January 1, 2013

Where does Sangakkara sit in the 10000 Club?

There is a French proverb that states that "to compare is not to prove"
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There is a French proverb that states that "to compare is not to prove". At a time when so many great cricketers are nearing the twilight years, that proverb may remind us that it is almost impossible to compare cricketers from across the history of the game because there are just too many variables to factor in. So let's keep it contemporary and ask ourselves this question: is Kumar Sangakkara is the best of the "10,000 Club batsmen" of the modern era, bracketed alongside Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis and Rahul Dravid? On one measure, the number of innings taken to get to the ten thousand run mark, the choice then comes down to Lara, Tendulkar and Sangakkara (195 innings) with Ponting at 196 innings. This sort of conversation is meant for pure debate. There can be no right or wrong answer, just an opportunity for genuine cricket lovers, hopefully liberated from jingoistic bias, to discuss the various factors in coming to their own conclusion.

Of the three batsmen who got to the magical figure in 195 innings, I would mischievously put Sangakkara at the top of the list only because he had the dual burden of keeping wicket for a fair chunk of his Test career, often standing up to Muttiah Muralitharan and having to concentrate on picking the variations. Using that measure, neither Tendulkar or Lara can claim that sort of fatigue although Tendulkar can rightfully lay claim to the burden of carrying India's hopes on his broad shoulders for 20 plus years. I suppose Lara and Sangakkara can also argue the same case, except that the sheer numbers and the level of adulation pale into insignificance when compared to SRT.

Both Lara and Sangakkara batted at No. 3 for most of their career while Tendulkar was a fixture at four. Does this mean that Tendulkar had it ever so slightly easier because he was that little bit more protected against the new ball? You could prosecute that argument I suppose, but it would be purely for argument's sake because it would be splitting hairs. Lara and Sangakkara generally had to bat without the added protection of Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman which might have put more pressure on them to perform.

A counter-argument might be that Tendulkar might have actually got to the 10,000-run mark even earlier if some of those runs had not already been scored by his peers. Imagine a small second-innings run chase when Sehwag knocks off the total singlehandedly - if Tendulkar had batted at three or had a less prolific opening team-mate, perhaps he would have scored a few more runs along the way to get him to that target before 195 innings. Similarly, Ponting too might have been disadvantaged by this because he played in an era when Australia regularly had only small totals to chase, so he might have used up a few of his 196 innings' in knocking off a dozen runs or so.

In terms of big scores, Lara is unquestionably the king of that jungle. He was the one most likely to dominate where he could peel off those massive individual scores. Sangakkara too has a reputation for scoring double-hundreds whereas Tendulkar took a lot longer to climb that mountain.

Of the players mentioned at the top of the article, let's take a look at their Test batting average when playing away from home. Some would argue that this might be yet another filter to determine their relative greatness. Tendulkar 54.74, Kallis 53.80, Dravid 53.03, Lara 47.80, Sangakkara 47.30, Ponting 45.81. Using that barometer, Tendulkar leads narrowly from Kallis and Dravid. Interestingly, of the modern era, Alastair Cook, Allan Border and Steve Waugh have the highest batting averages away from home. Can we draw anything from the fact that all three of them will be remembered for being tough battlers rather than thrilling strokemakers? Does succeeding away from home require a slightly different sort of mind-set and technique? Border and Waugh in particular faced some pretty useful bowling attacks in their day, before the DRS system that regularly reprieves batsmen these days.

To my mind, Ponting sits at the top of the list when it comes to match-winning hundreds in the first Test of a series. I haven't done any number-crunching to prove the point but I'm relying on my gut feeling when making this claim. His record of peeling off influential centuries to shape the direction of a Test series is phenomenal. Admittedly, he too played a lot of his cricket as part of a batting arsenal that was almost as good as it gets (Matthew Hayden, Justin Langer, Damien Martyn, Mark Waugh, Steve Waugh and Adam Gilchrist) and he was generally front-running because of the quality of bowlers he had in his team too. That is hardly his fault though, so I'm loath to detract from Ponting's greatness (as I am with Tendulkar) just because he happened to play with other high-quality players. In some ways, you can argue that it is to their credit that they maintained their hunger for runs when complacency could have been an excuse.

I still find it difficult to go past Kallis though. Enough has been written of his phenomenal record that requires no justification on my part except to say that we are unlikely to see the likes of him ever again. The modern game will probably never see someone as durable as him, playing all three forms of the game, bowling fast, catching at slip and batting for long periods. For sheer adrenalin and flamboyance though, Lara gets my vote. In the opposite sense, for purity of technique and defensive impenetrability, can we award that title to Dravid? His defensive technique was as much of work of beauty as Lara's parabolic swirl of the blade.

Back to my original thesis though; is there a case for Sangakkara being the best of the 10,000 Club? At a time when the retirements of great players are coming at an unprecedented rate of knots, with arguably Tendulkar, Kallis and Sangakkara not far away from that sad day too, are we being too churlish by even trying to compare geniuses? As much as I love debating that which cannot be measured by sheer numbers alone, I fear that even trying to separate such greatness is almost disrespectful to the legacy these fine batsmen will leave behind them.

"Comparison is the death of joy."
- Mark Twain

Michael Jeh is an Oxford Blue who played first-class cricket, and a Playing Member of the MCC. He lives in Brisbane

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • chathura on January 30, 2013, 10:01 GMT

    for me sanga is the best, he maintained his personality very well

  • Worrell on January 23, 2013, 23:36 GMT

    where sachin shouldered India, Pointing had Hayden, Langer, part waughs etc., Lara shouldered the west Indies, Carried them, won matches single evenhandedly, captained such a dysfunctional weak WI team, and of all teams had a higher percentage of runs per matched played, in all conditions. Nah, all are great in their own way.

  • Abhijit Singh Bhambra on January 18, 2013, 10:07 GMT

    For me the best in the 10 k club is Sachin Tendulkar. No matter what people say about him, he is the man who gave Indian batting a new meaning altogether. Followed by Lara/ Dravid/ Kallis and Sangakkra. I mean face it guys, if scoring 10k plus runs in test would have been easy then we would have a lot of batsman's in the list. It is time to celebrate their achievements than comparisons.

  • venkatesh on January 17, 2013, 15:27 GMT

    there few players who are great even if they dont touch 10000 club sangakara lara steve waugh viv richards inzi sachin dravid

  • Kishor on January 17, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    I disagree with is best among 10000 club :-)just because of he hasn't have good record in overseas:-)sachin is greatest among all since the indian team is in the decade of 90s very average bowling and batting attack,he is the man taken the all responsibility and make a 10000 before 2011:-)for me then dravid.kallis are the greatest:-):-)sangakkara i

  • Aliraza on January 16, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    Guys i haven't compared all simply because the comparison isn't even needed. Just check it out yourself. Kallis is truly a legend of cricket. Just to ensure that i am totally unbiased. I am a Pakistani. I have never been to SA and have no special soft spot for SA's. But i am always amazed by Kallis's feats. This guy is a freak. Hats off to him.

  • Arun on January 15, 2013, 22:23 GMT

    Let's not confuse stamina with talent, let alone greatness.

  • rosh on January 7, 2013, 16:11 GMT

    Lara is the best of the lot - no doubt. Ponting could afford to play for a win all the time coz he was in a champion team. No pressure that if he fails so would the team. NOT the case with Lara nor indeed with Sanga. On Sanga I would point out again that as part of a team which got few and far tests in Eng, Aus or SA he has done remarkably well. In fact at the end of the current series he averages over 60 IN Australia. He never got to play 4 test or 5 test series like the others.

  • NKJ on January 7, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    @those saying Sangakkara scored more at home and was pathetic at honme, check the facts, for most of his career he did better away than at home. He averaged fifty on his last visit to Australia, whilst not being in good form , and averaged over 100 on the 2007 visit. He has scored hundreds all around the globe, and at important times, he thoroughly deserves to be in the pantheon of greats, he is just very highly underrated.

  • Mike of NQ on January 4, 2013, 22:28 GMT

    Sometimes you have to look who they score their runs against and the circumstances of those runs. Kallis averages 39 against Australia and 42 against England but 170 and 90 against Zimbabwe & Bangladesh. For me its Lara followed by Tendulkar. Lara averaged 54 against the best 3 bowling attacks (Australia, SA and England) with the lowest being SA at 49.0. Tendulkar averaged 52 against the best 3 bowling attacks with a lowest of 42 against SA. Lara gets the tip because of his superior scoring rate. Sangakara dosn't average above 50 against Aust, SA or England. On another note there is an argument for Ponting who played to win resulting in nearly 110 test match victories. His ability to lead from the front is missing from Tendulkar, Kallis and to a much lessor degree Lara. For me, its Brian LARA.

  • chathura on January 30, 2013, 10:01 GMT

    for me sanga is the best, he maintained his personality very well

  • Worrell on January 23, 2013, 23:36 GMT

    where sachin shouldered India, Pointing had Hayden, Langer, part waughs etc., Lara shouldered the west Indies, Carried them, won matches single evenhandedly, captained such a dysfunctional weak WI team, and of all teams had a higher percentage of runs per matched played, in all conditions. Nah, all are great in their own way.

  • Abhijit Singh Bhambra on January 18, 2013, 10:07 GMT

    For me the best in the 10 k club is Sachin Tendulkar. No matter what people say about him, he is the man who gave Indian batting a new meaning altogether. Followed by Lara/ Dravid/ Kallis and Sangakkra. I mean face it guys, if scoring 10k plus runs in test would have been easy then we would have a lot of batsman's in the list. It is time to celebrate their achievements than comparisons.

  • venkatesh on January 17, 2013, 15:27 GMT

    there few players who are great even if they dont touch 10000 club sangakara lara steve waugh viv richards inzi sachin dravid

  • Kishor on January 17, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    I disagree with is best among 10000 club :-)just because of he hasn't have good record in overseas:-)sachin is greatest among all since the indian team is in the decade of 90s very average bowling and batting attack,he is the man taken the all responsibility and make a 10000 before 2011:-)for me then dravid.kallis are the greatest:-):-)sangakkara i

  • Aliraza on January 16, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    Guys i haven't compared all simply because the comparison isn't even needed. Just check it out yourself. Kallis is truly a legend of cricket. Just to ensure that i am totally unbiased. I am a Pakistani. I have never been to SA and have no special soft spot for SA's. But i am always amazed by Kallis's feats. This guy is a freak. Hats off to him.

