Cricket – Champion of Champions

Though cricket has its origins in England and are one of the best teams in the world, they have never been champions of the game. The winner of ODI World Cup finals is considered Champion of Champions. It is conducted once in four years. T20 World Cup is conducted yearly. The champion of Test cricket is decided based on the points in a calendar year. ICC has a ranking system for individual players that is similar to team rankings.

  • Australia is the current World Champion of ODI as they won the finals of year 2015 against New Zealand.

  • Sri Lanka is the T20 International champion as they defeated India in finals of year 2014.

  • Based on ranking system, the International Cricket Council, declares the team with the highest ranking as the winner of the Test Championship mace. South Africa was awarded in 2014 as they defeated Sri Lanka in a two match series in July 2014.

Hall of Fame

Cricket has its legacy with the way it is played across the globe and the members involved in the game. Players and umpires are key to popularize the sport over generations. Hence, the players with illustrious careers are regarded and admitted into the Hall of Fame category by ICC. Let’s take a brief look at these players and their stats.

WG Grace (1880 -1899) − WG Grace is considered as the father of English cricket and played an important role in promoting and developing the game. He attracted huge crowds during his playing days. He debuted for England in September, 1880 against Australia. He played 22 Tests and scored 1,098 runs at an average of 32. He had an outstanding first-class career that lasted more than 40 seasons and scored 54,211 runs. It included 124 centuries and 251 fifty plus scores.

WG Grace

Sir Donald Bradman (1928 -1948) − As Grace was considered for English cricket, Bradman was equivalent to Australian cricket. Sir Don as he is fondly called, is regarded as the best batsman ever in the history of cricket. He has a staggering 99.94 average in 52 Test matches that included 29 Tests. He has 117 centuries at first-class level.

Sir Donald Bradman

Jack Hobbs (1908 -1930) − Jack Hobbs is the best English opening batsman ever in Test history and also the oldest player to score a Test century. He was 46 when he scored his last Test century. He has also amassed the highest number of runs and centuries in first-class career that last 29 years. He has scored a total 199 centuries and 61,760 runs in first-class and averages 56.94 in Tests.

Jack Hobbs

Sydney Barnes (1901 -1914) − Barnes was one of finest medium fast bowlers in Test cricket for England who has played very little first-class cricket. He bowled right-arm with ability to swing the ball effectively. He played 27 Test matches picking up 189 wickets at an average of 16.43. He was 61 when he played his last match for his league.

Sydney Barnes

Jim Laker (1948 -1959) − Jim Laker was the best off-spinner for England during his playing days. He picked 193 wickets in 46 matches at an average of 21.24. He will ever be remembered for his spell of 19 wickets in a match against Australia in 1956.

Jim Laker

Garfield Sobers (1954 -1974) − Sobers is a former West Indian player and the greatest all-rounder cricket has ever seen. He launched himself into Test cricket with run tally of 365 runs in an innings against Pakistan. He also captained the side from 1965-72. Overall, he scored 8,032 runs and picked 235 wickets in 93 Tests played for West Indies. He was also the first to hit six sixes in a first-class match.

Garfield Sobers

Rod Marsh (1970 -1984) − By far, Rod Marsh is the best wicket-keeper in the history of the game. He has 355 dismissals to his account in 96 Tests and 124 dismissals from 92 ODIs. He is fondly called as Iron Gloves.

Rod Marsh

Dennis Lillee (1971 – 1984) − Lilllee was one of the most feared fast bowlers of Australia in Tests and ODIs. He has played professional cricket for 13 years and took 355 scalps in 70 Test matches. The combination of Rod Marsh and Dennis Lillee was widely popular. He was exceptional in the shorter format of the game with a bowling average of 20.82 and took 103 wickets in 63 ODIs.

Dennis Lillee

Ian and Greg Chappell (1964 -1984) − Ian and Greg Chappell were one of the most popular siblings in cricket history. They dominated Australian cricket for almost two decades. Ian was the elder brother of Greg. They were popularly known as Chappell Brothers. Ian was a prolific middle order batsman and one of the best captains of Australia. He averaged 42.42 in 75 Tests and 48.07 in 16 ODI games. Greg, on the other hand, started his career six years later, in 1970. Greg was an all-rounder with good batting and bowling skills. He scored 7110 runs in 87 Test matches and just above 2300 runs in ODIs. His bowling average in ODIs was as good as a mainstream fast bowler.

Ian and Greg Chappell

Richard Hadlee (1972 -1990) − He was renowned as the most fearsome fast bowler of the late 20th century. A former New Zealand cricket player who dominated world’s fast bowling charts for more than a decade. He was the leading wicket taker in the world until Kapil Dev of India first broke the record. Hadlee took 431 wickets in 86 Tests and became the first bowler ever in history to take more than 400 wickets. Not just bowling but, he was a decent batsman too and hence, found a place amongst top all-round players of the world during his prime.

Richard Hadlee

Vivian Richards (1974 -1991) − A former West Indian batsman and the most destructive ever in cricket history. It was a challenge to best of the best bowlers in the world to stop him from scoring quickly. A live wire on the cricket field; he has scored 8540 Test runs in 121 matches and 6721 runs in 187 ODIs. He scored his best and made a world record of scoring 189 runs in an ODI match.

