June 8, 2011

Who are cricket's future greats?

Are there batsmen and bowlers to replace Tendulkar, Kallis, Sangakkara and Steyn? And will they give rise to great teams as well?
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Over the last 30 years cricket has been blessed with greatness, a trait currently in short supply. Indeed the game has been lucky enough to produce great teams and great players at the same time, a combination that cannot be taken for granted. Great cricketers can emerge without teams of equal standing, but it does not work the other way around. It is hard to imagine a team rising to greatness who lack players of the highest calibre.

Greatness sustains every sport because it reveals its possibilities. Then the execution itself becomes transporting. However, greatness in any arena is easier to observe than define. At once it is a state of mind and also an ability to turn the exceptional into the routine. Certainly it is not enough to play a few great innings, let alone just great strokes. It demands staying power, not flashes in the pan. Longevity is demanded at the door. Substance, too, is more important than style. A cricketer need not attain beauty to rank amongst the finest. Mind you, beauty need not be defined in purely aesthetic terms. To my mind Glenn McGrath was an immensely satisfying bowler to watch. Just that he was driven more by science than artistry.

In this year's French Open, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic produced some stunning strokeplay and extraordinary matches. Truly it was a shame anyone had to lose - the relentless Spaniard, the graceful Swiss or the savage Serbian. It was a privilege to watch these athletes and craftsmen playing at their peaks as they tried to secure a prestigious title. Contrastingly the women's section was dull, uplifted mostly by the performance of Li Na, a cheerful Chinese competitor with a remarkably short name. Of course women's tennis has also had its purple patches and fierce rivalries.

It is rare in any sport to find three players of the highest standard competing at the same time. In boxing it happened when Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and George Foreman were competing for the heavyweight title, and when Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard were fighting for various belts. In another era all of these mighty pugilists would have dominated for a decade. Instead, they provided some of the most compelling confrontations any sport has known.

Since the 1970s cricket followers have been able to watch two great teams, or at any rate two great traditions, because the sides in question were by no means static. It is not quite accurate to say that the West Indian outfit that dominated the game from about 1977 to 1991 was a great side. Rather, it was several teams containing a handful of the best players the game has known, including umpteen speedsters, a commanding opening pair and a brutal middle order.

The same applies to the Australian line-ups that replaced West Indies at the top of the rankings. Under various captains Australia were well-nigh unbeatable from about 1995 to 2005. In that imposing period the team contained a powerful opening pair, a strong batting order, two brilliant glovemen, and an exceptional pair of bowlers. Like the Caribbean combination, the line-ups included not only great players but arguably the finest occupants of particular positions the game has known. Malcolm Marshall, Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist cannot have been surpassed, whilst Viv Richards was outstripped only by a batting freak.

Cricket was uplifted by the sustained excellence and majestic ruthlessness of these predatory outfits. Even non-cricketers could appreciate their skills and supremacy. Sporting greatness reaches across the divide. Non-devotees can relish the sight of a dazzling ice skater or a breathtaking horse. Outsiders can admire the soccer played by Pele's Brazil and Messi's Barcelona. Indeed, it's the same with sportswriting: the best are readable regardless of their field because they tell us wider truths and paint universal pictures.

Although all have their strong points, none of the current teams is the equal of those two outfits. At present cricket knows not collective greatness. India have a brilliant batting order, South Africa have a stirring middle order, Sri Lanka have a strong top four, and England have balance and grit. Put these qualities together and greatness emerges. But perhaps it's just as well that these teams are not so much dominant as competitive because it means that the top position is there for the taking. Nowadays contests between the leading four or five sides are beyond prediction.

If greatness has for the time being vanished in the collective, it persists in the individual. India offer Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, whilst Rahul Dravid is still managing to look at once frail and indestructible. Jacques Kallis continues to pile on the runs for his country, Kumar Sangakkara has retained his glory, Ricky Ponting seems to be in decline but he too reached the pinnacle.

Most of these players, though, are approaching the end of their careers. In part, that is unsurprising. Greatness is not a tag to be bestowed upon every talented lad enjoying a hot spell. Rather it is hard-earned, the result of a long period of high productivity in the toughest company. Only in the rarest cases can a novice be saluted - after all, those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first call promising.

Tendulkar's greatness could confidently be acclaimed even in his teenage years because he had a settlement about him that indicated durability. Few sportsmen attain the inner peace that has been his natural mood. Tendulkar's turmoils have been superficial; it has been part of his secret.

But the game needs to find a new generation of players whose accomplishment excites the crowds enough that a buzz goes round the ground at the sight of them marking out their run or walking to the middle. Amongst bowlers Dale Steyn comes closest. At his sharpest he delivers sublime outswingers and conveys hostility, a combination that appeals to spectators but not opposing batsmen. Can anyone else stake a claim to greatness with the ball?

Top eight current bowlers (qual 30 wickets and avg under 28)
Bowler Matches Wickets Avg Strike rate
Dale Steyn 46 238 23.21 39.9
Stuart Clark 24 94 23.86 54.7
Mohammad Asif 23 106 24.36 48.7
Doug Bollinger 12 50 25.92 48.0
Steven Finn 12 50 26.30 40.5
Chris Tremlett 8 37 26.72 53.7
Graeme Swann 31 138 27.48 56.6
Darren Sammy 13 39 27.66 58.8



Amongst batsmen, quite a few average over 50 these days, and some a good deal more. However, 50 is no longer a reasonable dividing line because more runs are scored. Better to raise the benchmark to 55, and better still to rely on judgement. For instance, it is far from clear that Jonathan Trott and Alastair Cook can, or indeed ever will, deserve the mark of greatness. That is not to belittle their skills or temperament. Cook has an unflappable outlook, a well-honed game and a depth of determination not even a farmer's genial grin can conceal. Trott has an ability to occupy both his own space and the crease for long periods. Both are expert practitioners. But does not greatness demand a little more?

Top 10 current batsmen (qual 20 innings and avg greater than 50)
Batsman Matches Runs Avg 100s/50s
Jonathan Trott 20 1863 64.24 6/6
Jacques Kallis 145 11947 57.43 40/54
Sachin Tendulkar 177 14692 56.94 51/59
Kumar Sangakkara 96 8307 56.12 24/34
Ricky Ponting 152 12363 53.51 39/56
Virender Sehwag 87 7694 53.43 22/27
Mahela Jayawardene 118 9620 53.14 28/38
Thilan Samaraweera 65 4479 53.32 12/26
Rahul Dravid 150 12063 52.44 31/59
Mohammad Yousuf 90 7530 52.29 24/33



Of the current England batsmen, Kevin Pietersen has the most obvious claims to greatness. Indeed, he set out to achieve greatness, while Cook and Trott set out to score lots of runs. And he made it. At his best Pietersen relished the biggest stages, cut a swathe through the best attacks. He seemed destined to last the course. Then he fell back, became self-indulgent. It was as if he had not quite understood the process and had surprised himself. After all he had not been a heavy scorer in his youth. Now cricket awaits a second coming, founded not upon will power but knowledge, not upon ego but experience.

As is stands, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers seem closer to meeting the criteria. Amla has Cook's serenity but a more developed game, whilst his comrade has the range of shots and aggressive attitude needed to dictate terms. It's hard to think of anyone else with the required credentials. Plenty of admirable batsmen could be mentioned, and a few handy bowlers, but greatness eludes them. Obviously retirees cannot be considered.

At present cricket has an abundance of contention and excitement but lacks greatness' allure. Can it fight its way through the current strictures? It's not to be underestimated. Greatness has emerged from all sorts of unlikely places - biscuit factories in Kandy, sugar plantations in the Caribbean, backyards of Cootamundra, coal-mining towns in Yorkshire. Still, it would be reassuring to see one of the current crop of gifted Indian batsmen or a young West Indian or a rugged Australian or an accomplished Pakistani or an untamed Lankan or a blazing Trinidadian join the ranks, just to confirm that it can be done.

Peter Roebuck is a former captain of Somerset and the author, most recently, of In It to Win It

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | June 11, 2011, 11:43 GMT

    Seriously, some of you people trying to compare a bloke with an average of 23, SR 40, with a bloke with an average of 32 and a SR of 60!? Even in Asia Steyn averages 23, Zaheer 33. In India, it`s Steyn 20, Zaheer 33. Take off the blinkers.

  • POSTED BY ruchinn on | June 11, 2011, 8:34 GMT

    One man who deserves a place before anyone else is MS Dhoni. He is probably the best captains of all times. He has won almost every big trophy with teams which were totally diverse. He is a man who as a team man delivers 4 times of a great bowler or a great batsman can deliver. His record proves it. He has won IPL, Champions trophy, T20 world cup, world cup, Top team in tests.

  • POSTED BY vin77 on | June 11, 2011, 6:26 GMT

    Sad but VVS Laxman deserves more than a mention.Truly one of modern Indian cricket's greats,his knock at Eden Graden changed the way world saw Indian cricket.Also has scored heavily right through from junior cricket.

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | June 10, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    Another fascinating aspect of Greatness: Great Rivalries. We've seen many epic matchups in sports - Boxing: Ali vs. Frazier; Basketball: Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird; Tennis: Borg vs. McEnroe. Let's take Peter's tennis example. We saw a terrific Federer-Nadal duel at the French Open. Which raises a very intriguing question: Can the Swiss star truly be hailed as the "Greatest of All Time" (GOAT) when he can't even beat the Spaniard who is the "Greatest of Right Now"? Federer has 16 Grand Slams, most to-date. But Nadal leads 17-8 head-to-head. It's an anomaly! Then there's hot Djokovic, right on Nadal's tail with 4 successive wins, though the Spaniard leads 16-11 in their rivalry. Federer leads Djokovic 14-9. What a Great "Trivalry"! Any one could go on to become the GOAT (no insult)! But then, there are many (incl. Bud Collins) who hail Rod Laver as the real GOAT! That's a debate for another day. Still, I have to ask: Who is the real GOAT in cricket? Bradman vs. Tendulkar? Intriguing?

  • POSTED BY on | June 10, 2011, 6:32 GMT

    Ur answer would have been Muhammad Aamer.

    But Alas!

    Alas!

  • POSTED BY _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on | June 10, 2011, 3:14 GMT

    @Jim1207. Steyn does not "rely more on his pace" he HAS pace, its a gift and he uses it ALONG with his first rate skills. Tait has pace, Lee has pace, Mohammad Sami has pace, Fidel Edwards has pace. Are they anywhere close to Steyn? Zaheer Khan being "more skillful" which is very arguable is not relevant at all. Who cares? The GREAT bowlers take more wickets at a better SR than other bowlers full stop and Steyn takes more wickets at a better SR than Zaheer Khan just about everywhere. So what if Khan "adapts" better on spinning pitches? And guess what..he doesn't have to adapt, they're HIS HOME PITCHES. Zaheer has played in more helpful SA conditions with Steyn and Steyn blew him away in terms of performances. His spell to Tendulkar where he beat the bat dozens of times will mask any of Zaheer Khan's spells (even spells where Khan takes wickets). This article is not to list ALL the great players but for you to suggest that Khan earns a mention alongside Steyn prompts my response.

  • POSTED BY Baltimoreboy777 on | June 10, 2011, 1:15 GMT

    What about MS Dhoni, Lasith Malinga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Umar Akmal, Hashim Amla & Shane Watson?! They are surely match winners and are greatly talented!

  • POSTED BY bharath74 on | June 10, 2011, 1:10 GMT

    @Rocket,Absolutely spot on!!

