Ever since the game of cricket was invented, batsmen have come and batsmen have gone. But cricket, being a beautiful game has witnessed an endurance of their class and finesse which have wowed the fans. The best batsmen in the world stamp their class with such authority that bowlers are left scurrying for cover in face of their onslaught. A fine balance between caution and aggression is what makes them graft their innings with perfection. Now, let us have a look at ten of the best batsmen in the world.
#10- Mahela Jayawardene
Mr. Dependable of Sri Lankan Cricket, Denagamage Proboth Mahela de Silva Jayawardene is one of the most notable entries into this list of the best batsmen ever. Be it the classic test format, the short ODI format or the slam-bang T20 Format, the erstwhile captain of Sri Lanka has conquered them all. With 24,506 runs in international cricket and stupendous average of 50.18 in test cricket, Mahela has a knack of playing long innings with a notable highest score being 374*.
Mahela Jayawardene is best remembered for his century in the final of the 2011 ODI World Cup when he single handedly steered Sri Lanka to an imposing total. He is also known to forge match winning partnerships with other batsmen and win matches for his team. He will go down as the best captain and batsman ever to have taken Sri Lanka to the top with his exploits and winning laurels for the team and the nation.
#9- VVS Laxman
Very Very Special- Yes, thats what his team-mates call him. A prominent member of ‘The Fab Four’ which dominated the Indian batting order, Vangipurapu Venkata Sai Laxman caught the imagination of his fans with his masterful batting. He was especially known for his artistic placement and deft wrist-work which left fielders rooted to where they were as the ball rocketed to the fence with alarming regularity. He was a team man who used to guide India to big totals or rescue his team from tough situations by forging huge partnerships with the tail enders. He worked as a cohesive force for the team and led India to many memorable victories. In the process, he notched up a tally of 11,119 runs in international cricket and did justice to the immense talent he had.
VVS Laxman gave India that famous victory at Eden Gardens in 2001 when the team won after following on against a much vaunted Australian side. VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid cobbled up a priceless partnership of 376 runs in which VVS scored 281 and Dravid made 180 as the Indians made merry. Steve Waugh tried out his entire team with the cherry, but it was inevitably dispatched to the fence, every now and then!
#7- Ricky Thomas Ponting
Ricky Ponting epitomises all what Australian Cricket was known for, for two decades, as they won one trophy after another. They had to, with such a captain and batsman of matchless class. Ricky Ponting’s drives, cuts and hooks stood out from the rest as this peerless batsman captured the scene in all formats, be it ODIs or Tests, with ease. His trademark high backlift and ferocious hook heaped misery on the best bowlers in the world as they were at loss as to how to contain Ricky Ponting. His captaincy of Australia has stood out as a shining star in the cricketing world. Under him, Australia won 2 world cups and he has the most number of ODI wins as a captain.
His century in the final of the 2003 World Cup will be remembered for the brute assault he launched on the hitherto unchallenged Indian bowling attack. En route to his 140, he smashed the Indian bowlers all around the park as Australia cantered to 359. The Indians crawled to 235 as ‘Punter’ gave the Aussies another memorable World Cup!
#6- Jacques Henry Kallis
Jacques Henry Kallis is the quintessential all rounder who is an asset for the Proteas. He is their go-to man in any situation, any format. Classic in his approach and aggressive in his scoring, Jaques Kallis had an astonishing batting average of 55.37 in tests and averages 45.13 in ODIs. For such a prolific batsman, his bowling too is top class as he troubles the batsmen with his pace and accurate line and length. In fact, he is the only player with 6000 runs and 250 wickets in tests, qualifying him to be the best all rounder ever.
This South African mainstay cracked centuries and fifties at will and then contributed significantly with the ball, breaking partnerships and winning matches for his team. Of all his innings, his unbeaten 201 against India at Cape Town stands out. The Indian bowlers got a taste of Jacques Kallis. It rained fours and sixes!
#5- Sunil Manohar Gavaskar
At number five on this list is the Indian Legend Sunil Gavaskar, the man who single handedly ushered in the ‘Sunny Days’ of Indian cricket. As an opener, he used to send the bowlers on a leather hunt as his aggressive batting style milked the opposition, ball after ball. He had a penchant for records as runs flowed from his blade like water. The highest number of test runs and test centuries- all these records do justice to his talent. He had a special liking for the fearsome West Indian bowling attack as he averaged 65 against them. He scored 13,214 runs in international cricket with a test average of 51.12 and had 35 centuries to his credit. After his retirement, he has been serving as a highly popular commentator and his in-depth analysis keeps the audience glued to their television sets.
