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Editor of Intelligent Life magazine and a former editor of Wisden

Flawed yet fascinating

Shane Warne's list of the top 50 cricketers of his time is everything a list ought to be: provocative, surprising, talked-about, and, in places, plain wrong

Tim de Lisle

September 4, 2007

Comments: 58 | Text size: A | A



Of Steve Waugh's 32 Test centuries, 25 led to victories, yet Shane Warne called him a match-saver, not a match-winner © Getty Images
Cricket generates a lot of lists. So do the modern media. There are now so many lists coming at you that even a list-lover may be left feeling a little listless. But Shane Warne's list of the top 50 cricketers of his time, published last week in The Times, bucked the trend. It was everything a list ought to be: provocative, surprising, talked-about, and, in places, plain wrong.

Most players who have columns are about as good at writing as journalists are at batting and bowling, but Warne is one of the exceptions. He always has opinions and where others might soften them to spare their fellow pros' feelings, he is more than happy to give offence. He takes the same approach with his top 50. He throws himself into it, grasping that, just like any other game, it wouldn't be fun if you didn't take it seriously.

The Warne we know and love, or hate, or both, is on full view here. He cheats, in a minor way: three times he places two players level, and he forgets that if you have two people at 27th, you can't then have one at 28th. In fact, he has two more at 28th, and another two for good measure at 29th, so his top 30 is a top 33.

He also settles a few scores. He places Mark Waugh 12th and Steve 26th. You can certainly argue that Mark was the more gifted twin, the greater stylist, the better catcher, the more useful one-day player. But better player full stop? No way. Steve put a much higher price on his wicket. And he was also a great captain, a quality which Warne cannot see, even though he values it in both Steve's predecessors, Mark Taylor (9th) and Allan Border (4th).

Warne's rationale is that, as a batsman, Steve was "a match-saver rather than a match-winner", and, as a captain, he was "handed" a "wonderful team" by Taylor. The match-saving idea is baffling. Of Waugh's 32 Test centuries, 25 led to victory, and only two to draws. The captaincy line isn't much more accurate. He did inherit a great team, but he took it to another level - and he did it by virtually eliminating the draw, so to accuse him of being a match-saver is doubly unfair.

Warne fails to convince anyone that Steve Waugh was as ordinary as he makes out (below Darren Lehmann and Brett Lee? Come off it). But he tells us a few other things: that one of the greatest teams ever had a rift running through it, with Warne on one side and Steve Waugh and Adam Gilchrist (20th on Warne's list, when he would make many people's All-time World XI) on the other. Perhaps he is also saying that he is still sore about being passed over for the captaincy in favour of Steve Waugh, and later for the vice-captaincy in favour of Gilchrist. Which makes their achievement all the greater. These men played a lot of Tests together. Gilchrist took more stumpings off Warne than Ian Healy (10th) did - and more catches. Just think how good they would have been if they'd all been close mates.

Warne is not unkind to the English, but he can't find room for Graham Thorpe, a better Ashes cricketer than Atherton or Stewart, or for Darren Gough, who took 74 Ashes wickets at 30
Here are the rest of Warne's top ten anomalies:
  • Does Warne have too much respect for batsmen? His top two are Tendulkar and Brian Lara. Yet Glenn McGrath, who is 4th, has won more matches than either.
  • Merv Hughes is 18th, about 50 places too high. Hughes was a totem and a trouper, but also a bit of a trundler.
  • Wasim Akram is 6th, Waqar Younis 45th. Akram was the better bowler in their dotage, but in the early 90s, Waqar was dynamite. You might put him 10 to 15 places behind Wasim (who could also bat), but not 40.
  • Brett Lee is 24th, above both Shaun Pollock (27th) and Allan Donald (33rd). Lee is great when the force is with him, but for consistency, economy and sheer class, Pollock and Donald are way ahead.
  • Warne acknowledges three of the best batsmen-keepers, Gilchrist (20th on his list, Test average 48), Andy Flower (36th, average as a keeper 53) and Alec Stewart (44th, average as a keeper 34). But two others are nowhere to be seen. With Mahendra Singh Dhoni, it's probably because he hasn't played many Tests yet (20, average 36). With Kumar Sangakkara (48 Tests as keeper, average 42), there is no such get-out. Has Warne forgotten him, or is he not a fan of his educated style?
  • Warne includes 20 Aussies, which sounds a lot. But he finds no room for the silky skills of Damien Martyn, or, more criminally, for two one-day finishers - Michael Bevan (the best ever) and Mike Hussey (also very good, and a Test match-winner too). Nor is there any sign of Dean Jones, who, along with Javed Miandad, practically invented one-day middle-overs batting. The places given to Tim May, Darren Berry and Jamie Siddons should have gone to these three.
  • Warne is not unkind to the English, finding room for eight of his Ashes opponents. But not too many England fans would recognise them as the eight best players of the last 15 years. Graham Gooch is top of the Poms at 15th, followed by Andrew Flintoff (16th), Kevin Pietersen (30th), Robin Smith (32nd), Michael Vaughan (35th), Steve Harmison (37th), Mike Atherton (43rd) and Alec Stewart (44th). Warne shows respect to all the England captains he faced, except one of the best, Nasser Hussain. He also favours Anglo-South Africans - although South Africans who stay in South Africa go down less well (no Jonty Rhodes, Makhaya Ntini, or Herschelle Gibbs; perhaps their mistake was not to join Hampshire). Most strikingly, he can't find room for Graham Thorpe, a better Ashes cricketer than Atherton or Stewart, or for Darren Gough, who took 74 Ashes wickets at 30 - a record Harmison would love to have.


