October 22, 2010

The joy of the past

There may be plenty of well-known problems inherent in picking all-time XIs, but the exercise is still a worthwhile one
  shares 191

World XIs have a lot to recommend them in theory, not much to point to in practice. The idea of a team of the talents has a timeless appeal. Some are born to bat, others to bowl, but anyone and everyone, fans included, has a sneaking faith in their aptitude for selection. Yet somehow such ensembles have a tendency to punch below their collective weights.

Australia bowled a Rest of the World XI out in Perth for 59 in an hour and a half in December 1971. Dennis Lillee on a Perth greentop? Not a job for the semi-committed. The ICC, in their perennial unwisdom, gave official Test and ODI status to the games of the World XI who visited Australia five years ago, in an effort to stir players to their best. The ensuing shambles made a mockery of the players' expectation of star treatment. Abiding memories of that visit will be Shoaib Akhtar expending more energy on the dance floor than in the nets, and Inzamam ul-Haq strolling around the covers because there was no room for him in the costive cordon of slips.

Is there any reason to expect better of Cricinfo's all-time World XI? Perhaps the selectors should be thankful we will never find out. But from the fortunes of those prior units can be deduced a hint of the challenges of bringing together a team from all over both the world and the decades. Lists of great players are static; teams are dynamic and must be designed with their functioning in mind. Who will provide the strokes and who the stability? Who will catch, at slip and at bat-pad? There's no point picking four new-ball bowlers if only two can share it; no need to pick three spinners if you're playing on seaming tracks or under cloud cover.

That's even before you come to the dilemmas involved in choosing from across the generations. Which version of the player, for instance, would one be choosing? The Viv Richards circa 1976 or circa 1990? The Sachin Tendulkar of 1998 or of today? The Imran Khan who bowled so thrillingly with the new ball, or the Imran Khan of thoroughbred batsmanship who bowled second change? And how does one factor the cost of war into those whose careers were carved up by it? An innings opened by the 1912 model Jack Hobbs would be very different to that begun by the 1930 model.

Questions nag. Under whose conditions would games be played? Would the pitch be uncovered? Would the Test be timeless? Whose lbw and no-ball law would be in force? Whose equipment would be in use? Imagine Garry Sobers with one of those modern bats that picks up like a swizzle stick but makes contact like a mace. Above all, in whose world, and according to whose values, would the team mobilise? Would Victor Trumper wish to play in a team listening to Javed Miandad sledge? Would Jack Hobbs be capable of maintaining the team omerta about Shane Warne's SMS habits?

Often all one has to judge are records, and records are only ever indicative, never definitive. Had George Headley and Graeme Pollock played 45 Tests each rather than 45 between them, would they have maintained their averages of 60? Would Richard Hadlee have been the same bowler in a stronger attack that competed for wickets with him more strenuously? Batting averages of 50 today seem almost as common as averages of 40 in the 1980s: this debasement of the currency of runs must mean something.

The game is now more global, more various. Given that Sir Donald Bradman made all his Test runs and Dennis Lillee claimed all but 28 of his Test wickets at home or in England, is there sufficient evidence of their versatility and adaptability? Can one be confident that they would have prospered in other conditions and in an era of many more games far closer together?

To adjust for the briefer, less concentrated careers of past players involves a discrimination against the present. Ricky Ponting has had the good fortune to play in a fully professional era in which cricket could be his be-all and end-all, one in which conditions were stacked in batsmen's favour and there were few bowlers of express pace. But how is one to pay homage to his great qualities, of fitness, resilience and unappeasable appetite for the game?

To lean towards the records of the moderns, swollen by constant competition, incentivised by rich financial baits, is to ignore how prestigious first-class cricket was even 20 years ago, and how handsome were the inducements of English league cricket - handsome enough to cause Sydney Barnes and Ted McDonald, two of history's greatest bowlers, to turn their backs on their countries and play comparatively little Test cricket.

Ranking cricketers from different eras, then, is a little like ranking inventions from history. Is the world wide web a greater innovation than the telephone? Quite possibly, but the former could not have arisen without the latter. It is possible when Tendulkar bats to see through him the whole history of batsmanship: WG Grace's playing back, Ranjitsinhji's playing to leg, Bradman's playing across the line, Gavaskar's stoic endurance, Richards' instinct to dominate. What does he owe their inspiriting qualities?

So why perform an exercise that seems meretricious, intellectually flawed and is almost bound to mislead? Two reasons. First, it cajoles us into contemplating the past, for which the modern game, which wants our money rather than our love, gives us little encouragement. Second, in superficially obscuring differences, it forces us to acknowledge them: we have to pretend that the world of cricket has not changed because we know it has. Oh, one other reason: because it's fun, and ultimately, although it is so easy to forget in this grim present, that is what we're here for.

ESPNcricinfo's all-time World XI will be announced on 25 October

Gideon Haigh is a cricket historian and writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY 114_in_final_Six_overs on | October 25, 2010, 20:37 GMT

    For Billy: "Bill Tilden dominated the world of international tennis in the first half of the 1920s. During his 18 year amateur period of 1912-30, he won 138 of 192 tournaments, and had a match record of 907-62, a winning percentage of 93.6 percent" -Wikipedia This is what I meant by analogous to Bradman's record. Same kind of dominance and stats that would be difficult to match for next few generations. So he was Bradman of Tennis but do we really want to play him against with even a top 100 player of today. It will be mayhem.

  • POSTED BY 114_in_final_Six_overs on | October 25, 2010, 20:20 GMT

    Bradman was a great batsman and I really can not explain why he was so much better than his contemporaries except accept the fact that may be he was actually a freak of nature. But if someone ran 100 M in 11 seconds in 1930 he would be considered a genius too. Fast forward 70-80 years and this timing would not get you even in a decent university team! How much better he was compared to his peers can no way justify the claim of him being better than batsman of succeeding generation. That is against the nature and the laws of evolution. Thanks to TV you can actually see it in the action all the time. Jonny Mac-Borg great rivalry but both would not last 3 sets in a modern game and thats just 15-20 years ago. I mean all one has to do is to watch his videos on you tube and ask yourself if this guy played Marshal and Holding would he really do twice better than Sunny Gavaskar. It is quite improbable, is it not?

  • POSTED BY Biggus on | October 25, 2010, 10:23 GMT

    Hang on ....yes ground fielding has improved overall though it has less of an impact in test cricket than in one-dayers, as you can hide the slower guys in the slips. It would be a mistake to think that players back then were all poor fielders though. I can't comment properly on eras that I have not seen but in the pre-Packer 'unprofessional' early 70's Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Ross Edwards, Doug Walters and Paul Sheehan were all feared and respected ground fielders. Of the more modern players perhaps only Jonty Rhodes and Andrew Symonds would rate above these guys. For evaluations of other periods I have to rely on the opinions of people like Richie Benaud, who after all has played test cricket (does that apply to anyone here?) and is accepted generally accepted as being knowledgable and unbiased.

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | October 25, 2010, 9:30 GMT

    I think Lara is the best in test cricket. Only complete batsman in history of test cricket with each and every thing like century before lunch. Elegancy, situation including pressure cooker situations, finisher, records, master piece innings like 400 not out and 375, situational innings like 153 and 80 not out against Sri Lanka, ability to play spinners and fast bowlers at a time, ability to take pressure of main strikers, continent-wise average more than 40, complete domination over Murli and Warne, ability to score big knocks, ability to turn big knocks into further big scores like 400, 375 and 277. Only batsman in history of cricket who define century, double, triple and quadruple at at time in test and then only one with ability to define century, double, triple, quadruple and quintuple in first class cricket too. Only blame is his inconsistency, if so how he scored 11953 runs with the help of 34 centuries in which he scord 5889 runs means 25.38 runs per century.

  • POSTED BY Biggus on | October 25, 2010, 9:26 GMT

    @knowledge_eater- Well mate, I've been watching cricket since 1972 and I see no discernable improvement in the standard of play since then. If anything I think the standard of bowling is quite low at the moment except for Murali, and he's quit test cricket now.

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | October 25, 2010, 7:50 GMT

    Sir Don is the best is not true even he was only one of the best batsman of his era as Herbert, Hammond, Headley and Hobbs had same or more impact on game as compare to him like Headley batting average was 91.38 at home versus England before world war II as compare to Sir Don only 72.78. Then again Headley had not timeless matches like Sir Don had several. If had then he easily went for average more than 100 at home versus England. Overall 71.23 and him 89.78 but Headley came from W. Indies and he had to adopt conditions in England which was entire different region.Headley batting average was 37.3 against Australia and Herbert 66.85. It means he was almost twice better average than him against Australia. After 1932, Hammond average declined from 78.28 to 66.85 due to Bill O Reilly. If he could maintain 78.28 with facing Mailey, Grimmett (Flipper Specialist). Without facing them, he could also went for 89.78 or more which is actual average of Sir Don against England.

  • POSTED BY Biggus on | October 25, 2010, 7:04 GMT

    @MartinHooks-Yes, I agree that the game has changed. Let me clear the air first. I love to watch the modern masters of cricket- Tendulkar, Richards, Ponting, Warne, Murali, Roberts, Holding etc. Too many to list. What I do object to greatly is this nationalistic nastiness that is becoming all too common, allied with a "I didn't see him so he can't be any good" attitude. Some of the comments I have seen trying to explain Bradman's dominance are beyond ridiculous, and betray a cavernous lack of knowledge of the game. How would he have fared in today's game? Who can tell. I suspect pretty well-he didn't smoke or drink and was a very fit and focused man. Cricket has a past, a present, and a future. We should honour and respect the past, enjoy the present, and envision the future. Someone has to take a stand on this mud-slinging. Now who's with me?

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | October 25, 2010, 6:37 GMT

    Martin Hooks, Roger Federer has won more slams than Tilden even taking into account the period when Tilden turned pro. So I'm not sure what you're referring to there. If you're talking about overall winning record, then that's irrelevant. Tennis is about the grand slams first and foremost, just as cricket is about Test cricket first and foremost. And I think you misunderstood Biggus. He is asking people to suggest reasons why no cricketer in any generation has outperformed the next best player by such a large margin except for one instance (Bradman). So far, you haven't come up with any reasons.

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | October 25, 2010, 3:39 GMT

    Where Sachin Tendulkar makes it is his completeness.He posesses all the ingredients of a great batsman,be it consistency,temperamemt,technique,ability to dominate bowling,winning and saving games etc.In pure test match cricket Lara perhaps would be rated better considering his brilliant mammoth scores and his bearing the brunt of the weakest of batting sides.At his best in test Cricket Lara has beaten Sachin,like when scoring a match-winning 153 not out out of 308in 1999 against Australia at Barbados .

    Gary Sobers,to me is the most complete batsman in the post -war era,with the ability to play like a champion when the chips were down ,win matches ,master any conditions,and destroy the greatest bowling attacks.Viv Richards from 1977-1981,was perhaps the best since Bradman infact the greatest ever player of fast bowling.Sadly later he became inconsistent. Had Rohan Kanhai,done justice to his ability he may well have been the best of all.

  • POSTED BY knowledge_eater on | October 25, 2010, 3:38 GMT

    I agree with Martin_Hooks about Cricketers are better today than they were in past 100%. It looks odd. But in any field you go anywhere any sports, we are improved, smarter, healthier (except cardiac problems), faster, knowledgeable and very athletics (despite tons of pollutants around. The reason why some people think no no quality is not good anymore, I say its better but its in very very very large numbers. Thats why it buffers out whole stats. Our Cricket community is much larger than we had it in past. And when talented Cricketers Fight with Lot other talented Cricketer and with so frequently they bound to loose more energy and skill compare to few bunch of talented with few bunch not so frequently! May be someone can steal my idea and write an article on that. hahaha

  • POSTED BY 114_in_final_Six_overs on | October 25, 2010, 20:37 GMT

    For Billy: "Bill Tilden dominated the world of international tennis in the first half of the 1920s. During his 18 year amateur period of 1912-30, he won 138 of 192 tournaments, and had a match record of 907-62, a winning percentage of 93.6 percent" -Wikipedia This is what I meant by analogous to Bradman's record. Same kind of dominance and stats that would be difficult to match for next few generations. So he was Bradman of Tennis but do we really want to play him against with even a top 100 player of today. It will be mayhem.

  • POSTED BY 114_in_final_Six_overs on | October 25, 2010, 20:20 GMT

    Bradman was a great batsman and I really can not explain why he was so much better than his contemporaries except accept the fact that may be he was actually a freak of nature. But if someone ran 100 M in 11 seconds in 1930 he would be considered a genius too. Fast forward 70-80 years and this timing would not get you even in a decent university team! How much better he was compared to his peers can no way justify the claim of him being better than batsman of succeeding generation. That is against the nature and the laws of evolution. Thanks to TV you can actually see it in the action all the time. Jonny Mac-Borg great rivalry but both would not last 3 sets in a modern game and thats just 15-20 years ago. I mean all one has to do is to watch his videos on you tube and ask yourself if this guy played Marshal and Holding would he really do twice better than Sunny Gavaskar. It is quite improbable, is it not?

  • POSTED BY Biggus on | October 25, 2010, 10:23 GMT

    Hang on ....yes ground fielding has improved overall though it has less of an impact in test cricket than in one-dayers, as you can hide the slower guys in the slips. It would be a mistake to think that players back then were all poor fielders though. I can't comment properly on eras that I have not seen but in the pre-Packer 'unprofessional' early 70's Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Ross Edwards, Doug Walters and Paul Sheehan were all feared and respected ground fielders. Of the more modern players perhaps only Jonty Rhodes and Andrew Symonds would rate above these guys. For evaluations of other periods I have to rely on the opinions of people like Richie Benaud, who after all has played test cricket (does that apply to anyone here?) and is accepted generally accepted as being knowledgable and unbiased.

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | October 25, 2010, 9:30 GMT

    I think Lara is the best in test cricket. Only complete batsman in history of test cricket with each and every thing like century before lunch. Elegancy, situation including pressure cooker situations, finisher, records, master piece innings like 400 not out and 375, situational innings like 153 and 80 not out against Sri Lanka, ability to play spinners and fast bowlers at a time, ability to take pressure of main strikers, continent-wise average more than 40, complete domination over Murli and Warne, ability to score big knocks, ability to turn big knocks into further big scores like 400, 375 and 277. Only batsman in history of cricket who define century, double, triple and quadruple at at time in test and then only one with ability to define century, double, triple, quadruple and quintuple in first class cricket too. Only blame is his inconsistency, if so how he scored 11953 runs with the help of 34 centuries in which he scord 5889 runs means 25.38 runs per century.

  • POSTED BY Biggus on | October 25, 2010, 9:26 GMT

    @knowledge_eater- Well mate, I've been watching cricket since 1972 and I see no discernable improvement in the standard of play since then. If anything I think the standard of bowling is quite low at the moment except for Murali, and he's quit test cricket now.

