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

'Would have been great to walk out with Bradman' - Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar, Adam Gilchrist, Dennis Lillee and Wasim Akram react at being picked in ESPNcricinfo's all-time World XI

ESPNcricinfo staff

October 26, 2010

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Sachin Tendulkar receives Man of the Tournament award from Sir Garfield Sobers, Australia v India, World Cup final, Johannesburg, March 23, 2003
One bat between the two of them equals how many centuries? © Getty Images

Sachin Tendulkar has described being voted into ESPNcricinfo's all-time World XI as "unreal", and the team as "extraordinary company to be in". Tendulkar is the only current player in the XI, the rest of whom are four Australians, three West Indians, two Englishmen and one Pakistani.

Tendulkar said he would have loved to play, talk about the game, and pick the brains of his batting partners in the XI - especially Don Bradman, who once said Tendulkar reminded him of himself.

"It would have been great to play in this dream team, to walk out with Bradman after lunch, or build a partnership with Viv Richards, and talk to Sobers about cricket," Tendulkar told ESPNcricinfo. "Just playing and having a conversation with them about cricket. I would liked to have asked Hobbs and Hutton what it was like to play on uncovered wickets, who were the best bowlers they had faced, and of course, the mental aspect of the game."

Tendulkar, whose international career is now in its 21st year, was particularly pleased with the fact that he had played with or watched live nearly 60% of the side.

"I played with Malcolm Marshall in county cricket, I played against Viv Richards in an exhibition game, and Lillee bowled to me at the nets at the MRF Pace Academy, when I was 15," he said. "It was such a thrill. I remember I called my brother and said to him that Dennis Lillee had bowled to me. So to now find myself in this company is unreal. I first met him when I was 12.

Wasim Akram, one of three fast bowlers in the XI, described being picked in the team as one of his biggest achievements. "I never thought I would play for Pakistan, let alone be picked for an all-time World XI like this. It is a very special thing, to be picked by these judges and even more of an honour to be in the same team as guys like Sir Don Bradman, Sir Viv Richards, Sir Garry Sobers, Sachin and the others."

Akram said he was happy to be named alongside his bowling hero, Malcolm Marshall. "A lot of people ask me who was the best bowler I ever saw. Imran was great, no doubt, very hardworking and shrewd. Dennis Lillee I never really saw, but people tell you obviously about how good he was. But when I rate a bowler, I look at how he did around the world, on different pitches in England, the subcontinent and Australia, and Malcolm Marshall, I feel, was the best of the lot.

Adam Gilchrist, who is one of three players to make the XI who retired in the last decade (the others were Shane Warne and Akram) said many other wicketkeepers could have been picked instead of him.

"To be one of only four Australian players to be chosen is an absolute honour, although I do think there were several other wicketkeepers, like Rod Marsh, Ian Healy, Mark Boucher or Alan Knott, who could have easily been picked ahead of me in this team," Gilchrist said. Knott came close to being picked: only eight points separated him and Gilchrist in the final reckoning.

Lillee, who led the fast-bowling list in the votes, said it was an honour to be picked by a jury that was made up of eight Test captains as well as respected historians and writers. "Looking at the composition of the team, it's hard to question any of those selected. Though some great players have missed out, it would be interesting to pick another world team from those remaining, and I'm sure even that team would push the one that's been selected to the limit," he said.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by CricFan24 on (November 5, 2010, 3:53 GMT)

OH! One more final ,critical point. Tendulkar and Lara were contemporaries- they faced more or less the same conditions. So a run head to head is more accurate. In my opinion conditions in the 2000s have tipped way over in the batsman's favour, so again it would help to keep in mind that even in the much more difficult '90s only 3 batsmen averaged over 50 for the entire decade- Tendulkar 59, Steve-53, Lara 52...In the 2000s an average of 50 (once the benchmark for greatness) have been devalued.

Posted by CricFan24 on (November 5, 2010, 3:45 GMT)

Meety,prashant...One last comment . The matter is actually quite simple and we complicated it due to certain biases. If another player turns up and averages say 70 vs good attacks and scores say 20000 runs in say 20000 runs in ODIs at 50- he would have to be considered better than Tendulkar. If we have a few players of more or less equal ability it is the achievements which finally add up. Bradman is considered way above the others because his stats were way above the others. Noone comes even close to 99.94. However if you have 2 more or less equally gifted batsman one tallies say a total of 32000 runs in int. cricket and the other 20000 runs AT THE SAME OR BETTER AVERAGE- who would any rational person consider greater?? By the same token- if someone comes along and averages 99 while scoring say 15000 runs over 20 yrs- who in his right mind would not rank him above Bradman on the greatness stakes. Like i said - Actually speaking it is quite simple.

Posted by Meety on (November 5, 2010, 0:32 GMT)

@cricfan24 - BTW - I rate Agassi ahead of Sampras, mainly because Sampras's serve was the primary weopan, & I hate the way Tennis has become the battle of the serves. Tennis would be much better if they went back to little wooden rackets! Not likely!