  • Arun on January 15, 2013, 22:23 GMT

    Let's not confuse stamina with talent, let alone greatness.

  • rosh on January 7, 2013, 16:11 GMT

    Lara is the best of the lot - no doubt. Ponting could afford to play for a win all the time coz he was in a champion team. No pressure that if he fails so would the team. NOT the case with Lara nor indeed with Sanga. On Sanga I would point out again that as part of a team which got few and far tests in Eng, Aus or SA he has done remarkably well. In fact at the end of the current series he averages over 60 IN Australia. He never got to play 4 test or 5 test series like the others.

  • NKJ on January 7, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    @those saying Sangakkara scored more at home and was pathetic at honme, check the facts, for most of his career he did better away than at home. He averaged fifty on his last visit to Australia, whilst not being in good form , and averaged over 100 on the 2007 visit. He has scored hundreds all around the globe, and at important times, he thoroughly deserves to be in the pantheon of greats, he is just very highly underrated.

  • Mike of NQ on January 4, 2013, 22:28 GMT

    Sometimes you have to look who they score their runs against and the circumstances of those runs. Kallis averages 39 against Australia and 42 against England but 170 and 90 against Zimbabwe & Bangladesh. For me its Lara followed by Tendulkar. Lara averaged 54 against the best 3 bowling attacks (Australia, SA and England) with the lowest being SA at 49.0. Tendulkar averaged 52 against the best 3 bowling attacks with a lowest of 42 against SA. Lara gets the tip because of his superior scoring rate. Sangakara dosn't average above 50 against Aust, SA or England. On another note there is an argument for Ponting who played to win resulting in nearly 110 test match victories. His ability to lead from the front is missing from Tendulkar, Kallis and to a much lessor degree Lara. For me, its Brian LARA.

  • RB on January 4, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    VK, you must be joking! There are strong arguments for SRT being the best of his generation (as above, although equally valid for BL & RP) & even the best post Bradman, however, SRT would not consider himself as better, nor did DB, although he did pay the very high compliment of SRT being the one who most reminded DB of himself. Other than volume of runs, DB out performs all by a considerable margin (100 every 2.76 innings, 200 every 6.67, most time past 200, equal most 300s plus a 299*,all from only 80 inns, average of 100, 974 runs in a series, 309 in a day, 29 100s to 13 50s, estimated career test R/R of close to 80, & remarkably only 6x6s, demonstrating his view that you can't be caught if you don't hit in the air, etc etc etc - just read profile here!!) & so far ahead as to raise the possibility of the world never seeing his like again. This is not to diminish the considerable achievements of the players named above, who are great in their own way and generation.

  • John on January 3, 2013, 23:36 GMT

    The idea that just because Lara and Tendulkar played in the 90's means their better is seriously flawed. While that is a good argument, it is nowhere near enough to single Sangakkara out alone. Also, none of Sangakkara's critics have addressed the fact that he averages around 70 after he gave up wicketkeeping. Modify his away subcontinent averages based on that, he has done extremely well in Aus/NZ while getting centuries in South Africa and England last year (against top class bowling in harsh conditions). Does anybody remember his double century in Pakistan against the likes of Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar, and Sami? I sure don't, those were top class bowlers even in the 90s

  • Chris on January 3, 2013, 20:49 GMT

    I am pained to even see folks comparing Sanga and Dravid to the likes of Lara, Punter and Sachin.. Without doubt my list is: 1. Lara - An absolute batting genius with total flamboyance and swagger. His dominion over bowlers is only equalled by an imaginary Bradman. 2. Ponting - A man whose willpower equalled only by his talent and grit. 3. Sachin - A durable run-making machine. 4. Kallis - For his consistency, durability and reliability 5. Dravid - For being a consistent wall 6. Mahela - For his classy batting flamboyance 7. Sangakara - For balancing batting and wicket-keeping workload, though each one is pretty average.

  • petermorris on January 3, 2013, 19:46 GMT

    beverley is totally right. by my reckoning Don bradman holds or held 13 test batting records Brian Lara has 11 test batting records nobody else has more than 2.Kallis Ponting have none.in addition to this some of the records bradman holds Lara is second eg( 12 Double tons plays 9.) and some records they share. in addition when widen compiled the list of the greatest 100 test innings ever Lara was the only man to have 3 in the top 20 don was second with 2 how many for Kallis, Ponting, Tendulkar? yes you have guessed it none. If lara had had the chance to play in as strong a batting side as the other 3 he would have been way ahead of them Kallis had a very stong tail(6 Klusener(7)Pollock (8) boucher and remember Gilchrist at 7 warne at 8

  • Bappa on January 3, 2013, 17:06 GMT

    When looking without coloured glasses of nationality, Sanga, Lara, Sachin and Ricky all belong to the supreme group of greatest batsman. As Michael suggests, each of these players have edges in different aspects compared to others in that group.

  • rosh on January 3, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    There is no doubt about one thing - the pressure to "perform OR ELSE your team collapses" weighed most heavily on Lara and Sanga. On Sanga some have pointed out his supposedly weak away record. Far from the truth that is, coz he's done superbly well even in the tracks of England, Australia and South Africa WHEN Sri Lanka have been given the opportunity of playing more than two tests. In fact that is a big point ie. of all these players none have suffered like Sanga did and does in not getting sufficient opportunities to play 4 test or 5 test series. In fact Sri Lanka have never played more than 3 tests in a single series. Someone also mentioned that Kallis sweats more due to his bowling. Ah but he normally comes in as the 4th or 5th bowler and would bowl maybe 15 overs a day - a fine feat no doubt. But Sanga had to keep ball after ball throughout a fielding outing. To me Lara beats everybody due to his sheer classy batting and his match winning or aggressive batting against the odds.

  • shashidhar sn on January 3, 2013, 13:02 GMT

    Dravid is always the best batsman in the world.

  • Flipper@99 on January 3, 2013, 10:43 GMT

    Sanga definitely for me is the top player of this era plainly for the fact that he kept wickets in the harsh subcontinent with the spin wizard murali bowling for most of his career. This meant being focused 100% all the time & must have taken alot out of him & when he gave up the gloves his averages blooms upto about 70!! his away average too is 48 which is exceptional. I know that Kallis bowls but that isnt all the time as he is a parttimer but a keeper keeps the whole match and is much more drained at the end of a test match than a specialized batsman or allrounder.

  • alan on January 3, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    what a beautiful article, I disagree with everything everyone above has said but I can still applaud everything everyone above has said. I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to watch each and every one of these players - oh one thing I do agree with - Imzamam has got to be worth a mention - at his best as good as I've ever seen (and my memory goes back to Hutton, Compton, May and the 3 Ws)

  • ruudraza on January 3, 2013, 7:59 GMT

    continued then we look at the fact that he has been the best batsman against the bbest team in the world that is australia. Has the best performance away from home. It is generally accepted that batting away is more difficult than batting at home and one can do a cricinfo search of aggregate home batting and aggregate away batiting avg to find that it is true. when we look at the few batsman who batted better away than home we get steve waugh, border, richards, gavaskar, dravid, barrington, cook and sachin. all the best batsman of there respective era(even Bradman batted better away)

  • ruudraza on January 3, 2013, 7:41 GMT

    when we do a decadewise cricinfo search we find that 4,5 of the top batsman avg 50 or more throughout 60s,70s,80s,90s when sachin lara and steve waugh played there best cricket whereas about 15-20 batman avg 50 or more in the 2000s which gives us a fair idea how difficult batting was when dravid, kallis, ponting and sangakara played there best cricket. then we look at the no of test played india and sachin played 69 tests in 1990s whereas teams of ponting, kallis, dravid and sangakara played 100 or more tests in the 2000s. So sachin played in difficult era played fewer tests at his peak and still managed to better or equal the others

  • Ashwin Taware on January 3, 2013, 7:21 GMT

    Where is the comparison. a [player is counted on his abilty to play at home and away grounds. the difference will reflect that is understood the same u can see when u see home and away contribution by sachin lara or pointing. but sangakarra has marvelous avg above 61 at home ground and drops high at 47 at away

  • Lernard on January 3, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    Sachin, Ricky, Sanga, Lara, Dravid, Kallis... they are all greats, no doubt.

  • vinay kumar on January 3, 2013, 5:53 GMT

    Tendulkar is the best of all time. he is great greater and greatest. no comparisions at all. don bradman great batsman also appreciated sachin that he is the best. no question of him comparing with others. sachin is greater than lara and sangakkara. laras 300+ scores all were against weak bowling and on flat pitches. lara may be great but tendulkar is the greatest.

  • BW on January 3, 2013, 5:47 GMT

    Whom out of the 10k+ player club has been bowled at by great bowlers like Anderson (ENG), Murli (SL), McGrath (AUS), Gillespie (Aus), Vettori (NZ), Lee (Aus), Donald (SA), Pollock (SA), Panesar (Eng), Swann (Eng), Ntini (SA), Siddle (Aus), Kallis (SA), Warne (Aus), Vaas (SL), Hoggard (Eng), Johnson (Aus), McMillan (SA), Akhtar (Pak), Steyn (SA), Broad (Eng), S Mushtaq (Pak), Kasprowicz (Aus), Walsh (WI), Abdul Razzaq (Pak), Clark (Aus), Mendis (SL), CJ McDermott (Aus), Imran Khan (Pak), Malinga (SL), Mike Whitney (Aus), Caddick (Eng), M Morkel (SA), Wasim Akram (Pak), Abdul Qadir (Pak), SCG MacGill (Aus), Lyon (Aus), Reiffel (Aus), Bichel (Aus), SE Bond (NZ), Naved-ul-Hasan (Pak), Pattinson (Aus), B Reid (Aus), Bollinger (Aus), Mushtaq Ahmed (Pak), Starc (Aus), Gul (Pak), Watson (Aus), Ambrose (WI), Emburey (Eng)? Only 1 Sachin Tendulkar. Apart from these bowlers, hundreds of other bowlers had a go at him without getting him out even once. Even the great Ambrose never got his wicket!