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | October 25, 2010, 7:50 GMT

    Sir Don is the best is not true even he was only one of the best batsman of his era as Herbert, Hammond, Headley and Hobbs had same or more impact on game as compare to him like Headley batting average was 91.38 at home versus England before world war II as compare to Sir Don only 72.78. Then again Headley had not timeless matches like Sir Don had several. If had then he easily went for average more than 100 at home versus England. Overall 71.23 and him 89.78 but Headley came from W. Indies and he had to adopt conditions in England which was entire different region.Headley batting average was 37.3 against Australia and Herbert 66.85. It means he was almost twice better average than him against Australia. After 1932, Hammond average declined from 78.28 to 66.85 due to Bill O Reilly. If he could maintain 78.28 with facing Mailey, Grimmett (Flipper Specialist). Without facing them, he could also went for 89.78 or more which is actual average of Sir Don against England.

  • POSTED BY Biggus on | October 25, 2010, 7:04 GMT

    @MartinHooks-Yes, I agree that the game has changed. Let me clear the air first. I love to watch the modern masters of cricket- Tendulkar, Richards, Ponting, Warne, Murali, Roberts, Holding etc. Too many to list. What I do object to greatly is this nationalistic nastiness that is becoming all too common, allied with a "I didn't see him so he can't be any good" attitude. Some of the comments I have seen trying to explain Bradman's dominance are beyond ridiculous, and betray a cavernous lack of knowledge of the game. How would he have fared in today's game? Who can tell. I suspect pretty well-he didn't smoke or drink and was a very fit and focused man. Cricket has a past, a present, and a future. We should honour and respect the past, enjoy the present, and envision the future. Someone has to take a stand on this mud-slinging. Now who's with me?

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | October 25, 2010, 6:37 GMT

    Martin Hooks, Roger Federer has won more slams than Tilden even taking into account the period when Tilden turned pro. So I'm not sure what you're referring to there. If you're talking about overall winning record, then that's irrelevant. Tennis is about the grand slams first and foremost, just as cricket is about Test cricket first and foremost. And I think you misunderstood Biggus. He is asking people to suggest reasons why no cricketer in any generation has outperformed the next best player by such a large margin except for one instance (Bradman). So far, you haven't come up with any reasons.

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | October 25, 2010, 3:39 GMT

    Where Sachin Tendulkar makes it is his completeness.He posesses all the ingredients of a great batsman,be it consistency,temperamemt,technique,ability to dominate bowling,winning and saving games etc.In pure test match cricket Lara perhaps would be rated better considering his brilliant mammoth scores and his bearing the brunt of the weakest of batting sides.At his best in test Cricket Lara has beaten Sachin,like when scoring a match-winning 153 not out out of 308in 1999 against Australia at Barbados .

    Gary Sobers,to me is the most complete batsman in the post -war era,with the ability to play like a champion when the chips were down ,win matches ,master any conditions,and destroy the greatest bowling attacks.Viv Richards from 1977-1981,was perhaps the best since Bradman infact the greatest ever player of fast bowling.Sadly later he became inconsistent. Had Rohan Kanhai,done justice to his ability he may well have been the best of all.

  • POSTED BY knowledge_eater on | October 25, 2010, 3:38 GMT

    I agree with Martin_Hooks about Cricketers are better today than they were in past 100%. It looks odd. But in any field you go anywhere any sports, we are improved, smarter, healthier (except cardiac problems), faster, knowledgeable and very athletics (despite tons of pollutants around. The reason why some people think no no quality is not good anymore, I say its better but its in very very very large numbers. Thats why it buffers out whole stats. Our Cricket community is much larger than we had it in past. And when talented Cricketers Fight with Lot other talented Cricketer and with so frequently they bound to loose more energy and skill compare to few bunch of talented with few bunch not so frequently! May be someone can steal my idea and write an article on that. hahaha

  • POSTED BY 114_in_final_Six_overs on | October 25, 2010, 3:31 GMT

    @Biggus, no one is saying Bradman was not better than his peers...the case we are making is about how much every game has changed for the better since 1930's. No one considers Bill Tilden better than Roger Federer even though looking at pure stats Tilden's record is analogous to 99.94 average. In other sports people have realized that such as people in athletics know that no matter how great Carl Lewis was for his time, Usain Bolt is perhaps in different league altogether as far as 100 M dash is concerned. In cricket we are stuck in the past a little too much...couple that with jingoist from all sides and of all stripes and no one is willing to listen to the logic anymore.

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | October 25, 2010, 3:16 GMT

    Hema_Adhikari, I am definitely not clinging to the notion that the Don will be better than the rest for all time to come. But the stats don't lie. You mention that apart from the 99.94, Bradman didn't have many things going for him (which is actually a flawed statement in itself because the batting average over a minimum criteria level is the best comparison between batsman). How about the 29 centuries in 52 tests, double centuries and triple centuries, the first class average of 95, the fantastic conversion rate of fifties into centuries, the sharing of four world record partnerships at the time in positions 3, 4, 6 and 7. If you think you can adjust the 99.94 into something more logical and more equivalent in today's terms, then happy to hear it. But the reasons you have given do not suffice. Playing one quality opposition team, being friendly with them and the lack of 24/7 media does not explain a human average of say 50 to a superhuman average of 99.

  • POSTED BY on | October 25, 2010, 3:10 GMT

    All Time 11:

    Also in the batting order

    Openers - Gavaskar, Jack Hobbs (Best left handed opener - Middle order - Bradman, Lara, Tendulkar (Lara over Richards - coz left handed, wanted to mix it up) All rounders - Sobers, Imran Keeper - Gilchrist Bowlers - Marshall, Warne, Murali (Marshall over Akram because Sobers is also a left hand bowling option)

  • POSTED BY Biggus on | October 25, 2010, 2:47 GMT

    Ho-hum! How dull these "my one's bigger than your one" arguments are. I really am too old to enter into this schoolyard trash talk but the lack of respect that some of these kids show for greats of the past compels me to. So if things were so easy for Bradman why didn't everybody else match his performances back then? Why doesn't every batsman of this era average in the 90's? If no-one could bowl back then, where are the other men to match him? Come on you omniscient kids.....enlighten this old fool here!

  • POSTED BY Hema_Adhikari on | October 25, 2010, 1:29 GMT

    @Paul, the truth is that apart from 99.94 average, Bradman does not have many thins going for him. Plus he was mostly playing english sides and was friendly with most of them anyway. He did not have to deal with 24/7 news cycles and media hounds trailing his every move. So how can pressure bring him down when there was none compared to what a Dhoni or Ponting goes through doing there jobs. These guys practically live under a microscope these days.

  • POSTED BY Hema_Adhikari on | October 25, 2010, 1:18 GMT

    Billy, no one is saying that Bradman was not better than others of his era. He was actually head and shoulders above the rest who played with him. But cricket has changed since 1930s and to grant him a super human status is clearly wrong. The inherent logic of Marin Hooks argument is shockingly correct and we all know that. Cricket in 2010 has to be better than cricket in 1930 just as it has happened in other sports like Soccer, Athletics, Baseball, Tennis and numerous other sports. Then why we are clinging to this jingoistic notion of Don better than the rest for all time to come.

  • POSTED BY kirksland on | October 24, 2010, 22:19 GMT

    Yea number of wickets have nothing to do with greatness, Laker was probably only behind Warne, Murali and O'Reilly as far as spinners go, Bedsar was a great for all eras, the Mcgrath of his time and the West indian bowlers were quite quick and Verity was also a handfull. And you keep ignoring the fact that Sachin has plundered the weak bowling of lesser teams Zim and Ban. And also the fact that his average is identicle to many of his peers, Sangakkara, Jayawardene, Kallis ect. This era for bowling is the weakest since the 50's with only Steyn who can post a claim for greatness.

  • POSTED BY 2929paul on | October 24, 2010, 21:26 GMT

    Here's another stat to "prove" Bradman's better: Tendulkar's avarage as captain is 6.67 runs lower than his average than when he is not captain. Bradman's average when captain is 2.82 runs higher than when not captain. Conclusion - Tendulkar cannot handle the pressure of captaincy but Bradman could, therefore Bradman was the best. Bradman also had the weight of a nation on his shoulders, looking for something to cheer during the depression and then after the war looking for something to cheer them up again. In the words of the song at the time, "He's our Don Bradman..."

    I don't deny the pressure Tendulkar has to put up with but at least he gets paid millions for it. Bradman had to work as well as play cricket.

  • POSTED BY 2929paul on | October 24, 2010, 21:18 GMT

    ZA77, you are quoting a load of numbers that prove absolutely nothing. If numbers prove who is the better player, try this one: Runs scored by Bradman without a helmet: 6,996.Runs scored by Tendulkar without a helmet: 0. Conclusion - Bradman is braver than Tendulkar and therefore better. WRONG. Different eras, different circumstances. Stop using spurious stats to fit your argument.

  • POSTED BY kirksland on | October 24, 2010, 21:09 GMT

    ZA77 would it be possible for you to post your all time XI, and possibly a second 11 as well.

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | October 24, 2010, 20:41 GMT

    Hema_Adhikari, you're probably right. Bradman is considered more than 20 standard deviations better than the average batsman of all generations by many experts. So he was probably overrated. He was only 15 standard deviations better in my opinion and about 10 standard deviations better than the second best batsman of all time. .

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | October 24, 2010, 20:34 GMT

    Martin Hooks, agreed that with the passing of time comes improvements in all sports. So in an absolute sense, the Bradman of the 1930s taken to the future could never be as good as a Richards of the 1980s or a Tendulkar in the 2000s. However, when you compare cricketing generations, you must consider the context and the statistics of the same generation. That is why by and large most of those structural changes you have suggested like better training and equipment etc. play no part in a discussion on comparing generations. Other observations such as the lbw law change, Bodyline, professionalism in the game etc. matter in terms of setting up the context for the debate. By the way, Laver may have beaten Nadal if they were using wooden racquets, because you can't generate the power or springy top spin that Nadal relies on with the wooden racquet.

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | October 24, 2010, 20:28 GMT

    Thank you for all of you for maintaining a good environment, also to Mr. Gideon who provide an opportunity to discuss. No doubt, pure statistic suggests Bradman is the best. Tendulkar versus Bradman, top five fast bowlers faced by Sir Don are Gubby Allen 82, Larwood 78, Ken Farnes 60, Constaintine 58 and Charlie Griffith 44. Fast Medium Voce 98, Bowes 68, White 49, Bell 48 and Geary 46 Leg Break Wright 108, Walter Robbin 64, Peebles 45, Hollies 44 and Macmillan 36 and Off Break / SLAO Laker 193, Mankad 152, Verity 144, Vincent 84 and Woolley 83. In Tendulkar case Walsh 519, Hadlee 431, Wasim 414, Ambrose 405, Ntini 390. Fast Medium McGrath 563, Pollock 421, Vaas 355, Kallis 261 and Hoggard 248. Leg Break Warne 708, Kaneria 261, Qadir 236, MacGill 208, Mushtaq 185 Off Break / SLAO Murli 800, Vettori 325, Saqlain 208, Emburrey 147 and Panesar 126. See the difference between bowling faced by two legends from different eras. I think Tendulkar faced best varieties of all time.

  • POSTED BY kirksland on | October 24, 2010, 20:16 GMT

    From what you guys are saying is to discredit most of the greats from that time, so basically, Trumper, Hobbs, Headley, Bradman, Hutton, Sutcliffe, Faulkner ect are all overated and can't be considered with todays greats. Todays players play in much better conditions and with better equipment and other rules that favour batsmen. They never had to play on wet wickets or have months if not years between tests and had their careers interupted by wars. You dont have to like them but as the fathers of the sport they should be respected. Hammond for instance is still regarded as one of the best off side players of all time and probably best slip catcher, Headley is still regarded by many as the West Indies best batsman ever, they were better than their peers and stood the test of time and all should be considered when such exercises occur. The did their best with what they had and with whom they had to play againts.

  • POSTED BY the_next_sachin on | October 24, 2010, 20:15 GMT

    really ppl.... why do people always think bradman is the greatest based on one statistic... AWWWW he hit 99.94 for his career average... and umm how many times did he face a guy named shane warne...? maybe murali... no ok how bout the great Glenn Mcgrath, Akram? Im not trying to downgrade bradman but i believe that the game has intensified in modern times! Bradman was a great batsmen and the greatest of his time... but sachin, lara, ponting etc are clearly above him! also there is a famous picture with bradman on about 99* i believe, and there are 6 slips and and a gully! Give Sehwag these kinds of conditions and he would hit 1000 runs in a match!

  • POSTED BY 2929paul on | October 24, 2010, 20:14 GMT

    Some of you guys are showing yourselves up really badly here. Mats on concrete??? Weakened England sides full of amateur army majors??? No decent bowlers??? Googly invented by Qadir??? No proper LBW rule??? You cannot just look at some grainy old film footage, throw a load of stats into the equation and make it all fit your preconceived assumptions.

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | October 24, 2010, 18:07 GMT

    Dear Martin, I think you are right when I saw Bradman at youtube, his style did not impress me as he was flicking the medium pacers or taking advantage of weak opponents. When I saw video of Brian Lara of 1984. I think he was 15 at that time, it impress me as his shot selection plus style were impressive. Brian Lara complete domination on Murli is not judged by statistic then 3 doubles in front of Shane Warne make him further impressive. Two master piece triple against England and also quintuple in first class is something to remember. Style, situation, ability to play main strikers and so on make him most complete batsman. I think only complete batsman in history of test matches is Brian Lara like 5 times 1000 or more in calender year just like Hayden, now Tendulkar with six times. 19 times 150 or plus, nine double hundreds and so on.

  • POSTED BY Hema_Adhikari on | October 24, 2010, 17:58 GMT

    Bradman is the most overrated batsman of all time. I mean he played against mostly weakened english sides on matting wickets and most threatening bowler he faced was Larwood !..who was perhaps no better than Nehra or Vaas as his average suggests. Lets retain some perspective before making him some kind of mythological figure who just can not be compared with. get a grip and face reality!

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | October 24, 2010, 16:48 GMT

    Dear Kirksland, I do not know why you are so against Tendulkar, no problem at all. Every one has his opinion and he should respect it. Larwood took only 45 wickets with bowling average near to 35 without body line series is showing how ordinary he was. Paddy Mohan, in respect to your comments if I say Lara is far better than Bradman with stylish batting. At home, Lara runs per inning against England is 71.46 with 3 centuries and 5 half centuries with two highest scores 400 and 375 runs which is even more than Bradman's runs per inning at home versus England that is 71.33 with highest scores 270 and 234. Imagine if he had face England at home in 1930-40s what he could do with them in timeless test matches on mat over concrete pitches. He had the greatest tendency to score big individual innings. Presence of professional bowlers as more than 50 bowlers took 100 or more than 100 wickets in which 25-30 bowlers with 200 or more wickets in their test career as compare to Bradman six with 100

  • POSTED BY kirksland on | October 24, 2010, 16:17 GMT

    For every non Indian in here the concensus is that they are only two automatics for this team, Sobers and Bradman, Sachin may very well and most likely make the team, but he is not in the same league as the gentlemen listed above. I personally think that Malcolm Marshall is the best bowler, but I dont walk aroung trying to make everyone believe that, because its just that, my opion. No modern player can be definitively state an undisputed claim to being the best, and many players can be seen as equals to Marshall; Lillee, Mcgrath, Holding, Ambrose, Donald, Khan, Trueman ect. Just take away the rose coloured glasses and you may see that the game has a long and glorious history and cann't be limited to one players from one era.