  • VVS Laxman's 281was probably the best innings by an Indian, but it wasn't enough to win him a place in Warne's list © Getty Images
  • Warne has always been decisive, and with the West Indians he has faced, he decides that they are either geniuses (Lara 2nd, Ambrose 3rd, Walsh 11th) or non-entities - no other player gets a look-in. To some extent this reflects West Indies' fortunes, but Ian Bishop, Richie Richardson and Shiv Chanderpaul all deserve better.
  • Warne is funny about Indians. He lionises Sachin Tendulkar (1st) and pays his respects to Anil Kumble (13th) and Rahul Dravid (14th). But then he forgets about India for some time, and when he does remember, it's all ancient history - Kapil Dev (40th), Ravi Shastri (42nd) and Dilip Vengsarkar (46th). If Shastri is there for the double-hundred he made against the young Warne, that is surely outshone by VVS Laxman's 281, probably the best innings ever by an Indian. And Harbhajan Singh may feel like consulting his lawyers: he has 56 wickets at 24 against Australia, a far better record than Warne has against India. In the end, this exercise, like Warne's whole career, is all about Warne himself. As a piece of selection, it's surprisingly flawed. As a self-portrait, it's fascinating.
  • Do you agree with Warne's list of cricket greats? Tell us here

    Tim de Lisle is a former editor of Wisden. His book Young Wisden: A New Fan's Guide to Cricket is published next month by A&C Black. His website is www.timdelisle.com

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    Posted by nuri on (September 6, 2007, 14:46 GMT)

    People, people.........have u lot forgotten inzamam???? Its fair enough, Shane Warne may have forgotten him, but i was expecting some of the posts to mention his name?? Surely he's a top 10 player...but he didn't even feature in the top 50??

    Posted by CRam on (September 5, 2007, 19:05 GMT)

    I think everyone is entitled to his or her opinion - and all human opinions are flawed. So why sit on judgement on Shane Warne - those are his views on his contemporaries - so be it. Just take it or leave it.

    Posted by ankit123123 on (September 5, 2007, 15:13 GMT)

    one must wonder, did warne do this to get back into the public eye *sigh.* i would have liked to see a fairer assessment. there are some clear examples of oversight in the list. i would have liked to see less aussies, especially those such as leahman and stuart macgill, who surely cannot be considered as being more influential than kumara sangakarra or laxman, or even nassir. vivian richards was explosive in his day to leave him out, is near enough to excludign bradman from the face and pride of cricket. there is going to be a lot of .. "oh what about so and so." but its needed when such lists, riddled with flaws is done to get the attention of the public. also, there are some clear "anamolies" in the article by Tim de Lisle. his suggestion of warne "lionising" him seems to have negative connotations of the man. peeked at the record books recently Tim ?

    Posted by Ajith on (September 5, 2007, 10:31 GMT)

    Warne has a right to his opinion...stats will always reveal a lot many things, but they will always be in retrospect.

    Posted by srzbfz on (September 5, 2007, 9:21 GMT)

    Dear Readers! Why so much of hue and cry about Shane Warne's list of 50/53 players of his era. Every cricketer has the right to publish his own favourite. This is evident that he is trying to ruffle the feathers of certain players. I am watching the game for last 40 years and read no. of autobiographies telling about the game and the players. If you walk in a library, in the sports section you will find maximum no. of books on cricket after chess, telling you who was the best bowler or the best batsman. All these books are written by ex-cricketers or people attached to the game and everyone had difference of opinion. I know one ex-cricketer who used to say Jack Hobs was the greatest batsman and not Bradman because Hobs use to throw away his wicket after completing his century while Bradman use to take fresh guard after completing his century as if he is starting a fresh innings. So there is nothing to worry about, it is his view and everybody has the right to publish his views. RAZA

    Posted by Ratheesh on (September 5, 2007, 7:43 GMT)

    Mr: Warne's list is to an extent sounds good. His listing of Sachin in the top is an extaordinary work, whcih I am admitting Warne's potentiality. On the other hand, he could be included some revered personalities in cricket history like Bradman, Sobers, Vivian Richards, adding to the same some modern players like Jaywardane, Bevan, Kallis to the listed plate.

    Any way hats off for his frankess. Last but no,least, in my opy his name will also definitely grab a post in any top listing.