  • Jojy George on January 3, 2013, 5:43 GMT

    SRT is way above all of them. Couple of stunning statistics takes the cake!! 1) He averages more overseas as compared to home matches in tests and 2) Please check the "Fastest to 10000,11000,12000,13000,14000....in both tests and ODIs", SRT is consistently in the top three in tests and way out in the front in ODIs. SRT the greatest batsman without doubt...

  • silva on January 3, 2013, 5:16 GMT

    1.lara 2.ponting 3.sanga 4.kalis 5.dravid 6.sachin

    sachin is a great player and he was never a team player, thats why his numbers are better than others, but true best players play for the team and team come first for them, Lara is the best for me

  • RB on January 3, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    Hard to rank as each has arguments for & against. Undoubtedly, although not in the club, The Don stands head & shoulders above all before & since (& all sportsmen, as shown by mathematicians a few years back who devised a formula for comparing between eras and sports - Pele was ranked No 2!) - if he had had modern equipment, covered batsmen friendly pitches, medical treatment (not only serious back issues, but almost dying of a ruptured appendix, losing a considerable period of playing time in his recovery), & no World War to rob him of his best years, we would be talking the 20,000 club, & the 100 test centuries (or more)! On the topic of the 10,000 club, Lara held the team together and was a sheer joy to watch, but could also be selfish in terms of personal milestones, & Kallis has long had a reputation for playing for his rather than his team's success, whereas Ponting most certainly always played for victory, a characteristic even more noticeable in Clarke in 2012!

  • tin tin on January 3, 2013, 5:13 GMT

    1.BC Lara (WI) v England Manchester 12 Aug 2004 6 Dec 1990 13y 250d 111 195 Test # 1711

    2.KC Sangakkara (SL) v Australia Melbourne 26 Dec 2012 20 Jul 2000 12y 159d 115 195 Test # 2068

    3.SR Tendulkar (India) v Pakistan Kolkata 16 Mar 2005 15 Nov 1989 15y 121d 122 195 Test # 1741

    innings r same...then considering # of matches.....

    if u comparing beyond this...just highest run getter should come 1st.

  • Sulaiman on January 3, 2013, 4:46 GMT

    Sorry lost interest around the point where you admitted you hadn't crunched any numbers. If you haven't crunched numbers then what value are you adding precisely, by sharing your "gut feelings"? This is a post-Moneyball world for sports reporting. I suggest you adapt.

  • ygkd on January 3, 2013, 3:22 GMT

    Comparison is not the death of joy. That's Kumar Sangakkara or Mahela Jayawardene going out.

  • Anonymous on January 3, 2013, 2:40 GMT

    Wow, comments section is rocking than the article, which is a stimulant. Many different ways, rightly so.. One other observation, while many say Tendulkar had Dravid, Lax, Shewag, Ganguly, etc. To look the other way, what if couple of them are not there, probably others would have scored even more runs or even faster to 10K runs. There is no end to the comparison, I guess, that is why stats do not matter.

  • mwater on January 3, 2013, 0:52 GMT

    Has to be Tendulkar. Further to the analysis done by Mujtaba earlier, he forgot to include the spinning greats Warne and Murli in his stats. He forgot to include Courtney Walsh as well. Dominating the best attack in the world (Australia) at home and away and playing against all these world class bowlers and to consistently do it at a high standard over such a long period, only SRT!

    1. Tendulkar 2. Lara 3. Ponting 4. Kallis 5. Dravid 6. Sangakkara

  • jaswanr behari on January 3, 2013, 0:28 GMT

    To get 10.000 runs in test cricket is a remarkable feat.Congrats to the most recent induction, K.Sangakara.The 11 players on the ten thousand club are undoubtedly the best of this era,there are those that didn't quite get there, but were remarkable as well. On that list is a West Indian player,Shivnarine Chanderpaul whose efforts are sometimes under estimated.Chanderpaul for most of his career,batted without the support enjoyed by those on this list. He scored 27 centuries and 61 fifties at an avg: of 51.67.Of the 27 centuries scored,17 were not outs.This tells a story of a truly great player.He single handedly saved WI from humiliation many a times.While most at his age is slowing down,Shiv has even gotten better.He recently scored a double century not out and 150 not out,avg:354 against Bangladesh.

  • Rukman on January 3, 2013, 0:14 GMT

    When people make snarky comments about 'runs scored against BAN or ZIM' or wickets against the same opposition, usually in relation to a Sri Lankan player's record, they forget that most of the Australian players made absolute hay while while the sun shone in the form of the English team in the 90s. Imagine Shane Warne's tally of wickets if he didn't have the Ashes every year! Those English players were sitting ducks! Their bowlers weren't too great either. Some perspective please!

  • TJ on January 2, 2013, 23:59 GMT

    I totally agree with you Jonathon!

  • Pete on January 2, 2013, 22:41 GMT

    A good way to compare is time spent at or near No1 Ranking. The ICC provides a comparison where you see a graph by position in their careers.

    Lara is far an away the most constantly near no1, the whole graph virtually. Tendulkar pips Ponting ,both having a few blips, and Kallis takes a while to get there but has been there ever since.

    Sanga is consistently very very close to 1 for the whole second half of his career. Perhaps since he gave up keeping.

  • IanCort on January 2, 2013, 22:30 GMT

    Without a doubt Brian Lara should be at the top, unlike the others he's being compared with, he's made most of his runs in a struggling team and in a losing causes. Where the others had better support and players surrounding them, which: if you're a cricketer, you'd know makes it much easier.Besides he's a double world-record holder, is among the top century-makers in the game and has scores more double centuries than most players....on a lesser note, he was also a captain like them all.

  • Sebastian on January 2, 2013, 20:48 GMT

    @Sami, you've got to be kidding me! He's comparing players with 10,000+ Test runs, and Inzamam only got 8000ish, so therefore doesn't qualify.

  • Sam on January 2, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    If Sanga is in the top 3, Samaraweera would also be in the top ten. :)

  • Praveen on January 2, 2013, 16:45 GMT

    Brilliant article. I am from Sri Lanka and i say all the above are Legendary batsman we are blessed to witness. Just one fact regarding Sangakkara, as a pure batsman Sangakkara has scored more than 5000 runs at an average close to 70 runs in an innings. I am not saying he's the greatest by pointing out this fact, it is just a fact to note

  • beverly on January 2, 2013, 15:57 GMT

    Mujtaba has presented the best argument so far. I agree that the best of the pack should be chosen based on their individual performances and records against the Great BOWLERS of their time. And, Mujtaba’s figures have shown once again, what other stats have proven again and again, that Lara is some distance ahead. Not only does Lara have the best record against the GREAT BOWLERS of their time, but he did so playing almost his entire career in a “one-man batsman” team; which cannot be said of any of the others.Also, you look into the cricket annals, there you see, of the dozens of records that are in it based on INCREDIBLE performances, Lara is the only modern player who matches Sir Don Bradman, man for man and gives him a run for his money. Again, the mere fact that he is the only one among them who within his RELATIVELY SHORT CAREER (matches played) who has ever compiled a score of 300, and even more, have done so twice; just like the Don, puts him out front. Ask Sanga

  • Mitch501L on January 2, 2013, 14:28 GMT

    As with the majority of these forums the ones that comment are generally from the sub continent, we generally see the same pattern with most reping Tendulkar as the greatest (batsman) of the modern era. What I always find most interesting though, is the greats who actually played the game at the highest level both past and present, continually rate Lara ahead of Tendulkar,Ponting,Kallis and Sangakarra.Ian Chappell,Tony Grieg (RIP)Ravi Shastri,Brett Lee,Jason Gillespie,Steve Waugh,Muttiah M,Glen McGrath,Wasim Akram,Waqar Younis,Graeme Swann...and many,many more...coming from some of the greatest names in the game who say Lara was the best they played against/saw, well thats good enough for me.

  • ranjith on January 2, 2013, 14:16 GMT

    Unfotunatly, most of the people have commented with jelousy or hatred without looking at sanga's great records.may be becouse he is srilankan....

  • mike17 on January 2, 2013, 14:02 GMT

    Sangakkara is certainly the most unheralded of these. It seems he has just appeared on this list.I would be interested in how much of each of these batsmen's innings were played against the top attacks, and how much against B'desh, Zimbabwe. There is a difference.Sanga did not have to play Murali which must be an advantage,but in many other ways I suspect he's had the hardest route. Watch out for Cook down the line and maybe KP.

  • First_Slip on January 2, 2013, 13:37 GMT

    # Kumar Sangakkara is not the best because he is a Sri lanken,it's just simple as that.

    # Sanga and Lara - Didn't have luxury with umpire decisions. one player had it (i mean favor of Umpires). In that case can reduce bucketloads of his runs too

    # regarding quality runs,Sachin made over 1900 runs against Zim and Bangla over a average of 110

    # Saying Sri lanken Pitches are batting friendly is joke of the century (apart from SSC pitch every other pitch in sri lanka give something to bowlers, swing,seam or spin but Indian Pitches?)

    # when India Go to Australia,South Africa and England BCCI put pressure on them to Prepare batting friendly pitches but Poor SLC never had power to do that so they get early part of England and SA summers and wettest pitches to play in

  • crzcric on January 2, 2013, 13:34 GMT

    dont forget the fact that sriLanka always get fewer number of practice matches before the tour begin that was always unfair.some times india got 3 pratice matches and 4 or 3 test matches in a tour and still loose matches 3-0 or 4-0.srilanka always get 1 or 2 practice matches and 2 0r 3 test matches in a series .so tendulkar,dravid,laxman always got more opportunity to adapt to the conditions than sanga.how do you explain that??????