  • POSTED BY 114_in_final_Six_overs on | October 24, 2010, 15:57 GMT

    @Chandau, I will ignore all the personal jibes..my point was simple, I am not for or against anyone. The simple observation is that no matter how great Rod Lever was for his era, he ain't beating Nadal for my money. With time humans improve in any sports with better equipment and better training and so forth... so why it is so difficult for us to believe that the same thing has happened probably in cricket as well and no matter how good Bradman was, he was probably not as good as a Tendulkar ora Lara. I have seen him bat only in you tube videos and he look pretty amateurish short of batsman to me which is befitting the era he played in. By no way I am saying that he was not the greatest player of his generation but when you compare with three generations forward things get trickier.

  • POSTED BY kirksland on | October 24, 2010, 15:50 GMT

    Harold Larwood is considered the fastest bowler of all time, and while you might consider that Bradman played vs amatuers why is it that the next closest average to his was Headley and Sutcliffe, while everyone of this era averages around Tendulkars average (Kallis, Sangakkara, Jayawardena, Ponting, Darvid, Lara ect.), and if quality of bowling matters then you must have forgotten about the last Sri Lanka series on dead pitches and Poor bowling, and that doesnt include Ban. and Zim. whom he has plundered. Sachin is great but why must Indians always insist he is without question the greatest ever. He is on par with the greats of his generation with Lara and Ponting (and just above Kallis and Dravid). We cant even say he defintively better than Barry Richards or Greg Chappell from the seventies far less Viv who all faced the golden age of fast bowlers without helmets, and all thrieved in the pressure cooker that was Packer.

  • POSTED BY on | October 24, 2010, 15:06 GMT

    LARA was a better player than Tendulkar. In fact, to be precise, Tendulkar was an ordinary player compared to Lara. For the record (and we are talking about TEST MATCHES) Tendulkar has scored two double hundreds v Aus, one each against SL, NZ and also against Zim and Bangladesh. compare this against LARA who scored double hundreds like this - 3 v Aus, 2 v ENG, 2 v SL and one each against SA and PAK and none against weak teams like Zim and Bangladesh - TOP QUALITY STUFF this. ALSO 1 BILLION+ PEOPLE (i.e. Indian fans) MAKING NOISE HERE THAT TENDULKAR IS BETTER - hahaha only they have to keep it. Every cricket fan from other countries clearly support Lara - as seen from the comments here. AND WE HAVE TO TAKE NEUTRAL FANS COMMENTS, WHICH IS UNBIASED.

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | October 24, 2010, 13:22 GMT

    Tendulkar faced totally 57 bowlers with 100 or more wickets in test matches. Fast + Fast Medium + Off break + Leg Break 18 + 22 + 11 + 6 = 57 For Fast Bowling, he faced 18 bowlers as compare to Bradman none, Walsh, Hadlee, Wasim, Ambrose, Ntini, Waqar, Imran, Donald, Lee, Macdermott, Gillespie, Flintoff, Hughes, Styen, Johnson, Shoiab, Bishop and Malcom. For Fast Medium bowling, he faced 22 bowlers Mcgrath, Pollock, Vaas, Kallis, Hoggard, Caddick, Harmison, Carins, Streaks, Martin, Fraser, Morrison, Nel, Dillion, Anderson, Cork, Defreites, Kasprowic, Reifel, Reid, Collin and Razzaq For Off Break / SLAO 11 Murli, Vettori, Saqlain, Emburrrey, Panesar, Giles, Tufnell, Hooper, Bracewell, Boje and Rafique For Leg Break / SLAC Warne, Kaneria, Qadir, Macgill, Mushtaq, Adams. I think he faced best verities like best wrist spinners Warne and Murli, best left arm swing Wasim (Sultan) most difficult Ambrose, Best African Donald and Pollock, consistent like Walsh, McGrath and so on.

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | October 24, 2010, 11:27 GMT

    Bradman is legend in cricket and we should respect him as he came first but en comes for best of the best then criteria should also be best. No one can deny his average is 99.94 but he had not played two googlies of Qadir, genuine googly of Kaneria, flipper of Kumble, 6-8 verities of Shane Warne including zooter, slider. skkider. Then Walsh, Amrose, Bishop, Marshall and other bowlers of W. Indies. Then BOWLERS like Hadlee, Wasim, Waqar, Imran and many many others. Then seam bowlers like McGrath, Pollock, Shane Bond and many many others. He played one seamer that was Bedser after world war II. His average is unattainable but he had problem to face googly, how could he dominate Warne, if he was bowling him as he had 7- 8 deliveries in his sleeves. Also problem to face bowlers on sticky dogs, what happened if he had to face Underwood after rain. Problem to face bouncers what happened if had to face fast battery of W. Indies, would they further cut AVR into further half.

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | October 24, 2010, 11:23 GMT

    For those arguing for Don Bradman is self assumption. Mat over concrete pitches with 8 balls per over. Faced amateur bowlers of England which were mostly officers in forces with presence of weakest bowling attacks in history. 52 Test MATCHES in 20 years means very slow pace of cricket with almost timeless matches on home grounds. Also there was no concept of globalization and England and Australia have same culture too as Australia was colony of England those days. Total cricket in England and Australia only on ten grounds. Missed the tours of S. Africa and New Zealand too . No proper rule of LBW before 1934. Unable to create double hundred like Headley in fourth inning. Headley scored this double hundred in last inning of last test match in his first series against England and series remained 1-1. Never become highest runs gutter in history of test cricket. Difficulty to face googly, bouncers and also unable to play master inning on sticky pitches.

  • POSTED BY NALINWIJ on | October 24, 2010, 11:02 GMT

    The alltime World XI has two automatic choices namely BRADMAN and SOBERS. Selection of SOBERS means that the 5th bowler is covered who can bowl medium pace and offspin. GILCHRIST kept well to MCGRATH and WARNE and he is as good as any keeper in the list but with a batting average of 50 which is 20 more than others and bats at 7 this means 4 best bowlers to follow. Wasim Akram can come at 8 whose left arm swing bowling and reverse swing with old ball complements any attack. Warne as a leg spinner complements the attack with Sobers. As pace bowlers Lillee and Marshall are good as any with Wasim completing the attack. As for batsmen Trumper, Hobbs, Bradman, Sobers, V.Richards, S.Tendulkar forms the sequence of greatest batsmen of each era. One may argue Gavaskar may be a more reliable opener than Trumper. World AT XI- 1.GAVASKAR 2.HOBBS 3.BRADMAN 4.V.RICHARDS 5.TENDULKAR 6.SOBERS 7.GILCHRIST 8. W.AKRAM 9.WARNE 10.MARSHALL 11.LILLEE, bradman can captain 12th man Imran or K.Miller.

  • POSTED BY SFGoldenGate on | October 24, 2010, 5:48 GMT

    @Vamsi Krishna, Yeah, quiet true. I agree that Sachin is the best batsman in this era. But what I am saying is that comparing two greats (Bradman and Sachin) is nonsense. Because there is no common ground to compare them. Yes, people are saying that Sachin played modern cricket and stayed for long, but you can not guarantee that if Bradman would have born in Sachin's time will fail miserably or if Sachin were born in Bradman's era will fail. 1000 others are voicing Sachin's greatness , so I am not spending any word on that. But if somehow this article was written in 1948, I think most of the crowd would have in Bradman's side even if they knew that someone named Sachin will come score 14000 test runs after 50 years. People live with and find idols from the present era. But that does not make others obsolete. So, more correct approach would be to find great batsman from each decade. cheers buddy.

  • POSTED BY on | October 24, 2010, 5:11 GMT

    @KiwiRocker : This indicates that Sachin was a mediocre player of quality fast bowling till 1998-99 , halfway through his career. It's a pity we haven't had great fast bowling since then to see whether Sachin improved as I'm sure he would have. Saying that , you are right : Against the best fast bowlers of their time , Sachin averages 36 , Lara 41 and Richards 47. The period between 1980 and 1992 was a golden period for fast bowling. After 1992 , two great spinners emerged and the fast bowling tradition continued for 8 glorious more years till to make it the greatest bowling period in cricket's history. Which means that Richards, Chappell , Gavaskar , Lara and Tendulkar who all achieved greatness during these years have a much more substantial claim to all All Time XI than many before them (Hammond , Headley etc) and the flat track / mediocre bowler bullies after them ( Pietersen , Sangakkara, Sehwag)

  • POSTED BY kirksland on | October 24, 2010, 4:04 GMT

    For those persons that say that Bradman never faced good bowlers should first of all do two things, name the great bowlers of today besides Steyn (whose S/A team Mr. Tendulkar averages 39 away againts) and two, learn some cricket history. Bodyline was desogned just to stop him and he still managed to score runs. He played on uncovered pitches, and yes as the superstar of his generation he did face large crowds coming out just to see him and he too was beloved by his countrymen. Lets compare that to featherbed home pitches, body protection, soft competition in Ban and Zim and batting friendly rules and conditions (better bats, smaller fields). Even more important Bradman's career was interupted by WW2, and even after all that time off and older by 7 years he didnt miss a beat. Please dont disrespect the game and the great man just for the sake of Nationalistic and misplaced pride. Tendulkar is great, Bradman is the greatest batsman ever and along with Sobers the two best players EVER.

  • POSTED BY kirksland on | October 24, 2010, 3:47 GMT

    It seems like everyone in India has drank the Koolaid. Once again, Sachin is the even the undisputed best player of his generation. Many, including my self beleive that Lara was better, some even beleive that Dravid is better, Ponting statistically is equal. Tendulkar bats on feather beds at home and most of the subcontinent. He averages 76 with 3 hundreds againts Zim. and 136 with 5 hundreds agaings Ban. from a total of 16 matches between the two combined. Like most Indians he struggles in South Africa, averaging 39. In the last seris againts Australia showed it best, when the Innings mattered in the 4th Innings as usual it was Laxman that ame through, not Tendulkar. What are his defining innings? And finallay lets quit with the pressure thing, every batsman is expected to succeed, the difference is that he normally comes into bat after Sehwag and Dravid with runs on the board. Lara carried a one man team when his wicket was the key one to get, and everyone knew it. Thats pressure.

  • POSTED BY zohair02 on | October 24, 2010, 3:44 GMT

    It's ok to pick World XIs once in a decade or so, but you guys seem to do it once a week. Come on, get real. I mean, why don't you pick a World 267 instead? i.e. a team with 267 players, because rules don't count when picking World XIs where you can pick guys who are 70 yrs old - sarcasm intended. That is as much a reality as a World 11.

  • POSTED BY chandau on | October 24, 2010, 3:32 GMT

    @ MARTIN HOOKS : ironic isnt it that you shud bring in the hook, 'cos have you seen any modernday batsman hook without a helmet??? every to dick and harry (+matrin) is an expert on the internet :) keep it up mate maybe someday you will know what is to play the game in the middle and watch it from the armchair :) LMAO

  • POSTED BY johnsrini on | October 24, 2010, 0:56 GMT

    There are lies, damn lies and statistics. Even a two year old can pick a good team. Just read the article, glance at the adds and move on. The columnist has to keep writing as he has to earn his bread. So thats okay.

  • POSTED BY Hema_Adhikari on | October 24, 2010, 0:06 GMT

    well said Sir Martin Hooks...yes cricket has moved on but there is lot of nostalgia associated with old times.

  • POSTED BY EverybodylovesSachin on | October 23, 2010, 23:29 GMT

    OLd is Gold...Bradman Richards....looks like people and fans have nostalgic feelings...Losts of people commented about Bradman have not seen him bat..Is it this feelings make them believe that they are great...just by looking statistics..Looks like they way Sachin is doing in his present by his fans..He will be remembered like God or Mahatma of Cricket........

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | October 23, 2010, 23:11 GMT

    I do not think that Sir Don Bradman is best ever, I think Tendulkar is better than him as he played against 57 bowlers (swing, seam, wrist spinners, finger spinners) who took 100 or more on 57 different grounds in ten countries and Bradman played against six bowlers with 100 or more on ten grounds in two countries in test cricket in which there was no fast or fast medium bowler. For those arguing that he never scored hundred against Ambrose, yes it is true but how can we neglect his 92, 88 and 83 against him. His batting average was 62.81 with five half centuries in twelve innings against W Indies before Ambrose left cricket. His batting average is 60.6 against Australia with eleven hundreds in which six on their grounds. He maintained highest average plus highest no. of centuries against Australia with only one with more than 3000 runs among his all peers. Else he maintained batting average 61.42 against England and also 60.45 against Sri Lanka.

  • POSTED BY 114_in_final_Six_overs on | October 23, 2010, 21:13 GMT

    Sachin is much better than greats from the past. Have you seen Wimbledon 1955 or 100 meter dash from 1950's they look childish and are not even in the same ballpark when it comes to modern master's game such as Federer and Usain Bolt performance. How can cricket be different? The game HAS evolved, and I have not seen Bradman bat but I have seen Viv Richards bat for sure and he does not look all that great. He was good for his era but now so many players play much better than him.

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2010, 20:43 GMT

    Statistically, Sachin is in a league of his own, no question....he is Bradmanesque (note the adjective!). Would I prefer to watch a guy compile a century with technical precision, generally yes. Would I like to watch a guy create a titanic struggle against superior bowlers, wearing his heart on his sleeve; counter attacking, showing you that he is not going to bow down, finding the audacious stroke to change the tide, going over the top or taking up the challenge against a field placing trap, baiting the opposition with shots over the top....Absolutely yes! That's what sport greatness is about. That's why Pete Sampras was the best or Michael Jordan;, thrillingly emotional and unorthodox. You just had to watch. That is why Lara is the best,especially his Herculean efforts against Aussie and that is why Richards is up there too. Young Sachin, especially in ODIs was thrilling.

  • POSTED BY Paulk on | October 23, 2010, 19:38 GMT

    Sachin is a batting colossus, Bradman is a freak of nature. An argument can be made that Sachin is the best of the rest mainly due to the longevity of his career at top level. My personal favorite is Sir Viv but I fully expect not everyone will agree and will have very good points to make on that. But Mr. 99.94 c'mon....he is as much better than Sachin, Viv and anyone else in history as Sachin is better than Ishant Sharma as a batsman. 29 centuries in 80 innings. You do the math and figure it out.