  • POSTED BY MinusZero on | June 10, 2011, 0:46 GMT

    I think that Cook is set for greatness. He is still only 26yrs old. Has already played over 60 tests and has 18 centuries. He could well still be playing in 10 years time. I still wouldnt hold him in as high regard as legends like Tendulkar and McGrath. But his figures will tell the tale in years to come.

  • POSTED BY Jim1207 on | June 9, 2011, 22:25 GMT

    cyniket, I never said Steyn could not adapt well in spin pitches. I told Zaheer adapts better than Steyn. If Steyn keeps bowling in such surfaces, you would see where his bowling average would be. Zaheer khan developed as a good bowler only in the latter stages. I said at the moment who is better bowler. Just look at the world cup, who took wickets at regular intervals for team's win in same Indian pitches - Steyn or Zaheer? If Steyn plays more number of matches in sub continent his average would come down - He has an average of 37 in Sri Lanka too. Steyn relies more on his pace which would go down in few years, but Zaheer has already developed as a big threat for any batsman without any pace in the ball. Skillwise, Zaheer is better bowler than Steyn. Yeah, for you I agree, Statistically Steyn in better than Zaheer. Let us see how their careers end. But I do not disagree that Steyn would end up as one of the greats of this era.

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | June 11, 2011, 11:43 GMT

    Seriously, some of you people trying to compare a bloke with an average of 23, SR 40, with a bloke with an average of 32 and a SR of 60!? Even in Asia Steyn averages 23, Zaheer 33. In India, it`s Steyn 20, Zaheer 33. Take off the blinkers.

  • POSTED BY ruchinn on | June 11, 2011, 8:34 GMT

    One man who deserves a place before anyone else is MS Dhoni. He is probably the best captains of all times. He has won almost every big trophy with teams which were totally diverse. He is a man who as a team man delivers 4 times of a great bowler or a great batsman can deliver. His record proves it. He has won IPL, Champions trophy, T20 world cup, world cup, Top team in tests.

  • POSTED BY vin77 on | June 11, 2011, 6:26 GMT

    Sad but VVS Laxman deserves more than a mention.Truly one of modern Indian cricket's greats,his knock at Eden Graden changed the way world saw Indian cricket.Also has scored heavily right through from junior cricket.

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | June 10, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    Another fascinating aspect of Greatness: Great Rivalries. We've seen many epic matchups in sports - Boxing: Ali vs. Frazier; Basketball: Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird; Tennis: Borg vs. McEnroe. Let's take Peter's tennis example. We saw a terrific Federer-Nadal duel at the French Open. Which raises a very intriguing question: Can the Swiss star truly be hailed as the "Greatest of All Time" (GOAT) when he can't even beat the Spaniard who is the "Greatest of Right Now"? Federer has 16 Grand Slams, most to-date. But Nadal leads 17-8 head-to-head. It's an anomaly! Then there's hot Djokovic, right on Nadal's tail with 4 successive wins, though the Spaniard leads 16-11 in their rivalry. Federer leads Djokovic 14-9. What a Great "Trivalry"! Any one could go on to become the GOAT (no insult)! But then, there are many (incl. Bud Collins) who hail Rod Laver as the real GOAT! That's a debate for another day. Still, I have to ask: Who is the real GOAT in cricket? Bradman vs. Tendulkar? Intriguing?

  • POSTED BY on | June 10, 2011, 6:32 GMT

    Ur answer would have been Muhammad Aamer.

    But Alas!

    Alas!

  • POSTED BY _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on | June 10, 2011, 3:14 GMT

    @Jim1207. Steyn does not "rely more on his pace" he HAS pace, its a gift and he uses it ALONG with his first rate skills. Tait has pace, Lee has pace, Mohammad Sami has pace, Fidel Edwards has pace. Are they anywhere close to Steyn? Zaheer Khan being "more skillful" which is very arguable is not relevant at all. Who cares? The GREAT bowlers take more wickets at a better SR than other bowlers full stop and Steyn takes more wickets at a better SR than Zaheer Khan just about everywhere. So what if Khan "adapts" better on spinning pitches? And guess what..he doesn't have to adapt, they're HIS HOME PITCHES. Zaheer has played in more helpful SA conditions with Steyn and Steyn blew him away in terms of performances. His spell to Tendulkar where he beat the bat dozens of times will mask any of Zaheer Khan's spells (even spells where Khan takes wickets). This article is not to list ALL the great players but for you to suggest that Khan earns a mention alongside Steyn prompts my response.

  • POSTED BY Baltimoreboy777 on | June 10, 2011, 1:15 GMT

    What about MS Dhoni, Lasith Malinga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Umar Akmal, Hashim Amla & Shane Watson?! They are surely match winners and are greatly talented!

  • POSTED BY bharath74 on | June 10, 2011, 1:10 GMT

    @Rocket,Absolutely spot on!!

  • POSTED BY MinusZero on | June 10, 2011, 0:46 GMT

    I think that Cook is set for greatness. He is still only 26yrs old. Has already played over 60 tests and has 18 centuries. He could well still be playing in 10 years time. I still wouldnt hold him in as high regard as legends like Tendulkar and McGrath. But his figures will tell the tale in years to come.

  • POSTED BY Jim1207 on | June 9, 2011, 22:25 GMT

    cyniket, I never said Steyn could not adapt well in spin pitches. I told Zaheer adapts better than Steyn. If Steyn keeps bowling in such surfaces, you would see where his bowling average would be. Zaheer khan developed as a good bowler only in the latter stages. I said at the moment who is better bowler. Just look at the world cup, who took wickets at regular intervals for team's win in same Indian pitches - Steyn or Zaheer? If Steyn plays more number of matches in sub continent his average would come down - He has an average of 37 in Sri Lanka too. Steyn relies more on his pace which would go down in few years, but Zaheer has already developed as a big threat for any batsman without any pace in the ball. Skillwise, Zaheer is better bowler than Steyn. Yeah, for you I agree, Statistically Steyn in better than Zaheer. Let us see how their careers end. But I do not disagree that Steyn would end up as one of the greats of this era.

  • POSTED BY Zahidsaltin on | June 9, 2011, 22:23 GMT

    Wonderfull article but a few tasteless readers

  • POSTED BY Zahidsaltin on | June 9, 2011, 22:21 GMT

    Amir & Asif could have been great bowlers of this era but but.... Regarding Styen's strike rate being superior to Waqar's, Waqar had a better rate then Styen when he took his 200th wicket. Their comes a time in every bowlers life, when he starts getting old and he goes on playing and his averages and strike rates increase. It will surely happen to Styen too. Moreover Waqar's two years of hairline fracture in his back came just when he was to peak and afterwards he was never the same bowler. Had that fracture not ruined him, he could have been the best bowler of all times alongside Marshel. My country, pakistan is in a dire state where there are no home matches and very few tests to be played, so chances for batsmen like Umar Akmal are limited.

  • POSTED BY KiwiPom on | June 9, 2011, 21:48 GMT

    Just want to comment on one player - Graeme Swann. These are spectacularly good figures for an orthodox offie playing on wickets that don't deteriorate on the last day. Orthodox slow left armers usually produce better figures. I'm not saying he's earmarked for greatness but I AM saying he's arguably England's best offie since Laker.

  • POSTED BY rocket123 on | June 9, 2011, 19:16 GMT

    Tendulkar is without a doubt a great batsman so is Rahul Dravid. It always sadden me when people ignore the priceless efforts of Dravid under the dynamic leadership of Ganguly. Dravid's golden era was under Ganguly when he helped India make its name in cricket as a tough opponent. Before that time, India was weak mentally and used to perform very badly abroad. It was Dravid who provided a strong, solid determined batting approach to the entire Indian team. It was Dravid's 217 in England, 270 in Pakistan and 233 in Australia, and 180 in India vs Australia that laid the foundations for the Indian cricket so that India could be deemed as a batting force to reckon with. For 5 years under Ganguly, he helped India to be a strong and formidable opponent against the best bowling attacks. Why do we overlook this particular fact? After that we all know whut happened when Chappell took over as a coach that proved to be fatal in terms of mental strength. Dravid never the same since then.

  • POSTED BY srtt on | June 9, 2011, 18:51 GMT

    T20s are gonna reduce Test matches considerably......"great" cricketers will be a thing of the past. What we'll now have are "sucessful" cricketers.

  • POSTED BY on | June 9, 2011, 18:38 GMT

    Mr Roebuck, when you are talking about Longevity and consistency for batsmen, as it relates to determining their greatness, please tell me how you will assess the only player who has been allowed to play for nearly 'four consecutive years' with an average of '31' and scoring just 'one single' creditable century and not being asked to retire? Can that player be looked at in the same way that other players who also had lots of potentially great talent, but just had one or two bad patches and were axed before they got a chance to show case their talent properly? Isn't a bad pacth for four cnsecutive years much too long to keep any tried and tested player when there are others with talent waiting to exhibit themselves?

  • POSTED BY on | June 9, 2011, 17:47 GMT

    This is a below par article by Peter's own standards. He has just thrown some stats, has not analysed other factors - There is no mention of names such as MS Dhoni or Shane Watson or Umar Akmal (Akmal has least probability due to lack of matched Pak gets these days) who have potential to be future greats.

    In other sports while he spoke of Rada/Fedex/Djokovic, he has also missed talking about Manny Pacquiao who will surely displace great Mohd Ali by the time he retires from boxing arena.

  • POSTED BY on | June 9, 2011, 17:29 GMT

    Strike rates of bowlers to have taken more than 200 wickets in the History of the game: Steyn 39.9; Waqar 43.4; Marshal 46.7; Donald 47 McGrath and Akram aren't even close. Hou jou bek, Steyn doubters. Also amazing how often the Kallis bashers judge him purely by batting standards, and forget his contribution with the ball and in the field. Remember the now deified Tendulkar has yet to win test series in SA and AUS (Kallis has won test matches away and home against every single country - I think he is the only player to do this)

  • POSTED BY Kreacher_Rocks on | June 9, 2011, 17:14 GMT

    @hamwil80: "Kallis has won test matches away and home against every single country - I think he is the only player to do this". So has Tendulkar. And Ponting. And Dravid. And Laxman. Not Lara (no victories in SF and SL). I haven't had the energy to check, but I am pretty sure Warne, McGrath, Gilchrist and a host of other players from the former Australian team have won against all opponents at home and away. If you are trying to provide a stat that is unique to Kallis you have to try much harder.

  • POSTED BY cyniket on | June 9, 2011, 16:41 GMT

    @jim1207, i nearly fell off my chair when i read your comments. zaheer is a decent bowler for sure, but he's not in the same league as steyn. Your point that zaheer bowls on spin dusty pitches is fair in a sense, but it ignores the fact that steyn has played 5 tests in india and taken 26 wickets at an average of 20. as you said, the best bowlers adapt to all conditions. the great bowlers take wickets all around the world and steyn's record in india is much better than zaheer's, which rather undermines your entire point.

  • POSTED BY kshabih1 on | June 9, 2011, 16:08 GMT

    Useless article; I think he just needed to write a lengthy article to publish... BAseless arguments and stupid conclusions.

  • POSTED BY VicMackey on | June 9, 2011, 16:02 GMT

    This was a waste of five minutes in my life I would never get back. Useless article.

  • POSTED BY abytude on | June 9, 2011, 15:05 GMT

    Umar Akmal is one dude who is destined for greatness. A big heart and a treasure of talent.