  • Kish on January 2, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    Bring up the stats, compare & argue as much as anyone wants.. but my parents used to say how brilliant viv richards was,and some more players from that era.. But, I personally am glad to have lived in this era, to see brian lara's back lift, sachin tendulkar's straight drive, ponting & aravinda's hook, sangakakara's cover drive, mathew haydens,gilchrist & jayasuriya's sixers...against wasim & waquar's yorkers, mcgrath, murali+warne+saqlain+kumble = variations! In my opinion we shouldn't say one is better than the other..For all of them have done proud to the game! It's more like, we should probably put them all on a "round table"! league of extraordinary cricketers - from that a specific time period!

  • Subbu on January 2, 2013, 12:43 GMT

    Sangakkara is a kid in-front of these legends.......did he ever played against the most fierce bowling attack??? he only played against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and that too scored most of the centuries in Sri Lanka.......Every team has supreme bowlers who won matches single handedly for their countries...but what about India??? India never produced a supreme bowler rather than Kapil Dev...Tendulkar scored most of the tons against the terrific bowlers in the world....India is the only country, who are able to win matches depending on batsmen....but rest of the legends have their terrific bowlers to reduce half of the burden for their team's.......1) Tendulkar 2) Lara......rest

  • KH on January 2, 2013, 12:41 GMT

    Sangakkara is underrated. People constantly complain about Kallis not getting the recognition he deserves, but this comment is more suitable for Sangakkara. Playing in a relatively weak team, like Lara and Tendulkar,he has shouldered a considerable burden for many years. Unlike the South Africans, the Sri Lankans don't constantly ask everyone to praise him. Sangakkara is both a great player and an even more impressive man, unlike Kallis who plays for his own statistics but will never be accused of such because he's not from the subcontinent.

  • Alan R on January 2, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    lets be honest, the reason sangakkara will never be considered the greatest of the modern batsmen is because he plays for sri lanka. India, Australia and the West Indies are old time giants of the game backed up by dozens of influential fans, journalists and writers. If Sangakkara had been the English contribution to the 10,000 club he'd be far more highly rated. People are not interested in a Sri Lankan being the best, but wait for Cook to pass the mark and see the plaudits floood in. (for another example, muralitharan's record is so much better than warne's it's unbelievable, yet you'll still get a slew of journo's, from this site might I add, being unable to seperate them and giving warne the nod in the end)

  • kapil on January 2, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    If you know you are not going to come at a conclusion...why to start a discussion.this is the first thing... and you can not judge any player for that matter depending on statistics of one format... I think Kallis is the one who stands out as a "all" rounder and sachin is undoubtedly the Great of all times for the sheer joy and passion he brings in a spectator's heart about the sport.

  • Nicholas Thomas on January 2, 2013, 11:46 GMT

    To me Brian and Sachin were geniouses. These rest are/were great batsmen.

  • gami on January 2, 2013, 11:46 GMT

    sanga is best batsman

  • Lawrence on January 2, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    Ya great article. I agree about comparing greatness. How can u separate Tendulkar, Lara, Sanga, Ponting (T,L,S,P). Yes there is Kallis, Shiv Chanderpaul and Dravid but Sanga, Ponting and Lara are a whole other level. In terms of efficiency and runs scored i know Kallis, Dravid and Shiv will all compare but when u analyze the top 4 guys i mentioned at the start they are pure class. U can see the difference in their stroke play. They are definitely more elegant and eye catching than Kallis, Shiv and Dravid. (TLSP) cannot be separated. They are simply too great to do so. Each have achieved greatness and none less than the other. They are all legends.

    However i must say i am biased towards Sanga cause he is Sri Lankan and so am i, but it must be said that Sachin Tendulkar has to be ranked number 1 out of all those guys. He has simply carried the burden of India's shoulders like a person serving a life sentence in Prison.

    My top 5 - 1.Tendulkar, 2.Lara, 3.Sanga, 4.Ponting, 5.Shiv

  • ijaz ahmad on January 2, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    I believe that SANGA KARA is the best one,think he stand the whole day behind the wicket,up n down right n left,he get tired n then he batting,that is a big big difference to all other batsmans,nr 2 is KALLIS,with allrounder,bowling+batting.

  • Jonathon on January 2, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    Sanga really doesn't get too much credit. All the Australians/English remember one tour of Lara's along with his 375/400, while Tendulkar fans go on about his statistical record breakings. Kallis has been a silent good player too, but people scoff when Sangakkara is compared to these greats. These people do not know that as a Pure batsman (after he gave up wicketkeeping), he averages over 70. He has some 7 double centuries, along with 3 190s. He averages high against the Pakistanis (some of the best pace bowling ever) and is from Sri Lanka (most turning pitches in world). His averages in Australia/New Zealand speak volumes while his averages in England/West Indies/South Africa are not very high. Some people may take this as a sign that he is not a good player, but he has only played 4-5 matches on each continent (nowhere near enough to analyze).

  • ashen on January 2, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    great article and may I not in agreement “Comparison is the death of joy.”

  • cricalli on January 2, 2013, 7:12 GMT

    I think a formula should be identified that can be used to determine the greatness of a batsman. Variables to consider should include; an average higher than 45 against all teams both away and home matches because their is a natural expectation that the greatest of batsmen can perform well under any conditions whether away or home, spin or pace etc.

  • Neil Dias on January 2, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    Very interesting take. There are many instances wherein Tendulkar fades away to a Dravid or Laxman - so yes, if one has watched these greats in live action, numerical statistics can only guide arguments to a direction and not conclude it.

  • Roy on January 2, 2013, 7:05 GMT

    Sanga is just best in Srilankan soil only... outside it, as his records show, he is nothing more than a paper lion..... but the best thing about Kumar Sangakkara that I would admire is his brilliant speech-delivery.... perhaps his law degree is a reason here... but he can speak, and he can speak out of logic as well - again a typical thing about lawyers..... overall I think he has done good by sticking to cricket... coz, impartially he speaks nonsense; while playing cricket atleast he scores some runs, only when he bats in Srilanka or in Zimbabwe, Newzealand, UAE, Bangldesh and in some cases when he finds a Pakistan bowling unit in total disarray.... Sangakkara also has an impeccable record of scoring only 1 test century in Australia, 1 test century in South Africa, 1 test century in India and 1 test century in England..... what a player!

  • ??? on January 2, 2013, 6:43 GMT

    can I have my 7 minutes back... what a useless waste of time...

  • Princepuple1979 on January 2, 2013, 6:28 GMT

    One aspect that was not considered here is the quality of pitches. Sri Lanka had the most batsman friendly tracks in the whole world during this time frame, closely followed by the Indian batting beauties. So I guess this should weigh down the ratings of Sanga and Sachin a bit!

  • Rohan G on January 2, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    What a nice article. Hats off and yes, agree with you on how non of us could argue on the greatness of legacy these great men willleve behind.

  • rajpan on January 2, 2013, 5:38 GMT

    Great effort !! But a much ado about nothing ? Mark Twain's comment in the end nicely sums it up. To be fair to yourself, you should have left it for someone else to comment on.

  • Ram on January 2, 2013, 5:38 GMT

    @Jeh, while I would say that your attempt to showcase the contributions & hardwork of Sanga in his career, is equal and in some sense better than Tendulkar and Lara is a good attempt, but, I would not accept it without a debate.

    We can always compare these greats "apple to apple", but, for the sheer pressure and expectation handling, it's always Tendulkar. For the sheer delight of pleasure that audience gets, it's always Lara. For the only reason to play is to win, Ponting is the guy. Kallis, Dravid are great batsman preferred by any captain to be in their team, but from audience perspective not that much involvement, I suppose. Sanga and Mahela have given each other good company, and SL cricket has definitely got benefitted. But, they are no match for Tendulkar and Lara for sure. They themselves would not have played Murali so well, like Lara did in 2001.

  • rajpan on January 2, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    Great effort !! But a much ado about nothing ? Mark Twain's comment in the end nicely sums it up. To be fair to yourself, you should have left it for someone else to comment on.

  • rajpan on January 2, 2013, 5:32 GMT

    Great effort !! But a much ado about nothing ? Mark Twain's statement in the end sums it up nicely. To be fair to yourself, you should have left it for someone else to comment.

  • Rajasekhar on January 2, 2013, 4:28 GMT

    Great Article... Liked the words... "...I fear that even trying to separate such greatness is almost disrespectful to the legacy these fine batsmen will leave behind them."

    I am happy to have been a witness to all of these greats...

  • Nasrullah Khaled on January 2, 2013, 4:21 GMT

    Sangakkara is one of the great Crickter.it is possible by him.a Keeper how to achieve 10000 runs milestone!!!

  • Ramachandra on January 2, 2013, 3:28 GMT

    Sangakkara doesnt even come close to that bracket. Statistically he may. But not really. Sachin and Lara then some distance and then Ponting and then Kallis and Dravid. I have many points to justify but I know many other points which will be against this and place may be Clarke as the best batsman ever. So I would not go into much bickering and just put forward my view.

  • Arun on January 2, 2013, 3:14 GMT

    The qualifier as you say is 'genius' and Sangakkara doesn't qualify on that count alone. I cannot recall even a single memorable Sangakkara inning except for the 190+ he hit against Australia in a losing cause a few years ago. Standing behind the stumps to Murali and co and egging them on with his put on accent doesn't qualify one to be a genius, unfortunately. The more I think about it, the more repulsed that I am that you chose to compare Sangakkara to legends of the game such as Tendulkar, Lara and Ponting.

  • Ghani on January 2, 2013, 3:00 GMT

    Its always good to see the class of great players and their statistics shows their caliber

  • Jason on January 2, 2013, 2:11 GMT

    As you have highlighted there are reasons for each, Sanga for his wicket-keeping, Kallis for his bowling and durability, Tendulkar for sheer number of runs and carrying a nation on his shoulders, Lara for the huge innings and Ponting for helping carry his team to the most success of any of them by far. Add in Dravid and Chanderpaul and you have an era where there has been some truly magnificent batting. I look forward to comparing the records of Amla, Clarke, Cook, Pietersen and perhaps Samuels and others in 6 or 7 years time.

  • Cam on January 2, 2013, 0:42 GMT

    Nice article, but any particular reason Jayawardene has been left out of the 10k runs club?

