Cricket has grown by leaps and bounds ever since its inception in the 18th century. A sport that survives for more than centuries, must have an exotic attribute that connects its followers unconditionally. One such aspect of our game is the batting craft. With so much that has changed in cricket in the last century, batters have largely become the shining stars of the game.
It requires extra skills, talent, and determination to score runs against some quality bowlers. Today, batters understand the need to display temperament in the respective formats which indeed offers a great challenge.
In the past, various batting legends have shown profound resilience during their prime and have earned a right to feature among the greatest batsmen of all time.
Here's a list of Top-10 Greatest Batsmen of All-time in Cricket:
1. Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar made his India debut against Pakistan in 1989. While he began as a 16-year-old child prodigy, he never looked back and went on to register most runs in international cricket. Tendulkar was at the peak of his powers during the late 90s. Amongst his century of hundreds, his most revered innings came against Australia in 1998, popularly known as the ‘Desert Storm'.
More than his runs, it was his consistency to reign supreme in the international game for 24 long years that was hugely admired. Someone who was regarded as the cricketing version of god in India, Tendulkar is a worthy entrant in the list of the best batsmen in the world. With a humungous 200 Tests and 463 ODIs, Sachin called time upon his career in 2013.
Tendulkar was breaking records in all forms of the game during his peak. He became the youngest cricketer ever to come up with a test century on Australian soil. The superstar also made waves by becoming the first player to come up with a double century in 2010.
2. Sir Vivian Richards
Sir Vivian Richards was roped into the national cricket team for the first time against India in 1974. Not to everybody's surprise, his charisma and body language petrified the bowlers during his reign. He drew an immense spotlight after he smoked 291 runs against England in 1976 at the Oval. In 121 test matches, he smashed 8540 runs at an average of 50.
The batting legend featured in 187 ODI matches scoring 6721 runs. The numbers transcend the importance he attached to his team. Richards was often regarded as the way ahead of his team. He was one of the few batters who could instil fear in the mind of the opposition team.
Vivian Richards was often referred to as the ‘Master Blaster’ for his immensely aggressive style of play. The broad shoulders, boxer physique, and strong arms were enough to send nightmares into the minds of bowlers. Richards was so feared as one of the best batsmen of all time that he never even bothered to wear a helmet.
3. Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli is arguably one of the greatest batsman of all time and not just from his current generation. His aggression and hunger to score runs in adverse and critical situations add legitimacy to his captain's post. Although he is yet to retire, his unbelievable stats put him on this list for the greatest batsmen. The Delhi-based batsman has played in 102 Test matches smothering 8074 runs. An average of almost 50 across the 100+ test matches is a rather impressive figure.
He's a modern-day great in ODIs, especially for his ability to chase down targets without any fuss. Kohli has scored over 12k ODI runs at an average nearing 60. India's current captain also has a record 70 centuries to his name in nearly 13 years of international cricket.
4. Ricky Ponting
Australian legend Ricky Ponting grabbed innumerable laurels to his name during his career. Under his leadership, the Kangaroos lifted three World Cups consecutively. After making his debut against Sri Lanka in 1995, the former Australian racked up over 13k Test runs at an average of 51.85 in 168 appearances for that national team. Although he retired from the cricketing world in 2012, he has left an indelible print in everybody's minds. Popularly known for his impeccable pull shot, Ponting features in the list of the best batsman in the world.
Ponting became the first player to hit 1000 test runs in a calendar year and he was able to achieve this landmark on four different grounds. There are only five batsmen who have been able to come up with consecutive double centuries in Test cricket with Ponting being one among them. Such incredible records made Ponting one of the greatest batsmen of all time.
5. Brian Lara
One of the greatest left-handers to have ever played the game, Brian Lara made his debut for the West Indies against Pakistan in 1990. The southpaw was a ruthless batsman who thrashed the bowlers mercilessly. He featured in 131 test matches wherein he scored 11953 runs at an average of 52. The 299 ODI matches saw him scoring 10495 runs at a majestic strike rate of 79.51.
During his entire career, the 52-year-old legend broke innumerable records but none greater than registering the highest individual score of 400* in Test Cricket. In Antigua in 2004, Lara annihilated the English attack to register a mammoth 400 runs off just 582 balls. It was an innings laden with artistry, patience, dominance, and pleasing stroke-making.