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2010, 18:27 GMT

    Many will not like it, but I think Sachin is better than Bradman. Because Bradman never played in the subcontinent. He never had to face Muralitharan, Shane Warne, who are considered to be the best off and leg spinner ever, respectively. He never had to endure the pressure at home like Sachin did, created mainly by Indian Media. Bradman never had to play in 3 formats of cricket. I kind of agree with what Gideon( the writer) has said in the second last paragraph about new generation learning from the old- but Sachin is playing this well for 20 years!!! For me, Sachin Tendulker is the best batsmen in the history of cricket, and will always be.

  • POSTED BY KnightRiderX on | October 23, 2010, 17:26 GMT

    this is fun... and of course there will be a minimum amt of personal bias... it is inevitable

  • POSTED BY since7 on | October 23, 2010, 15:20 GMT

    Making an all time list which is done scientifically is very difficult and mostly people who do that exercise never do it that way.PErsonal biases,half baked statistical usage(mostly interpretation)and tendency to stick to the mundane are overriding factors.Its a joyous exercise where one gets to satisfy his/her ego abt their cricketing knowledge and the urge to place their favourites in the 11.But when a magazine like cricinfo does it we expect a detailed analysis,articles which mention the methodology used,etc since you are not doing it for fun rather seriously.SO far all cricinfo's lists so far have been dissappointing in terms of their preparationa and presentation.Wish cricinfo does its huge fan base a favour by having elaborate articles for the forementioned factors and not merely a list and some adjectives interspersed with quotes.

  • POSTED BY 2929paul on | October 23, 2010, 10:31 GMT

    If you want another view on the problems of selecting the best of all time, try to find a copy of John Woodcock's 1998 publication of his list of "100 Greatest Cricketers". The foreward by Mike Brearley and Woodcock's own introduction give a good insight into the problems. Woodcock put WG as no.1 on his list, Bradman 2, Sobers 3. No. 4 was Alfred Mynn, 31, Arthur Shrewsbury, 32, FR Spofforth, 39, Billy Beldham, 40, GA Lohmann, 53, CB Fry, 61, John Small, 62, AG Steel. Some interesting and controversial choices. I won't say where he ranked Sachin, Lara or Warne, nor where the allrounders of the 80s sat relative to eachother.

    Quote from Sobers: The word great is used much too often. You can't call Bradman great and David Gower great too. If Gower was great you have to invent a different word for Bradman, who was an all-time great.

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | October 23, 2010, 10:21 GMT

    Viv Richards,undoudtedly is the best ever batsman against pace bowling destroying the most lethal of fast bowlers without a helmet.No batsman of the modern era could change the complexion of a game to a greater extent.However Viv played for a champion team and did not bear the pressure which Sachin did.No great batsman for that matter ever did.

    Brian Lara,in test cricket may rate ahead of Tendulkar as he could compile mammoth scores at a breathtaking scoring rate.He would also overshadow Sachin in a crisis bearing the brunt of such a weak batting side.

    Overall I rate Sachin Tendulkar,ahead of Viv Richards and Brian Lara.He is the most complete batsman of the modern era scoring almost 100 International centuries and 30,000 runs something which let alone surpassed, may well no tbe equalled.He posesses great temperament,superb technique,ability to dominate best of bowling attacks on all types of wickets ,can win matches with the bat and perform brilliantly in a crisis.

  • POSTED BY prashant1 on | October 23, 2010, 8:39 GMT

    @harvey gangadeen. Sachin is the best. Till jan 2003 he was head and shoulders above lara and ponting. From 03-06 lara , ponting (and many others) piled on cheap ,easy runs and had an absolute run feast while tendulkar was injured for most of that phase. From 07/08 on and relatively injury free tendulkar is again way ahead of ponting. as, andrew simoes rightly pointed out ponting has been an ordinary batsman for 11 or his 16 yrs. with the exception of the 03-06 run fest...so its tendulkar....lara, ponting etc....most ppl intentionally use "overral" stats and distort the entire issue.

  • POSTED BY Dashgar on | October 23, 2010, 8:07 GMT

    How about an XI that you can't argue with. The Statistical XI. It features the players who have the most runs at each step in the batting order and the most wickets for each type of bowler (left arm fast, right arm fast, finger spinner, wrist spinner). That team would look like this. Gavaskar, Hayden, Ponting, Tendulkar, S.Waugh, Tillakaratne, Gilchrist, Akram, Warne, Muralithuran, McGrath. If done on Averages (with at least 2000 runs or 100 wickets) it is like this. Hobbs, Sutcliff, Bradman, Weekes, Samaraweera, Chanderpaul, Flower, Davidson, Peel, O'Reilly, Barnes. Both strong teams and you can't actually argue the inclusion of any of them.

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | October 23, 2010, 8:03 GMT

    Only 3 choices are unaninmous.They are Bradman,Sobers and Gilchrist.With his brilliant combined records in both types of Cricket ,Sachin Tendulkar makes it.No batsman may ever surpass or even equal his records.He is the most complete batsman of the modern era,with great technique,temperament,abilty to destroy any type of bowling,master all types of wicketswin matches and perform in a crisis.

    I overall rate Sachin higher than Viv Richards or Brian Lara because of his consistency.I agree that Lara outperformed Sachin when the chips were down and had the ability to compile mammoth knocks at a breathtaking scoring rate ,unlike Sachin who has never passed 250.Viv Richards was the greatest batsman ever against pace bowling as he proved in Packer Cricket and could change the complexion of agame like lightning,more than Sachin.However he never faced as much pressure as the little master,nor has any great batsman for that matter.

  • POSTED BY prashant1 on | October 23, 2010, 7:54 GMT

    @gujaratwall...If Bradman down to Richards etc played without an AB guard- now that would be truly fearless and require real guts...But apparently helmets were just not required then or otherwise the family jewels were deemed to be of greater value than the cerebrum.

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | October 23, 2010, 7:47 GMT

    My 1st 11 would be Sunil Gavaskar,Barry Richards,Don Bradman,Viv Richards,Sachin Tendulkar,Gary Sobers,Adam Gilchrist,Imran Khan ,Malcolm Marshall,Shane Warne,Glen Mcgrath.

    My 2nd 11 would be Jack Hobbs ,Len Hutton,Ricky Ponting,Brian Lara,Walter Hammond,Clyde Walcott,Ian Botham,Richard Hadlee,Wasim Akram,Dennis Lillee,,Muthiah Mutlitharan.

    3rd 11 would be Herbert Sutcliffe,Arthur Morris,George Headley,Graeme Pollock,Greg Chappell,Keith Miller,Kapil Dev, Alan Knott,Ray Lindwall,Harold Larwood,Bill'o'Reilly.

    In the 1st 11 Mcgrath makes it because his control is an ideal blend to the pace and agression of Malcolm Marshall and Imran Khan.Being a better batsman Marshall replaces Dennis Lillee.Although overall a better allrounder than Imran Khan ,Ian Botham misses out in the 1st 11 as Imran Khan is a superior fast bwler and their is already a batting allrounder in Gary Sobers.Viv Richards comes in with his abilty to murder the best of pace attacks.

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2010, 7:22 GMT

    what's the problem? Sachin is one of the greatest ever, along with Lara and Ponting. There is no need to argue who is better, I'd pay to watch all three bat, though Lara is probably best in that category. I agree with Haig, reminiscing on the great players and what they did in the game and the joy the brought is way better that trying to rank one above the other for a spot in an all time xi

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2010, 6:06 GMT

    Thank you , cricketchopper . :) Although , I would , technically have been vying with BillyCC for the number 11 spot!

  • POSTED BY kirksland on | October 23, 2010, 5:22 GMT

    My all time 11 that I voted for Jack Hobbs, Barry Richards, Donald Bradman, Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Gary Sobers, Imran Khan, Adam Gilchrist, Malcolm Marshall, Shane Warne, Glenn mcgrath. Reserves. Gavaskar, Richards, Lillee, Muralithran & Knott. Just missing out G.Pollock, Holding, G.Chappel, Hutton, Hammond, Headley and Hadlee.

    The team I believe will be selected Hobbs, Gavaskar, Bradman, Richards, Tendulkar, Sobers, Gilchrist, Khan, Marshall, Warne, Lillee. If they decide to go with two spinners Murali replaces Khan.

  • POSTED BY kirksland on | October 23, 2010, 5:12 GMT

    con't. That being said, here are my top ten bowlers/match winners of all time. Malcolm Marshall, Shane Warne, Dennis Lillee, Glenn Mcgrath, Imran Khan, Muttiah Muralithran, Michael Holding, Allan Donlad, Curtly Ambrose, Bill O'Reilly/Wasim Akram. Hadlee, Waqar and Trueman just misses out for various reasons, but those are my top ten. All that being said it would be nice to see more articles around the ever dying art, but realistically with the increased focus on one day and t-20 matches specialised bowlers and slip catching may be going, all be it slowly, the way of the dino. For these and other reasons (propper batting technique) test cricket must remain the stardard of the sport.

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2010, 5:12 GMT

    finally a knowledgeable article on world XI's ... this was a joy to read because at least acknowledging the difficulties and factors that mostly will be over-looked anyways :) You should be in the jury.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | October 23, 2010, 5:07 GMT

    Hi all, I don't think this was a blurb about Sachin v Bradman v Richards. Some of the best points that Haigh made are fundamental to any team selection whether it be the Walcha U11s or the World All Time XI, what rules, what conditions, where played. Whilst I would have Sachin in my World XI if it was just a paper/theory folly, but if the conditions were uncovered pitch no fore arm protector, or thigh & chest guard on Oz pitches - I would not select him. So whilst I love selecting World XI sides for fun, I think the real debate should be under what rules & where to play! If the match was played at the WACA with no restrictions on bouncers - I think the first batsmen I would select would be V Richards, & first bowler M Marshall. If it was to be played on an Indian dustbowl I would select Gavaskar/SRT & Bedi. For the record I think the Don with a more powerful bat, better physio, more protective clothing, more time to practise, better pitches would equal an the same ave. he finished with

  • POSTED BY kirksland on | October 23, 2010, 4:54 GMT

    and true genius lies in watching and reading stories from the past. Likewise Shane Warne's stats are less impressive that Murili's, but he is no doubt the greater performer. People point to the fact that has more wickets from less matches that warne, but he bowled considerably more overs, he also never had the share the attack or compete for wickets with other greats (Vaas good, not great). He also for all home matches, and honestly for most matches played in the subcontinent, played on pitches prepared for him or suited to him. The small matter of 176 wickets againts Ban and Zim doesnt hurt his statistical advantage either. Garner has a lower average and more wickets that Holding from fewer matches, but he was the stock bowler, while holding was the attacking option who was told to go get wickets, and so took more chances, though to garners credit his srike rate was still amazing. But all of that to say is that cricket has two sides and not just about batsmen and averages. con't

  • POSTED BY kirksland on | October 23, 2010, 4:38 GMT

    Why is it that when everyone talks about the all time greats the conversation goes to batting. To win any test match you have to bowl out a team twice, yet bowlers rarely get the credit or staus they deserve. The great fast bowlers have defined eras, and the overall lack of quality in this one (steyn apart), is reflected in the rediculous averages we see today. All the great winning teams had at least two great performers with the ball, Miller and Lindwall, trueman and Statham, Holding and Marshall, Lillee and Thompson, Donald and Pollock and Mcgrath and Warne. Bowling is also less subject to statistics than batting, Lillee and Holding are seen as upper echleon bowlers, but they are bowlers with beter records not held in such esteem, Lillee along with Marshall and Mcgrath are seen as the best fast bowlers ever but his average and strike rate are both higher, but to watch him (and holding) at their best was awe inspiring and pure genius. This just proves that stas are overrated

  • POSTED BY JupeBeggs on | October 23, 2010, 4:37 GMT

    Why do Indian fans have to overrate Tendulkar? He is probably the best batsman to come out of India, but does that mean he's the best ever? The best ever? Seriously? Because he's played so many games? Do you fans look at his stats before making that judgement call? You do know he wasn't the same player in the 2000s as he was in the 1990s, don't you? Do you look at other players and compare? You must have, since you think he is better. I'm wondering, have you ever heard of George Headley? Jack Hobbs? WG Grace? Billy Beldham was probably better than anyone, but you've never heard of him. Bradman made 29 centuries in 50 tests; Tendulkar is nowhere near that. Lara broke the world record twice, and also the first class record. Not only did Tendulkar never come close, he never will. He never will. You have a great batsman, no doubt about it, but you have to go and ruin it with all this hysteria. The Ausies did the same with Warne. Great bowler - yes. Greatest bowler - no. Not even close.

  • POSTED BY kirksland on | October 23, 2010, 3:32 GMT

    This is not intended to offend anyone, but why are Indian cricket fans so insecure about their stars. Every thread doesn't have to turn into "SRT is the Greatest" coversation. He is truely great and one of the greatest of his generation (along with Ponting, Kallis, Dravid and Lara), but not without argument. He is not without fault, Dravid and Laxman are both better match winners, Lara had more signature innings and style, Ponting can pass his records. His second innings scores are not great, he had played on flat tracks and many see Dravid as the better player. The amount of players today with inflated averages alone show the state of bowling today and his average againts the best of his time as stated below shows his record againts the greats well. He is on no way better than Bradman or even possibly Sobers, but he does fall into the discussion on who is next with Lara, Pollock, Hammond, Ponting, Headley, Barry and Viv Richards, Hobbs, Gavaskar, Hutton, Chappel ect.

  • POSTED BY CricketIndiaFanatic on | October 23, 2010, 2:02 GMT

    Gideon Haigh's World XI team composition - John Howard, John Howard, John Howard, John Howard, John Howard, John Howard, John Howard, John Howard, John Howard, John Howard, John Howard. If anyone even thinks of any other name then they will take a new low in their life.

  • POSTED BY Fredo_H89 on | October 23, 2010, 0:46 GMT

    i have to say, i agree with the last sentence most of all. The fun of cricket is lost far too often amongst the squabbles that seem to dominate the modern cricketing world.

  • POSTED BY knowledge_eater on | October 23, 2010, 0:08 GMT

    Your this article comes in top 5, brilliantly put. You could have gone longer, but very well briefly summarized. If it was up to me, I would divide two era pre-ODI Pro-ODI era. And the one who played both can be picked in any. Its so sad Sachin choose his version according to team situation, it would have been if he had better team, or it would have been better if he would have crappier team, so he can play whatever version he wants, but the main aim is to do well for team, so I thinks its fine. By the way, my reason why should we do this is because one great man said once: "Whole human life is differences, struggle and Fight among each other" This rule has never changed from birth of Earth to Friday, October 22, 2010. It is our thriving or survival force. If there was no competition we would have been eaten by greater mammals or reptiles. By playing sports we are satisfying our lust of competition. We are addicted with competition. Peace.