    Another was Amir before he "crossed the line".

  • POSTED BY on | June 9, 2011, 14:33 GMT

    If Shane Watson can keep up with his current form, he will take the mantle from Kallis. Also Sachin Is God!

  • POSTED BY dcaprio on | June 9, 2011, 14:05 GMT

    i dont know,why some people are shouting here for laxman.u cant be great by playing just 9 or 10 good knocks in 2nd innings.wasnt sachin's100 at centurian was under pressure in 2 nd innings.what was laxman doing then?its JST BAD LUCK OF THE GREATEST SPORTSMAN OF ALL TIME that MANY OF HIS GOOD KNOCKS ARE wasted because NONE OF HIS TEAMATES supprt him(ON THAT DAY).FOR EX 175 AT HYDERABAD(it was 100 TIMES BETTER INNINGS THAN DHONI'S 91 IN 2011 WC FINAL),118 AT MCG IN 1999,136 AT CHENNAI IN 1999,111 VS SA IN NAGPUR IN WC,109 AT CENTURIAN,AND MANY MORE.LAXMAN IS FAR FAR BELOW TENDULKAR IN TERMS OF BATTING CAPABILTY,STROKEPLAY,TECHNIQUE.HE BETTERS HIM ONLY IN 2ND INNINGS.SOMEBODY SAID ABOUT CHANDRAPAUL,that makes me laugh.

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | June 9, 2011, 13:54 GMT

    Peter - Conspicuous by his absence on the list of current/future greats is MS Dhoni! As a small-town guy emerging from a poor mining state (Jharkhand), he's like a diamond-in-the-rough! His is an Indian "Horatio Alger" success story of sorts, coming from a less-privileged family in an "unlikely place" (Ranchi) with no cricketing ties or power (compare Bombay). MS defied all odds to rise to become Team India's captain & lead it to great heights in all 3 forms of the game. Arguably he's India's best captain ever. "Captain Cool" instills team confidence with humility. Yet, he's a fighter: Recall how he took charge in the WC finals, built up an innings & won it with that "thunderous wallop" into the Wankhede stands. Coach Gary Kirsten proclaimed, "In MS, the country has one of its great leaders"! TIME MAGAZINE acclaimed him on "The 100 Most Influential People in the World" list by citing "he's also India's captain of hope ... he also taught India how to win"! For sure, that's greatness!!

  • POSTED BY on | June 9, 2011, 13:43 GMT

    What is really hilarious is the comments section. Looks like most people did not understand the purpose of the article. Roebuck is simple penning down his thoughts here, as he tries to see which player could 'possibly' take up the mantle of 'great' in the future. As far as I can see, the only name he's missed out is Zaheer Khan who definitely seems to be a contender for the title. VVS will never be called a great. Consistency seems to be his problem. He scores ONLY when India is in trouble and pulls us out, everytime! :d lol thats a DAMN good thing, but its not gonna help if we put him against run accumulators like Sachin, Kallis and Ponting. Btw, Kallis, has scored hundreds and MOM awards against Australia since 1997, and I mean in tests. No sir, he did not have to wait for Mcgrath and Warne to retire. That man is the best thing that happened to test cricket in the last 20-25 years :) Less on flair yes, but effective all the same. Try to imagine SA cricket without him!

  • POSTED BY _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on | June 9, 2011, 12:45 GMT

    @Jim1207. If my memory serves me right, a Zaheer Khan led attack bowled against an even POORER NZ batting line up in Ind around the same time and struggled to take 20 wkts in the first 2 tests. Complaints about the pitches came pouring in. Also Dale Steyn has several 5 wicket hauls in India and Pak as well. Considering the W.I. now have SUBCONTINENTAL type pitches, you can add a couple more 5 fors that he earned there as well. You don't expect batsmen 2 score hundreds every game, do you expect Steyn to take a bucket of wickets every game? Conditions or not, his overall record, pace and impact as far, far better than Zaheer Khan and it always will be.

  • POSTED BY sam_tat on | June 9, 2011, 12:32 GMT

    i think when we call greatness, it should not be judged alone on how much is he scoring as compared to other players. It also should be judged on the basis of how much he is scoring or taking wickets as compared to his team mates. I think Andy flower is also one of the greats, he single handedly won matches for Zimbabwe. Infact he was a nightmare for indians

  • POSTED BY Fast_Cutter on | June 9, 2011, 11:37 GMT

    Trott has been the Mr Consistant, i still wonder why people doubt his abilities! i mean what more can he do to prove his future worth.. He's even performed when the whole team hasn't much like Tendulkar of the 90's.. Spare a Thought for him?

  • POSTED BY on | June 9, 2011, 11:04 GMT

    it is very rightly said by you that greatness demands a little more.. more than averages can reflect... its too early to say but the class of great players of this era as classified above do not have an heir at this point of time... unlike tendulkar who was a prodigy at 17 established a t perth 1991 and manchester 1990 .. no one of that magnitude can be seen at this point in time.. there are definitely a lot of good and very good players but no one destined to be great... (the word is too cliched nowdays) ... Dale steyn, probably graeme swann are only ones in the bowling department and AB DeVilliers and Kevin Peitersen(if he comes back to some sort of form) are the only ones on show ..

  • POSTED BY immortalpop on | June 9, 2011, 10:36 GMT

    There are no future greats because cricket has no future. Thank you 20/20 for killing the game that has meant so much to me for so much of my life.

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | June 9, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    Jim1207 - I fail to see your point. Steyn has an average two test series in Dubai and that means he's not as good as Zaheer? Zaheer is good, probably at his peak, but he is hardly in the same league as Steyn. The scary thing is, I don't think Steyn has yet reached his peak. Stay tuned.

  • POSTED BY ejsiddiqui on | June 9, 2011, 10:26 GMT

    "Greatness" is not just averages, it is a good quantitative analysis but greatness is more due to the quality of a batsman.

    You would go wrong, if you compare the record of a flat track player against a mediocre bowling than to a record of a player in bowling friendly conditions against a high quality attack. So, the averages would mislead you.

    You also need to consider, the pressure situation, support of the other batsman (e.g. Playing alongwith Sachin and playing with tale is not same), resilience of a player in difficult situation. Playing against the odds. Playing when others are failing. This is what we used to like about Inzamam and highly rate VVS Laxman as a great player. He has played some fantastic and unbelievable innings for India.

  • POSTED BY funkedUp143 on | June 9, 2011, 9:47 GMT

    @harshthakor - totally agree with you! Current cricket feels like we're missing the sheer number of stars there used to be. Having grown up in the 80's and 90's if Im comparing decades the last 5 years feel less significant. No particular side is showing the sort of sparkle that brings cricket alive. We all want someone who is at the top that everyone aspires to knock off. Right now it feels like any "good" side could win or lose on any particular day. I still remember watching this new guy Shane Warne coming on and spinning the ball 1 metre and just baing absolutely gobsmacked. Whens the last time we saw a player do that recently for us. Its still the guys like Tendulkar who maintain that sort of presence. No new guys.

  • POSTED BY on | June 9, 2011, 9:14 GMT

    just to say that its hard to find greatness in current generation cricketers is not fair. the game has undergone sea-change since 70's,80' & 90's. twenty20 has given a new dimension to strokeplay. unconventional shots contrary to text-book r being highlighted & admired. even some cleanest strikers of cricket ball like, yusuf pathan, pollard, afridi, warner may never be counted among greats. nations r having 3 different teams for different formats & so players r adapting themselves to a given format. Sachin might not play a great t20 innings as would pollard do, but that does'nt diminish his stature.very few players can command a place in all three formats of the team. And given the packed schedule & lucrative club cricket, many players r taking easy way out. so defining greatness has bcom bleak in current scenario.

  • POSTED BY Herbet on | June 9, 2011, 9:11 GMT

    If Sehwag isn't great then nobody is. I wouldn't say Kallis is a stylist but you are counting him, so if Trott finishes up with a similar record, or Cook, why should they not be counted? It seems as though you have written this just to put those two down. Cook is an opener who averages 49, has 18 centruries at the age of 26 and is as cool as a cucumber. I'd say he has the chance to reach greatness. England could have helped him by not making him ODI captain and putting him under pressure to perform in a form of the game that does not suit him. Let him concentrate on tests, its paid dividends recently. Also, If Swann carry's on as he has then surely he will become a great. He relishes the big game, has personality, takes on the best and is fantastic to watch. Oh, but he's English born and bread, with no links to South Africa, or the Indian sub-continent, and so doesn't fit your view of England. Come to mention it neither does Cook. This article makes sense now.

  • POSTED BY ek_glassi_2g3gf on | June 9, 2011, 9:05 GMT

    I agree.. Zaheer's name should have been in the list.. and looks like cook will go past tendulkar in terms of no. of centuries.. but he is far from greatness as Mr. Roebuck rightly put it

  • POSTED BY Jose on | June 9, 2011, 8:35 GMT

    @ The_Dynamite_Kid: Your response shows how ignorant of Sehwag's capabilities. Yes he had a bad series in SA, that doesn't mean he cannot play aggressively on Bouncy pitches. Wait & See, how England fares against him soon.

  • POSTED BY cricweda on | June 9, 2011, 7:58 GMT

    I am amazed at the fact of not including Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir. Watch out for his average.He is 3rd fastest Indian to reach 2000, even his average is remarkable(around 44 in ODIs). Only his inclusion in test is pending(due to packed master bassmen), then rest is his time. Gambhir by the way is better performer than Cook, check out his career.

  • POSTED BY khadijaaftab on | June 9, 2011, 7:20 GMT

    i think UMAR AKMAL and Hashim Amla is future SUPER STAR.r u agree with me?

  • POSTED BY The_Dynamite_Kid on | June 9, 2011, 6:56 GMT

    @Alexk400: "In Batting only sehwag can change momentum within a hour" .... Yes, he can. But only on flat wickets of the subcontinent. We saw how well he fared in the recent Test series in South Africa. The guy averages 38 odd outside the subcontinent. A true flat track bully.

  • POSTED BY on | June 9, 2011, 5:28 GMT

    Lol sammy in top bowlers, i didnt read the article after looking at that. This proves figures doesnt tells the truth always.

  • POSTED BY BullayBaaz on | June 9, 2011, 5:18 GMT

    Perhaps it's the need to put out a larger quantity of articles....but this type of writing is inexcusable. The title purports one thing, the article tries to address entirely something else.....there too it meanders.....and the few conclusions reached are baseless...even the statistics provided seem nonsensical.....really? Comparing someone with 20 matches with every other bat at well over 50, and most over 100 seems ridiculous.

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | June 9, 2011, 5:02 GMT

    Infact since the 1980's as generations are progressing the number of truly great players is decreasing.Remember the 1970's and 1980's with Dennis Lillee,Imran Khan ,Andy Roberts Malcolm Marshall,Ian Botham,Ricahrd Hadlee,Kapil Dev,Chappell brothers ,Gordon Greenidge,Viv Richards,Gavaskar,Miandad,Zaheer Abbas,Alan Border etc.Then to the 19990's with Lara,Tendulkar,Ponting,Inzamam,Dravid, Wasim Akram ,Steve and Mark Waugh,Waqar Younus.Glen Mcgrath,Alan Donald,Ambrose,Walsh etc.In the last 10 years we do not have even quarter the number of true greats as the 70's and 80's or even half the number of the 90's.I feel the general standard of Cricket is declining.We hardly see genuine quick bolwers.The pitches are now too conducive to batting and too much cricket is played which kills a cricketer.