    Cordially,

    Ratheesh

    Posted by subhajit on (September 5, 2007, 6:23 GMT)

    No doubt the list is full of flaws, but I am happy Sachin is on the top, being an Indian. The article by Tim is excellent. A few comments suggest Tim's criticism is unfair merely because of the reason that it was Warne's personal view.The guys must be hard core Warne supporter. While he's getting as much attention as he could get from his list he's entitled to criticism as well specially when a kid will tell you it's biased. How many matches he has played against Dileep Vengsharkar or even Ravi Shastry? And he thought VVS is not good enough, leave alone his comment about Steve or Gilchrist. I always believed Warne was definitely an over-rated player in spite of his cricketing abilities. Against India or even Srilanka, the best spin playing nations,he has merely a good record, and Aussies and british Media controlling the Cricket fraternity, and the subcontinent merely following their league, he's got more than what he deserved. But that's a different topic. I am here to appreciate Tim

    Posted by Vakheesan on (September 5, 2007, 4:26 GMT)

    Sachin No.1, come on Warney, just becos someone torments you, dosen't mean he's No.1. Yes, Sachin is a great player, the records & stats show that, but if you ask me, the likes of Ponting, Steve Waugh from down under, Sanath & now Mahela from Sri Lanka have much much better records when it comes team winning & they achieving individual milestones. Sachin does not have it in him to single handedly take India to victory when things look glum???? atleast in ODIs

    Posted by Aditya on (September 5, 2007, 0:16 GMT)

    agreed, everyone needs to get over it - its not meant to be an objective assessment of the 50 greatest cricketers of all time, its the 50 greatest that be played with or against and i dont even think it means "greatest" purely in terms of statistics either, otherwise he would never have put Jamie Siddons in there without the many other international batsmen that he wouldve seen, and it is clear one of the reasons he respects Tendulkar so much is because of the immense pressure he is under rather than purely his stats.

    I dont think anybody can really criticse his opinions regarding Australian players either because he has such a great knowledge of their personalities and talents off the field - would you say in your workplace that the bosses are necessarily more talented than anyone else, or that in school the person who got the highest mark was the most intelligent person? No you wouldnt, and he is doing the same thing here.

    Posted by wizardofoz on (September 4, 2007, 22:53 GMT)

    This is Shane Warne's list and, out of all the commentators who have had their say, Warne is the only one to have played cricket with and against everyone on the list. Therefore he has by far the greater credibility. As a great man once said "opinions are like backsides...everyone has one"!!

    Posted by AmissWasGreat on (September 4, 2007, 22:32 GMT)

    I agree with many of the postings. For instance, it is true that it is Warne's personal selection, and therefore in a sense cannot be criticised, but i was also surprised at Steve Waugh's low position. I remember him getting 170-odd on one leg against us at Headingley (I think it was). That was the match that chaged my opinion about who I would have batting if my life depended on the innings. Waugh replaced Boycott that day!

    Posted by Justin on (September 4, 2007, 20:16 GMT)

    ...It amazes me that people are still going on about something so /trivial/. If he ever claimed it to be the definitive guide to Top 50 cricketers ever, that would be 'fascinating'. The only difference between his list and the list of anybody else is that people seem to actually care about his list.

    Posted by sidd on (September 4, 2007, 18:22 GMT)

    well i agree with every one that it is shane list and that he has given his point of view. But one fact stands that sachin and lara are the greatest cricketers and trying to rate glenn mcgrath over them because he has won more matches stands as no example. In the end its about the player you are. All 3 are masters of their own feild but Sachin and lara are a step ahead in terms of what they have achieved.

    Posted by Rgaddam on (September 4, 2007, 18:12 GMT)

    Shane warne is the best spinner in the world cricket history.This is his list and if you accept him as the best spinner then just accept his list.If not just write the rubbish you wanted to.I say sachin tendulkar is the best batsmen in the world cricket.The conditions and with the pressure he played is enough to tell about him.100,000 chanting for sachin at a time and you need perform under that,no sportsperson in the world has never faced that.Playing like that for 18 years is a very serious thing to happen to anyone.For the first ten years of his carrer no bowler in the world scared him.Only after that they a few got chances to dominate him.Even bradman didnt play under such conditions.I dont know whether he could have performed better if he had played.Now sachin may/cant play like he was before but with the way he batted with tremendous pressure he is obsolutely eligible for the number one position.

    Posted by gkhere on (September 4, 2007, 17:33 GMT)

    Nice to see Sachin topping the list ahead of Lara. But Ganguly, Inzy, Sangakkara, Imran Khan, Vivs, Laxman surely misses out. As mentioned by Tim de Lisle, the 281 by Laxman is probably the best performance by an indian. Moreover, Steve 'Tugga' Waugh deserves a higher rating, atleast above Lehmann. It is purely his choice though could have been much better.