  • POSTED BY Shabnam-Narain on | October 22, 2010, 23:42 GMT

    @Cricketchopper u did not include me in your team. I am Bradman (though am a women) of Cricinfo Fans. So here is my team to defeat your XI.

    My All time cricinfo fans XI - Longstrand(Gavaskar of team), GreenBack, Shabnam-Narain(c), TheOnlyEmperor(Viv of team), thealmighty(god,Sachin of team), ChapperT(match for chopper), Nadir Khan(Imran of Team), )PrinceOfPortofSpain(Lara), Adi_the_punisher(Lillee), fyrestorm(Marshal), Vice-Captain(my deputy & WK) SteveTurner(Warne, will turn the ball)

  • POSTED BY hulk777 on | October 22, 2010, 23:10 GMT

    To compare cricketers of different generation is not easy. Though I am a die hard fan of tendulkar, it is not difficult for me to say that Bradman was the Greatest sportsman ever. For this I can consider the grading system in few educational system. In a class for people who scores over 90% gets A, 80% gets B and 70%gets C. When no one get over 70% , then they do curving. Which is comparitively a group that is topper in that class gets A. If we use that, Bradman gets A in his generation. Tendulkar, Lara,Ponting etc gets A in this Generation. But the stunning statistics is, Bradman is the only Batsman who can get an A in his or any generation without curving. So Isnt it simple that he is the Greatest ever. We dont know how he was so great. But he is Great.

  • POSTED BY andnfpsfhps on | October 22, 2010, 23:05 GMT

    Hey Bro

    I guarantee that my all time XI is invincible 1) Hobbs 2) Gavaskar 3) Bradman 4) Tendulkar 5) G. Pollock 6) Sobers 7) Gilchrist 8) I Khan 9) W. Akram 10 ) Warne 11) McGrath 12) K Dev 13) R Haddlee 14) I botham 15) Muriatharan

  • POSTED BY Xcrictic on | October 22, 2010, 22:34 GMT

    I adored the 90's AUS team because of the cricketing skills, and again the same was with the Ganguly's India, not because I am Indian, but because of the on feild fighting spirit it had.

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 22:29 GMT

    May I propose that instead of picking an all-time world XI, we should pick an all time world XI to play on a particular track at a particular time (e.g. Headingley in the early English summer). This exercise can be repeated to also pick, say, a world-team of 16 players for a particular series (lets say India) if you know that some of the wickets batting wickets, some are spin friendly, etc.

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | October 22, 2010, 22:27 GMT

    I agree with the theory that great players in any era always remain great players of the game. The judgment of greatness can sometimes come into question, but for the most part, there are only a few (probably a cricket team's worth) great players in every couple of generations. When it comes to comparing against eras, I believe the measure then is firstly to compare the same great players against the others in their generation and how they performed against the greatst in their generation (batsman v bowlers and vice versa). The second measure is purely statistical. The third measure is a subjective judgment on those statistics but that is a weaker measure than the other two because it is complicated by many factors which gives it significantly less weight than the other two.

  • POSTED BY Statsmatter on | October 22, 2010, 21:50 GMT

    Comparing generations is really quite simple - look at the stats! They don't lie and they don't exagerate greatness. When Bradman played he was no different to any other cricketer of that generation, yet still surpassed all and then some. Played on uncovered wickets, limited personal protection, lack of technology to assist with power (think modern cricket bats), boats for transport to England, etc, and had a job. In fact Bradman surely would be ranked as one of the greatest EVER sportsman, not just cricketer. This does not deny players of the modern game are not also great - Lara, Tendulkar, Ponting, Murali, Warne, McGrath, Walsh - just in a diff league all together. To say Bradman had little opposition is flawed - How many record scores have been scored against Bangladesh yet many have argued about there status as Test playing nation early on. As I said sats don't lie - The most amount of runs scored in a match against Bangladesh comes it at number 39 on all time - Dilshan 306

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | October 22, 2010, 21:30 GMT

    Cricketchopper, happy to be in your Cricinfo fans All Time XI. Also happy to be mentioned last which means I'm batting at Number 11, a true reflection of my batting ability. Cheers.

  • POSTED BY Nadeem1976 on | October 22, 2010, 21:27 GMT

    This Idea of having One All Time XI is totaly useless. My question is against whom they will play. No body. The good way is to make two balanced teams with 30 players. 15 each team. Becuase we can select 30 as human on the basis of record but not the 11 players. It is near to impossible to justify each and every player in the team of 11. Make two world XI teams and every legend will be covered.

  • POSTED BY EverybodylovesSachin on | October 22, 2010, 21:22 GMT

    @cricketchopper -- THANKS for selecting me in the eleven...Looks like I am going to open the innings...facing the fast bowlers...

    @predeep_singh --I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH YOU..Good Analysis.

  • POSTED BY Engle on | October 22, 2010, 20:44 GMT

    @shuklatanmay. You will never have another Bradman. And if you did, then yes, you would pick him. Because the objective is to pick the best XI as a team, not as individuals. So, there is a balancing act to follow. If 2 players are about the same, then lean towards the one that brings a different set of talents to the table. So, Bradman/Richards or Bradman/Lara or Bradman/Sobers, but not Bradman/Tendulkar. So sorry, but SRT is out.

  • POSTED BY bingorighton on | October 22, 2010, 20:26 GMT

    it would also be interesting if someone can make analysis of runs scored on basis of the bowler against who it was scored. like sachin scoring 500 runs against mcgraths and lee's means much more than ponting scoring 500 against zaheers and nehras.

  • POSTED BY bingorighton on | October 22, 2010, 20:22 GMT

    very interesting article . but there is one more thing we all forget to consider and that is technology and analysis. during bradman era, there was little homework to do before and after a match. now there are coaches and players who are studying and searching for every weakness that they can exploit. Fielding is another aspect, if bradman used to score 100 in his era, how many runs would have been saved ? how many matches bradman played every year ? his career span was 20 years and his total matches are 52. so 2.6 matches every year on average . author very rightly mentions that batting averages in 50's is equivalent to what it used to be 40's earlier. and i think sachin played almost his earlier half of career in that phase where there were lots of great bowlers in their prime ( Shane, mcgrath, akram, waqar, ambrose, walsh, donald, pollock etc ) and in comparision someone like ricky ponting hasnt had to face lots of greats of cricket.

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | October 22, 2010, 20:10 GMT

    Dear Chapper T, yes he played his whole cricket against the same team or 80% innings against the same team. He scored most of his runs against unfit, ungainly, limited, also against ageing upper class twits with their speed equal to club cricketers now. For top 50 leading bowlers, he faced only one of them, Medium fast. Even top 150 bowlers he faced no fast or fast medium bowler. Why his average is more than his peers, reason is that he started cricket after great depression and cricket without globalization so overall talent were at very initial stage. Tendulkar's peer comparison is closed because presence of professionalism as compare to him amateur cricket. Playing against amateur bowlers does not mean he could play Marshal, Garner or Ambrose, Hadlee, Donald, McGrath or Lillee, Wasim and Waqar and also wrist spinners like Warne and Murli. How we know that his actual ability as he faced the weakest attacks of cricket history on flat tracks.

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 20:02 GMT

    Good article. The previous articles on this topic were all below standard. I have mentioned before and again say that it is impossible to select a world XI. There are more than 100 great cricketers not just the 88 nominted and to select 11 you will be doing injustice to the other 89. It was still interesting to see a number of world Xi's by fans. The last world XI did not do well against Australia because a balanced team was not selected. Sometime all greats not make a great team. I think it will be a good idea to pick two World Elevens from the current players and have a series.

  • POSTED BY LukeTheDuke on | October 22, 2010, 19:45 GMT

    Whenever there is a discussion about Greatest Batsman or greatest team, one name always comes up Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. A person who has achieved so much in the game and given 20 years of his life to it. There are always a bunch of people who will digg in records to find few failures of the MAN and post here. What that proves? Only reason I can see is these people are so frustrated with the man's achievement that they want to undermine him. It proves nothing.. Sachin is the Greatest sportperson world has ever seen. So please stop the nonsense and stop putting some really irrelevent statistics out here.

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 19:30 GMT

    Awesome article and I fully agree - it's fun and makes us relive the magic of today and eras bygone.

  • POSTED BY BrianCharlesVivek on | October 22, 2010, 19:29 GMT

    Thank God he dint mention BCCI s hand here and only they persuaded Cricinfo to do this... LOL

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 19:23 GMT

    @tanmayshukla.. mate, while i agree with you wholeheartedly that both Bradman and Tendulkar have to play given the chance (sigh), the complementary argument does have its merits at times. The English football team is a prime example of what can go wrong when players are simply too good to be left out. Just a passing thought..

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 19:17 GMT

    ultimately, it's all just a lovely romance, an exercise born out of the love of the game and it's exceptional participants. Everyone will have their opinion, just as in mine I cannot see a team without Tendulkar. You want to compare across eras... fine, you're welcome but it's an exercise in futility. Ultimately it's about the joy you get looking at your dream XI.. at all dream XIs.. and imagine fondly what might have been. Quite frankly, an exercise like this needs no assessment about pros and cons. Because of the nature of this entire idea, a discussion of pros and cons also ends up in the domains of fond reminisces and what-ifs!!

  • POSTED BY PrinceofPortofSpain on | October 22, 2010, 19:15 GMT

    You cannot say that Tendulkar is better than Lara. Tendulkar has 6 Test doubles, Lara 9. Tendulkar has no Test tripple centuries, Lara is the only batsman with 2 scores over 350. Tendulkar has played tests at the most venues but Lara has Test double centuries in 5 different countries, counting the Caribbean as one.Lara has excelled against McGrath and Warne, Wasim and Waqar, Donald, Pollock and Ntini, Harmison, Hoggard and Flintoff, Murali and Vaas and Vettori and Bond. What you can say is that Ponting, Lara and Tendulkar are the top three batsmen of the last 20 years.

  • POSTED BY mrgupta on | October 22, 2010, 18:56 GMT

    @Kiwirocker: oh you feel Viv Richards was the best and played against the best? Well he never had to pay the most feared bowling lineup of his time, His own. His batting avg is 44 against Aus, 43 against NZ and 42 against Pakistan, These arguably had the best bowling attacks of Viv's time. Ponting's average against all of those great bowlers you mentioned is pathetic. Sir Don played only against English attack that too in predictable conditions. He never had to play against several top teams as the only top team during his Era was England unlike Sachin, for when he started and for his first 10 years of Cricket India was one of the lowest ranked teams and had one of the worst bowling.

  • POSTED BY kcab on | October 22, 2010, 18:53 GMT

    Regarding"kahunas", whatever these might be, maybe Engle will recall that Bradman himself picked Tendulkar for his (Bradman's) own world eleven. In fact, Tallon was picked at no. 6, with Bradman, Tendulkar and Sobers making up the entire middle order.

  • POSTED BY shuklatanmay on | October 22, 2010, 18:40 GMT

    @Engle - By that logic if you had two Bradmans to choose from you'd choose only one! Tendulkar and Bradman will both be in a World XI simply because when players are that good they're not left out, complementary or not. (although I agree that Bradman is far and away the best batsman of all time.)

  • POSTED BY predeep_singh on | October 22, 2010, 18:21 GMT

    lara's 400 is the biggest example of that after failing in 1st 3 tests where ENGLAND bundled WI & LARA 3-0 ..LARA scored a 400 in DEAD 4th TEST & that to by ruining the chance of WI to won the match totally...it's a mere example of achieving personal goal selfishly & that too in a useless match when opponent bowlers r tiring at the end of series win..

    but despite doing of such things LARA hasnot become to near TENDULKAR neither in MATCH WINNING nor in RECORDS..

    TENDULKAR is true CHAMPION...

    SOME LOSERS will protest it against & again everytime may b LARA-GAVASKAR fans..they ask us to know CRICKET HISTORY...but fact is they never know basic simple cricketing facts ..leave about CRICKET HISTORY...

    if any 1 judges CRICKET HISTORY in through detail..by going ALL THE DEEDS & UNDEEDS of ALL THE PLAYERS like sachin..BRADMAN..SUNNY..LARA..VIV ..SOBERS etc all...

    then they have to admit that SACHIN is the greatest OVERALL..

    & that's what the author did beautifullyt...

  • POSTED BY Arijit_in_TO on | October 22, 2010, 18:14 GMT

    There is no objective measure when measuring players from different eras. Everyone has their biases. Notwithstanding my ethnicity, in my XI, my Indian was Gavaskar not Tendulkar, my Pakistani was Akram not Imran Khan, my Englishmen were Hobbs and Knott not Botham or Boycott, my West Indians were Ambrose, Sobers, Lara and Richards and Aussies were Bradman and Lillee with Murali rounding it out as the specialist spinner. Are there better teams statistically? No doubt about it! I would have loved to include a Richard Hadlee and Barry Richards too but this is the team that captures my imagination. It is not being disrespectful to those ommitted; people, irrespective of their nationalist fervour, should be allowed to pick whom they want. This is why we love the game.

  • POSTED BY predeep_singh on | October 22, 2010, 18:03 GMT

    @kiwirocker, @ DONALD.. YES SACHIN has an ordinary 35 avg (if u compare his career avg) against DONALD & not 32 as u mentioned & calculated foolishly from CRICINFO..(REMOVE EDEN TEST 2nd innings where there was no DONALD if u r going that detail--be precious at 1st before writing) but at least SACHIN scored 169..111..75.. 97 all against DONALD in GREEN TOP PITCHES in TESTS in few occassions....& it is not every time he was dismissed by DONALD..

    & now count what LARA did against DONALD ??a mere avg near 20 (may b below 20) same as he had against WASIM--WAQAR... LARA never scored any TEST HUNDRED against DONALD--WASIM--WAQaR--IMRAN..never ever faced SHOAIB & didnot have to face AMBROSE...

  • POSTED BY predeep_singh on | October 22, 2010, 17:50 GMT

    gujratwala, & also apart from few occassions the case was not that dangerous that U need a helmet to face fear some pacers like once WI's HOLDING targetted SUNNY& GANWAKWAND's bodu from round the stump & ENTIRE team was in HOSPITAL cud not bat..but that was an exceptional case coz..WI UMPIRE cud not give warning coz of WI CROWDS.. else in generally there was a warning FOR THOSE KINDA BOWLING TOWARDS BODY.where as now there is no warnin g for a helmetworn batsman wven if PACERS go from ROUND THE DTUMP & ATTEMPS BATSmen's body.. several examples can b given for SACHIN or atherton that quicker bowlers attampted their bodies..but still they survived & scored.. so MY QUESTION is if GAVASKAR can survive against MARSHALL's hit on his head..coz of his SKULL CAP..there's no point in BLAMING SACHIN for the SAME THING..& like GAVASKAR SACHIN too played GREAT & FEARSOME FAST BOWLERS...