  • POSTED BY Jim1207 on | June 9, 2011, 4:17 GMT

    Jude Perera, Let me catch you in your own game. Zaheer has been averaging 30s because he bowls constantly in spin dusty pitches which do not assist much pace until the ball gets old so his average shoots up. Dale Steyn played in U.A.E last year, and do you know how much he averaged in such pitches - 46.33 against an average Pakistan balling lineup. Go Figure why Zaheer Khan is better bowler than Dale Steyn. Steyn is a great bowler, don't get me wrong but Zaheer is better for all conditions, so better than Steyn.

  • POSTED BY PEGASI on | June 9, 2011, 4:13 GMT

    This is a ridiculous article. Contrary to the title, it discusses only to-be-retiring players, with the exception of 2-3 English batsmen.

  • POSTED BY Jim1207 on | June 9, 2011, 4:11 GMT

    It has been a pity that Roebuck considered statistics to prove greatness where he left the best pace bowler in the world at the moment, Zaheer Khan. People would jump for Steyn and Morkel, but what did they do in flat tracks in Dubai against Pakistan last year? South Africa could just drew the series, if I remember correctly. Greatness of fast bowling lies in adapting to all conditions not when the pitch is helping pace, swing and bounce. It is a pity that the world blames batsmen as flat-track bullies but does not blame bowlers as pace-swing-bounce track bullies. Only Steyn and Zaheer are the best bowlers at the moment in the world who can adapt to any pitch at short notice. But people would never agree to consider an Indian pace bowler as a Great.

  • POSTED BY on | June 9, 2011, 3:12 GMT

    There's a guy here who says Zaheer Khan is a better bowler than Dale Steyn... I didn't know how to respond. Dale Steyn is leagues above any bowler of this current generation... in an age where bowlers like Khan, Johnson, Anderson, Broad...(even Lee) are averaging in the 30s and batsmen are enjoying 50+ averages, Dale Steyn' numbers and skills defy all logic. He's bowling strike rate alone is above any "great" bowler of the past... Steyn is the only modern bowler who can stand next to Pollock, Donald, Waqar, Akram, Walsh, Ambrose, McGrath, Malcolm, Lilee, Hadlee,... and the list goes on... and as for Steyn in the subcontinent 23.71 to his career 23.21... against India 20.23

  • POSTED BY on | June 9, 2011, 3:05 GMT

    No Graeme Pollock? Barry Richards? And Modern Day batsman... Graeme Smith? Test and T20 Record are phenominal(2nd highest run getter in the world for T20 and 7500ish test runs in 91 matches)... That just overflows with greatness? I know his ODI record has not been great over the last 3 or 4 years, with his average going from about 42 to 39, but he will improve over the next 5/6 years. And surely greatness is not only measured by the amount of runs accumelated or averages.... Because he has an unreal aura and to see him retire as the SA ODI & T20 captain is sad. Graeme Smith is a great... for where he has taken SA cricket as well as what he has done on the field.

  • POSTED BY on | June 9, 2011, 2:52 GMT

    i don think its a question of replacing th tendulkars an th pontings.. if dey actually are replaced, ppl tend 2 4get dem n see dem in those who replaced dem.. luk at m s dhoni..comes from jharkhand (a little less known 4 producing a talent lik him) takes th country an th world by storm by th demolition job he did wid th bat, is made th captain n has since been a man to look upto.. i don want a player lik him to be replaced simply because wen m 60 years old, on a warm sunday aftrnoon, wen i lean bak 2 watch 1 of the dvds of india's greatest, i donot want to b lookin at th same guy i watched th other day playing 4 india, touted to b th new dhoni..

  • POSTED BY on | June 9, 2011, 1:12 GMT

    where is the indian young batsman and bangladeshi spinners....virat kohli,suresh raina,shakib al hasan and tamim should be the future of cricket!

  • POSTED BY sam842002 on | June 9, 2011, 0:52 GMT

    Why these idiots are whining about exclusion of X, Y, Z players. Can't they read the article only cite the current players, who aren't retired. He is citing few examples keeping a minimum standard of 20 matches and who are non retired players with highest averages. Pay attention when you read, don't be emotional about your favorites not been listed.

  • POSTED BY Fzn1 on | June 9, 2011, 0:49 GMT

    Am I missing something? The article is titled "Who are cricket's future greats?", yet Mr. Roebuck just talks about players who've been around for a very long time and in their late 20s or early to mid 30s. Given the title of the article I was expecting to see names of players that are up and coming with talent and potential for greatness not just an analysis of current players who have been around for almost a decade, because to me, it is very clear that no current player has what it takes to rival great players like Tendulkar, Lara, Viv Richards, Wasim, Waqar, Mcgrath, Warne or Muralitharan.

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | June 9, 2011, 0:43 GMT

    Can cook can be another tendulkar type run machine?. At present he is scoring well and dravid like temparament. He can be considered great if he makes century and after century. Bowlers are very weak. Easy to score runs. Pitches are flat.

    I am not sure we will have many record breakers in runs scored. because too much competition , too much money and people will get satisfied if they make X amount of money.

    Only players who start to get into team in 16-18 years old. Rest all will disappear within few years.

    At present only Steyn is considered great bowler. he is unstoppable in swinging conditions. He can bundle out great indian team in swinging pitch.

    I am not sure any other bowler can do that single handedly in the current group.

    In Batting only sehwag can change momentum within a hour. Sachin never able to do . he was always a run accumulator and useless record breaker.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | June 9, 2011, 0:29 GMT

    @Xolile /@Cricfan24 - Kallis does deserve mention as a great, but I hesitate to say he was a great allrounder, more a great batsmen who was a handy bowler. The stats that Xolile quoted tend to hide the fact that a fair chunk of Kallis's International wickets have come against Zim & Bang at VERY low averages. At less then 2 wickets per Test match - its hardly an arguement to say he would be selected in a side for his bowling alone. Imran & Botham could of been selected for batting or bowling. That being said there wouldn't be many sides in the history of the game that would not have Kallis in it!

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | June 9, 2011, 0:02 GMT

    Greatness is obviously about more than stats. In my opinion (and I'm Australian!) VVS Laxman is one of the few recent players deserving of the title. I would rank him above a lot of other "modern greats" purely for his guts and determination alone, but of course "greatness" is also about the qualities you personally admire and value. Racking up big scores, spinning the ball a mile or having a divine cover drive in your arsenal aren't my bag, but I do love seeing those amazing efforts against the odds - context is important. But of course, we've all got our opinions :)

  • POSTED BY Rahulbose on | June 8, 2011, 23:48 GMT

    WTH makes Kevin Pietersen great? For a pure batsman there is a simple above 50 test ave requirement to be mentioned in any great players debate. Even his style of play is ugly. Shuffle to off side and cross-batted swat to mid wicket is his best shot.

  • POSTED BY ranga_s on | June 8, 2011, 23:11 GMT

    The truth is obvious....There were greatness in the past....We currently see great cricketers....And we sure will see in future as well.....This is a sport....Everything is comparative.....What assurance can one give that VIV Richards or Don Bradman even would have scored heavily against Warne and Murali....What assurance can one give the likes of Sachin, Sehwag, Kallis, Sangakkara and on and on would score 56, 57+ in tests...People see things comparatively...and when a bloody fine cricketer comes along and do something good it'll make a lasting impression..thats how greats are made...Out of current cricketers..Sachin for his 100 odd runs in Perth I think in 92. Kallis and Ponting for 2 seperate heavily scored years..Sangakkara 230 against Pak as a WK in PAK..Pietersen 2005 Ashes...those were the moments we had...they still live...but if we look others are not far behind..hence greatness lies upon on those who we wish to see....

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 23:10 GMT

    Great topic, but lack of execution, btw i thing the current English outfit is highly overrated, just because they won in the Ashes against a tamed Australia...I would say places to look for future greats would be the South African and Indian teams...peace

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 22:50 GMT

    At the very least, Sachin is India's best batsman ever. Most people forget India in the 90's when they analyse Sachin's career; he was literally the only wicket the opposition had to get to put them in a commanding position in a test match. VVS has has a great couple of years recently, but I have seen him bat when he too was ordinary. To maintain Sachin's level of performance over 21 years is unprecedented. He is the best batsman since Bradman and Kallis is the best all-rounder since Sobers. It really isn't that difficult.

  • POSTED BY Solomaverick on | June 8, 2011, 22:40 GMT

    Trott, give it a rest - he is already 30+. He doesn't have the time left to be great. Trott hasn't reached 2000 Test runs yet. Had an average of 27 playing on ''home'' turf in South Africa. Bashed the rubbish spin attacks of Bang and SL about on English wickets to get his inflated average. He makes Kallis and Dravid look positively electric!

    I read this article hoping for some insight on the young and bright; kids like Pujara - we already know that Amla, de Villiers, even Kohli are destined. Amir was - what a pity, could do with some more bowlers. Come on Mr Roebuck, ''young'' doesn't mean Trott (30), KP (31), Steyn (28)

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 22:36 GMT

    Hello Mr Peter...It's very unfair to not mentioning the great match winner VVS LAXMAN's name.....Just think he is batted at no-6 in most of his career.......... That's why his avg is little bit less........He is a real match winner........ It's difficult to find his replacement........Just compare him to any other no-6 batsman then you realize that you unfortunately missed the VVS LAXMAN's name...........

  • POSTED BY chsj on | June 8, 2011, 21:46 GMT

    I guess Pakistan has (had recently) couple of guys - Amir and Asif both would have been challenging Dale Steyn in Pace / swing bowling credentials if only Pakistan / themselves contributed to their current state. Still in the current team - Umar Gul and at least one of their other batsmen look poised for greatness. In my opinion Umar Gul is currently the best young batsman. And I think Saeed Ajmal is quite handful - if only he could have played more. India's Cheteswar Pujara, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have great promise too.

  • POSTED BY Jim1207 on | June 8, 2011, 21:33 GMT

    I looked at the article first, and thought it is S Rajesh's article with tables and all :-)

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 21:26 GMT

    No great cricketers list can be considered complete without the names of Tendulkar, Bradman, Lara, Garry Sobers, Wasim Akram, Share Warne, Muthayya Muralitharan, Viv Richards, Pointing may not be in the same order. Quite a few are missing in this article. Its clearly evident that the qualification of 20 innigs is just to include Trott. The article is good in parts but definitely not comprehensive

  • POSTED BY johnathonjosephs on | June 8, 2011, 21:14 GMT

    Look out for these youngsters: Southee, Nathan Mccullum, Trott, Finn (Finn has potential to be a superstar), Chandimal, Nuwan Pradeep, Raina, Kohli (Kohli will be big), Amir, Umar Akmal, Dwayne Bravo (definetely better than his brother or Pollard), Rampaul, Watson, and Bollinger.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 20:52 GMT

    Why are so many people moaning about the exclusion of player X, Y or Z from the list of current/past greats mentioned? Nowhere does the author claim that he's giving a comprehensive list of all the great cricketers there have ever been - he's just citing a few examples, and in particular those who made up two great teams rather than those such as Murali, Lara and Andy Flower who for much of their careers were the one outstanding player in an otherwise mediocre team. The fact that a player is not mentioned in the article does not necessarily imply that the author does not consider him a 'great'.