Posted by Meety on (November 5, 2010, 0:29 GMT)

@prashant1 - fair comments re: Woodcock, but had he have seen M Waughs debut century, or the way VVS batted in the 2nd inning @ Mohali what would he have said? For mine as stated previously the 2 innings that stand out to me is the 148 & 200+ @ the SCG for differing reasons. I think SRT will have to blitzkrieg alot more before he gets on the same shelf as The Don - but that is my opinion. What a big finish would do to his career is probably shift him ahead of Lara in my mind (currently equals). ODIs? Hard to argue against 17,000 runs - but I will - LOL! ODIs are harder to rate batsmen due to the 50 over constraints. In some ways its easier opening the innings to have an influence of a match - then say batting @ 5 or 6. A World Cup would be a crowning achievement (not the be all & end all for debating purposes). I am not one of those "One Eyed Fans" who bag a player to promote my favourite, I have mainly put fwd alternative points to ponder (Eg Richards 18,000 ODI runs below).

Posted by Meety on (November 5, 2010, 0:18 GMT)

@cricfan24 - "..most fundamental requirement for sporting greatness is consistency over time.." You still haven't understood my point. There is no way that Raja can be classified as great as SRT, EXCEPT if using your definition above. There are many facets of greatness, consistancy is but one of them. Viv Richards was older then SRT is now when he retired from ODIs - yet you used the ridiculous analogy of Bjorg playing another 10 years - what you wanted Richards to bat on tilll he was nearly 50 years old to be compared to Viv - you say I am beggaring belief. IF you have read any of my comments you actually would realise that I have praised SRT numerous times, PRASHANT1 - names the WACA century of SRT, but to me the contrasting centuries @ the SCG will forever live on in my mind. His first century was a fair bit of "Dashin Sachin", the second was triumph of Mind Over Matter. Cricfan24 seem to have no ability to comprehend that people have different & valid views to yourself!

Posted by 114_in_final_Six_overs on (November 5, 2010, 0:10 GMT)

Tendulkar, Bradman and the rest....easy.

Posted by 114_in_final_Six_overs on (November 5, 2010, 0:00 GMT)

@meety, you started out with good reasoning but now just to prove your point you are making contradictory statements in your posts. By every measure Tendulkar is the greatest batsman except perhaps Bradman but he played in another era altogether. Rest is subconscious bias parading as reasoning.

Posted by prashant1 on (November 4, 2010, 13:51 GMT)

@Meety,Cricfan24. I think SRT is widely regarded as the best because of a combination of things-the longevity is another facet of it. For eg He was the top ranked player as far back as 1994 and also several ppl like Woodcock who saw his Perth hundred in '92 swore that it was as good batting as they had ever seen- as good as Bradman. Something Woodcock as maintained about SRT. In 2002 , SRT was ranked the 2nd best batsman of all time in both Tests (behind Bradman) and ODIs (behind Richards). Right after that due to injuries SRT suffered his worst patch in his career for 3/4 yrs. However, if a similar ranking were done today it would be in Tests 1) Bradman and SRT at a much closer ranked 2 than before. ODIs 1)SRT and the Richards. Most ppl consider SRT as the best after Bradman. Woodcock considers SRT the Bradman of today. And Woodcock is just about the only person who has seen both.If SRT stays injury free for another 3/4 yrs he will probably be ranked alongside Bradman as the joint 1st

Posted by CricFan24 on (November 4, 2010, 10:29 GMT)

COntd. But who in his right mind would place Safin as better than Sampras. Even though at his best Safin was quite possibly better as he showed in the straight set whipping in the us open final.Why is sampras considered far greater? simple- greatness over time. Safin did the same thing (perhaps at a higher level) for a while.....Sampras did it over a tennis generation....I don't think you quite fathom what tendulkar has achieved...Cricket is almost unrecognisable from '89. To continue to adapt, work around injuries etc , different attacks, endless scrutiny, conditions...etch for over 2 decades...and after literally thousands of international runs more than any batsman in history -STILL at the end of it to average the same or better than his peers is a feat which boggles the mind. If only the ordinary fan could truly appreciate it. But as Roebuck (seemingly rightly) said- cricket STILL doesnt understand how lucky it is to have a Tendular...maybe someday in the future you will appreciat

Posted by CricFan24 on (November 4, 2010, 10:24 GMT)

Meety- your reasoning has started beggaring belief. Let me just give you an eg. Rameez Raja may be considered the equivalent of say one grand slam every two yeasr.If he does that consistently for say 14 yrs and so accumulates 7 grand slams he surely becomes a top player. If another player shows a "higher" level of consistency and gets say 1 slam a year , he then ends up with say 10 slams in 10 yrs. If then you have a Federer averaging say 2 slams a year for 8 yrs = 16 slams .......who would you say is the best player? It is absolutely amazing that anyone can claim that the greater number of years you play for- a simple linear extrapolation works...Why wasn't Hussey considered equivalent to the Don after averaging 90+ 2 or 3 yrs after his debut....? have got to do it for a prolonged period. Anyone, or lets say a lot of talented ppl can have good or great moments here and there. As mentioned one can easily argue that a Safin at his best would beat Sampras.CONTD.

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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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