  • POSTED BY predeep_singh on | October 22, 2010, 17:50 GMT

    @GUJRATWALA, SUNNY MIGHT HAVE faced extreme pacers without helmet ( though wore a skull cap later & that's why he survived despite MARSHALL delivery hit on his head..so why to blame tendulkar for wearing a HELMET?) but MARSHALL's PACE belonged to 145 K/hr..not SHOAIB's illegal 155KM/hr dliveries..

  • POSTED BY Gocool87 on | October 22, 2010, 17:10 GMT

    If don had played 2/3 versions of the games like sachin did for the past 20 years then definitely he woudn't have averaged close to 100. Also the no.of teams don has played against comes in to the factor.. But it is always an honor to call don as the father of cricket. Even sachin would say that. @kiwirocker. Though sachin had few failures against the bowlers (you have mentioned )they have rated sachin as the best batsman they have played against.Mcgrath preferred lara but said sachin has the edge considering the amount of pressure he faces. Check this article written by donald http://www.cricinfo.com/sachinat20/content/story/434423.html

  • POSTED BY RAJ_SRINI on | October 22, 2010, 16:43 GMT

    As Gideon Haigh puts it so well, the purpose of the game is fun and enjoyment. So here's my All-time World XI. It may not win all the time, but will pull crowds in more than any other: 1. Victor Trumper 2. John Berry Hobbs 3. C.G. Macartney 4. F.E. Woolley 5. K.S. Ranjitsinhji 6. G.S. Sobers (C0 7. Keith Miller 8. C.G. Blackham (Wk) 9. Sydney Barnes 10. E.A.S. Prasanna 11, Arthur Mailey 12. Colin Bland

  • POSTED BY EverybodylovesSachin on | October 22, 2010, 16:32 GMT

    @gujratwalla --Do you think Gavaskar faced 150 plus kmph bowling all the time..NO..every fast bowlers of today and in the past produced same average speed..In fact Sachin era broke the world fastest speed records by Akhtar and Lee..and fastest in the history of the game...Now people alwasy defend Gavaskar and Richards on the Helmet issue..It is their fault and stupid no to use helmet or never complained about it...They were trying to be hero and that was foolish....HELMET was invented long long time ago...Sachin never tries to be hero hooking the ball all the time or play without Helmet...He is in fact Smarter than Gavaskar and Richards...

  • POSTED BY prashant1 on | October 22, 2010, 16:10 GMT

    @Engle. If you really think this team is about "complementing" each other- you need to relocate your kahunas. This is not a blind date or potential romance being set up here. This whole thing is essentially about the very best cricketers to have played in a particular spot- batting posn wise, keeper, fast bowlers, spinners...not picking the "2nd or 3rd best alternative" just so some guys "complement" each other

  • POSTED BY Aussasinator on | October 22, 2010, 15:40 GMT

    @Andrew Simoes. That was a very realistic analysis and is borne out by facts.

  • POSTED BY Vice-Captain on | October 22, 2010, 15:08 GMT

    But to argue that nationalism is not the key driver of your rationale to keep Bradman as an untouchable? It might boil down to a simpler argument that you;re trying to make -- i.e. OK for an Australian to be blindly nationalist, but not OK for others.

  • POSTED BY gujratwalla on | October 22, 2010, 15:05 GMT

    To those clamouring for Tendulkar he is a great player according to today's standards but he is not THE greatest because he never had to face extreme pace helmetless!Gavaskar was far better but nobody to my mind took the fight to the fast bowlers like Gary Sobers.So lets stop the chirping and salute all the greats of every era.No use arguing about Bradman but think there must have been something phenomenal about his technique and mental get-up that led to his success; something no batsman has achieved since and surely never will so long they can't hook pace bowlers.Nothing is more spectacular in cricket then a batsman hooking a fast bowler!Mike Holding said awhile that if the present batsmen were in his era they would be dead!

  • POSTED BY EverybodylovesSachin on | October 22, 2010, 14:41 GMT

    @PeteB ---Sachin replaces Don Bradman..Bradman used to be center of attention for 50 years in cricket media...Sachin will be center of attention in media for atleast next 50 years...Look Sachin broke another Bradman's Record...

  • POSTED BY thealmighty on | October 22, 2010, 14:30 GMT

    For all the people on board saying everytime their is a debate sachins name comes up. My response is everytime an article about whos the greatest gets posted not only on cricinfo but anywhere else it will always crop up.Such is the aura and such is the love he carries..Sachin wins hands down..90% of the people who claim that Sir Don is the greatest even havent seen him play and all they have is stats and stories of their grandfathers.. Bradman played most against England and smashed them..We have been witnessing Sachin break records and win matches for India for last 20 years.. I think the final dagger is -When sachin plays billion people expect nothing but a hundred from him and to play with that kind of pressure from a mad cricket county and most importantly perform for that long is something super human and thats what he is called the GOD of cricket. PERIOD. kiwi riocker i am guessing u come from new-zealand and talking about stats ...need i say more?..

  • POSTED BY ChapperT on | October 22, 2010, 14:18 GMT

    Far too much Indian bias from some posters and not enough respect for Bradman. Regardless of whether he was playing "coloney" cricket as one bloke suggests, and that he only played against England, the fact remains that he scored a century for every 2.76 innings in test cricket. Once he passed 50, he passed 100 roughly 69% of the time. These stats didn't change a great deal his entire first class cricket career. Compare his test record with Tendulkars first class or test record. Bradman wins hands down - he was a cricketing freak. Bradman was statistically twice the player of his contemparies, can you say the same about Tendulkar? Bodyline was developed to restrict Bradman's scoring to manageable levels. There is surely no other sport at which it's greatest player is so head and shoulders above the rest. If Tendulkar was a 100m runner called Usain Bolt, then Bradman would run be the equivalent of someone who runs the hundred in 6 seconds flat. And that's coming from a Pom

  • POSTED BY cricketchopper on | October 22, 2010, 14:18 GMT

    CRICINFO FANS ALL TIME XI; EverybodylovesSachin, Morgan Rogers Gibson, Andrew Simomoes, Cricketchopper (Captain), Shekher Chatla,Harshthaker,cricketPissek,Richard Collins,Prashant1,Wheeble,BillyCC

  • POSTED BY Engle on | October 22, 2010, 14:17 GMT

    Another reason why ppl pick AT XI's is to make a point. Here's mine: You first pick a player who walks into the team without argument. Then you pick others who COMPLEMENT him. Bradman walks into the team. Now Tendulkar does not complement Bradman. In fact, Bradman said that Tendulkar is closest to his stye (or similar). Whatever Tendulkar can do, Bradman can do better. Therefore, you look towards a Lara, being LH or a Richards being a blaster or a Sobers for his height and LH bat to complement the Don. Hence, Tendulkar is out of the AT World XI and I hope the Cricinfo committe have the kahunas to leave him out.

  • POSTED BY BellCurve on | October 22, 2010, 14:10 GMT

    @ Gideon - you should really let go of this Ted McDonald fascination of yours. He has awful Test stats and so-so First Class numbers. Why don't you rather wax lyrical about some of his contemporaries? They have far better bowling stats. Verity averages under 15; Frank Tarrant averages 17 with the ball and 36 with the bat. Not to mention Faulkner. Seriously, you're probably the only person in the world who calls himself a cricket historian; if you want to continue doing that you should make sure you know a thing or two about cricket history.

  • POSTED BY nipo10847 on | October 22, 2010, 14:10 GMT

    Brian Lara is the better match winner by miles. Sure Sachin has all the stats to support his position but Lara was by far more clutch. Stats don't mean everything. Anyone claiming Sachin over Bradman is a numskull and has not followed the history of cricket. There is will NEVER be another Don Bradman, just like there will NEVER be another Micheal Jordan. It's the fashion you dominate the game not how much you got.

  • POSTED BY Truecricketbuff on | October 22, 2010, 14:05 GMT

    @Andrew simoes- That's a brilliant and utterly true piece of analysis.

  • POSTED BY Truecricketbuff on | October 22, 2010, 14:01 GMT

    @Morgan. The "bird in hand" often leads to a lack of understanding

  • POSTED BY ToTellUTheTruth on | October 22, 2010, 13:54 GMT

    I agree with you LaxIsGreat. Cricinfo is obsessed with this nonsensical XI of all time. The only team they left untouched so far is Bangladesh.

    Very irritating to read anyways.

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 13:48 GMT

    @SFGoldenGate: Its true that Bradman and SRT are greatest batsman of their era. But the problem is the Aussies always say that Bradman is way better than Sachin. Which in my viewpoint is absolutely rubbish. Sachin and Bradman never played in same era, so please give equal respect to both of them. If Bradman scored his runs @ 99.96/inn, then Sachin already scored 95 intl centuries and have minimum 1000 runs in each continent he played. All I want to say is accept the FACT that at present Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar is the Numero uno batsman...

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 13:46 GMT

    Once again we have the "Tendulkar is better than Bradman" crap. I simply don't understand - outside of baseless nationalism - how anyone can claim it...

  • POSTED BY writehaseeb on | October 22, 2010, 13:36 GMT

    Here is my all time XI, can't think of a better team :)

    Sachin Tendulkar Brian Lara Zaheer Abbas ViV Richards Garfield Sobers Imran Khan* Adam Gilchrist** Wasim Akram Shane Warne Muttiah Muralitharan Waqar Younis

    *captain **Wicket Keeper

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 13:22 GMT

    excellent comments kiwirocker! if the stats u provide are authentic and real than i agree with you. Sachin is great batsman but not the greatest.

  • POSTED BY greenback on | October 22, 2010, 13:09 GMT

    lara was hit on his helmet at least 30 times in his career.meaning he was weak against quality fast bowling.and he never scored runs in india.no doubt,he was a great batsman.but,to suggest that he was better than tendulkar.....hilarious.

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 12:55 GMT

    Excellent article ! @RTPonting : Wow , you really expected the flat track bully Hayden to make the list? You should analyze his stats properly to realize his true worth and ability - that of India's Sourav Ganguly , not a bit better. Remove West Indies and Bangladesh from his stats - the 2 worst teams in Test cricket throughout his career, and look at his away performances against the other six teams. He averages a mediocre 40.04 without a double hundred. Ganguly has similar stats ( and Ganguly played Warne and McGrath too) Ponting has been a very average batsman for11 years of his 16. For 5 years he averaged 72 , that was a prolonged purple patch. On either side , nothing worth talking about (also no double hundred) . Perhaps the purple patch had something to do with pathetic bowling standards ( the retirement of Akram , Waqar, Donald, Ambrose , Walsh ) and the fact that Murali was never himself during those years in Australia because of the taunts.

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | October 22, 2010, 12:54 GMT

    Yes it is right if you want to become best of the best, you should prove yourself against the best. For those who argue for Bradman 99.94, he played amatuer cricket against bowler of England that were army, navy officers and others with scoring more tha 70% of his runs against them. Those days Australia was a coloney of England so if we say it was coloney cricket at international level or we may say that minimum level for international cricket, both are correct. How many yorkers had he played, inswing, outswing, in cutter, leg cutter, flipper, googly, doosra and so many others varities like Grimmett was flipper spicialist those days just like Kumble. Totally, he played cricket on ten grounds in two regions against same team. in which 17 matches won by them and they lost 11 matches agaisnt England. He was only one of the best batsman of his era just like Hobbs, Herbert, Headley and Hammond. We can say that he is legend and one of the best maximum.

  • POSTED BY Truecricketbuff on | October 22, 2010, 12:50 GMT

    Lara good. Tendulkar better....The historic rankings will now probably be Tendulkar/Bradman............the rest. Unfortunately by the time Tendulkar is through ,Lara will just be a footnote in the Tendulkar era

  • POSTED BY greenback on | October 22, 2010, 12:48 GMT

    lara was hit on his helmet at least 30 times in his career.meaning weak against quality fast bowling.but,no doubt he was a great batsman.but,to suggest he was better than tendulkar......hilarious.

  • POSTED BY PeteB on | October 22, 2010, 12:35 GMT

    Reductio Ad Sachinum. Every cricket argument nowadays boils down to Sachin Tendulkar.

  • POSTED BY EverybodylovesSachin on | October 22, 2010, 12:34 GMT

    Nice article...much better than Ian Chappell, keep him ESPNCricinfo... Bradman average would have been around 60 if he had played 100 plus test matches...runs and averages cannot be projected same as past over longer periods...

  • POSTED BY Edassery on | October 22, 2010, 12:31 GMT

    I am an Indian but not exactly a Sachin fan when it comes to test cricket. Sachin for sure is there in my all-time ODI XI but not in test X1. When it matters (like crunch situations, second and fourth innings batting) Sachin is nowhere near Bradman, Gavaskar, Ponting, Sobers , Richards or even Jack Kallis for that matter.

    Check out these 4th innings chasing averages - Don Bradman (73.40), Sunil Gavaskar (58.25), Gordon Greenidge (53.19), Ricky Ponting (52.44), Viv Richards (47.94), Garry Sobers (46.69) and even Jack Kallis (44.88)!!! And Sachin (37.25), Sehwag (28.15) - Dravid is the only Indian other than the great Sunny Gavaskar who has stood tall in such situations. And I just don't care about the number of runs scored, it's the win or match saving that matters!

  • POSTED BY SFGoldenGate on | October 22, 2010, 11:39 GMT

    @prashant1, you just can not compare to players of different era. Both Bradman and Tendulkar are great batsman and better than others. However it difficult to say who is better of two. Hence, you can not say that SRT is the greatest or Bradman is the greatest. Many Sachin fans told me that Sachin played more and if Bradman had played that long his average would have been not so great. This statement is really bullshit. Actually, Bradman's career span is 20 years (1928 -1948) but he lost 8 years due to world war 2. His average was slightly over hundred before the war and when he came back after 8 years he still averaged 90+. So, I think if he got that extra 8 years , he would have scored at least 12, 000 test runs even in those days schedule. Bradman also played on uncovered pitch and without good protective measure. Bradman had 12 double tons.On the other hand , tendulkar is most certainly the best batsman of the 90s and 2000s

  • POSTED BY TMS8137 on | October 22, 2010, 11:24 GMT

    In that i also agree with prashant1 that tendulkar could be considered a better batsman than bradman simply because of the variety of conditions he played in, the much worse bowling attack he had to cope with and the different formats that he has played in.

  • POSTED BY TMS8137 on | October 22, 2010, 11:21 GMT

    The fact is that lara was definitely more talented than tendulkar. The reason people like him more is that he takes more risks than tendulkar. tendulkar plays with more responsibility and consistency and has faced more pressure and expectation than any other player in history has. He has played over a variety of conditions. But if you look over all lara was a more talented batsman but tendulkar had the ability to use his immense talent and absorb pressure and play outstanding innings. If you want to compare the teams they played with. When lara played his 153* he had ambrose and walsh to bowl for him. When tendulkar played his 136* he had prasad and srinath. If we say that the best batsman is the one who is the most talented then that man is VVS laxman. Say what you want about him but when judjing a person on talent, laxman is off the scale.