  • POSTED BY debu_doc on | June 8, 2011, 20:49 GMT

    The exclusion of Brian Lara's name from the list of great players of the last two decades is a surprise. When Lara got going he was a treat to watch. Too bad he was not a part of the West Indian team when they toured India in 2002. We watched Wavel Hinds score a century at Eden Gardens, but Lara did not grace the stadium. I dont know why but every time I see Hashim Amla bat, I get a similar feeling. Its when he cuts and pulls and flicks, he seems invincible - a Laxman like trait. I know Laxman will never be seated along side the Tendulkars and the Pontings. But the fact remains that I have never seen anyone just touch the ball ever so lightly while it raced to the fence - like Laxman. Hope Amla does not miss out like Laxman

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 20:22 GMT

    We still have great players coming, but as cricket is getting shorter by day, we have greatness of a different kind. Demanding new skills for the old. The role of traits like Endurance, poise, and patience is gradually giving away to others like power, spontaneity, and innovation. Today's TEST greats might well be the last band of them. In the future, guys like Dhoni will be called legends for their accomplishments in the shorter versions. This is not a change that I would personally like, but it seems like inevitable.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 20:20 GMT

    This guy is so uninformed that its not funny. How you mention West Indians and Trinidadians separately ? Trinidad is part of the West Indies for crying out loud ! I must agree that it is questionable as to why Lara's name is not mentioned when the greats of the game are spoken of. The point has been made over and over again that many subcontinent batsmen have inflated averages and other figures because of the flat pitches which they play on. Virender Sehwag struggled in the Caribbean against a mediocre bowling attack. Its no wonder why subcontinent teams, with the exception of India presently, and subcontinent players, with the exception of Tendulkar, don't win many matches or score many runs on overseas tours.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 20:03 GMT

    Greatness is a heady mix. Some are born to rich: Tendulkar, Richards, Wasim Akram or Gilchrist pretty much oozed talent right from the start. Their composure, adabtability and innate grasp of their craft was apparent. All they needed were to keep their head and keep learning, which they did. Others like Kallis, Dravid, Marshall and Murali took a while to find what suited them best. Once they found their range, their significant talent and superb work ethic just took over. Then there were likes of Lara, Warne or Imran - blessed with such talent to begin with that they didn't know what to do with it! Through their troughs they learned how to harness those smartly and became greats. Among the current crop only Steyn, Amla and DeVelliers inspire such confidence. Cook is perhaps a notch lower but not too far off. It'd be interesting to see how Kemar Roach and Bishoo handle themselves and WICB shenanigans. And of course the one which got away so bad it hurts: Mohammad Aamer.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 20:01 GMT

    Avg is not the sole measure of greatness nor is the test cricket........................................You must incorporate ODI performances and Strike rates as well and ....................................No of 100 for batsmen and no of 5 Wicket halls for bowler also count significantly towards greatness....................As a matter of fact all these factors are already taken care of when Man of the Match Award is given so The rate at which player gets MOM actually determines greatness.......................Tendulkar, Kallis, Lara,S Anwar, Ponting, Hayden were great batsmen of this era and ............De Villiers is the only great batsman of future era..............................................In bowlers Zaheer is by no means a great as Waseem, Waqar, Shoaib have bowled on same placid pitches and have much better avg and ER.................................Zaheer is just a good bowler if at all who cannot even bowl death overs in ODI.

  • POSTED BY intcamd on | June 8, 2011, 19:44 GMT

    look for pujara and kkohli to join the ranks of these in 5 to 10 years

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 19:40 GMT

    Greatness is such an diluted term. Shaun Polloock was my Favorite player ever but I would be hard pushed to call him an all time great(If only been more selfish batted 7 and not destroy his body by bowling to much for the team). He is an very good player in the top 100 who ever played the game. For me an great is not only someone who is very good but also changed how the game is played. Or is statistically head and shoulders above the rest, or showed a mastery that no other player can duplicate. People I have seen in my life time that meet the requirement: Warne(not my Fav), Lara(nobody could make a shot look more beatiful absolute master), Murli, Ambrose( would make lots of current batsmen turn yellowin fear). Kallis(statistically best alrounder since sober). Honroubale mentions Tendulkar and Pointing most runs if the Don had played 100 tests he would be past both theit tallies.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 19:03 GMT

    rightly put. however, greatness in individuals is mostly noticed when team play lacks the glaze. Brain Lara became the greatest batsman when Windies were in shambles. Tendulkar came in the limelight when India performed dismally post 1996. same is the case with Kallis. Kallis performed even when SAF choked. These days, instead of individuals the entire teams strive for greatness. Thats why you cannot point out single great individuals in the Australian side, mostly everyone was awesome. and this is what will happen to the present generation of cricketers. when tendulkars and kallis's have resigned, teams will emerge with 4-5 players always termed 'deadly'. I hope its India for the next 10 years!

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 18:40 GMT

    where is AB DEVILLIERS ? after sachin,sangakarra,kallis,ponting and vvs the dashing south african possess the talent to become one of d gr8 ambassador of d game.....................obviously better than trot and cook..........

  • POSTED BY peacekid12 on | June 8, 2011, 18:38 GMT

    its hard to imagine Lara's name never call among you guys grates of cricket what is it that cricinfo have against arguably the greatest player.... Lara to me is far better then most of these players who's names are being called however no one have done what he achieved he is king of his era ..none before or after ever undone his batting quality yes tendulkar is a great batsman but you guys always tend to use his side of achievement to put him above Lara in which in some department he is but have he ever reclaim a world record ...how many times he made a double century comparing to Lara and has he ever pass 299 ...while i must respect his 200 in one dayers.... am just saying the journalist on here are not respecting Lara and what he has done......

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 18:15 GMT

    Razab I quite agree to you. As a neutral supporter, I believe Shakib has in him to be one of the best allrounders in the game. His statistics speak for him. Just he need to continue the good work!

  • POSTED BY Bang_La on | June 8, 2011, 18:02 GMT

    @ Razab Quasem Chowdhury, please don't write about any Bangladesh players because Peter never recognises Bangladesh as a cricket team nor he approves their playing in big boys' leagues. Didn't you notice that his intention was only to depict Cook and Trott as future talents? So why try?

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 17:26 GMT

    Peter,

    I know you don't watch a lot of games involving Bangladesh - you are a neutral and the Tigers aren't quite the marketable bunch. Yet. However I'll ask you to review the performances in Tests and ODIs (and lately in IPL and County) of one Shakib al Hassan. He is hampered often by getting only one innings to bowl at the opposition. He is often having to bail the team out of batting collapses, but look at his stats, his consistent output, and his elan. Mark my words - the man who sledged AB de Villiers that "your first career duck is coming", and delivered on that, in South Africa - that man is going to end up being a "great one"

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 17:20 GMT

    Umar Akmal is definitely someone to watch out for..

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 17:20 GMT

    vettori, cook, steyn, tharanga , darren bravo, u.akmal, ghambhir ,amir (like it or not), kholi, stirling, marsh,amla ,ab , ross taylor, brett lee, broad , dhoni , watson, grame smith, malinga, gayle, shakib and roach.

  • POSTED BY hamwil80 on | June 8, 2011, 17:10 GMT

    Strike rates of bowlers to have taken more than 200 wickets in the History of the game: Steyn 39.9; Waqar 43.4; Marshal 46.7; Donald 47 McGrath and Akram aren't even close. Hou jou bek, Steyn doubters.

    Also amazing how often the Kallis bashers judge him purely by batting standards, and forget his contribution with the ball and in the field. Remember the now deified Tendulkar has yet to win test series in SA and AUS (Kallis has won test matches away and home against every single country - I think he is the only player to do this).

  • POSTED BY r1m2 on | June 8, 2011, 16:58 GMT

    I really wanted to say all the good things about this article, because I think agree with the general theme of it. However, I find the article to be devoid of both heart and soul. It seems like a direction-less piece. Starting with the title, which seems to lead one to believe this is about really discussing who the future greats are and why. Instead, the actual theme appears to be more like 'last set of great cricketers are almost past their prime and we do not have many more forthcoming', in other words the future is bleak. So, this article in all is a bit confusing...

    I do disagree with this opinion 'To my mind Glenn McGrath was an immensely satisfying bowler to watch. Just that he was driven more by science than artistry.' I do not think McGrath was driven by either science or art. He was driven by applying psychological pressure. I never felt McG cared much about how to make the ball swing or seam. He bored or annoyed or scared the batsmen out more often than not.

  • POSTED BY Optic on | June 8, 2011, 16:50 GMT

    @moikei All this is just your opinion and what's more it's wrong, just because you may not find Trott those things, doesn't stop his run scoring or his talent for batting.

    I think people are also misunderstanding something, you can be a great player but that doesn't automatically put you in the all time great list and I think that's where the differentiation should be made. Most of us have lived during a period where it just so happens to have had alot of all time great cricketers, in the 80' and 90's were a bit of a freak time and know in the 00' we have had to come back to earth a bit.

  • POSTED BY Chenthil on | June 8, 2011, 16:50 GMT

    @KiwiRocker.. Lara had a fourth innings average of 35, Ponting's third innings (second innings for the team) average is 38.. What's your point really? Everyone has their chinks in statistics, but to rate a batsman on that is stupid really.

    " failed to score against best( Washim, Waqar, Donald)" - Really?! I think you have never watched him play. Just watch cape town '96 and WC SF '03. These are quality bowlers and I know they had their success againts him too.. And that's the whole point of the article. Sachin has had his battles against the best won his share and lost some as well.

    Those who truly watched Sachin, Lara, Waugh, Anwar, Inzi play in the 90s will know why they are a different class and don't need numbers to prove their mettle. And Sachin/Lara stand out because the teams they played were uninspiring. It makes a difference: example. Ponting has a fouth inning average of 54. Just see how many not out low scores he has. Luxury of playing for AUS in their peak.

  • POSTED BY Aussasinator on | June 8, 2011, 16:45 GMT

    The era of great players is over. Greatness as being defined now, is about consistent brilliance in the longer version of the game. Test cricket will no longer attract the most gifted players. So we'd better watch as much as we can of Tendulkar, Kallis, Mahela, Steyn, De Villiers and a few others.

  • POSTED BY cyniket on | June 8, 2011, 16:39 GMT

    I rather agree with this article. The future greats aren't clear yet. I have doubts about all the batsmen mentioned. as for the bowlers, who are more important for the health of the game; finn is a good prospect, amir could still become a great (he'll be 24 when he plays again), Kemar roach has potential and morne morkel is getting better all the time.

  • POSTED BY Trickstar on | June 8, 2011, 16:37 GMT

    @Michael Jones he never said KP is a great player, he said claims to greatness, so it looks like, your reading, what you want. I would have thought that he has it in him and has shown with his form from 2005-09 till he got injured ,it was within him to become a great player and far more better cricket minds than mine, or anyone's on here have said the same. Obviously, like everyone else mentioned in his article, it remains to be seen what form they take in to the next few years. @cricconnossieur This is addressed to you but it could be many others, who just seem to see a title and look at the lists and if it doesn't fit with their own agenda, they start whinging , PR states 'it is far from clear that Jonathan Trott and Alastair Cook can, or indeed ever will, deserve the mark of greatness', so what's with the moaning, learn to read and you will not embarrass yourselves' and look stupid.

  • POSTED BY Bang_La on | June 8, 2011, 16:27 GMT

    @WilliamFranklin , hahahah. So True. Cricinfo couldn't find better words for him either, "Millfield and Cambridge educated, Peter Roebuck was an intelligent, complex and often misunderstood person whose ability as an opening batsman was often overshadowed by other events." There goes a genius!!