Vivian Richards

Malcolm Marshall (1978 -1991) − Marshall is another speed gun from West Indies who bowled at sheer pace. He had exceptional ability to swing the ball at raw pace. He debuted against India at 20 years. Since then, he had taken 376 scalps from 81 Tests. His economy rate of 3.53 in ODIs with average of 26.96 and 157 wickets boasts about his bowling ability.

Malcolm Marshall

Kapil Dev (1978 -1994) − Kapil Dev was the first Indian captain to have won the World Cup in 1983. He served Indian cricket for 15 years and was highly accorded as one of the best all-round players in the likes of Imran Khan, Botham, and Hadlee. He scored more than 5000 runs in Test and picked 434 wickets. He was the leading wicket taker for several years after breaking the world record of 433 wickets by Hadlee. His tryst with ODI was equally good with 3783 runs and 253 wickets from 225 matches. His score of 175 against Zimbabwe in World Cup is regarded as one of the best innings in ODI history.

Kapil Dev

Sunil Gavaskar (1971 – 1987) − Sunil Gavaskar played 125 Tests and 108 ODIs for India. Gavaskar was a prominent batsman who first reached 10,000 run landmark in Tests. He did it at an average of 51.12. He was well known for his aggressive batting style against the mighty West Indian attack. He was also the first player to break Bradman’s record of 29 centuries and went on to score 32 in Test.

Sunil Gavaskar

Imran Khan (1971 – 1992) − Imran Khan was the greatest all-rounder Pakistan had ever produced. He was equally good with both bat and ball. He took 362 wickets in 88 Tests and 182 wickets in 175 ODIs. He made more than 3500 runs in both formats with average above 30. Apart from this, he was one of the best captains in the world with 1992 World Cup to his kitty.

Imran Khan

Ian Botham (1976 – 1992) − Talking of all round players, it would be unfair to not include Ian Botham who was best amongst his peers. The Englishman served his country for 15 years. Botham was a prolific batsman and a magnificent bowler. He played a crucial role to lift 1981 Ashes trophy against Australia. Overall, he took 383 wickets in Tests and 145 in ODIs at an average just above 28. With bat, he made 5200 runs in 102 Tests that he played and over 2000 runs in ODIs.

Ian Botham

Wasim Akram (1984-2001) − Akram was Pakistan’s finest left-arm fast bowler in cricket history. He swung the ball both ways and made lives difficult for the best batsmen in the world. He was the first bowler to reach 500 wickets in ODIs. He averaged 23.5 in Tests and ODIs with 414 and 502 wickets respectively. The duo of Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram were considered the best fast bowlers in the 21st century.

Wasim Akram

Brian Lara (1990 – 2007) − Brian Lara represented West Indies for 17 years. He was the best left-arm batsman (southpaw) in the history of cricket. He amassed the highest number of Test runs and centuries, breaking Gavaskar’s record. He still holds the highest individual score in an innings of 400 runs. At an average of 52.88, Lara scored 11,953 runs in Tests and 10,408 runs in ODIs at average of 40.48.

Brian Lara

Sachin Tendulkar (1989 – 2013) − Sachin Tendulkar, the run machine of Indian Cricket. He is the only player in the world to have played 24 years at the highest level. He has broken almost every batting record in the history. His stats speak high of his batting ability; 15921 runs at an average of 53.78 in Tests and 18,426 runs in ODIs with highest number of centuries in both formats. He is the only player to have played 200 Tests in cricket history and also the highest number of ODIs. He was a decent bowler in shorter format of the game with 154 wickets. His tally of runs in first-class and List-A matches is more than 46,000. His batting prowess was praised and matched that of Sir Donald Bradman. However, he is yet to be included in the Hall of Fame by ICC.

Sachin Tendulkar

Shane Warne (1992 – 2007) − The art of leg-spin that was dying got reintroduced by this Australian genius. Warne was the best spinner of leather during most part of his playing career. He had a healthy competition with Sri Lankan counterpart, Muttiah Muralitharan. Warne’s cricketing career lasted 15 years during which he took 708 Test wickets and 293 wickets in ODIs with exceptional bowling average. He also holds the record for bowling “ball of the century” that got England captain, Graham Gooch bowled around his legs.

Shane Warne

Muttiah Muralitharan (1992 – 2011) − Like Tendulkar has broken all the batting records, Muralitharan did the same for bowling. Muralitharan, former Sri Lankan off-spinner holds the record for highest number of wickets in Tests and ODIs at an average below 23. He also has the number of five-fors in an innings of both formats and maximum number of ten wickets in a Test match. Overall, he has 800 scalps in Tests and 534 in ODIs. However, he is yet to be included in the ICC Hall of Fame.

Muttiah Muralitharan

Ricky Ponting (1995 – 2012) − Ponting is another premier batsman of Australian cricket. He has also been the most successful captain for Australia and led the team most number of successive wins in Tests and ODIs. He is next to Clive Lolyd to lift the World Cup twice. Talking of his batting ability, he has scored more than 13,000 runs in Tests and ODIs. His tally of runs in first-class and List-A matches is above 40,000.

Ricky Ponting