  • Haresh Sukhraj on January 2, 2013, 0:36 GMT

    well written Article. its difficult to determine who's the best from the lot, we all will have different opinions.

  • Just My Say on January 2, 2013, 0:29 GMT

    Why compare? They're all different.

  • Nick on January 2, 2013, 0:17 GMT

    Sangakkara didn't face a lot of Warne and McGrath (and Murali), whereas Lara and Sachin did. Also Sanga played a significantly higher number of tests against Bangladesh. Had to work a lot harder in the 90s to score runs than in the 00s I reckon (considering bowling attacks and size of boundaries).

  • vivthe raiden on January 2, 2013, 0:10 GMT

    A fine article, I am stunned to see Sanga in 10k club, I never expected he would make it that far, so three cheers for him, is he the best of that club, come on you should be kidding.

    While Sanga should be proud of his achivement and the club he joined, the member of the club have way better CV than him.

  • TJ on January 2, 2013, 0:00 GMT

    Excellent One, I would say more often than not Sangakkara loses support from the other end in overseas tests and battles all alone just like it happened again at the MCG. I can remember him scoring 100* in new zealand when the team was all out for 180 and 156* in a total of barely over 240.

    In my book, Brian Lara stands out from all of them simply because the way he made himself look invincible with almost no support at other end!

  • raybong on January 1, 2013, 23:53 GMT

    Fantastic article Michael... You are a Master of "Balancing Act". At the end as you said we cannot compare these "geniuses" except for their stats taken on a case to case basis based on what we are trying to convey. For me personally, we have been one of the luckiest generations to watch & savor such great sportsmen like Viv Richards, Des Haynes, Clive Lloyd, Malcolm Marshal, Joel Garner, Courtney Walsh, Andy Roberts, LARA, Alan Border, Steve Waugh, Warnie, Ponting, Lillie, Thommo,Glen McGrath, Matty Hayden, Gilly, Ian Healy, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younus, maverick Abdul Qadir, Saqlain Mushtaq, Zahir Abbas, Amir Sohail,Inzy, now Ajmal, Pataudi, Sachin the Master, Vishy, Dravid, Bedi, Chandrashekar, Kapil Dev, Gavaskar, Azza, Ganguly, Kumble, Sehwag, VVS Laxman, Derek Underwood, Frank Wooly, Jack Hobbs, Wally Hammond, Colin Crowdey, Jim Laker, Bob Willis, the great Alan Knott, Ian Botham, David Gower, Alan Lamb, Gooch, Alec Steward, Swan,and greats from RSA, NZ, Lanka, et al.

  • Kaushik Suresh on January 1, 2013, 23:41 GMT

    Gotta agree with you on that article bro. However, I think Ponting, Tendulkar had it easy with an amazingly strong middle order in their respective teams which was full of stalwarts. In any case, it was Kallis or Lara who was the greatest batsmen mainly due to the fact that both teams were in their recovery phases when these great batsmen took the onus upon themselves to score tons of runs and win matches for SA and West Indies respectively. Dravid was special as in most occasions, Sehwag would normally be caught behind within the first few overs. Dravid was a makeshift opener as well as a solid, no 3 batsman who could weather any conditions and pull India thro. My choices would clearly be, Dravid, Kallis and Lara for the Top 3 batsmen in the 10,000 run list of all time.

  • Farhan on January 1, 2013, 22:54 GMT

    Superb article mate, and that perfectly placed Mark Twain quote, seals the debate. In my opinion, purely as batsman amongst those legends, Tendulkar and Lara get my vote. Tendulkar for the sheer amount of pressure he has had to endure, to last 24 yrs at this level. His command facing fast and spin bowling, home and away, Tests and ODIS. Lara for the uniqueness of his stroke play and for the magnifecent spectacle that man gave once in full flow. Besides he had to play in a very mediocre batting line up, where he was the be all and end of all of the WI defense.

  • sdclfc on January 1, 2013, 22:51 GMT

    I don't think enough is given to Lara. At the time of Lara's retirement I would've only separated him and no one else. However Tendulker has now added 3 thousand runs and 17 centuries to the world records which is extraordinary. It is one thing to catch, like Kapil Dev did to Hadlee, and Kallis could do to Sachin, it is another thing to add 25-50% to the records. Lara's big run scoring was Bradman-like and he did it when big doubles were scored very infrequently. His performance against Steve Waugh's Australia in 1999 is unquestionably the finest by any of this generation. I would also like someone to do the numbers for which wickets Lara's runs were scored - I'm sure Lara would've scored a lot more with the tail than his contemporaries. Of those scoring big doubles today it always seems there's someone else at the other end making a massive score and thus sharing the workload. Lara and Tendulker compare with (going backwards in time) Richards, Pollock, Sobers, Bradman, Hammond...

  • Malay Deb on January 1, 2013, 22:26 GMT

    A great post Michael.

    "Comparison is the death of joy." That's prophetic. Tell that to all those who made a career out of comparing Tendulkar to their assorted personal favourites, just to belittle him. Thankfully most of them are self important typists.

  • Kal on January 1, 2013, 22:14 GMT

    Fair comparison, however I think as in any sport what makes a great player is how well they rise to the occasion. By this I mean how well they perform when their team needs them the most, how often do they save their side from despair or bring them to a winning position. The term "Big game player" comes to mind. With this regard Lara probably has the upper hand as during his era he was the only prolific run scorer for WI, also not to mention his big 100's in victorious test run chases. Dravid probably doesn't get the recognition he deserves for his 2 doubles against Aus which resulted in great wins. Personal land marks and glory are great but Cricket is a team sport and non of it matters if those personal glory's helped the team out when they needed it the most. Best example Ali Cook in India last few weeks. Instrumental in their victory.

  • David on January 1, 2013, 22:00 GMT

    Sangakkara isn't even close to the others. He and Jayawardene make stacks of runs at home and then average below 40 in half of the other Test-playing nations.

  • Ben on January 1, 2013, 21:55 GMT

    No, Sangakkara is not the best of this group. Kallis and Ponting stand clearly above the overrated Tendulkar and Lara.

    Both South Africa and Australia have always played positive, active cricket, aiming to win the game. Whereas India and WI (particularly Lara, not the super teams from the 80's) would play for the draw - which allowed a lot more building of large totals. Australian and South African players have always had a lot more pressure to play for the team, rather than to achieve individual status.

    Secondly, Ponting and Kallis have played against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe a lot less than Sangakkara and Tendulkar.

    Thirdly, Kallis and Ponting have played more cricket on the bowler friendly pitches in SA and Aus. Tendulkar and Sangakkara have had that side of things easier as well.

    While I think Tendulkar is grossly overrated and Sangakkara underrated, neither are as good as Ponting or Kallis.

  • Pankaj on January 1, 2013, 20:45 GMT

    To put Sangakara on top, the first reason is his fatigueness to keep Murli. Kinda stupid argument because Sangakara never got to face the most successful bowler of all times. Batting at 4 vs 3 is probably the worst argument I have every heard, really???

  • Mick Spry on January 1, 2013, 20:34 GMT

    people will always compare greatness, they even have a rating list on the offical ICC stats to compare all time cricketers. This is very unpopular as is makes Tendulkar the all time 26th best test batsman. Not many would agree with that. But it dose compare using the same formular for everyone not just opinon. Interesting is the all time world eleven has 5 of its top six battsman from the top 10 on that list the odd man out being SRT at 26. Or the other way of looking would be Ponting not in the first or second world XI but is number three on that same list?

  • Murugan B on January 1, 2013, 20:11 GMT

    I am not sure why Mahela is left out in this article. Mahela is far more better batsman than Sanga. Mahela's batting style is comparable to eye catching Dravid, Lara, SRT style. Whereas Sanga's style is kind of average like Cook and Kallis.

  • Match on January 1, 2013, 20:06 GMT

    How do you quantify greatness? It either is or is not. In the case of those players mentioned, watching Dravid, Ponting or Kallis playing against your team gave you a feeling that they were invulnerable, whereas watching Sangakkara was like watching a real artist at work and Lara, when he got going just gave you a sinking feeling as you watched the game quickly go away from your team. One thing they are/were is matchwinners, enough said. But it is so much harder to achieve this sort of greatness when you are playing in a side that has lost the knack of winning, so my vote has to go to Lara, he had to score as quickly as he did most of the time because he would be running out of partners in no time at all, he held the Windies batting together for a decade singlehandedly, and that is a feat that has to be admired. But this is only my opinion, and there are many ways of explaining how one is better than another, it is probably best to just say they were the greats of their generation.

  • Satish R on January 1, 2013, 19:39 GMT

    An absolutely useless article. Joining the 10,000 club is significant enough and I don't think one can differentiate much between the top 3 batsmen who all did it in 195 innings. The author does admit it is disrespectful to even make such comparisions, but then why write such an article in the first place?? Has he run out of ideas on what topic to choose for writing?

  • Shehzan on January 1, 2013, 19:26 GMT

    Most elegant batsmen I have ever seen and well spoken as well and so r most of the lankan cricketers. One of the Greatest. From a Pakistani fan

  • Ranil Herath on January 1, 2013, 18:58 GMT

    Lara had the backing of a great bowling team so that he could dominate,STR has the backing of a billion & a similar media support & so is the case for Ponting.Sanga without much of those team,population and media help fights his corner to be among the best so receives my vote. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • Justyna on January 1, 2013, 18:52 GMT

    Kallis is the greatest in this list. He is the silent warrior. No one talks about him that much like Indian media does for Tendulkar. Kallis, Lara, Ponting are my first,second, and third. Tendulkar and Sangakkara are both great but highly doubt whether they belonged to the first, second, and third slots.....

  • ranjith on January 1, 2013, 18:49 GMT

    I think Sanga and Lara are the best....

  • Danny Simpson on January 1, 2013, 18:36 GMT

    No I dont think sangakara compares with the other bats mentioned.

    Too me it will always be Lara, Ponting, Tendulkar in that order.

    And the greatest cricketer Kallis. The sobers of our age.

