed the England bowlers to corners of the field & scored 400 runs against Antigua, becoming the highest-scoring individual in Test cricket. Lara scored the most runs (351 runs) playing for a losing side during a Test match.
5. Wasim Akram
Primary Role: Left-Arm Fast Bowler
Cricket Career: 1984-2003
Total Wickets: 414 (Test) & 502 (ODI)
Total Matches: 104 (Test) & 356 (ODI)
Pakistan has produced some of the greatest fast bowlers in cricket history, among them Wasim Akram. The records he holds are still beyond the grasp of any international bowler, and he is a phenomenal test player as well. The Pakistani bowler Akram was a pioneer of reverse swing and fast bowling. A local talent hunt scouted Wasim just as he made his international debut in cricket.
Wasim’s entry into international cricket was made possible by Javed’s decision to give him a chance to play in a One Day and Test series against New Zealand. The remarkable career of Akram makes him one of the greatest cricketers in Pakistan.
He is still the most successful ODI bowler as a seamer as he took 500 ODI wickets the first time around. His left arm made him one of the best slow bowlers of the time. He was able to bowl fast and well. Wasim’s 1993 Wisden Cricketer of the Year award kept him in the spotlight for several years.
The first bowler to reach 500 wickets in ODI cricket was Wasim Akram, who achieved this during the 2003 World Cup. In test cricket, he won the “Man of the Match” award 17 times, becoming the third-most recipient of this award. Wasim is the only player who has made four hat-tricks in his career.
4. Viv Richards
Primary Role: Right-Handed Batting All-Rounder
Cricket Career: 1974-1991
Total Runs: 8,540 (Test) & 6,721 (ODI)
Total Wickets: 32 (Test) & 118 (ODI)
Sir Vivian Richards was born in Antigua, West Indies, on 7th March 1952. His hometown, i.e., St John’s was part of the British Leeward Islands back then. It’s no secret that Sir Viv Richards is one of the greatest cricketers of all time. He was an unstoppable force to be reckoned with and the most consistent player in the history of ODI cricket.
Wisden magazine voted Sir Viv Richards as the greatest all-time ODI player in 2002. A third-best player in the history of Test cricket, he is also one of the greatest all-rounders in cricket history. Vivian Richards was never seen wearing a helmet. He was known for hitting down the pitch in this fashion. A popular term for him is “KING OF SIXES.”
People still talk about him today because he was famous during his active years. In Test matches, he has scored more than 8000 runs, demonstrating his credibility. His century against England in 1986 was one of the most iconic innings in cricket. 97 runs per 100 balls was an awe-inspiring strike rate for him.
Sir Vivian Richards changed the rules of cricket by hammering the ball away for boundaries and not bothering with anyone else. Domestic first-class cricketer Viv Richards amassed 36 thousand runs. During a career of more than 50 years, he made 100 first-class centuries. He batted at 50.23 per innings in 121 test matches and scored 8,540 runs.
3. Muttiah Muralitharan
Primary Role: Right-Arm Off Break Bowler
Cricket Career: 1992-2011
Total Wickets: 800 (Test) & 534 (ODI)
Total Matches: 133 (Test) & 350 (ODI)
The former Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan was born on 17th April 1972. He was considered to be one of the greatest cricketers of all time. Having a right-arm off-break bowling style, he is still dubbed as one of the greatest spin bowlers in cricket history. With his unique bowling technique, he made an incredible impact on Sri Lankan cricket during his 19 years on the field.
As a result, his name has been etched in several international record books. Initially recognized as an Australian, Muralitharan has competed in five Cricket World Cups from 1996 to 2011. When India played Muralitharan in an ODI match in Sharjah in October 2000, his best bowling figure was 7 for 30.
In Test matches, he holds the record for most 10-wicket hauls with 22. He has taken 66 five-wicket hauls in Test matches, which is the most number. Muralitharan is the only player to have taken a 10-wicket haul in every country where Tests are played.
In 2006, he took every wicket in four consecutive Tests against England in Nottingham. In 1999, he was voted the Wisden Cricketer of the Year. Muralitharan has a record of 11 awards for the Best Player in the Series of Test cricket.
2. Don Bradman
Primary Role: Right-Handed Batsman
Cricket Career: 1928-1948
Total Runs: 6,996 (Test) & 28,067 (First Class)
Total Matches: 52 (Test) & 234 (First Class)
Sir Donald Bradman is known for being one of the greatest cricketers of all time. Bradman is currently holding the record for average test scores of 99.94, which has not been beaten yet. No doubt, it is among the unbreakable sports records of all time.
Despite the great economic depression in Australia, he had contributed to keeping the team’s rank at the top. Indeed, Sir Donald Bradman’s life is a legend and a source of inspiration for many aspiring cricket players. After retiring, he continued to serve the sport as an administrator, writer, and selector.
Several benchmarks have been set for others to measure how good they are at the sport by the player. He debuted in Test cricket in 1928 with 468 runs at an average of 67 while playing for the Australian cricket team against England. Bradman’s batting prowess and skill became evident in his performance during the Test series.