    Posted by vijaysoni on (September 4, 2007, 16:40 GMT)

    and about Steven waughs 25 centuries led to victory,tendulkar has played much better test innings than Steven waugh,but still none of his centuries made it to the Wisdon top 100 test innings,the reason is steve waugh had mcgrath and warne which always got him victory unlike sachin tendulkar did anyone saw the scorecard whenever hes scoring century the team total is not even 300(all the batsman were crap) and the other team is scoring 500 plus runs(all the bowlers were crap),how can u win a test match by scoring even a double hundred when u cant take 20 wickets??

    Posted by tarun on (September 4, 2007, 16:39 GMT)

    Clearly ,this list needs to be considered as Warne's personal list of great players.No doubt that Tendulkar,Lara,Ambrose,Mcgrath do get the positions they deserve, but there are some obvious anomalies.Steve Waugh's position cant be justified,neither Brett Lee deserves a place above Donald, Pollock and Waqar Younis.Also no one would ever consider Robin Smith a better batsman than VVS Laxman or Graham Thorpe.Same can be said about regarding Ian Healy a more useful cricketer than Adam Gilchrist,probably the best wicket-keeper batsman in the history of the game.Surely, the basis of this list is more than just cricket ability, may be even Warne's personal relationships.This list is not a true reflection of the game's best players in the last 15 years.

    Posted by vijaysoni on (September 4, 2007, 16:35 GMT)

    well i agree with warne here,If you compare Sachin tendulkar,Brian lara,Steve Waugh and Ricky ponting, i would rate Tendulkar No 1.the reason is hes mentally the toughest of all,after getting injuries like tennis elbow and back problems if you can comeback and play the way tendulkar has shows how mentally tough he is.if any of the players above had gone through similar injuries he would have given up,tell me the name of a single player who got big injuries like tendulkar and performed as good as tendulkar has been after that?? ABout Lara,when was the last time he lead his team to a ODI victory?i dont even remember,you cant call someone no 1 if hes good in one format of the game and average in the other eg Bevan. About Ponting, he has been scoring well in the past 3 years or so,but has someone noticed that out of his 33 TEST centuries 22 are in Australia? only 11 Away from home and that includes teams like Zimbabwe,Bangladesh and West Indies(which isnt good for the last 8 years ).

    Posted by shahid on (September 4, 2007, 16:20 GMT)

    well its a personal view and and its fair. Don't forget that Warne's observation about players is very good. Whatever selection he had, also got some reasons as well. I respect his selections. But dont forget that Warne had mentioned only those players who played with him. Not who played before or after him. So there is no way we could see javed Miandad, Imran Khan or M S Dhoni.

    Posted by Anand on (September 4, 2007, 15:02 GMT)

    Warne's list is purely his opinion. Any list of this nature will attract criticism and spark anger, solely because it's not based on stats. These were his opinions of all cricketing giants, whether they appeared on his list or not. Therefore I see no point in criticising his thoughts, especially if the list was called "Warne's list of top 50 Cricketers" After all, we are all entitled to our own opinions and not to criticising other opinions.

    Posted by wicketman on (September 4, 2007, 14:50 GMT)

    Hello, Yes Shane - Sachin should No. 1 He is/was the best ALLROUND batsmen of his generation. But Mr. Warne slipped up in placement/ or never even considered some other talented cricketers with the rest of the list. The rest of the top ten should be: Martin Crowe, Javed Miandad, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Sunil Gavaskar, Aravinda DeSilva, S. Chanderpaul, Rahul Dravid, not in that particular order.

    Posted by Aussie_in_US on (September 4, 2007, 14:38 GMT)

    Warne has always been one who is more self focused than team focused. He was a great player, but I think his view of Gilly and Steve Waugh gives an indication of what kind of team man he was. If I had to have someone bat for my life, I would want Steve, not Mark. Warne values raw skills and talent. Most value the kind of player who will give you everything everytime, and then a little more. Thanks Steve Waugh for being the kind of player I would like to be. Warney could learn a lot from you.

    Posted by sudip on (September 4, 2007, 14:14 GMT)

    It's time to put the myth that Tendulkar isn't a match winner to bed. Maybe he hasn't played as many match winning innings as Steve Waugh but Waugh played in a much better team. Throughout much of Tendulkar's career he never played with a good attack, except for Kumble, especially in away matches. Tendulkar has played winning innings in Port of Spain, Headingley, Trent Bridge, Multan as well as in India. If India had decent bowlers his innings would have led to wins in Sydney and Wellington too. These would have resulted in series wins. And in 1 day cricket if it wasn't for Tendulkar India would never have reached the 03 final - he top scored in virtually every game until the final. If anything Lara is less of a match winner especially outside the WI. He played with 2 or 3 great bowlers for most of his career and the batting especially throughout the 90s was quite good: hooper, richardson, chanderpaul, gayle. Most of his best innings came in dead matches or the flattest of pitches.