  • POSTED BY Mixup on | June 8, 2011, 16:17 GMT

    I dont see greatness coming out of this England team. Talk of decent bowlers- Swann has flashes at best. Murali was left out from the greats list prepared by this Australian, which is unsurprising yet unfortunate. The problem is that greatness is rarely conferred when a player is still playing (such as Tendulkar or Steyn); evaluations are more apt once a player finishes his career. To label one great early on misfires more often than not (and that would be a never ending list, that Roebuck calls "promising"). In my opinion (and I am sure everyone) greatness cannot be measured by runs/wickets accumulated over the years, or even flashes or streaks. It radiates sporadically over a player's career, and is felt, and when the player retires, we are left with memories that keep humming "we will never see that again".

  • POSTED BY thiagaraj005 on | June 8, 2011, 16:09 GMT

    I cant imagine a batsman better than Sachin.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 15:50 GMT

    Quite an insightful article. nice work!

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 15:37 GMT

    Ya ofcourse ther some run machine across the world but no one beat the LITTLE MASTER .Batsmen like Trot, Cook ,Dhilshan etc are some of those examples.There are also consistent players like Ghambir, Hussey etc makes their team batting stronger .Also bowlers from England Australia and SA shows the great respectability over the bowling line up!

  • POSTED BY gudolerhum on | June 8, 2011, 15:01 GMT

    Great analysis of the main qualities of greatness. Few of the current crop excite emotions in the same way - deVilliers, Steyn as mentioned but the cupboard looks bare otherwise. Assessing this quality needs impartiality not the biased comments so often reflected by some of those making comments.

  • POSTED BY Leggie on | June 8, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    Nice one @Dayanidhi :-)

    The current greats are certainly Kallis, Tendulkar and Ponting. I'm surprised that of all the people Sangakkara is included in that list. For that matter all Sri Lankan batsman who are "great" in their country have a very moderate performance away from home. When I run a Cricinfo Statsguru query on four of the SL batsman to get their averages outside Sri Lanka against South Africa / Australia / New Zealand / Egnland and India - on bowler friendly wickets (compared to SL!!), I get the results as below:

    Sangakkara 40.89 (Career Average: 56.12) Jayawardene 39.49 (53.14) Samaraweera 25.23 (53.32)

    It continues to surprise me that some very knowledgeable cricket writers continue to bracket these Sri Lankans in the greats list.

  • POSTED BY thurc on | June 8, 2011, 14:13 GMT

    i dont understand how you can say trott and cook will not be considered great players because of the way they score their runs and at the same time say kallis and dravid are even though they score their runs slower and in a very similar way.

    also i was thinking about todays bowlers and i believe if you can average below 30 in current conditions u can be considered to be a great bowler. the combination of increased run rates and flatter pitches means that bowlers averages(like batsmens) have gone up at least 5 points. obviously the exception to this is steyn who with a sr of 39 and 16 5 wickets hauls in 46 tests, personally i believe if he retires with a similar record to the one he currently has he should be cinsidered the greatest fast bowler of all time. nobody whose played a decent number of games has a better sr and nobody has a better games/ 5 wicket hauls ratio

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 14:13 GMT

    yeah!! right!! I consider myself blessed to have watched Tendulkar, Kallis, Ponting, Lara,Chanderpaul, Jayawardena, Sangakkara, Hayden, Aravinda, Inzi, Yousuf, Dravid, Gilchrist, Mcgrath, Warne, kumble, Murali, Steyn, Pollock, Donald, Walsh, Ambrose, Waqar, Wasim. A quite a few of them are in the hall of fame and are all time greats in their art..!!

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 14:09 GMT

    Why are you even talking about Trott? The fact that he is already 30 years old should be enough to say that he is not one to look out for in the future.

  • POSTED BY trueanalyst on | June 8, 2011, 14:08 GMT

    Lakshman is the greatest present day cricketer.No arguments about that.Which batsman had won so much matches for his country & that too against the all time best cricket team Australia.Lakshman's average is below 50 because in most of the innings where India had scored more than 500 -600 runs Lakshman had failed as he had to make some quick runs or due to lack of motivation.When India required the runs most it was either Lakshman or Dravid earlier who had contributed. Cmon guys the Man who scored at will against The greatest spinner that ever was & the meanest bowler & also against one of the fastest bowlers ever(Brett Lee) & that two in their own backyard does deserve to be called a great. Against Australia & In Australia he had scored 4 centuries in 11 Matches at an average of around 55.When you pick up an alltime XI against the Aussies,Laxman will be the first one to be penciled in.If not Lakshman then who is great.Sachin is a better one day batsman but in test Lakshman is no 1.

  • POSTED BY JimDavis on | June 8, 2011, 14:05 GMT

    Skidmarks - Anderson, will be remembered as nothing more than very good.

    At the start of the English summer, Anderson's stats were below that of the Mighty Merv Hughes (same wickets, but Merv was about 5 runs per wicket better!) Anderson would have to be exponentially better across the rest of his career to get close to great.

  • POSTED BY JimDavis on | June 8, 2011, 14:02 GMT

    Sums up the problem with the current Australian team - there just isn't an individual in there (other than the last chance to see Punter) these days you would pay money to see.

  • POSTED BY MeowCat on | June 8, 2011, 13:57 GMT

    Cooky is test-exclusive player.And he will lead EngLandia to No.1 Test position.India has dry talent left after Sehwag and Gauti retire

  • POSTED BY sajid7137 on | June 8, 2011, 13:55 GMT

    Everybody seems to forget that if you wish to find great players then you should also look into Pakistani team. Only recently, they were the best bowling side in the world with Amir, Asif, Gul, Akhter, and Ajmal. Nothing has changed because Pakistan may come up with another new ball sensation like Amir in next series. Umer Akmal, every commentator is talking about him already. He had shown at world level in T20 world cup against Aussies what material he is made off. Just give him some time and you shall have a world player. For me Kallis, Ponting, Dravid, Tendulkar, Sehwag are players of past. They have proved what they had to prove. Future belongs to Kohli, Akmal, Ajmal, Amla etc. Pietersen can not categorized as great player. He is a showman and he does not have mental strength of sachin or Kallis. Sachin has made more hundreds than total number of matches Pietersen has played. It takes execution, mental strength, skills and performance over a long period of time in same sequenc

  • POSTED BY Herath-UK on | June 8, 2011, 13:49 GMT

    If we plant the current England team in Galle or Colombo today,they will definetely lose.Sri Lanka did harakiri by opting to fly to England in May without enough practice and straight from IPL,Sanga & Mahela did injustice to their records. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • POSTED BY kanuparthi on | June 8, 2011, 13:46 GMT

    Whoozajiggawah? Where is VVS on this list of current 'greats'? Just because his average is under 50 doesn't make him an ordinary player, while Trott, who has barely played 20 matches features on the list! These kind of 'future great' lists kill the future of cricketers who just enter the team. Look at Duminy, Hussey, I. Pathan etc. 20 matches is too small a sample. Coming to the bowling: Darren Sammy, Steven Finn? You got to be kidding me. True, Zaheer doesn't have an average below 30. Ask Ponting or Smith about facing him, or Dhoni about his importance in the team. They'll tell you the story numbers don't.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 13:37 GMT

    A very good article. By the way I would like to add Sanath Jayasuriya, who changed the cricket world to this list of greatest.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 13:33 GMT

    @Ashwath_krish: u wasted 10 minutes reading the article alright but may be u did not pay attention even for a minute about what was being said here, Jonathan Trott is being spoken off as a future great, not among the current bunch, and there is really no doubt about his potential to be a future great. Watch the game properly first up, wannabe.

  • POSTED BY na3f on | June 8, 2011, 13:33 GMT

    To all the tools complaining about how cricketers like Lara, Aravinda De Silva, Mianded and other retired cricketers weren't mentioned - read the article properly, he clearly states that retirees are not mentioned at the end.

    He alludes to some of the retired ones in the last paragraph (I'm assuming the biscuit factory one is Murali? not too sure) but this article is about current greats. Quite a well written article, but the problem obviously lies in the subjective nature of the word "great" and what it means to each individual.

    Also, the Indian fans need to stop acting butthurt everytime people aren't talking about how great their team is and who's missing from the list. The article isn't biased at all, an indian great (or legend) has been mentioned. The writer himself is English and hasn't stated any confidence in any greats emerging from his own country - even though Trott and Cook have piled on the runs in recent times.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 13:33 GMT

    Andrew Hirst, Greatness can never be measured by statistics. Going by stats alone, probably Kallis would be just as great as a Tendulkar or a Lara or a Viv Richards....but greatness is measured more by the human eye and mind than anything (and this extends to all forms of art including paintings,).

    While Kallis might have the same batting average as Tendulkar or Lara, he is more of an attrition kind of batsman. He doesn't have the same range or shots, flair and domination of bowlers as the former. Hence he is not really a great batsman. He is a good batsman, but not great. Same argument would go for guys like AN Cook, Strauss. They would never be great, just good batsman. Kallis is a bowler too, but not a great bowler either, just good again. So overall, he is just a good player, not great.

    By the same agrument, I'm surprised Sangkarra is in the great league. He is again just a good batsman - not great.

  • POSTED BY lanka_86 on | June 8, 2011, 13:32 GMT

    I was hoping your next artucle would be about Hashan Tillekaratne. It's your favourite topic: politics + sport.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 13:23 GMT

    @Nihari Chattopaddhya: aheem!!...as far back as i can remember, Alastair Cook made his test debut as a 21 year old here in India and got a half-century in the first innigs and a century in his 2nd innings against India on his debut test at Nagpur. Those knocks were played under extreme pressure as england did not have a seasoned opener in their ranks and the whole team was struggling for some form. As far as trott is concerned, didn't u see his performance during the WC?? Clearly performed way better than many others and was among the leading scorers of the tournament. So they have done pretty well in India haven't they.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 13:22 GMT

    I'm just amused by how many people completely misunderstood this article (I didn't think it was that great either). The "lists" are simply lists of best averages- Roebuck certainly isn't trying to suggest Sammy will be great. And all of the people complaining about Trott and Cook seem to miss the fact that Roebuck EXPLICITLY stated that he didn't think either of those two would be greats, or at least they have not achieved it yet (how could Trott, with just 20 Tests...? He is 30 however...). It was really a rambling article, musing on the qualities of greatness. The fact that VVS Laxman is "the most underrated" player kind of proves something... he may have been the most skilled batsman of a generation, but somehow, he is not as famous as others, which would indicate that in some sense, he lacks greatness.

    This was not meant to be a comprehensive list of recent greats! It was all about pondering the future. The truth is that we really don't know. 10 years from now, we will.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 13:19 GMT

    the greatest player of them all is sachin tendulkar. anyone who has followed his career closely will know that. kallis is number 2...a fraction behind tendulkar.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 13:11 GMT

    Greatness requires longevity. No-one is great in 18 months - not even Sachin. Also - Peter Roebuck is a UK based journo - and you never acknowledge greatness on your own doorstep. If there is no "mystique" there is no acknowledgement of greatness. Interesting seeing Stuart Clark there though. Shame cricket Australia had so little faith in a man who was clearly an excellent bowler.

  • POSTED BY Ashwintej on | June 8, 2011, 12:48 GMT

    Good article! but i disagree with few things..There is no mention of " Magical Mahela Jayawardene" as a great player. I reckon James Anderson and Alistair cook are in the making of great players.,just because of their determination, fighting spirit and committment. Remember Cook had a debut century in India.