The most significant accomplishment he ever made was to score 974 runs against England at an average of 139.14. ‘Bodyline’ was a strategy they used to unsettle his batting. However, he maintained his standard at 57 despite this.
1. Sachin Tendulkar
Primary Role: Right-Handed Batsman
Cricket Career: 1989-2013
Total Runs: 15,921 (Test) & 18,426 (ODI)
Total Matches: 200 (Test) & 463 (ODI)
An era of cricket began with Sachin Tendulkar. In addition to Sachin’s debut, the game of cricket will forever be remembered around the world. His batting skills were highly skilled, balanced, and perfect. When he turned 16 years old, he gave his first Test debut for a reason. The greatest cricketer of all time, Sachin Tendulkar, enjoyed a 24-year international career.
The feat of 100 centuries in one international series has never been matched by any player and is probably Sachin’s best achievement. In 1989, when Sachin was 16 years old, he played for the national team after his excellent club and domestic performances. And since then, he is dubbed the greatest batsman in cricket history.
For India’s little master, the post-2000 period was a bit quiet in terms of performance. It was in July 2007 that Sachin’s Test run total surpassed 11,000 runs. The batsman became the third to reach the milestone. Throughout his international career, Sachin earned a total of 15,000.
Tendulkar led the Indian batting attack during the 2007-2008 Border-Gavaskar Test series. Tendulkar scored 154 not to lead India to a historic victory over Australia after a humiliating loss in the first Test. As a result of his 493 runs in four test matches, he topped the batting charts.
11. Virat Kohli
Primary Role: Right-Handed Top-Order Batsman
Cricket Career: 2008-Present
Test Debut: 20th June 2011 vs. West Indies
ODI Debut: 18th August 2008 vs. Sri Lanka
The recently appointed India team captain, Virat Kohli, is one of the world’s best batsmen and one of the most important players in cricket. Besides his other responsibilities, he has also been the captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore of the Indian Premier League since 2013. And this year, he not just topped the list of the highest-paid cricketers but also among the highest-paid athletes in the world.
Among Kohli’s accomplishments is receiving the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award from the Government of India. In addition to being named Cricketer of the Year, ODI Player of the Year, and Leading Cricketer in the World, Kohli won the ICC Cricketer of the Year award. His achievements make him one of the greatest cricketers in India.
During the Govt. of India’s Independence Day celebrations, Kohli received the prestigious Padma Shri award. During England’s India tour in 2016, Virat Kohli became the first batsman in a test match to score a batting average of more than 50.
Koli was hailed as the ICC ODI Player of the Year and obtained the record for the most runs by an Indian cricketer in the ODI and Test formats. A vital part of winning the World Cup, he is also the recipient of the prestigious award of International Cricketer of the Year.
12. AB de Villiers
Primary Role: Right-Handed Batsman – Wicketkeeper
Cricket Career: 2004-2018
Total Runs: 8,765 (Test) & 9,577 (ODI)
Total Matches: 114 (Test) & 228 (ODI)
South African-born A.B. De Villiers was born on 17th February 1984 in Warmbad. He is one of the best batsmen right now in international cricket. At the moment, he is among the most dynamic figures on the international stage. Also, De Villiers is now the fastest ODI century holder in international cricket.
AB De Villiers has talent beyond his years as a badminton player, golfer, tennis player, rugby player, and cricket player. ODI match play showed him to be a capable captain as his skills improved. As a result of his aptitude for classical drives, pulls, and flicks, he became a versatile player who can fill any role required to defeat an opponent.
AB’s exceptional records and achievements make him one of the greatest cricketers in cricket history. Besides, he is also dubbed as one of the greatest finishers of all time. The fastest player in South Africa to reach 1,000 Test runs is AB, who got this milestone in just 20 innings in 2005.
With an unbeatable 278 runs, he is the second-highest South African batsman. Defended the country in 223 ODIs and scored 9,427 runs in 213 innings. AB made his name in ODI history by becoming South Africa’s second-highest ODI run-scorer. The ICC named him ODI Player of the Year in 2010.
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Greatest Cricketers Of All Time – 2023 Infographics
FAQs Regarding Cricket’s All-Time Greats
Q. Who are the greatest cricketers of all time?
Both Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar and Australian legend Don Bradman are considered the greatest cricketers of all time. They are also considered the greatest batsmen, too.
Q. Who is the best cricketer in India?
The greatest batsman in Indian history is Sachin Tendulkar. However, Virat Kohli is the best cricketer in the current Indian cricket squad.
Q. Who is the most respected cricketer?
Donald Bradman with a rating of 262.4, Brian Lara with 255.2, and Graham Gooch with 252.0 are the top three most respected cricketers of all time.
Q. Who is the greatest ODI cricketer?
Viv Richards is known as one of the greatest cricketers of ODI with a rating of 1132.5. However, players like Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, and AB de Villiers are considered among the greatest.
Q. Who is the greatest Test cricketer?
Australian batting legend Don Bradman is widely considered the greatest test cricketer of all time. However, Indian batsmen Sunil Gavaskar and English batting star Ian Botham are also considered among the greatest test cricketers.
Last Updated On: January 2023