    Posted by Notout_Naveen on (September 4, 2007, 13:48 GMT)

    Warne is a legend and has played cricket over a decade.He has toured all countries so i think while making his top 50 list he has tried his best in selcting all cricketers from different countries without being partial to anyone.

    I think his analysis is fair atleast till 20.He has judged the player on how they have played cricket ahead of what is there statastics or record says.Its purely his analysis so no point in debating on this.

    I have been watching cricket from 90's and its been such a privilage watching sachin's batting.He has demonstrated the cricket world that batting is a beautiful art.All his shots looks so original.He has played all possible shots in cricket if there is any shot that sachin has not played than only god can play that shot.In warne's era no crickter has entertianed cricket lovers all around the world morethan sachin ofcourse lara comes close to him but cant beat sachin.

    As an indian,cricket lover and sachin fan i thank warne for rating sachin No1.

    Posted by Cheers on (September 4, 2007, 13:14 GMT)

    SK Warne - great bowler, great skipper, dreadful selector: probably why he will never become a test selector! Its all very well saying that he can have his opinion etc and sit back and enjoy the players he selected etc, but there are so many stunning errors of judgement that one can't help but chuck one's oar in. I struggle with the concept that D. Lehman was even in the same corridor as S. Waugh - quite frankly stunned - this the most glaring error amongst many of others. I understand that it is very readable and that we should let the fella with 700 wickets have his say blah blah, but if that is the case I blame the editorial department of The Times that have let this tripe be published. Warne once used the old adage that bowlers win test matches, yet he has two batters at the top of the list. If this is a list about the top cricketers of his generation then surely the top of the tree should be dominated by bowlers. He has to make his mind up really as to what he is offering us.

    Posted by CricketFAN21 on (September 4, 2007, 11:39 GMT)

    I agree with people who have said that lets read the list and enjoy/forget it. Its warnes list. Its what he feels. What purpose did Tim de Lisle serve by critising warne? As he said said there are tons of people coming out with lists. why bother?

    Posted by rusty on (September 4, 2007, 11:18 GMT)

    Warne is idiosyncratic, and so is his list. Why should he be politically correct and "fair"? Would he have got where he has if he was? People keep saying the list is only about himself - well, excuse me, but isn't every article and every blog/post about the writer himself)? His personal opinion? (or hers, obviously)

    If he wants to tell us his favorites, why shouldn't he? As Tim de Lisle says, everyone makes lists - why shouldn't Warne? But there is no "wrong" involved, Tim. Just a different perspective.

    Posted by judson_jd on (September 4, 2007, 10:56 GMT)

    I think people should ignore this "Hefty Fifty"... Shane Warne loves controversy and he has just got one now. All the anomalies mentioned are just too perfect. It just goes on to show how ones view can be so prejudiced. Rating the top 50 is not a joke. Shane Warne has just hurried himself. He should have wisely taken a year or more to analyse the players he played with to come with his top 50... It's just a big joke.

    Posted by ritz on (September 4, 2007, 10:45 GMT)

    how can u say tendulkar is not greater than Lara.. he has all the records in the book. I disagree with some selections. Imran Khan should be there like wise sunil G for IND.. dont understand what Harmison, atherton and Smith are doing there. G Thorpe should be there... SL keeper , gibbs, ntini should all be there. I think some of the selections are biost opinios

    Posted by sachin nair on (September 4, 2007, 10:43 GMT)

    i think this is warne's personal list. There is no point discussing who is where and what is wrong. But please Ehsaan don't say tha sachin tendulkar is not a match winner. No 1 choice of Warne is absolutely right.And this is not only because I m indian. Warne has always himself admitted sachin's greatness.

    Posted by jackie786 on (September 4, 2007, 10:21 GMT)

    Warne is entitled to his opinions but most of his Top 50 selections are absolute trash. Most of his picks are personal rather than on any genuine cricketing terms. Warne has stooped quite low by rating Steve Waugh at 26th though I think that he is even better than Tendulkar. Waugh always scored runs when they were most needed unlike Tendulkar and was instrumental in winning the World cup in 1999 when he made that brilliant 125 not out in the most crucial match. You don't have to respect Steve Waugh the man, but Warne should have definitely respected Steve Waugh the cricketer. It is the grudge of Warne that speaks in his Top 50 list because Steve Waugh was preferred to be the Aussie captain ahead of him and Waugh did absolute justice by becoming the most successful test captain ever. And some of Warne's other selections are a disgrace.What has Darren Lehman done to be at 25th spot? Maybe you have got to be Shane Warne's good friend to feature in his Top 50.

    Posted by Siddharth on (September 4, 2007, 10:10 GMT)

    For starters, it's Warne's list and not the Holy Bible. I'd leave it at that but some the author's analysis seems fairly skewed. He argues that McGrath has won more matches than either. But as Warne very correctly points both have performed under far greater weight of expectations and more significantly played in far worse teams. Hypothetically, had Tendulkar played for the Aussies, he would have 'won' more matches due to their superlative bowling attack and brilliant fielding and catching. Hundreds of such arguments can be put forth and all of them will only highlight the fact that the list is nothing but a former player's opinion - however 'illogical' or 'preferential' it may seem.