  • Noel on January 1, 2013, 18:35 GMT

    What a great club

  • Rajendra Sahadeo on January 1, 2013, 18:28 GMT

    It is a touch and go for these great players,every one of these guys played to their maximum capability at all levels of the game at various stages of their innings and match situations.It is going to be very difficult to find another bunch as good as these guys in a short space of time,luckily for the present viewers and cricketing fans, all of these greats have played almost together .This is the best bunch of great players for a long time to happen.Good luck to the best of the rest.

  • Anonymous on January 1, 2013, 18:09 GMT

    mr writer can you put an analysis about no of practice matches that touring team had in recent past and compare it with their batsmans avereages.

  • Dilip on January 1, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    Very right. It is very difficult to compare the greats like them and of yesteryears. Every one has some great qualities.

  • ssr on January 1, 2013, 17:27 GMT

    This is not a fair comparison. Sangakkara has scored most of the runs in the subcontinent. since the Sri lankans have mostly played only in the subcontinent.

    Sangakkara is a good batsman no doubt but nowhere in the league of Sachin, Ponting or Lara. Sachin for example had to content with far more potent bowling than Sanga has ever done. Mcgrath, Warne, Ambrose, Walsh, Akram, Younis, Donald, Pollock and even Murali (whom Sanga never faced) are leagues above the trundlers these days. Most of these great bowlers retired before the era of the ridiculous batting pitches. Sanga has benefited from a weak bowling era.

  • Chandra G on January 1, 2013, 17:27 GMT

    One analysis missing. Who played more balls to get 10000 runs? It is test cricket and some one played more balls can claim to be a better batsman as well. I sure Rahul Dravid then will come on top of the list. Sorry had to find a way to put him on top.

  • Sam on January 1, 2013, 17:20 GMT

    I feel Ponting is the greatest as batted on bowler friendly wickets and was captain of the team at the same time. Sangakkara is great but most of his runs have come in Asia where wickets are more suited to batsmen.

  • Rajiv on January 1, 2013, 17:07 GMT

    No of Innings is based on each innings he bats, Well even if the Batsman is not out that innings is counted but stronger batsman's cannot in any way increase the number of innings each player had batted for the calculation of the fastest 10K Runs.

    We therefore should see how many Not Outs are among these 3 Players. Sachin In his 320 innings has 32 Not outs, Kumar has 16 Not Outs of his 195 Innings and Lara has only 5.

    Rest is for you to find it out

  • Justyna on January 1, 2013, 17:03 GMT

    Kallis is the greatest in this list. He is the silent warrior. No one talks about him that much like Indian media does for Tendulkar. Kallis, Lara, Ponting are my first,second, and third. Tendulkar and Sangakkara are both great but highly doubt whether they belonged to the first, second, and third slots.....

  • Lav on January 1, 2013, 16:54 GMT

    How many runs has Sangakara scored in South Africa,England & Australia ? The answer will rule Sangakara out of the hunt.

    Likes of Sachin,Lara,Dravid & Kallis can't be compared. They are equals

  • james on January 1, 2013, 16:53 GMT

    Seems you have difficulty in your anology or your are not sure of the record. 10000 runs comes from batting and batting only nothing else plays a part in this record. ???

  • Ravi on January 1, 2013, 16:50 GMT

    Sangakkara's most of the runs came against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, West Indies etc. Need to compare these legends against the runs they made against better oppositions. Ponting never required to play against aussie quality bowlers. My rating would be Lara, Tendulkar, Ponting and then Sangakkara

  • N. Sundararajan on January 1, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    All that you have written are valid. But, being from India, I would still rate Dravid as the best of them all--merely as a batsman and fielder (consider his slip catching record ---which you have omitted to mention). He was a total team man---more than Tendulkar, and if you discout Tendulkar's longevity mainly due to his early induction into Tests, then the value of Dravid will come though better ! As all-rounder, Kallis is THE GREATEST EVER--with due respect to Gary Sobers too ! But, each of these was great in his own way! Best not to compare, but merely rejoice in having seen these greats at play !

  • Abi Jabbal on January 1, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    So.... Where does Sangakkara sit in the 10000 Club?

  • Abi Jabbal on January 1, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    So.... Where does Sangakkara sit in the 10000 Club?

  • Kc69 on January 1, 2013, 16:44 GMT

    But the time at which he got his 10000 its probably the worst among the list.

  • Ponniah on January 1, 2013, 16:35 GMT

    10,000 runs scored in the following order in their careers Dravid 11 yrs, 280 days Sankakara 12 years 174 days Ponting 12 years 159 days Kaliss 13 years 74 days Lara 13 years 250 days Allan Border 14 years 4days Jeyawardene 14 years 146 days Tendulakr 15 years ... days. SM Gavaskar 15 years 263 days Stev Waugh 17 yrs 7days Chanders 18 years 37 days.

    Chanders long term in scoring 10,000 has been caused by run out of partners, dropped out in the team and less support in the team and different place in batting.

    Although Dravid is the one who got out in 90tees most time, he is still in the fastest seat even though he scored slowly to save matched or making sure winnings

    Tendulkar is the slowest coach in current indian team and all of his record will be broken by Kalliss if is picked up for test and one day series. Kaliss is the best modern era all rounder and no team has someone in his calibre except Mathiews (SL). It is too early for mathiews.

  • Anonymous on January 1, 2013, 16:34 GMT

    I Have to say Lara's 375 and 400 are Selfish and he made them at Antigua which isnt the biggest ground in the world (50 Meter boundaries)

  • Ranil Fernando on January 1, 2013, 16:34 GMT

    Sangakkasa is not the best in that club but he is neck to neck every other player. One thing i need to mention is that we had only one genuine match winning baller (murali). This too add pressure to a batsman.

  • Martin Zakour on January 1, 2013, 16:23 GMT

    I would say it's a tough choice between Tendulkar and Lara. What I can say is the match winning 153* played by Lara against Australia in 1999 was the best test innings I ever saw.

  • Eran on January 1, 2013, 16:19 GMT

    Sanga's average rises to nearly 70 when playing as a pure batsman. Astouding stuff

  • moazam on January 1, 2013, 15:32 GMT

    Brian lara carried his team alone...he alone dominated the opposition in the batting department...if he performed then west indies won...sangakkara had the added pressure of wicket keeping..and that makes him the 2nd best in the ten thousand club...Tendulkar had the burden of a billion peoples hope but that should not be a factor as the both the other batsmen also have the same pressure...and when you have the support of so many people then that should be a helping factor rather than a stopping factor...I ll choose brian lara any day..

  • Ray on January 1, 2013, 15:10 GMT

    Since all 3 and Ponting are so close in innings played.. The actual #1 (fastest 10,000 runs) should be based on Balls Faced to reach 10,000 runs.. I think there Lara comes 1st, then Ponting, Tendulkar and then Sanga.. But this stat needs to be rechecked.. the point is... Balls faced is more appropriate rather than Innings played.. Sanga must be the "all most" fulltime keeper to reach that mark.. though Dravid has kept wickets sometimes..

  • Anonymous on January 1, 2013, 15:01 GMT

    check the number of practice matches these batsmans played in a tour that will show you a big different.sanga might have less number of practice matches.SriLanka always had very small period of time to settle in condition.SL hardly get 3 matches test series.lot of away series were 2 test matches. that will tell you the different

  • Markro2015 on January 1, 2013, 14:58 GMT

    When you discuss players as classy as these, comparison is really pointless. As individuals they have all graced the game and given us endless hours of pleasure, quite often when they are taking the game away from our own team.

  • Vikas on January 1, 2013, 14:58 GMT

    Lara and Tendulkar stand above Sangakkara just because they played in the era of the 90s when there were bowling pitches around and great fast bowlers at your throat.That only 3 batsmen including Steve Waugh averaged in the 50s during that time gives you a perspective of the importance of their runs.Nowadays lot of average batsmen constantly average in the 50s in Tests.

  • omkar on January 1, 2013, 14:48 GMT

    Your last sentence is the most telling in your article.

  • sadeesh on January 1, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    Great read Michael!

  • Ravi M on January 1, 2013, 14:14 GMT

    Seriously!? Comparing Sangakkara to Tendulkar & Lara?! Leaving out Zim, Sanga played only 30 Tests outside Asia. Ave of 40.9! Five 100s in 58 innings (2 of those v NZ in 7 I). His ave in 1st team innings drops to 33 - clear indication of struggle on "lively" wickets. Not to mention that what we now consider "lively" was called "flat" in the 90s when Tendulkar & Lara piled on. Purely on individual brilliance, even Ponting & Kallis will fall behind those two. For Kallis, never ending struggle in England (until very recently). Don't even want to mention how Murali toyed with him. As for Ponting, barring his poor show in India before permanently moving to no.3 (respectable 39.5 since - decent 44.5 if you leave out one off Mumbai dead-rubber in '04), he was magnificent against everyone, everywhere. Ricky's response to 2005 Ashes loss (scoring 2000+ runs in 15 Tests at an ave of 84 with TEN 100s before regaining the urn) was what placed him in the same bracket as SRT & BCL in my book.

  • vasan on January 1, 2013, 14:04 GMT

    Yaa Mark,Comparison is the death of joy.Sanga derserved to be on top of the list because he has scored against best bowling attack in the world

  • Kevin on January 1, 2013, 13:57 GMT

    Hey dude. Surely sanga is better than lara, sachin, ponting, dravid, kallis.

  • Chatura Ranaweera on January 1, 2013, 13:48 GMT

    I think as the author alluded to, this is a complex question and I think anybody who tries to pick one person is either biased or is not considering all the factors to be considered. My view is that there is nothing much separating them. They are the greatest batsmen of the modern era and they are on this list for that very reason. It is always interesting to try and rank things. Sometimes, it is just not possible, because there are too many variables, even when comparing contemporaries. If I was forced to pick, I would pick Sanga - but then, I am Sri Lankan born!