  • POSTED BY swartshaun on | June 8, 2011, 12:42 GMT

    @ Andrew Hirst - could not have said it better mate, Kallis will one day be seen as the best complete cricketer that walked the planet.

  • POSTED BY CricketPissek on | June 8, 2011, 12:42 GMT

    opportunity is also important. i think Ajmal has the potential of becoming a great, but needs to play more matches. Ajantha Mendis promised so much, but unless something dramatic happens (like disguising the ball for starters!), he will go down as a flash in the pan. AB and Kholi look good, but i have a feeling the next great batsman is going to emerge from England. I have a funny feeling it might be Ian Bell.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 12:41 GMT

    The thing is Kallis is so rigid at the crease. When he accelerates, it looks forced and contrived. When Tendulkar bats, it is fluid and natural. Tendulkar's freakish talent alone and propensity to score hundreds puts him well beyond his nearest competition. Sachin is the best since Bradman. End of story.

  • POSTED BY Praxis on | June 8, 2011, 12:24 GMT

    So many batsmen scoring runs now, its quite difficult to judge their future greatness. But when it comes to bowling its Swann for slow bowlers and fast bowling, of course Steyn. Styen is incredible to watch in test cricket when he is on fire. Many fans simply will not admit to it or say it out loud, but I think in test Steyn is the most exciting cricketer. The quality of bowling has decreased so much in past decade that its obvious he's so far ahead of his contemporaries. Sometimes stats won't give you the full picture, you have to see these players in actions.

  • POSTED BY DINESHCC on | June 8, 2011, 12:20 GMT

    THE ARTICLE TALKS ABOUT FUTURE GREATS: KALLIS, TENDULKAR, PONTING HAD ALREADY ACHIEVED THE STATUS OF "GREATS". ONE OF THE FUTURE GREATS WILL BE DEFINITELY ALISTAIR COOK. TENDULKAR SCORED 51 HUNDREDS IN 22 YEARS. BUT ALISTAIR COOK AT THE YOUNG AGE OF 25 YEARS SCORED 18 TEST HUNDREDS. IF HE PLAYS FOR ANOTHER 10 TO 15 YEARS HE WILL SCORE AT LEAST 75 TEST CENTURIES.

  • POSTED BY oldsuttdownunder on | June 8, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    Good one Peter, but in my opinion you can tell a 'great' player very early on in their career, not after the sheer accumulation of runs or wickets and a sense that they deserve recognition as with an overdue promotion at work. Some examples - who did not rave at the time of IVA Richards in his first world cup, Tendulkar at 16 years old (including that catch at Lord's), Gower's first shot in test cricket, Warne in the first 2-3 years of his test career - when a legspinner is supposedly an ingenue - and Murali turning it more than was healthy for an offie. The above lists show this is a game in transition thanks primarily to the ADHD version, and as a result we don't know what will be a good average in 10 years' time. Regarding the 'greats', when they come along, you tend to know about impending legendary status, certainly well before a journalist needs to make you think about it. Steyn alone passes the test of new players (I'm English before Indian fans go nuts about bias - YAWN!!!)

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 12:13 GMT

    If there's one player with a claim to greatness today it'll be Jacques Kallis. Sachin's good. But with 177 tests under their belt, most of the others on the list will be just as good or even better than him.

  • POSTED BY _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on | June 8, 2011, 12:07 GMT

    @Ankur. Kahn above Steyn? Nothing wrong with supporting you own but really. I'll assume you just said that as a joke lol. Guess what Zaheer Khan has ONE 10 wkt haul in his entire career. Steyn already has one in Ind to go along with several others.

  • POSTED BY Eejalab on | June 8, 2011, 12:03 GMT

    Champion players cannot be made.. They are born..!! By the look of things, I would say Trott and Cook are run machines.. They are not champion batsmen.. Dilshan scores at hectic pace, tat doesn't mean he is better than Sanath.. Sanath was a legend in his own right.. Similarly, Mahela has scored loads of runs against all teams but he still struggles against quality pace attacks (as in this series)... Aravintha dint score like him but he was a superman for Lanka.. In this batsmen friendly era, run machines wil cum and go.... Let us put aside these run machines., we can easily identify the legends as they come.. I genuinely feel Umar Akmal, Ross taylor, Amla, Pietersen, Steyn, Viru, Bollinger can be destined for greatness....!!! (Strauss and Dhoni as d greatest captains of their era) They should prove in dust bowls of Galle and green tops of Jo'Burg with telling effect rater than Big Bash or IPL...!!

  • POSTED BY _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on | June 8, 2011, 12:01 GMT

    Where is VVS name? Ok, if VVS makes it then KP makes it and Hussey makes it. Cut the bias, very good? yes, great? NO. Cut the bias, how about you wait for a non Indian to call his name b-4 you say that. He's played some great rearguard innings but hey, that's not enough + how is his ODI career? Poor

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 11:59 GMT

    We have a lot of good cricketers but lack of potential future greats. Future Greats should be Masters of their skills. They should be good, consistent performers, keep winning and keep improving their performance. In Bowlers, Steyn, Mohd Aamir, Bollinger could be a future Greats. Batsmen, I see Ab DeVilliers, Trott, Kohli. All Rounders - its only Shane Watson there all alone. Glove Man - One and only Dhoni.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 11:59 GMT

    A very thought provoking article. Pietersen remains a definite enigma, and only time will tell whether the mantle of greatness will rest upon his shoulders. One could argue that if he returns to the form of old following this unsettled period then his achievement would be the greater.

  • POSTED BY rmaganti on | June 8, 2011, 11:43 GMT

    Kallis, the greatest player of this generation! No way. Kallis should thank his stars that the bowling greats of the modern era have all retired. Kallis is a good player and became great after the departure of the bowling greats. I would say both Sachin's and Kallis's records in the past five years need to be expunged. They were done against mediocre bowling attacks.

  • POSTED BY Kunagpal on | June 8, 2011, 11:42 GMT

    not the most planned article, but the fact is: players like kallis, jaywardane, muralidaran, ponting, warne, lara, richards, mcgrath, vvs, dravid, ganguly, kapil dev, wasim akram, tendulkar, cant be replaced by any trot, cook, etc..........

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 11:38 GMT

    @hakapuu -Do not accuse others of not getting the facts right when you are incorrect with your facts. Gayle also has 2 triple hundred

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | June 8, 2011, 11:36 GMT

    In continuation with my earlier comment, does it not seem odd that when they talk about class, it is only about batsmen. I am not sure why. For instance, amongst the bowlers list of Peter, Asif is the only classy one. I wonder where the likes of Marshall, Holding, Garner Roberts, Ambrose and Walsh would fit. Or for that matter, Magrath,and his Australian mates.Asif, fast medium at best has this ability of decieving the batsman, that I have seldom seen in any bowler of his type.To me that is class. The Truemans and the Lindwalls just as the Steyns and Marshalls would only be referred to as great fast bowlers. I wonder if it is because of the fear factor that the adjective 'classy' is not used to describe them.For all the classy ones in the world,I would any day have Trott and Amla in my team rather than the glamour boys, who inspire the oohs and aahs more than the runs.

  • POSTED BY xenon555 on | June 8, 2011, 11:35 GMT

    The current shoo in hall of famers today are: Kallis, Tendulkar, Mahela, Sanga, Ponting, Dravid, Laxman and Steyn. With a few more years of the performance they are currently displaying Dhoni, Sehwag, Vettori, Watson, M Hussey, M Johnson, Trott, Cook, Swann (despite the age), AB, Amla, and Greame Smith will be in too.

  • POSTED BY TheOnlyEmperor on | June 8, 2011, 11:12 GMT

    "Who are cricket's future greats?"--- This is an absurd question. One cannot predict greatness in people. At best when we spot talent, we can perhaps at best say that they are destined for greatness. And when we say "talent" we are talking of those who are distinctly heads above the rest! "Greats" are those who have leveraged their talent to levels of excellence which even the rest of the exceptionally talented find to be iconic and worthy of emulation to reach performance and benchmarks levels set. There are many who are talented in their own way and some who who are exceptionally talented and some of these names have already been spoken about......

    Greatness sometimes may not be immediately visible and acknowledged to the casual observer even when they are looking for it, simply because of inherent bias. Eg...Kallis, has excpetional batting and bowling figures with a solidity in consistency that reflects very good mental strength and adaptability, leave alone fitness.

  • POSTED BY RecordHunter on | June 8, 2011, 11:11 GMT

    Dear Peter Pls add all Indian players to your list!!!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY mani86 on | June 8, 2011, 11:11 GMT

    Apart from mentioning Gilchrist in passing - that too for his batting - Roebuck has simply ignored wicket-keepers. That's a great pity. MS Dhoni is the world's best cricketer-keeper at the moment, although his keeping isn't the best ever he is an incredibly smart captain and a very useful batsman. He could go down as a great for these all-round skills.

  • POSTED BY maxus on | June 8, 2011, 11:06 GMT

    People talk about crickets future greats, however as someone said above the greats can only be determined towards the end of ones career not at the beginning. However future stars can be determined from the young lots who are playing currently and those who come my to mind are Virat Kohli, Darren bravo, Angelo Mathews, Suresh Raina, Mohamed Aamer (he is out now), Eoin Morgan, Usman Kawaja,Shakib Al Hassan, Umar Akmal...All those mentioned above and others yet to be recognized can one day be the greats of the game towards the end of their career.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 11:06 GMT

    A compltely confused piece of writing from one of the really good cricket writers .. disapointing..

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | June 8, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    This business of assigning greatness to an individual player is a bit questionable,highly subjective and above all is the collective projection of the media.The word 'class' is also often used without a proper understanding of what it means be many people. As far as I am cocerned, I see class in a batsman in the manner he plays his strokes where there is little or no sound of leather hitting wood, his all round batting excellence, the ease with which the ball goes past tumbling fielders and the positional gap between the ball that is hit and the fielders placed to stop it. By Peter Roebuck's essay, it would seem that the Amlas and the Trotts of this world are mere accumulators. I feel that in defining class, this run accumulation needs to be included. David Gower was without a doubt classy as were Azharuddin and Mark Waugh. VVS Laxman is the classiest in the world today but is not spoken of so much.'Greatness' and 'class' is probably adjudged on the persona of a player.

  • POSTED BY bismoy on | June 8, 2011, 10:59 GMT

    Word greatness is misused a lot...only 5 player can be called true greats of this era Sachin,Lara ,kallis ,warne and murali(keeping controversy apart).

    pointing ,dravid are near greatness but something missing...

  • POSTED BY Fast_Cutter on | June 8, 2011, 10:56 GMT

    I seriously wonder How Peter missed SWann !! The guy has been super consistant providing a lotta variations and a whole new resurgance to the OFF SPiN Bowling Department after Murlidaran's retirement and ovverrated Bhajji!!

  • POSTED BY elsmallo on | June 8, 2011, 10:49 GMT

    hmmm. It's about the cricket they play, surely. what it does to you, spiritually. maybe it's the 'classic highlights' syndrome but I think players today - especially batsmen - are too fit, too well-prepared, and the surfaces are too good, to be able to distinguish true 'greatness' in any of them. It all looks a bit easy for them. Organised batsmen used to have organised averages, now they are all 45+. So numbers don't give you much of a clue. What distinguished the Laras etc was producing innings/performances that no other cricketer could have produced on the day. Could Jimmy Adams or Carl Hooper have batted like Lara did in Barbados 99? No - they were good players but he was something else. There will be some greats from this era as any other, but they won't stand out as much as before.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 10:42 GMT

    Indians Only Say Sachin! Sachin Sachin! Sachin. Look at the names we have! Where Is Sanath Jayasuriya? the greatest cricketer and the greatest all rounder of all time? Where Is The Worlds Best Bowler Of All Time???? Murali......