    Posted by Kassto on (September 4, 2007, 9:59 GMT)

    Talk about damning Steve Waugh with faint praise -- it was quite remarkable. Warne's column was entertainment -- revealing as much about him as about anything else.

    Posted by bluebillion on (September 4, 2007, 9:08 GMT)

    for all anyone cares, here's my top 50:

    1 Ricky Ponting 2 Shane Warne 3 Sachin Tendulkar 4 Glenn McGrath 5 Jacques Kallis 6 Muthiah Muralitharan 7 Courtney Walsh 8 Shaun Pollock 9 Steve Waugh 10 Brian Lara 11 Curtly Ambrose 12 Adam Gilchrist 13 Aravinda de Silva 14 Hansie Cronje 15 Wasim Akram 16 Anil Kumble 17 Javed Miandad 18 Matthew Hayden 19 Fanie de Villiers 20 Saeed Anwar 21 Sanath Jayasuriya 22 Rahul Dravid 23 Micheal Bevan 24 Kumar Sangakkara 25 Kevin Pietersen 26 Arjuna Ranatunga 27 Mahela Jayawardena 28 Anrew Flintoff 29 Waqar Younis 30 Mark Waugh 31 Gary Kirsten 32 Sourav Ganguly 33 Graham Thorpe 34 Yuvraj Singh 35 Herschelle Gibbs 36 Brett Lee 37 Inzamam ul Haq 38 Virendra Sehwag 39 Andrew Symonds 40 S Chanderpaul 41 Mark Boucher 42 Jonty Rhodes 43 Andy Flower 44 Mohd Azharuddin 45 Chris Cairns 46 VVS Laxman 47 Saqlain Mushtaq 48 Abdul Razzaq 49 Daniel Vettori 50 Phil Simmons

    Posted by www.criclegends.com on (September 4, 2007, 9:05 GMT)

    Shane warne is the greatest spinner on earth and I am his die hard fan. But his list is surely not the correct one. I love sachin and lara and I am very happy that he placed both of them on top, but I am very disappointed with steve waughs position. I dont understand why Inzamam, ganguly or laxman doesnt find a place in his list. This list is purely his individual opinion and doesnt prove anything.

    Posted by spolsani on (September 4, 2007, 8:42 GMT)

    This List is what Warne thinks as his top 50, why is so much fuss on who is where and resons on the same. Let us respect Warne as a cricketer and honor his top 50. Why Tim de Lisle has to comment on Warne's Top 50 and write a column on the same and point out who is where, if i start thinking like Tim de Lisle i also can comment on his analysis of who is where. Let us just enjoy this list and not worry too much why and what

    Posted by promodkumar on (September 4, 2007, 8:27 GMT)

    This is just Warne's list and not by any top group memebers approved by ICC. so lets read and forget it. I do agree there are few cricketers in his list not actually eligible for top 50 - missing names like Richards, Martincrowe, kallis etc.-steve waugh is well deserved to be in top 10 for his contribution with both bat and ball as well as good captaincy, it is only him who took and shown whole world that Aussies are unbeatable. why Tim de Lisle or anybody criticise, its his own view and no need to talk much about it, he is great cricketer himself, so just read and enjoy or forget it.

    Posted by CataPray on (September 4, 2007, 8:10 GMT)

    I think there isnt any doubt about the first two places. But some of the other selections are quite baffling. Steve Waugh so low, Brett Lee so high, Waqar so low, Gilly so low.

    Posted by arvin on (September 4, 2007, 8:08 GMT)

    it is a list of shane warne and whom he places where is his personal opinion... and all those who dont agree with him, well the guy with 700+ wickets for sure knows a thing or two about best batsmen atleast, so who cares for these so called experts whom dont agree with warne's list...

    Posted by Naveed on (September 4, 2007, 8:02 GMT)

    Before publication of this article I did not even bother to read the list, warne was a great cricketer, no doubt about it, and he is entitled to his opinion as everyone else, If Sangakkara is not in the list or Steve Waugh is placed lower it makes no difference in their achievements and Sri Lankan or Indian Boards would not be going to sake Sangakkara and Dhoni because they are not in the list of Warne.

    Posted by 105_ on (September 4, 2007, 7:43 GMT)

    Just to be frank, this list of 50 players & the respective ratings given for some players is plain rubbish. -Ian Healy at 10 ?? Totally irrational to rate him ahead of the genuine match winning talents like Adam Gilchrist. -Can you put an absolutely devastating fast bowler (& their best strike bowler in 1990-94 era, Wasim had more control but it's Waqar who really terrified the opposition batsmen.) like Waqar at 45 ? What's on the earth the players like Bruce Reid(34), Tim May(31), Merv Hughes(18) , etc. have done even in 1st class/list A cricket to be ranked higher ?? -Was Tim May (31) a better bowler than Stuart MacGill (39). This is just rubbish as MacGill could have easily capture at least 400 wickets, had he played more matches (he really deserved that). -Dean Jones,Richie Richardson,Ian Bishop,Damien Martyn & Michael Slater are not good enough to appear within this 50 ?? -J'suriya at 38,Anwar at 28 & then FLINTOFF at 16 ? Even Dravid is at 14, only 2 ahead of Flintoff ?