Sunil Gavaskar was also quite controversial on and off the field as his customary flamboyance and nonchalance led to quite a few incidents. His monumental last test innings of 96 in adverse conditions against Pakistan will be remembered as his best effort. The original little master!
#4- Brian Charles Lara
The ‘Prince’ of West Indian cricket, Brian Lara occupies the fourth position on this list of the best batsmen ever to have graced the cricket pitch. Nicknamed as the ‘Prince of Port-Of-Spain’, a high backlift and an attacking style made him stand out of his contemporaries and invited comparisons with another great batsman of his generation, Sachin Tendulkar. He had a penchant for astronomically high scores . He is the only batsman to have ever scored a hundred, a double century, a triple century, a quadruple century and a quintuple century in first class games over the course of a senior career. As the Captain of The West Indian Team, he led them to many memorable victories and his captaincy brought back the long lost golden era for his team, which was lost soon after his exit. This famous Trinidadian scored 22,358 runs in international cricket with 53 hundreds.
Brian Lara will be best remembered for his marathon test innings of 400* against England which still stands as the highest score in international cricket. Infallible Indeed!
#3- Rahul Sharad Dravid
The impenetrable ‘Wall’ of Indian Cricket is the rightful owner of the third spot on this list. The famed batsman that he was, Rahul Sharad Dravid will forever be remembered as the batsman who held the Indian innings together on innumerable occasions and gave the nation memorable victories on foreign soil. His solid defence and powerful drives left the bowlers and fielders powerless. He also had a highly successful stint as the captain of the Indian team in Tests and ODIs. Along with Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Saurav Ganguly, he formed the ‘Fab Four’ of the Indian batting line up. His legacy endured, even during his stint with the IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals as he, opening the innings, gave them flying starts.
The rock solid Rahul Dravid will forever be remembered for that powerful Square Cut against Australia in Adelaide on the Indian Tour of Down Under in 2003, which capped his monumental 233* and clinched a great victory for his team. His animated celebration will forever be etched in our minds. The Wall stands tall!
#2- Sir Donald George Bradman
Acknowledged as the greatest Test Batsman of all Time, Sir Donald Bradman was a larger-than-life figure. His test average of 99.94 has never been and most likely, will never be surpassed. So will his greatness. His brand of attacking cricket entertained the fans and generated awe and respect in his rivals who, more often than not, viewed him as their idol. Don Bradman led the Australian Team on their Ashes Tour of England in 1948 and won every single match, including the first class matches, earning his team the sobriquet, ‘The Invincibles’. His highest score of 334 was the maximum score in test cricket at that time. His exploits have earned him a cult figure in the cricketing world, which will never be diminished in magnitude as his greatness shall endure for all time to come.
In his final test in front of a home crowd at Melbourne, he fell for a duck. Had he scored a few more runs, he could have achieved the coveted average of 100.00 in his career. Alas! That was not to be. Thus, ended the career of a legend- Sir Donald George Bradman, who was knighted soon after.
#1- Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar
Many people call him God. Some traveled to all his matches, just to watch him play. Some broke down into tears, the day he retired. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar is the name which generates awe, adulation and respect in his country of more than a billion Indians who adored him for all that he was, on and off the field. The most prolific run scorer in the history of the game, Sachin accumulated a staggering 34,357 runs in international cricket with a hundred hundreds and 164 half centuries. Rightfully called the ‘Batting Maestro’, his sizzling straight drive straight back past the bowler was a treat to watch. In honour of his immense contribution to Indian cricket in particular and world cricket in general, he was bestowed with the highest civilian honour of India, the ‘Bharat Ratna’.
His innings of 114 against Australia on the fastest pitch on earth, that is the WACA at Perth against one of the fastest bowling attacks, at a very young age, endeared him to his fans. He debuted at the age of 16 and retired at the age of 40 on his home ground of Wankhede as fans bid him an emotional farewell. In their words, God had to retire. He scored 74 in his last innings and said Goodbye to his legion of fans. They would remember him forever. So would we.