  • Awshad Rahim on January 1, 2013, 13:31 GMT

    I think the credit & No1 should be Sangakkara,because he has got these runs with too much pressure on his shoulders as Sri Lanka has been in the receiving end in Tests all the time.Tendulkar played with good batsmen above him & good bowlers too.Brian Lara too was class,but he too had good batsmen to support him with the bowling attack of West Indies at the time which we all know.

  • Mujtaba on January 1, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    Comparison based on number of innings is unfair. I would always measure greatness based on the performance against best bowlers of the times. Lara and Sachin have faced Akram, Ambrose, McGrath, Donald, Younis and Pollock. If we check modern day batsmen record in the matches where one the mentioned greats was there, it looks like the following (minimum innings =50): Lara: runs = 3761, avg = 42.73, innings = 90 Sachin: runs = 2853, avg = 39.62, innings = 75 Inzamam: runs = 2176, avg = 41.05, innings = 57 Dravid: runs = 2074, avg = 36.38, innings = 62 Kallis: runs = 2039, avg = 43.38, innings = 55 Laxman: runs = 1667, avg = 34.72, innings = 51

    Its clear that those great fast bowlers have reduced both runs per inning and averages significantly. No disrespect to Sangakara, he is great, but he did not face those guys. To me its Lara, followed by Sachin and then a group of greats(Kallis, Ponting, Inzi, Dravid, Sanga, Sehwag, KP, Mahela ...)

  • richard on January 1, 2013, 13:24 GMT

    Best to enjoy each of them on their merits. Great players weave more magic into the evolving tapestry of cricket. They leave a trace for us to forever wonder at and try to emulate.

  • Rajiv Radhakrishnan on January 1, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    The 10,000 run club continues to be a special place only for a select few. No-one can argue about the quality of its ll members. I would say Border is the most impressive member. For a while he was Australia's only star player, and captain. He also has to face the might of the West Indies.

  • Tickcric on January 1, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    Actually there is not much to separate these batsmen and that's why the debate is so hot. My take, 1. Tendulkar the best batsman. 2. Ponting the best Test match batsman. 3 Kallis the best cricketer. 4. Lara the most beautiful batsman. 1. Simply because of the cumulative numbers and the difference with the 2nd best in runs/ centuries Tendulkar has to be given the number one spot among batsmen across the formats. 2. I must confess I am not really sure why not Kallis, Sachin or Lara. Simply put I thought ( ya nothing more than that) his innings had greater 'impact'. Appologies to the rest for that! 3. Well, does this need explanation. Kallis has only two peers and none of the them from the modern era - Sobers & Bradman. Yes, really!4. In Beauty Lara the 'Prince' stands supreme among these greats and I think most will agree.

  • l.siddhartha orie on January 1, 2013, 13:02 GMT

    While the 10,000 club comprises the geniuses of cricket, the one factor in the equation that tips the scale in Tendulkar's favour is that his 10,000 was made alongside his other 10,000 in the other format of the game.

  • Nick on January 1, 2013, 12:58 GMT

    Another consideration could be the quality of opposition each batsman has faced. To this point of time, Sangakkara has batted in 20 innings against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Ponting only 9, and Kallis 14 despite playing five years more (to date). Tendulkar and Dravid have both played 23 innings, but have respectively played 11 and four years longer.

    As you say, there can be no right or wrong answer, and I'm in no way trying to argue Sangakkara's extraordinarily good record (his record filtered without the above mentioned countries is still exemplary). I think it is worth pointing out though. In particular the 2004 tour of Zimbabwe before their test status was suspended... A few Sri Lankan batsmen were gifted an increase to their averages in that tour!

  • Jay on January 1, 2013, 12:54 GMT

    It would be interesting to see each players average in a condition eg. in Australia, England, India.

  • Luke on January 1, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    After some statistical analysis to favour Ricky Ponting, provided by myself, I declare Ponting the greatest batsman to 10,000 runs, followed by Lara, Sangakkara, Dravid and then brining up the tail, Tendulkar.

  • Kamrankhalid on January 1, 2013, 12:50 GMT

    Beautifully written article. All of them deserve their place in the books and in the hearts of the their fans. You cannot take anything away from anyone. Greatness is in the eyes of the fans. I like all of them but I am more of a Inzi fan. For me he was the greatest yet he is not even the best in his own country. So greatness cannot be determined by statistics.

  • Shishir on January 1, 2013, 12:48 GMT

    Finally, a writer who did understand the beauty and style of Dravid's defence. I have always felt that Dravid's game has been very stylish, even his defence and his shouldering arms. they were perfect. And his coverdrives and ondrives were again a thing of beauty. I, somehow, haven't been able to find that beauty in Kallis' game(I'm putting Kallis here since Dravid and Kallis are generally dour batsmen). However, just as with Sanga (who is another colossus), Kallis has had to shoulder the dual responsibilities of batting and bowling. And as said by Michael above, he is a study in durability. So, I think all these greats a equal, in the final analysis. SRT singlehandedly used to shoulder the Indian batting till 1997 (when RD, SG, VVS came) and he was exciting to watch and aggressive. And Kallis, I guess, is the Greatest All Rounder.(I meant, FullStop!). Lara was always exciting to watch & has played some great innings. And Ricky was also exciting, while Sanga's game was pristine beauty.

  • Guest63 on January 1, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    In my humble opinion , if the criteria is reaching 10,000 runs , then the only criteria for this hair spliting at the 10,000 level among The 3 SG , ST , BR , would be how many times in those 195 innings , the contribution of those 10,000 runs from each three Sachin , Lara and Sangakara , contributed towards their team winning the test matches in which those runs were scored ,

    So if Sachin's 10,000 in 195 innings (roughly 98 testes matches India won more tests , he is the top rank , likewise , if Brian lara did that for west indies or Sangakara doing it for Srilanka .......

    Personally for me Ricky Ponting was head and shoulders above all his contempories as the best cricketer , the best leader , the best motivators of his soldiers ... No one comes any closer to him

    Both Lara and sachin were failed leaders of their respective packs

  • Anonymous on January 1, 2013, 12:35 GMT

    Lovely article Jeh! Fair call on saying greatness cannot be compared and love your use of proverbs.

  • Chanuka Weir on January 1, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    I think its better to not to compare these batters, like you said there are way too many variables to account with. Also, the majority of Indian community are obsessed with Sachin rather than thinking with facts. So you will end up getting harsh feedback, which you don't deserve. But I see where you coming from, there is no crime of being passionate about this wonderful game. I'm a SriLankan and my choice of the great is Lara.

  • rohit on January 1, 2013, 12:30 GMT

    Sangakkara has reached early due to most of the runs scored in his home only. he has pathetic record in other places. he is not in the league of sachin,lara,ponting,dravid,waugh,kallis

  • Ziyam on January 1, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    Great & meaningful thought I believe @ this new era sangakkara one of the great batsmen

  • Rohan on January 1, 2013, 12:24 GMT

    Interesting conversation material, a little pointless though. I'd certainly have Sanga up there with those guys but if you look at it from another viewpoint, of the 'aura' one carried, you'd have to say perhaps he might linger a little further behind the others, especially the 'big three', Lara, Tendulkar, Ponting. Like Dravid and Kallis, opponents knew it would be tough to get Sanga out and if they did it cheaply it was cause for great celebration. However with the big guns, it kind of always felt like something special would be needed to get them out and if you didn't, watch out! Lara and Ponting won many, many games for their countries, probably more than a few from causing their opponents to wilt a little just seeing them come in to bat. Those pommy bowlers during the 90s weren't always bad bowlers but boy did they go to water facing these two! Tendulkar too caused bowlers to change their shorts but they knew he wouldn't do it for two days! My vote: Lara 1, Ponting 1.01, the rest..

  • Sky Baba on January 1, 2013, 12:20 GMT

    None of them really stands out do they?....not like Bradman did. By the only true measure of greatness that can exist: how one compares to one's contemporaries; Kallis by virtue of being both one of the best batsman, and one of the best bowlers, is the only active player that can be considered truly great, and the only truly great player since Murali, Warne and McGrath retired. All of the rest: Lara, Tendulkar, Ponting, Sangakarra, Dravid, Chanderpaul, Pietersen etc. etc. they're all very good players; among the best of their era, but none stand out as clearly the very best. Apart from Kallis, there isn't a Bradman, Murali or Sobers amongst them.

  • Chilla38 on January 1, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    I am Australian and just lucky enough to have been able to watch the modern masters in Ponting, Tendulkar, Lara, Kallis et al. In my view, Sangakkara sits quite happily and easily with this company. I distinctly remember watching him in Hobart deposit the Aussie bowlers all over the park and but for a dodgy LBW decision, he would have made 200 plus rather than 192. Kumar is technically correct and has all of the shots. In addition to his skills with the bat, he is also anambassador for the game and his country. He will be remembered as a batting legend and an absolute ornament to the great game of cricket.

  • Violinsolo on January 1, 2013, 12:12 GMT

    Not a word about Sangakkara doing most of his big scoring at home, often against silly opposition like Zimbabwe or Bangladesh. And nothing yet about the reduced pressure to score, since Muralitharan is always a threat to reduce the opposing batsmen to shreds. I am sure there are more factors I can come up with. If you wish to analyze some of them, then you should at least have the same number of pros and cons for each player!

  • Abhik Chakraborty on January 1, 2013, 11:59 GMT

    Fantastic piece of writing, Michael Jeh compares some of the finest batters of all time, and does so very appreciably. I agree that there is not much to choose between these stalwarts, and when you look at the sort of attack against which the runs came, on the kind of pitches and how that contributed to the team (both towards result and to ease their peers)--all of these players are/were irreplaceable. The vote is a divided one, as it should be.

  • bhasker on January 1, 2013, 11:45 GMT

    I think the one who scored most of his runs outside his country should standout

  • Darshan on January 1, 2013, 11:31 GMT

    All of the mentioned players are brilliant and only Kallis and Sanga did not play as pure batsman. To get there without playing as a pure batsman puts these two in a class of their own... Kallis ahead of Sanga because of the overs he bowled and continues to bowl. Based solely on batting performance and batting performance alone it has to be said that Lara holds the edge because he had to bear the brunt of WI run scoring soaking up pressure with arguably only Shiv as support. All others have had great batsman around them to ease the pressure. We have all seen Kallis's numbers increase significantly since Amla came good. All of them are brilliant players who will be missed in a few years to come. It has been a joy to watch these great's of the modern era.