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 11:09 GMT

    WHY always resort to talking about Sachin? Hhe is a great batsman but I believe that Lara is better. There is no need for me to mention Lara in every comment I make.

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 11:05 GMT

    My simple question to everyone concerned is if Bradman's era was so easy, why would not every batsmen from his era or around that time period average in the same range as Bradman? At any level be it gully or international, hitting 100's or taking 5 wickets is an achievement beyond time frame, and another proof of his out-of-this-world records is first class records, which is 95 runs per innings and 117 centuries. So to refute all this is myopic and does not serve the whole purpose of looking things fairly and objectively.

  • POSTED BY KiwiRocker- on | October 22, 2010, 10:53 GMT

    I am tired of people calling a mortal human as God and someone with an unknown IQ as Genius. Here is some cold hard facts about the most over rated batsman of world Tendulkar: In tests against Australia; Sachin averages a modest 36.77 against Australia when McGrath played. In test against SA; Sachin averages a pathetic 32 against South Africa whenever Allan Donald has played.Tendulkar was a failure against Wasim and Waqar and hardly played against them. He anyway averaged 32 runs against them. Interestingly he still averages around 40 against Pakistan. Against the 3 greatest fast bowlers of his era, whom he faced in more than one Test series, McGrath, Donald and Akram, Sachin has scored 1719 Test runs at a modest average of 34.3 (compared to his career average of 56). He hardly played against Ambrose.This is the very definition of being over-rated. You can not become best by scoring against Shane Warne. You need to score against the best to become the best. Just like Sir Viv Richards!

  • POSTED BY nurdleoffpads on | October 22, 2010, 10:16 GMT

    when people say "i reckon bradman would have averaged 70 or 80 today" what does that mean? how can you say that, it's just guess work. bradman averaged 100 when he played and that's what he did. by far the greatest of his era, that's all you can say

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 10:08 GMT

    Of course it's worthwhile. If it's not, then there's no point in sport, which, when we stop playing, is all about discussion, argument and conjecture and thsi sport of topic is pefect for that as no-one would, surely, be arrogant enough to think they were right. The only clear answer is that Swanny would be the spinner! :-)

  • POSTED BY LaxisGreat on | October 22, 2010, 9:56 GMT

    Good article, but by now ATXI craze has moved on and expired in terms of the use by date. This article voices the same opinion as the well written ... http://senantixtwentytwoyards.blogspot.com/2010/10/problems-of-all-time-xi-including-with.html ... which gives some new perspectives ... but Cricinfo is overdoing this ATXI hype. I guess I will skip the next ATXI story that comes along for a year or so

  • POSTED BY wheeble on | October 22, 2010, 9:54 GMT

    Great article, and lots of good questions, but I feel I've got an answer to one of the questions. Is there sufficient evidence of Dennis Lillee's versatility and adaptability? I reckon that anyone who saw him and saw his ability to adapt his game to the pitch, the circumstances of the game and most of all his serious back industry and drop in pace of his stock ball over the years would like me have no doubt about his abilities to adapt to different countries!

  • POSTED BY pom_basher on | October 22, 2010, 9:48 GMT

    why pick XIs? to keep guys like you in the job gideon, thats why. Im sick and tired of these pointless sideshows.

  • POSTED BY Manush on | October 22, 2010, 9:35 GMT

    I have repeatedly said in your columns that comparing players of different generations and ranking them will only lead to endless debates. You can at the most look for a period of 5 years or at the most ten years where playing conditions would have been similar internationally and opportunities are even for all playing countries and players. At best it only makes one think of the best players they liked or loved to watch when reading these kind of writings.

  • POSTED BY Sanks555 on | October 22, 2010, 9:25 GMT

    Viv Richards played first class cricket from 1971 till 1993 and List A cricket from 1973/74 till 1993. In those 20-22 years, he played 1007 matches, 1262 innings, and scored 53, 207 runs,

    Sachin Tendulkar made his first class debut in 1988/89 and his List A debut in 1989/90 and is playing till now. In these 20-22 years (including Twenty20), he played 847 matches, 992 innings, and scored 45, 799 runs.

    This shows that players in the earlier eras did not play less cricket.

  • POSTED BY sandy_bangalore on | October 22, 2010, 9:11 GMT

    Gideon Haigh is the best cricket writer in the world..And not just me who is saying that, but many of my friends who are cricinfo addicts agree as well. He has strong opinions of course, but he knows how to justify them and his knowledge of cricket and its history is mind boggling. Hope he continues to write many more, for many years!!

  • POSTED BY Sanks555 on | October 22, 2010, 9:10 GMT

    similarily, i can say that viv richards wud have struggled to make merry in the hectic schedules today ... his record in the last 5-6 years was very ordinary ... a definitive sign of tiredness. -------- A wrong assumption.

    If we consider first class and list A career , Viv Richards made more runs than Sachin Tendulka over comparable lengths of career.

    For confirmation please check stats guru.

    So, players earlier did not play less cricket, they played less international cricket.

    They perhaps played more hours of cricket.

  • POSTED BY CricFan24 on | October 22, 2010, 9:08 GMT

    The stage has come where Bradman is not out and out the greatest batsman ever. Tendulkar runs him close. Bradman and Tendulkar will go down as almost equals in history. The 2 finest batsmen of all time.

  • POSTED BY sanzo5 on | October 22, 2010, 9:04 GMT

    i am not sure about how bradman will cope up with the pitch conditions of today... but i can be sure about one thing... sachin tendulkar can bat in any condition and against any bowling attack... let it be the one from 70's or 80's or 90's... he was born to play cricket.... i am sure even if he had played in the 1800's or early 1900's he will still be in any world XI list.... sachin is not just batting talent alone... he has the passion and hunger to extend beyond his abilities and it has never deteriorated.... he is the best

  • POSTED BY prashant1 on | October 22, 2010, 8:36 GMT

    @amandwedi. Tendulkar is without a doubt the greatest batsman of all time 1)giving isolated instances of problems is just silly. every batsman that ever lived had down periods, problems at certain times etc. 2) Bradman played a handfulf of matches compared to tendulkar. no ODIs.3) saying SRTr has so many runs.hundreds because he played so long is again just silly 4) read in another place that if Borg had continued playing then by that logic he would have had 60 grand slams by now. 5) again sayingSRTr has the same avg as sangakarra is childish ignorance. SRT has some 7000 test runs and 10000 ODI runs more.6) the REAL beauty is that after 21 yrs , 32000 int runs , several career threatening injuries...at the end of it he STILL avg as good or better than his contemporaries in both forms of the game.7)DOnt forget for the batsmen who played the WHOLE of the 90s ONLY 3 avg more than 50-the true greats,SRT, lara ,steve and tendulkar avg 59 compared to53 and.52. I could go on and on...

  • POSTED BY delta20 on | October 22, 2010, 8:22 GMT

    No offense to sachin lovers but I think he should not make the list... Someone wrote that if sachin is not selected then this website will crash...I too think it is true.... I think if tendulkar makes the list some people won't even care whether Bradman or Richards or Sobers are selected or not.... I am also a big fan of his batting but never have I thought that his batting has that extra ingredient that Lara had in his batting........ that spark of genius which enabled his to score that magical 153 n.o, 213, 277 and win the match for his team. Tendulkar's innings had everything: grace, aggressiveness, consistency but I just wonder why he was never able to steer India home from difficult conditions in tests (in an astoundingly long career of 20+ years)?

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 8:19 GMT

    Great article...never thought u could write such a thought provoking article... no india bashing this time.. :P

  • POSTED BY gujratwalla on | October 22, 2010, 7:44 GMT

    A very good article here.Thank you!As one who has followed world cricket in over 50 year i think every generation has the right to cherish its heros.Sure cricket has become more commercial with more and more lucrative monetary gains and the pitches are far better because they are covered so have we batsmen being hit on the head,ducking under balls average batsmen of the sixties would have smashed to the boundary.It is my principal that a batsman who can't hook a pace bowler isn't worth his place.Great batsmen were great players of fast bowling and helmets would have been considered for cissies.Similarly a true great fast bowler never bowled a bouncer at a tail-end batsman;the unwritten law that all understood.I have seen Ponting,Tendulakr and all the moderen 'greats' often being hit about thei heads and fast bowlers bowl bouncer after bouncer at unrecognised batsmen.Gideon! cricket was a game of brave men with manly attitudes.Money has seen it develop into a circus.

  • POSTED BY KP_84 on | October 22, 2010, 7:40 GMT

    silly_mid_on: "He [Bradman] had the technique, the courage, the endurance, the hunger, the dominating personality". Now how the heck could you know that? You certainly couldn't have determined that from the forty seconds or so of highlights reel that there is of his batting. The truth is, apart from the few people who were around back then and went to see him play, no one else could know. The rest of us just have to take their word for it. Haigh makes a good point. Ponting's average might be mid-50s, but he has played in India and Sri Lanka, and faced Pakistan's menacing reverse-swing. Michael Hussey averaged above 70 for a long time after making his Test debut, but oppositions have now managed to find weaknesses in his game to exploit, and his averaged has nose-dived to just above 50. Back then, bowlers who hadn't played against him previously wouldn't have seen Bradman bat until after the game began. If exposed to modern analysis, would he still be considered virtually invincible?

  • POSTED BY its.rachit on | October 22, 2010, 7:31 GMT

    @theonlyemperor - u are only making an assumption ... similarily, i can say that viv richards wud have struggled to make merry in the hectic schedules today ... his record in the last 5-6 years was very ordinary ... a definitive sign of tiredness. does that mean he wud have burnt after playing 5 years in todays environment ... no it does not. similarily, lack of quality fast bowlers does not take away anything from today's greats .they may (and its a 50% chance) have scored similarily in the 80s. mayb not averaged 55-56, but definitely 50-51 ... i feel greats of every era are equal ..only those who rise above their era are the all time greatest types . like bradman (1.5 times better than the next of his gen). or sobers/viv/sachin/warne/murali. not the same difference for viv/sachin/murali/warne but they were definitely a level above their era . hence all time greats ... ponting/lara/gavaskar/hammond/hobbs/border can be kept in same bracket similarily cos they were 2nd best of their era

  • POSTED BY TheOnlyEmperor on | October 22, 2010, 7:10 GMT

    We seem to forget that players today are increasingly conscious of their ICC rankings, their averages and records ( which need to be broken or under threat from competition). This brings out the best in the batsmen. I'm sure, in Tests, all of them are watching one another as Ponting chases Sachin and as Dravid and Kallis chase Ponting, with Jayawardene, Sangakkara and Sehwag are seen as distant but emerging threats, what with their improving performance and rising averages. Sachin had his eye on the 20th 150+ score, just as Sehwag had his eye on the 12th consecutive Test 50+ score. Sachin is definitely working on playing longer durations - he's clearly got an eye on the 200+ scores if not the elusive 300+. Sehwag too wants the 3rd 300+. Murali/Warne competed for the WR too. Everybody loves their names in the record books and leave a lasting ( however brief) legacy in cricket that way. This is what drives exceptional individual performance and makes them aim even higher - constantly.

  • POSTED BY ianChappellFan on | October 22, 2010, 7:02 GMT

    Gideon is slowly becoming one of my favourites contributors on cricinfo. His perspective is different and fresh.

  • POSTED BY gzawilliam on | October 22, 2010, 7:01 GMT

    Sobers / Hayden / Ponting / Bradman / Tendulkar / Richards / Gilchrist / marshall / Warne / Ambrose / Mcgrath. There no need to pay the writers now i've done it for you.

    Heavy on the aussies i know. But hey we own cricket.. so thats just how its gotta be

  • POSTED BY CricketPissek on | October 22, 2010, 7:01 GMT

    @Ash Simpson - indeed. nobody knew the name "Graham Smith". Mainly because the South African captain is Graeme Smith :P Putting the blame on Smith is a shameful act. Australia were just too awesome and the World XI did not gel. Even Winston Churchill would've struggled to get them motivated to play as a Unit. enjoyed this article... and the last bit rings so true. You wouldn't think this was a FUN exercise when you read most of the nationalist, flag waving comments screaming "where is my countryman???!!!" the selectors know it's a losing cause, but it surely makes it fun to analyse all these great players

  • POSTED BY WCIndia2011 on | October 22, 2010, 6:58 GMT

    One of the Member Commented earlier on LARA : "Only blame is inconsistency, how anyone could score 11953 without consistency"..

    I think Lara keeps eating for whole day when he is hungry.... (like his 19 scores of 150 plus or 375 or 400*). Once it is done he don't eat for long.... i.e. don't scores much in between BIG SCORES..!!

    In Contrast Sachin eats everyday ... i.e. scores almost in every single match...!!

    So both scoring almost 12000 runs one seems inconsistent & the other consistent

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 6:54 GMT

    @TheOnlyEmperor - If todays fast bowlers are going to bowl good length deliveries just out side the off stump consistently, with four/five slips, some Sehwag or Watson or Hayden or even Strauss would get to 100 before lunch against such predictable attack regardless of movement or bounce. Today's batsmen are more aggressive against predictable bowlers. Look what happens to medium pacers who bowl length balls consistently in ODI death overs or even in test matches against well set aggressive batsmen. Imagine Bedi, Prasanna against Gilchrist or some of those gentle medium pacers against Sehwag/ Dhoni. The result would have been obvious - slaughter. 80's cricket was too monotonous and lacked application. Now every fast bowler is bowling reverse swing, slower balls and spinners are mastering new variations. Also, availability of better protective equipment has decreased the importance of bouncers.

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 6:51 GMT

    conti. And test matches are known for long innings and Sachin has not hit any triple century and most of his double hundreds have come after 2000. Sachin has also been vulnerable to extra quick bowling and certain bowlers( Zimbabwe left arm spinner ray price and england's ashle giles are few of them), so to make him seem infallible is not the reality. Nobody is questioning the greatness of Sachin but it should not be used to belittle other stalwarts of the game. Our own Sunil Gavaskar faced one of the deadliest attacks of the cricket eras and that with out helmet, and he faced them all while opening. So one needs to look from objectivity while decorating Sachin with the best ever kind of rhetoric.Another thing which people keep harping is that Sachin is shouldering the resposibility of 1 billion people,which is another achievement, but so has to every cricketer while playing for his country. There are various facts,which people put on the back-burner just prove that he is the greatest

  • POSTED BY fyrestorm on | October 22, 2010, 6:43 GMT

    The only thing that can be said of Bradman is that he was much better than every other batsman in HIS generation. To extrapolate his statistics to the current era is foolish, so many things have changed in cricket. The only thing that can be agreed upon is that Sachin Tendulkar and Bradman are both the best players of their respective eras.

  • POSTED BY WCIndia2011 on | October 22, 2010, 6:37 GMT

    "Tendulkar: the history of batsmanship in one man"...!!!