    Posted by ahassan on (September 4, 2007, 7:26 GMT)

    I Completely disagree with Warne but then it is his personal opinion. I am pretty sure that nobody with some cricket knowledge will agree with Warne except some Australians and a few Indians because he has put Tendulkar as his #1. Warne has made himself a laughing stock by writing that Steve Waugh was not a winning player. This holds true for Tendulkar but not at all for Waugh. Inzimam is not even in his full list and some readers argue that it is because of his ordinary performance against Australia. Does it mean that Warne is not qualified for any list of great cricketers just because his performance agains India is mediocre. Certainly not.. Warne will remain a great cricketer in spite of his below average record against India. Similarly Inzimam will remain a great batsman although his record agains Austria is not very convincing. Inzimam's record also shows that he was one of the greatest match winners of all time.

    Posted by aj0569 on (September 4, 2007, 7:21 GMT)

    I like Warne's top 50. Do I agree with it? I'm not that is relevant. I am glad that Merv Hughes is in it as I believe he was a far better bowler than most give him credit for. When Border needed something to happen he gave the ball to Merv.He was never disappointed in the result. As I said I like the list.

    Posted by mattblacknaki on (September 4, 2007, 7:17 GMT)

    This list is evidence of why Warne did not get the Australian captaicy! No Chanderpaul or Inzi in the list & yet you see Atherton, Lehman, Siddons etc. Tim May ahead of Harbajan is unbelievabgle. Garry Kirstan should have been in the list ahead of some of the Australians. Warne should have mentioned Sachin's googly that fooled him in a test match!!

    Posted by Noman_Yousuf_Dandore on (September 4, 2007, 7:05 GMT)

    Although it was Shane Warne's personal choice, the anomalies in selection criteria and attributes given to few players are very frustrating. Waqar Younis once broke Shane Warne's toe so he "fed off" Wasim Akram; although Shane himself admits getting many wickets due to McGrath (and he wouldn't have put himself as low as 45 in the list, especially if he had figures like Waqar, which are better than Shane). He had a rift with Steve Waugh so he was just a 'Match-Saver' and ranked so low (though he was definitely a winner) and Tendulkar is put on no. 1 spot above Lara despite not being able to win many Test matches. And how many matches did Tim May win for Australia? Warne should have come with much better excuses!

    Cheers! NYD!

    Posted by Anjan on (September 4, 2007, 7:05 GMT)

    I think Imran Khan, Richrad Hadlee, Viv Richard, Steve Waugh should be there in list. They are must for any team.

    Posted by biju on (September 4, 2007, 7:01 GMT)

    Hi We have to accept that Warne was one of the greatest legends of cricket in our generation.We need to appreciate his efforts to list out some of the greats during his time.We need not critisize about his effort.He was trying to portrait his openion.That is his personal openion & he has the right to do that.Some one was talking about Gary Sobers .Was he belong to Warne's generation.Some one was critisizing on the rankings of Steve Waugh & Gilcrist.I Have my own openion on Waugh's batting .To me he a sort of meachanical batsmen with a boring style.Gilcrist is a freaky batsman who can win on his day.Of course they can win games on their day but imagine a team with 6 batsmen at the top of the order with a style similar to Steve Waugh -will we start to hate cricket.

    Posted by southernson on (September 4, 2007, 6:41 GMT)

    Fair commentary from Tim... its more an insight into the scrambled mind of Warne himself than anything of real importance. We need to remember that Warne will NEVER be remembered for his thoughts or actions off the field, but rather what he achieved on it.

    Posted by shoumendu on (September 4, 2007, 6:30 GMT)

    Well i just fail to understand the logic of keeping Steve Waugh so low down the order of honours. for all we know its a case of persona bias against one of the greatest palyers we have seen. Whenever the chips were down for Australia (in ODIs since 1986-87, in tests since ashes 1989) Steve Waugh responded with his bat most of the times and with the ball very admirably at times. Remember he was the one who took away the tradition of having the nightwatchman so i find him the most aggressive strategist. And if Shane Warne thinks that Steve Waugh saved matches rather than winning he should have a look at the statistics of 25 wins in the 32 centuries scored by Steve Waugh. Steve Waugh took blows on his body in scoring that double ton in Jamaica in the 1st series win in west indies by any visiting team in 1990s. Remember the 2 innings he palyed against south africa in the 1999 world cup when australia was so close to losing the matches. And Steve Waugh never had the affinity for drugs.