  • Daya Ratnayake on January 1, 2013, 11:18 GMT

    Sanga is fit in 10,000 club but you can not compare the cricketers among each other I think, reason is game changing from era to era and batsmen' approach withing the game I suppose therefor they all equally recognized and talented if you reached to the 10,000 club.

  • Kaushal on January 1, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    Amongst all these absolute legends of the game, it is pretty tough to compare as to who is at the top of the 10000 runs club. By sheer weight of runs, it'll have to be Sachin. But then, Dravid and Sangakkara have experienced the pressure of coming in to the brand new ball and fresh new ball bowlers much oftener than Sachin, Ponting, or Lara. (Face it, Langer or Hayden failing, and Ponting coming in at 0/1 was a real rarity, while India and SL tend to lose their first wicket for not much on the board). And that's a whole different kind of pressure, which just makes Dravid and Sangakkara's runs worth their weight in gold. Kallis and Lara cannot be taken out of context. Kallis, just because he does so much with such great consistency, and Lara, who scored all his runs despite the team crumbling around him ever so often.

  • Sulaimaan on January 1, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    As pure batsmen, Lara and Sachin will be above the rest, simply because they faced the best bowling attacks and dominated them.Sanga can be bracketed alongside Dravid and Ponting but Kallis will always remain in my 'greatest cricketer ever' and as the article says we might never ever see a player like him again.

  • muzamil hussain on January 1, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    comparison for the sake of understanding the greatness is always fruit-full strategy. when it comes to the likes of sangakara, kallis. tandolkar and lara, they all are die-hard crickters in their own capacities. i firmaly believe the way lara and sangakara fight within their ranks is unmatchable , purely because, they bring audacity and maturity to their betting with added responsibility.

  • Todd on January 1, 2013, 11:07 GMT

    You didn't mention the types of pitches that each of these people typically played on and the opponents. If Lara had played most of his matches in Sri-Lanka against Bangladesh he might have averaged 200.

  • ap on January 1, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    I love this piece, crickets seems less without them although i know its not. Kallis is the best imo, but Dravid was my favourite. gg Michael

  • Peter on January 1, 2013, 10:55 GMT

    Two other factors that Ricky Ponting has in his favour are: 1) making his runs with the added pressure of being captain for the second half of his career, and 2) what he actually achieved with the runs he made, namely Test match and series victories. Adds a whole lot more context to Ponting's achievements, without necessarily stating that he was the most technically superior player in this list.

  • Ravi on January 1, 2013, 10:55 GMT

    Unarguably, Tendulkar is the greatest of this era. No doubt, he got great support from Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman and Sehwag but these players either started performing consistently from 2001 or not a class Test match batsmen (I'm talking about Ganguly here. He was never a world class Test batsman). Whereas Tendulkar scored most of his 10000 runs before 2001. Moreover everyone knows how Indian bowling attack was during 1990's so he has to carry that extra pressure as well while batting knowing his bowling attack need more runs on the board. Lara comes second because he had excellent bowling attack during first half of his career. Another point to note is Tendulkar has excellent record in Australia, SA and Eng (basically he has excellent record everywhere except Pakistan) where batting has been difficult. Same can't be said of Lara and others. Tendulkar is the greatest. Period.

  • Musa on January 1, 2013, 10:53 GMT

    I don't you'd get too far in trying to compare these batsmen and determining a 'best' but agree that Jacques Kallis' durability is likely to set him apart from all of the aforementioned players. I think that we, the cricket viewing public should take note of what an amazing 'era' of world cricket we have been privy to in the last 20(ish) years to have witnessed these milestones and to note the varied manner in which these players have achieved them.

  • Rohan on January 1, 2013, 10:51 GMT

    I am from Sri Lanka, Sangakkara country. I think it bring enough joy to all of us here in Sri Lanka to see him in the same league as Tandulkar and Lara. No need to pick a number 1. Period.

  • ca2ca on January 1, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    Big point is Sangakkara had one more burden which is not mentioned in this column. Addition to wicket keeping he held the captaincy for several years(such as Tandulkar). Anyway all are geniuses.

  • Adam on January 1, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    If I were to rate the top batsmen in the current era, it would be like this. From a pure batting point of view.

    Tendulkar Lara Ponting Dravid Kallis Sangakkara Chanderpaul Jayawardene

  • Rushil on January 1, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    Each of the above player is a legend... Comparing them is a good discussion to have but one will never get to definitive conclusion... I have been lucky to follow these legends who just love to bat...

  • dimuthu on January 1, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    It is better to say three of them(sanga,tendukar & kallis) are equally better players in 10000 club.but overall cricket history, i will give number-01 place to Kallis.he is most amazing player we had in the cricket history

  • Jackwin - RockcityGuy on January 1, 2013, 10:32 GMT

    Nice article. A little diplomatic though..:-)i believe Sanga's a good batsman but to bracket him with the Big 3 of lara sachin and ricky is a little weird cuz even kallis and dravid are not considered a part of that exalted company in general.Then again its my personal opinion...:-) But for all this talk of the present i believe very soon Cook and Kohli will rewrite all test and odi records respectively. Amla's a little short of time and this golden run will not last forever...I'M also looking forward to BOSSISTO and CHAND...too early but yeah..:-)

  • Vivek Dahiya on January 1, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    Good comparison. No doubt Sangakarra is a great player but still amount of run scored against quality opposition in testing conditions such as australia and south africa, Lara and Sachin are better. Both of them have played some really outstanding innings that can be remembered for long.

  • Ross on January 1, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    It's simply impossible to compare them, especially with all other mitigating factors present. Each Test had its own significance.

  • Jaminda Mendis on January 1, 2013, 10:26 GMT

    This is a great analysis - 100 out 0f 100 great !

  • Adam on January 1, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    If I were to rate the top batsmen in the current era, it would be like this. From a pure batting point of view.

    Tendulkar Lara Ponting Dravid Kallis Sangakkara Chanderpaul Jayawardene

  • shanep on January 1, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    Without doubt my favourite of this group to watch was Lara, that beautiful back lift and follow through, followed closely by Sanga, lovely classical stance and technique. But no one could dominate a bowling attack like Ponting, and batting at three he probably shouldered more pressure and faced more new balls and fresh opening bowlers than the ones coming in lower in the order. His lower averages may be an indication of this.

    You summed it up with the Mark Twain quote though “Comparison is the death of joy.”

  • greatshinwari on January 1, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    i think LARA should be placed at top followed by the SANGA and then the little master 10DULKAR...It is a fact that tendulkar had support of the great dravid ganguly laxman and viru and sanga was supported by mahela and samaraweera so i think lara should on top of the list...

  • Athol Henwick on January 1, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    Hear hear Michael, the debate about who is greatest must in the end seem churlish. Enough to appreciate the greatness of the players and watch in awe as they continue to inspire, awe and entertain us with their sublime skill. All hail Tendulkar, Kallis, Sangakkara, Lara, Dravid and Ponting. I have my favourite but that is a nationalistic and dare I say, narrow view.

  • nobee007@hotmail.com on January 1, 2013, 9:57 GMT

    This is real truth. Sangakkara and Lara got 300 more than tendulkar. You are right, Sangakkara is the best

  • Sami on January 1, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    You forget to mention inzamam in your greats.. Isn't he belong to this club of palyers?

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  • Sami on January 1, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    You forget to mention inzamam in your greats.. Isn't he belong to this club of palyers?

  • nobee007@hotmail.com on January 1, 2013, 9:57 GMT

    This is real truth. Sangakkara and Lara got 300 more than tendulkar. You are right, Sangakkara is the best

  • Athol Henwick on January 1, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    Hear hear Michael, the debate about who is greatest must in the end seem churlish. Enough to appreciate the greatness of the players and watch in awe as they continue to inspire, awe and entertain us with their sublime skill. All hail Tendulkar, Kallis, Sangakkara, Lara, Dravid and Ponting. I have my favourite but that is a nationalistic and dare I say, narrow view.

  • greatshinwari on January 1, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    i think LARA should be placed at top followed by the SANGA and then the little master 10DULKAR...It is a fact that tendulkar had support of the great dravid ganguly laxman and viru and sanga was supported by mahela and samaraweera so i think lara should on top of the list...

  • shanep on January 1, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    Without doubt my favourite of this group to watch was Lara, that beautiful back lift and follow through, followed closely by Sanga, lovely classical stance and technique. But no one could dominate a bowling attack like Ponting, and batting at three he probably shouldered more pressure and faced more new balls and fresh opening bowlers than the ones coming in lower in the order. His lower averages may be an indication of this.

    You summed it up with the Mark Twain quote though “Comparison is the death of joy.”

  • Adam on January 1, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    If I were to rate the top batsmen in the current era, it would be like this. From a pure batting point of view.

    Tendulkar Lara Ponting Dravid Kallis Sangakkara Chanderpaul Jayawardene

  • Jaminda Mendis on January 1, 2013, 10:26 GMT

    This is a great analysis - 100 out 0f 100 great !

  • Ross on January 1, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    It's simply impossible to compare them, especially with all other mitigating factors present. Each Test had its own significance.

  • Vivek Dahiya on January 1, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    Good comparison. No doubt Sangakarra is a great player but still amount of run scored against quality opposition in testing conditions such as australia and south africa, Lara and Sachin are better. Both of them have played some really outstanding innings that can be remembered for long.

  • Jackwin - RockcityGuy on January 1, 2013, 10:32 GMT

    Nice article. A little diplomatic though..:-)i believe Sanga's a good batsman but to bracket him with the Big 3 of lara sachin and ricky is a little weird cuz even kallis and dravid are not considered a part of that exalted company in general.Then again its my personal opinion...:-) But for all this talk of the present i believe very soon Cook and Kohli will rewrite all test and odi records respectively. Amla's a little short of time and this golden run will not last forever...I'M also looking forward to BOSSISTO and CHAND...too early but yeah..:-)