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 6:28 GMT

    I'm fed up with constant declaration that Sachin is the best cricketer the world has ever seen! Their disregard for the past geniuses is misinformed, misplaced and perplexing. Sachin is holding so many records and they are most likely to remain intact, but one needs to go beyond stats to gauge the real measure of the player, which people miss while declaring the greatness of the players. Don Bradman's average of near 100 runs is unimaginable from every which way one looks from, and his near rivals, if i can call it so because they are miles and miles behind him in every aspect, so whatever circumstances you talk of or lack of diversity during his playing days, his records are way beyond comparison. So Sachin has almost all the significant batting records in his name, but he is not miles ahead like Bradman in any aspect of the game. If he has so many centuries, he has also played that many matches, Average wise as well he is there with Sangkara. Continued

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 6:17 GMT

    Donald Bradman Jack Hobbs Alan Border (c) Sachin Tendulkar Garry Sobers Adam Gilchrist (wk) Kapil Dev Shane Warne Curtly Ambrose Dennis Lillee Richard Hadlee (12th man - Glen McGrath) In my opinion

  • POSTED BY adi_the_punisher on | October 22, 2010, 6:06 GMT

    @Martin_Hooks Though philosophical yet rubbish.....

  • POSTED BY silly_mid_on on | October 22, 2010, 5:56 GMT

    If Bradman played today he would not average 100, but I think he would still average 70 or 80. He had the technique, the courage, the endurance, the hunger, the dominating personality, and the genius.

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 5:38 GMT

    an excellent article n looking forward for the ''all time world x1'' ....

  • POSTED BY ruchikdoshi on | October 22, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    Too much of all time 11 from cricinfo...am bored now..every writer it seems has been briefed to create an all time 11..enough has gone on for too long..all time 11's are full of speculations...assumptions

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 5:20 GMT

    Gideon Haigh, This is One of the best articles I have ever read! I totally agree with each and every sentence you wrote. A feast for cricket fans is to read something like "Tendulkar: the history of batsmanship in one man". Love it.

  • POSTED BY RTPonting on | October 22, 2010, 5:10 GMT

    Select whichever XI you like, but without Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting even making the long-list of 88 names, it kinda lacks credibility

  • POSTED BY popcorn on | October 22, 2010, 5:08 GMT

    It is immensely enjoyable to conjure up an All - time XI - but only if it is done by KNOWLEDGEABLE Cricket writers like Giden Haigh, David Frith, Peter Roebuck and the kind - they've been through the ages. Novices with no knowledge or background of the past make it embarrassing.

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 5:06 GMT

    Writer forgot to mention comical error of choosing Graham Smith as the captain of World XI. It was just like picking someone for captaincy based on body mass index. People weren't even familiar with the name, Graham Smith, let alone they will accept him as the captain for best of the world.

  • POSTED BY TheOnlyEmperor on | October 22, 2010, 5:05 GMT

    Sachin, Ricky, Kallis, Dravid, Sehwag the top draws of today's cricket when it comes to ability and runs are all very very suspect to balls bowled just outside the offstump, especially when there's angle, bounce, pace and swing brought into place. I can see all of them struggling to make a 50 with 4 slips and a gully in place against the WI pace battery of the 70s. So, why is there no discussion amongst the cricket fans on this distinct inadequacy of pace bowlers in modern day cricket? Where's the all time list of the top-10 pace bowler list who bowled these last 40 years? Is Lillee the front runner? Would any English and Indian bowler make the list or Vaas? Who was the better bowler Pollock or McGrath or Hadlee? Holding or Marshall? Imran or Hadlee? Wasim or Waqar? Garner or Ambrose? Are bowler reputations more important than wickets? Is runs/over less important than balls/wkt or runs/wkt ? Why is pace bowling soon becoming a forgotten art and avoided in discussions of the greats?

  • POSTED BY the_complete_batsman on | October 22, 2010, 4:58 GMT

    I think Bradman, Sobers, Warne, Gilchrist, Marshall, Murali and Tendulkar are certainties.

  • POSTED BY the_complete_batsman on | October 22, 2010, 4:53 GMT

    Good article, which explains why most of us compulsively try and make xi 's which will never play. Agree with the post below though. Why do they keep postponing?

  • POSTED BY TheOnlyEmperor on | October 22, 2010, 4:48 GMT

    While batsmanship has certainly improved over the past 40 years of cricket, the pace bowling dept has definitely deteriorated. Bowling fast, just outside the offstump, with variations of angle, bounce, length and swing are just not visible today. I cannot see a single fast bowler of today's gen making it into the top-10 fast bowlers list of the past 40 years. The inadequacy of the fast bowlers has led them to experiment with pace variations and all sorts of contorted delivery actions. Nothing substitutes for the real thing. Cricket discussions are all batsman centric and the role of the bowling machinery has been diminished to insignificance. Take India, the no1 ICC ranked test team, for eg, none of their pacemen would ever come in the top-30 best pacemen of the past 40 years save Kapil perhaps. And it's not the pitches to blame, there's simply no ABILITY to be seen in today's pace bowlers globally and I'm not saying this viewing the past with rose tinted glasses.

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | October 22, 2010, 4:42 GMT

    Biggus, if Sachin did not make the list, there would be loads of criticism and the site would probably crash. Personally, I think only two players will get the full panel vote in the All Time XI, Bradman and Sobers. I'm a big fan of picking these teams because cricket has a great history and these exercises help celebrate that.

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | October 22, 2010, 4:35 GMT

    My own dream team is Hobbs and Gavaskar as an opener, at no. 3 Brian Lara, at no. 4, Tendulkar, at no. 5 Viv Richard, at no. 6 Imran Khan (Captain including All Rounder), Dujon at no. 7 (wicket keeper plus batsman) most elegant keeper that history ever produced, at no. 8 Warne, at no. 9 Wasim Akram, at no. 11 Malcom Marshall and at no. 11 Murli. Why Brian Lara at no. 3 because his average is more than 60 at this position and he scored two triple hundreds at no. 3. Lara is most elegant batsman in history beside his records. Only complete man who comprises of each and every thing. Records, elegancy, ability to prove himself continent-wise, ability to play pace and spin both, finisher, ability to take the pressure of main strikers and so on. Only blame is inconsistency, how anyone could score 11953 without consistency. 150 or plus consistent 19 scores in 232 innings which is not the case of anyother batsman.

  • POSTED BY sudhindranath on | October 22, 2010, 4:32 GMT

    For my World XI, I thought I will pick a side with no tail

    Len Hutton Gordon Greenidge Sachin Tendulkar Don Bradman Garry Sobers (c) Vinoo Mankad Alan Knott (wk) Jacques Kallis Keith Miller Imran Khan Richard Hadlee

  • POSTED BY TheOnlyEmperor on | October 22, 2010, 4:29 GMT

    There's difference between picking an all-time World-11 and getting them to play together, even amongst contemporaries. Cricket is a team sport that requires cohesiveness in approach and strategy and commitment to play one's role so that the team wins. The game has changed and is constantly changing what with neutral umpires, UDRS and cricket boards' scandals. The game is no longer Test cricket alone, but ODIs and T20s as well. The game has changed with big bucks, a huge fan base, and huge media coverage on every little detail. The competition to get into national teams is huge and the best have to learn to preserve their bodies and learn to play for many years at near peak performance. Cricket to these players is a full time mega bucks profession. Comparing cricket and cricketers across the ages is like comparing the very fast vehicle and their drivers to race cars and their drivers today. They wouldn't fit in just as your greatgrandma wouldn't fit into the facebook culture. contd...

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 4:11 GMT

    I am sure, howsoever you go on to arrive at a logic; it is going to be heavily criticized. Nevertheless, nice time pass

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 4:08 GMT

    One generation wasted all their resources for the Sachin and they are compelling the next generations to do in their way..Next generation is wasting their money and time and following Sachin blindly..Its a sheer waste of time..Me living in a society..Their acting towards life affecting everyone including myself.Who is Sachin ? Apart from him,,its a nice selection..He must be replaced by Kapil Dev..Poor Indian Sachin fans..When are people in India going to change and have some self respect instead of idolizing the actors-Khans/actresses-minimum dress users/sportsmen like CRICKET IS A TEAM GAME, NOT LIKE BILLIARDS, GOLF, BADMINTON, TENNIS-SINGLES ETC..NO INDIVIDUAL PLAYER IS IMPORTANT..Sachin/politicians-Family affairs. DON'T WE HAVE ANY SELF-RESPECT? the valuation from a true cricket lover,,It can never be won by Sachin,,.Yes Cricket is a team game ,, then why Sachin is alone highlighted by ICC?? Just because u people will watch cricket for the Sachin, by the ICC and both get payed by u

  • POSTED BY cricketchopper on | October 22, 2010, 4:01 GMT

    Correct. We are here for fun otherwise it is really unfathomable to gauge and compare players of different eras and different conditions

  • POSTED BY Valerio_DiBattista on | October 22, 2010, 3:53 GMT

    Gideon,

    Once again an excellent article. I find a lot of these World X1 selections very trying, but as usual you have managed to make the subject interesting and informative and worth reading about.

    The only thing I can say for sure about World X1's is that you would not be picked in any of them yourself. This is not a criticism, just a statement of fact. A rather pointless one, admittedly. Looking at your numbers (and I am sure you bring more to the team than just the harsh numbers), you would struggle to be considered for the all-time South Yarra 3rd grade team, but may have some support for an all-time selection in the lower grades. There is a challenge for clubs out there, to select the best all-time 8th X1. That would generate some interesting discussion such as, "even though he played most of his career in 7th's, I think he definitely would have dominated the 8ths, can I select him in that one?" etc. etc.

  • POSTED BY prashant1 on | October 22, 2010, 3:46 GMT

    SUPER ARTICLE. One of the most BALANCED to EVER come out on cricinfi....instead of the usual "x is the best" nonsense.

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 3:33 GMT

    Ok. 12th October--- 18th October--- 19th October--- 25th October.

    Its 50/50 for Thanksgiving, guys. My buddy Mohammed Amir here says he's got some excellent odds for Christmas. Who's in?

  • POSTED BY cricket__fan on | October 22, 2010, 3:17 GMT

    An excellent article but I still do not see any reason other than "fun" to select an all time eleven.

  • POSTED BY Langstrand on | October 22, 2010, 3:09 GMT

    You conveniently forgot to mention that the very same XI that was skittled out for 59 defeated Australia 2-1 in that 5 test series. I believe it's the (relatively) recent one-off test disaster that is warping our memory of previous impressive World XI performances, rather than there being any genuine pattern of underperformance.

  • POSTED BY Biggus on | October 22, 2010, 3:01 GMT

    You're a braver man than I Gideon. I'm bracing for the torrent of unhappy people posting angry comments on the omission of their favourite players. It's a good thing that it happens via computer keyboard otherwise the death toll might be staggering. Sachin will make the list so at least those guys will be happy!

  • POSTED BY 114_in_final_Six_overs on | October 22, 2010, 2:59 GMT

    Great article. Immensely enjoyed it. I am an Indian cricket fan but I am often at sea with propensity of people to do these 11s and more foolishly to fight for inclusion of their favorite players in them. Why choose a team that will never play? Its like fighting to marry the prettiest girl who shall remain virgin forever!

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY 114_in_final_Six_overs on | October 22, 2010, 2:59 GMT

    Great article. Immensely enjoyed it. I am an Indian cricket fan but I am often at sea with propensity of people to do these 11s and more foolishly to fight for inclusion of their favorite players in them. Why choose a team that will never play? Its like fighting to marry the prettiest girl who shall remain virgin forever!

  • POSTED BY Biggus on | October 22, 2010, 3:01 GMT

    You're a braver man than I Gideon. I'm bracing for the torrent of unhappy people posting angry comments on the omission of their favourite players. It's a good thing that it happens via computer keyboard otherwise the death toll might be staggering. Sachin will make the list so at least those guys will be happy!

  • POSTED BY Langstrand on | October 22, 2010, 3:09 GMT

    You conveniently forgot to mention that the very same XI that was skittled out for 59 defeated Australia 2-1 in that 5 test series. I believe it's the (relatively) recent one-off test disaster that is warping our memory of previous impressive World XI performances, rather than there being any genuine pattern of underperformance.

  • POSTED BY cricket__fan on | October 22, 2010, 3:17 GMT

    An excellent article but I still do not see any reason other than "fun" to select an all time eleven.

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 3:33 GMT

    Ok. 12th October--- 18th October--- 19th October--- 25th October.

    Its 50/50 for Thanksgiving, guys. My buddy Mohammed Amir here says he's got some excellent odds for Christmas. Who's in?

  • POSTED BY prashant1 on | October 22, 2010, 3:46 GMT

    SUPER ARTICLE. One of the most BALANCED to EVER come out on cricinfi....instead of the usual "x is the best" nonsense.

  • POSTED BY Valerio_DiBattista on | October 22, 2010, 3:53 GMT

    Gideon,

    Once again an excellent article. I find a lot of these World X1 selections very trying, but as usual you have managed to make the subject interesting and informative and worth reading about.

    The only thing I can say for sure about World X1's is that you would not be picked in any of them yourself. This is not a criticism, just a statement of fact. A rather pointless one, admittedly. Looking at your numbers (and I am sure you bring more to the team than just the harsh numbers), you would struggle to be considered for the all-time South Yarra 3rd grade team, but may have some support for an all-time selection in the lower grades. There is a challenge for clubs out there, to select the best all-time 8th X1. That would generate some interesting discussion such as, "even though he played most of his career in 7th's, I think he definitely would have dominated the 8ths, can I select him in that one?" etc. etc.

  • POSTED BY cricketchopper on | October 22, 2010, 4:01 GMT

    Correct. We are here for fun otherwise it is really unfathomable to gauge and compare players of different eras and different conditions

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 4:08 GMT

    One generation wasted all their resources for the Sachin and they are compelling the next generations to do in their way..Next generation is wasting their money and time and following Sachin blindly..Its a sheer waste of time..Me living in a society..Their acting towards life affecting everyone including myself.Who is Sachin ? Apart from him,,its a nice selection..He must be replaced by Kapil Dev..Poor Indian Sachin fans..When are people in India going to change and have some self respect instead of idolizing the actors-Khans/actresses-minimum dress users/sportsmen like CRICKET IS A TEAM GAME, NOT LIKE BILLIARDS, GOLF, BADMINTON, TENNIS-SINGLES ETC..NO INDIVIDUAL PLAYER IS IMPORTANT..Sachin/politicians-Family affairs. DON'T WE HAVE ANY SELF-RESPECT? the valuation from a true cricket lover,,It can never be won by Sachin,,.Yes Cricket is a team game ,, then why Sachin is alone highlighted by ICC?? Just because u people will watch cricket for the Sachin, by the ICC and both get payed by u

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2010, 4:11 GMT

    I am sure, howsoever you go on to arrive at a logic; it is going to be heavily criticized. Nevertheless, nice time pass