All-time XI - World
ESPNcricinfo picks the best Test teams of all time

Who after Bradman and Sobers?

Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar have effectively been voted the third and fourth-greatest cricketers in the game's history

ESPNcricinfo staff

October 25, 2010

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Imran Khan bowls in the nets ahead of the Lord's Test, August 11, 1982
Imran Khan: second only to Sobers in the allrounders' list © PA Photos
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The presence of two names in any all-time world XI has traditionally brooked no argument, but one more joined them as an unanimous choice in ESPNcrincinfo's all-time XI. Shane Warne, who spun the ball a mile and made spin bowling glamorous again, was a presence in the first XI of each jury member, alongside Don Bradman and Garry Sobers. (Each juror was asked to pick two teams - a first XI and a second.)

The jury also seems to have settled the answer to the question "Who after Bradman?" The answer is Sachin Tendulkar, by a fair distance. Tendulkar, who stands a step away from 50 Test hundreds and whose lustre, in defiance of age, grows brighter with every passing day, was effectively voted, with 51 points, the fourth-greatest cricketer in the history of the game. In the batting stakes he was comfortably ahead of Viv Richards (42).

Brian Lara, Tendulkar's contemporary and great rival, didn't make it to the World XI, with 28 points, George Headley, the other West Indian in contention, and considered Bradman's equal for batting skill by many, lost out to Richards by a mere two points. In fact, the last juror's vote swung it for Richards. Walter Hammond, who had the misfortune of spending a career in Bradman's shadow, made it to the second XI.

Going by the votes, this is the order of merit in which the world's middle-order batsmen stack up: Bradman, Tendulkar, Richards, Headley, Lara, Hammond, Graeme Pollock and Greg Chappell.

There was an even closer contest for the opening positions. While Len Hutton, the master technician, who scored a colossal 364 at the age of 22, took one end comfortably with 47 votes, Jack Hobbs, who remains cricket's most prolific batsman with 61,237 first-class runs and 197 centuries, just about managed to snatch the other spot from Sunil Gavaskar, whose technique and temperament withstood the severest examinations, by one point.

Gavaskar is partnered in the Second XI by Barry Richards, whose Test career was limited to only four matches, but whose legend was established during World Series Cricket, where the contests were as fierce. The openers who came behind those two in the reckoning were Virender Sehwag and Victor Trumper, who played in vastly different eras but in the same buccaneering spirit.

The allrounder's position was, of course, a no-contest, but the jury settled an important argument by voting Imran Khan into the Second XI. Keith Miller, the free-spirited Australian allrounder, came next, followed by Imran's great rivals Richard Hadlee, Ian Botham and Kapil Dev, in that order.

Adam Gilchrist, who with his batting redefined how wicketkeepers were viewed - and selected - fought off a strong challenge from Alan Knott, the Englishman considered by many the most technically accomplished wicketkeeper ever. Gilchrist secured his position with 45 points to Knott's 37.

World XI: Jack Hobbs, Len Hutton, Don Bradman, Sachin Tendulkar, Viv Richards, Garry Sobers, Adam Gilchrist, Malcolm Marshall, Shane Warne, Wasim Akram, Dennis Lillee

Second XI: Sunil Gavaskar, Barry Richards, George Headley, Brian Lara, Wally Hammond, Imran Khan, Alan Knott, Bill O'Reilly, Fred Trueman, Muttiah Muralitharan, SF Barnes

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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World Jury

Intikhab Alam
Intikhab Alam
Former Pakistan allrounder. Captained the side in 17 Tests and three ODIs between 1969 and 1975 and later served as team manager and coach.
Ali Bacher
Ali Bacher
Captained South Africa in 1970, when they defeated Australia 4-0; was managing director of the South African cricket board through the 1990s, and executive director of the 2003 World Cup.
Ian Chappell
Ian Chappell
Captained Australia in 30 Tests and 11 ODIs between 1971 and 1975. Now a cricket commentator and columnist.
David Frith
David Frith
Cricket historian, writer and archivist. Author of the definitive history of Bodyline
Tony Greig
Tony Greig
Former England allrounder who captained the side in 14 Tests and two ODIs in the mid-to-late 1970s. Currently a cricket commentator and presenter on television.
Ramachandra Guha
Ramachandra Guha
Historian and cricket writer. Author of A Corner of a Foreign Field, Wickets in the East, Spin and Other Turns, and editor of the Picador Book of Cricket
Gideon Haigh
Gideon Haigh
Cricket historian and writer. His books include acclaimed biographies of Warwick Armstrong and Jack Iverson, and the definitive history of the Kerry Packer era.
Clive Lloyd
Clive Lloyd
Captained the all-conquering West Indies team of the 70s and 80s in 74 Tests and 84 ODIs. Served as ICC match referee and chairman of the ICC's cricket committee.
Duleep Mendis
Duleep Mendis
Captained Sri Lanka in 19 Tests (including in their first Test and series victories) and 61 ODIs, between 1982 and 1987. Currently chief executive of Sri Lanka Cricket.
Peter Roebuck
Peter Roebuck
Former captain of Somerset; author of It Never Rains and Sometimes I Forgot to Laugh among other books.
Ajit Wadekar
Ajit Wadekar
Former India captain, between 1971 and 1974, during which period the team notched up their landmark first wins in the West Indies and England. Later a manager of the national side.
John Wright
John Wright
Former New Zealand opener and captain, and later India coach. Led in 14 Tests and 31 ODIs between 1983 and 1987.

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