On many occasions towards the tail end of his career, Lara was literally the only player carrying the West Indies team. If Lara, who had gained prominence as the best batsman of all time, did not do well, it became an unwritten rule that West Indies do not do well.
6. Kumar Sangakkara
Another elegant left-hander who blessed his presence at the international level, Kumar Sangakkara represented the Sri Lankan for nearly 15 years. His leadership acumen helped him be at the helm of affairs for the majority of his career as a Sri Lankan cricketer. The Sri Lankan No.3 broke and registered many records to his name. In his iconic partnership with Mahela Jayawardene against South Africa, Kumar scored 287 to share a monumental 624-run stand for the third wicket.
In 134 test matches, he collected 12400 runs at an average of 57. With 11 double centuries in Tests, Sangakkara still holds the record for most double centuries in Test cricket since the 2000s.
Sangakkara became very prolific in Test games and he was able to hit a remarkable 11 double centuries in this format of the game. Only Bradman has been able to hit more than double centuries than the Sri Lankan, and has also been able to adjust quite well to the T20 format of the game.
7. Sir Donald Bradman
Australia has acquired a place in cricket history as one of the first nations to play the game alongside England. Australian cricket saw its happiest days during the era of Sir Donald Bradman. He had set the benchmark of batsman all over the world and is touted as the greatest of all time. The 20-year career spanned between 1928 and 1948. He was the chief who engineered the Australian batting order with his brilliance.
The right-hander played in 52 test matches wherein he scored an astonishing 6996 runs at an unprecedented average of 99.94. Unfortunately, he was bowled out for a golden duck in his final match which held him from getting a rock-solid average of 100. Therefore, his achievements will remain in the archives for time immemorial.
8. Wally Hammond
England-based Sir Wally Hammond was hailed as the most astounding batsman during his era. His batting skills were unparalleled and unwavering. He debuted against South Africa at Wanderers in 1927. Although his 50-run notch in the first innings showed signs of greatness, a lot was in store for the analysts. In 85 Test matches, he scored 7249 runs at an average of 58.46. Subsequently, Hammond has remained in the hearts of every cricket fanatic even today.
Some of the memorable innings of Hammond came during the 1928-29 tour of Australia when he was able to hit a staggering 905 runs. This was a record comprising of two double centuries and three centuries.
9. Jack Hobbs
Sir Jack Hobbs debuted for England against Australia at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1908. In his debut match.
He mustered 83 runs in the first innings helping England to reach a respectable total. Eventually, the batting legend went on to score 5410 runs in 61 matches. His strike rate was 99.28. The right-hander scored 15 centuries which was a rare feat achieved by a few batsmen during that time. Thus, Sir Jack Hobbs is respectfully acknowledged as the all-time great in the business.
Hobbs is especially regarded as one of the greatest opening batsmen. He was able to consistently average more than 50 in his career. He had a particular liking against Australia with 662 runs – more than against any other opposition – throughout his career.
10. Sunil Gavaskar
The Mumbai-based batsman scripted heroics with the bat on his debut series against the deadly West Indies in 1971. Indian batting heavyweight Sunil Gavaskar has rescued India from an embarrassing defeat on various occasions. The top-order batsman had a delightful career smashing as many as 10,122 runs at an average of 51.12.
His decorated International stint for India saw him scoring 34 centuries including four double-hundreds. Therefore, his retirement in 1987 was a huge blow to the batting line-up of the Indian cricket team. His efforts helped the team to triumph in various matches abroad which was an unusual sight during that time.
Note: The above list is only indicative of the top 10 greatest batsmen of all time without any ranking.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Who is the best batsman in the world?
Ans: As per the stats, Sachin Tendulkar, who has scored the most runs across all formats, can be regarded as the best batsman in the world. However, it is tough to pick the best batsman as each player is special in his own way.
Q: Who is the best batsman of all time?
Ans: With an average nearing 100, Sir Donald Bradman is often called the best batsman of all all-time. However, it is not worth comparing different eras as each generation of batters tends to face challenges unlike those faced in the past.
Q: Who is the best batsman in the world in 2022?
Ans: Virat Kohli is arguably the best batsman in the world in 2022. With an average of over 50 in each format, Kohli is regarded as one of the modern-day greats. He's also hailed among the all-time greats in cricket history.
Article last updated on: 07/12/23