    Posted by mezrg on (September 4, 2007, 6:22 GMT)

    Well, first of all we should respect the fact that it is Shane's 50 and not ours. Second of all - we all know that he is a Wacky charactor and we should be nuts to expect an unbiased top 50 from him.

    I do agree with all points that's mentioned in this article and happy that the cricketing world has not gone Wacky as yet. Cheers.

    Posted by Professor on (September 4, 2007, 5:27 GMT)

    Fair or unfair is a always going to be a matter of personal opinion. Warne has been a brilliant cricketer and is definitely entitled to his opinion. Let's just enjoy his opinions and understand that they are just that - his opinions. What authority was handed down to Tim de Lisle to say that they are wrong. And please if you do need to criticise, come up with something better than "his top 30 is a top 33!"

    Posted by stella on (September 4, 2007, 5:22 GMT)

    I can only agree with suneelmasur...why does everyone take this stuff so seriously. Warnie's played heaps of cricket and is more entitled to his opinion than most. Purists can quote averages and stats as much as they like - Warne seems to have given as much consideration to whether he personally liked the player as to how well they performed...how else can the inclusion of Siddons be justified...on the basis of one ODI? We could all pick our top 50 and we'd almost never agree with each other. At least Warne's list isn't boring.

    Posted by Diwakar on (September 4, 2007, 5:16 GMT)

    By saying that I do not agree with Warne's list, I merely state that I think differently. I can make my own list which will be pilloried by quite a few, I am sure, but then who wants to read my list?

    Your comment about McGrath winning more matches than Sachin or Lara is quite petty. If that were the basis for the list, we do not need Warne to put it together. Statsguru will do quite nicely.

    Purely as a keeper, Healy was probably better than Gilchrist and he did his bit at batting when the Aussies needed someone to hold the tail together. Sangakkara missing out will remain a mystery, however.

    The Windies are quite justly represented: Bishop was a good bowler but not in the same class as the other two nor did he have the same level of fitness as Ambrose and Walsh.

    Overall, it is a fair list. And even if it not, it is Warne's. We can, of course, compile our own lists.

    Posted by SledgeHammer on (September 4, 2007, 5:06 GMT)

    How could you forget Inzi in your analysis? Here's a guy who is behind only Bradman and Warne in terms of centuries in Pak victories. Not to mention his remarkable batting throughout the last 15 years. Also, he led Pakistan to a memorable 1-wicket victory with 58 not out against Australia in Karachi in 1994, when Warne could not get the better of him. Sure, his overall record against Australia is not that great. But certainly he has to be one of the greatest players of the last two decades.

    So for Warne to forget Inzi in his top 53, and for you to neglect mentioning Inzi in your analysis, that's pretty shocking and, frankly, ignorant.

    Posted by Chanaka on (September 4, 2007, 4:59 GMT)

    I dont think the list is fair. Some of the players included in the list have done hardly anything of note except play for their country. But then it is Warne's list and he is entitled to include a few of his mates in it.

    Posted by RajeshV on (September 4, 2007, 4:49 GMT)

    I don't fully agree because of the reasons below 1) Sure Sachin and Lara are 2 of the greatest batsmen of all time but then they are not the top 2 cricketers of Warne's generation. Don Bradman, considered the greatest batsman ever is not the greatest cricketer, it is Gary Sobers. But Warne seems to have gone just by batting skills which is wrong in my opinion. 2) It is so simple, if we have parameters for judging the best cricketers, say Batting, Bowling, Fielding, Captaincy, Cricketing Brain, Misc, etc and rate all these on a scale of 10, Sachin and Lara will not emerge on top. 3) There are lot many cricketers who would fare better than these people Having said that, this is Warne's list and he can have any body he wants in the top 5.

    Posted by stellar on (September 4, 2007, 4:42 GMT)

    Perhaps the reason Darren Lehmann ranked higher than Steve Waugh is because Warne said that Lehmann was the best player of spin bowling Warne ever bowled against.

    Posted by suneelmasur on (September 4, 2007, 4:38 GMT)

    I just can not understand, why so much discussed about who is where and why should be above or below in the list. Remember one thing this list is as Warne thinks. You must respect his thinking. It does not mean what you think Warne must accept. So just enjoy the list. Suneel K Masur

    Do you think Warne's list of 50 top cricketers is a fair one?
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    Tim de LisleClose
    Tim de Lisle Tim de Lisle is a former editor of Wisden. He fell in love with newspapers at the age of seven and with cricket at the age of 10. He started in journalism at 16, reviewing records for the London Australian Magazine, before reading classics at Oxford and writing for Smash Hits, Harpers & Queen and the Observer. He has been a feature writer on the Daily Telegraph, arts editor of the Times and the Independent on Sunday, and editor of Wisden Cricket Monthly, where he won an Editor of the Year award. Since 1999, Tim has been the rock critic of the Mail on Sunday. He is deputy editor of Intelligent Life, the new general-interest magazine from the Economist. He writes for the Guardian and makes frequent appearances as a cricket pundit on the BBC and Sky News.

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