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 10:39 GMT

    Greatness does not lies on healthy averages of over 50s and 55s. It lies on the player who regularly performs under unfavourable conditions and pull the team out of trouble single handedly. VVS laxman is the greatest Indian and the closest to him is Rahul Dravid. Not Sachin. Sachin is a good batsmen always remembered for his achievement and world records but not among the great. He always break down when team need him most. VVS has snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in many occassions. (e.g. Epic 281, 96 (SA) and one against australia last year). Lara is a great because always scored against while playing for a weak team, Chanderpaul always raise on occassions. Mahela and Sanga are flat track bullies, Aravinda is great and Murali is legend, Kallis is a great but not ponting. Players performance should be measured on Test Match not in slam bang below standard cricket formats like ODI and T20.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 10:33 GMT

    This list has no mention of Sobers,and I can not think of Anyone else deserving 'great' than him. Batsman, Bowler, Captain and a gentleman. I guess people forget soon. Kids in India do not know Gupte or BS Chandrasekhar

  • POSTED BY phanikakarla on | June 8, 2011, 10:29 GMT

    Cannot belive that Dhoni's name was not included. There are not too many wk batsman of this calibre. add to it his captaincy - and it becomes a different discussion.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 10:27 GMT

    What about the great Pathan - Imran Khan or Inzamam, Waqar and Wasim not forgetting the great fighter Miandad. Seems to me that a fair assessment should imclude these greats.

  • POSTED BY AvikD on | June 8, 2011, 10:21 GMT

    I especially feel that records should be an important criteria to make these lists..but not the only criteria.. see the bowling list... Stuart Clarke(nowhere near to represent Australia), Tremlett (37 wicktes!!!) and Darren Sammy (what a pathetic bowler he is...I think out of his 39 wickets...15-20 would be against Zim and Bangla) ...they are in the list..and the likes of Zak,Bhajji,Umar Gul,Vettori,Morkel,Ajmal are missing..pathetic!!!!

  • POSTED BY personaPKB on | June 8, 2011, 10:11 GMT

    Good article!! I think road to greatness lies in ability and longevity to attract crowds to the stadiums and TV sets in all forms of game. In that respect Sehwag, Sachin, Ponting, Flintoff, KP, AB, Steyn will qualify to be modern day greats. Kallis, though very efficient, has never been most attractive to watch and is not someone people go to watch. Of the newer crop I believe Shane Watson, Rohit Sharma, Shaun Marsh, Umar Akmal, Darren Bravo, and even Matt Prior have the potential to join the list. These are the guys to watch in all forms of game.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 10:10 GMT

    Where's barry richards? where's graeme pollock and allan border and steve waugh?The list seems terribly diluted. I have to agree with Mononz though - Kallis in my opinion is the best, most complete cricketer to have ever set foot on the international scene. 25000odd intl runs, 500odd wickets and bucket loads of catches, a good fielder and a truly professional sportsman. He has also managed to prove everyone (including myself wrong) by becoming a very good T20 player. For me, there is ONE bottom line: Whilst a batsman should be brought up to be like Tendulkar - a cricketer should without any shadow of a doubt be brought up to be like the great JH Kallis!I hope he plays for SA for at another 10 years!

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 10:08 GMT

    well asad shafique and umar akmal are emerging talents who will surely gain prestige and respect in future....

  • POSTED BY moikei on | June 8, 2011, 10:07 GMT

    You MUST be joking ! Trott ? flair?,talent?, entertainment value ? charisma? Enoough said.

  • POSTED BY BellCurve on | June 8, 2011, 10:06 GMT

    @Cricfan24 - You couldn't be more wrong. Between 1999 and 2002 Kallis played 43 Test matches and scored 3436 runs at an average of 62.47 and took 105 wickets at an average of 27.70. These are the best numbers ever posted by an all-rounder during 4 consecutive calendar years in the history of Test cricket. Botham is next on the list: between 1978 and 1981 he played 42 Tests and scored 2109 runs at an average of 33.47 and took 205 wickets at 21.82 per wicket. Imran Khan ended his career in phenomenal style, but he was never as prolific as Kallis or Botham (mainly because Pakistan played fewer matches and Imran was often injured).

  • POSTED BY sachin_vvsfan on | June 8, 2011, 10:06 GMT

    Suresh Raina had 128 avg when he finished Srilanka tour. But now it came down to 33. We all know what happened to Hussey who had higher avg . But what is his avg now? @Author Do you think Trott has done enough in 20 tests?

  • POSTED BY WilliamFranklin on | June 8, 2011, 10:00 GMT

    Roebuck is just a fail in general. Hence he now writes in Australia.

  • POSTED BY Hassie on | June 8, 2011, 9:55 GMT

    where on earth is malinga?

  • POSTED BY rahulcricindia on | June 8, 2011, 9:55 GMT

    i think this article was written to give preference to trott and cook and include them in future greats ...if writer does not know...cook i year back on the verge of getting out of the team and now he is just going through the purple patch and writer includes him in future greats amazing!!! trott who just played 20 tests had a good start to int career is also included wow!!! ...but what about gambhir who is playing some remarkable innings for quiet some some time now ...dosent he deserves to be counted among future greats....surely he should be...ab de villers playing sensational cricket for quit sometime where is he??..i think writer is just watching english cricket ...

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    I beg to differ regarding the Sri Lankan trio. They have are just flat track bullies and can't score much in SA, AUS etc. The facts are there for everyone to see SL is yet to win any Test matches in AUS & SA and with Murali gone I don't think that would ever happen in the near future.

  • POSTED BY rmaganti on | June 8, 2011, 9:49 GMT

    This discussion of future greats is a very moot point really. Without good bowlers like McGrath, Ambrose, Walsh, Akram, Waqar, Shane Warne, Muralitharan, etc... around the current crop of players will certainly bully the bowlers big time. Jacques Kallis only started to blossom after the departure of the modern greats like McGrath, Walsh, Ambrose, Akram and Waqar. To even consider him in the same breath as Sachin is laughable. Sachin played when the bowlers mentioned above were at their best and came out on top on most occasions. Jonatthan Trott and Alistair Cook are overrated players. They will struggle against good fast bowling. Just that there are not many good bowlers around now. What a shame!

  • POSTED BY sri_gattu on | June 8, 2011, 9:44 GMT

    well.. no doubt the order of great batsmen and bowlers mentioned in this article is agreed.. but.. i dont understand the logic.. why cant a comparision be made by taking a fixed number of innings by each of them... tendulkar's last 177 innings and some other batsman's case.. only 20 innings.. why that difference??..

  • POSTED BY KiwiRocker- on | June 8, 2011, 9:43 GMT

    Good article Peter- I believe there was a pair of bowlers that cricket has lost who were clearly destined for greatness- Asif and Amir. However, they desrve whatever they did for their actions. I am afraid, I do not see any such upcoming bowler or batsmen in any team Pakistan, West Indies, Australia are poor batting sides. South Africa is bunch of chokers. England has to be the top ranked nation in world with their balance. India has not won in Sri Lanka, Australia, England, Pakistan so I struggle to understand rankings? Hashim Amla and Cook will do well but definitely not in J.Kallis's league. I also believe word'great' is used too loosely. Steyn is good but no Wasim Akram while Tendulkar has an average of 36 in fourth innings of test and failed to score against best( Washim, Waqar, Donald). He has won literally nothing for India so what makes him great? On other hand a great batsman is often overlooked and he is VVS Laxman. A true match winner and unsung here..but not a show ponny!

  • POSTED BY Poliwag060 on | June 8, 2011, 9:26 GMT

    Which batting freak usurped Viv Richards? I'm confused...

  • POSTED BY SudharsanVM on | June 8, 2011, 9:21 GMT

    Really disappointing article. The names of wasim and waqar, ambrose and walsh, kumble and murali were missing.. Cook and trott's form are temporary only. Troot can become another vinod kambli. Its not only about averages and occupying the crease. its playing aggressively. No word has been specified about steve waugh's captaincy. Today's captains are not aggressive like steve waugh and stephen fleming. Have a look at the test match no.1565 between AUS and NZ. its all about aggression shown over sport that determines the greatness in themselves.

  • POSTED BY Saim93 on | June 8, 2011, 9:19 GMT

    I maintain that Inzamam-ulhaq is one of the greatest batsmen. He had an average of 50 as well as 17 match winning hundreds.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 9:19 GMT

    The only thing this article didnt include is 1. Great allrounders. 2. Great ODI players, and eventually it there will also be a category "great t20 player" but bit early for t2o category i feel. Under the All time great ODI players should include, MS Dhoni, Sachin tendulkar, Viv Richards, M. Bevan, M. hussey, J. kallis, AB Devilliers, Hashim Amla, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky ponting. And in the bowling it is Mendis, Murali, warne, morkel, swann, N. bracken, brett lee then all the west indian greats, plus wasim akram waqar younis etc. ODI players need to be recognised, example, does Michael Hussey's allround ODI and Test game make him better then Ponting? Also in allrounders category we have J.Kallis, S.Watson, A. Flintoff. Guys like Devilliers, Amla, Kohli, Ghambir, trott will be future greats, i dont think u can put cook in the same category, seeing as he cannot play big shots or score quickly, or even play a cover drive, he only has cut, pull and leg glance, he hasnt done well in ODI

  • POSTED BY DWP1 on | June 8, 2011, 9:19 GMT

    To all those who say that Zaheer is up there with Steyn and his average is only higher because he bowls on dead subcontinent pitches: Steyn's average in the subcontinents is 23.7. Zaheer's is 33.5. Steyn's average vs India in India = 20.23. Zak vs SA in India = 38.9. I agree that Zak is an excellent bowler and far improved... but surely you can't argue with these stats? Though I'm sure you will :)

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 9:17 GMT

    Where is VVS? Average of 42 in England in 52 in sub-conti and Aus... I would like to see AJ Strauss, Bell, KP, Gilly???

  • POSTED BY nickydude on | June 8, 2011, 9:15 GMT

    Well Peter Sir, terribly disappointed with you. No remote mention of VVS Laxy !!!!!!!. The single factor to keep Australian greatness at bay for almost a decade & tortured them throughout. Just rewind to (167- Sydney - 2000), (281- Kolkata - 2001(, (Perth-2008 - 79 not out in SI = India win by 72 runs)...(Port of Spain-2002 - 69 not out & 74 in 2nd innings = India win by 37 runs). (Wanderers-2006 - 73 in SI)- (Colombo 2010 - 56 in FI & 103 not out in SI) ( Mohali-2010 - 73 Not out in SI ) ( Durban-2010 - 96 in SI ) \ All the above have resulted in decisive wins & countless other small invaluable contributions. Perhaps, the sad part is, he is not a brand :( If you cannot acknowledge, then stop writing about cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 9:09 GMT

    Most of the list of top bowlers havent played enough matches for a fair judgement, but it does show that aside from dale steyn, there arent any other "legendary" bowlers, there is some good bowlers Zaheer, Anderson, Johnson etc and some Very good bowlers in Swann and morne morkel. Dale steyn sits so far ahead of all his competition. In the batting you have john trott, who has 1st class avg of 45, so can he maintain a test average in the mid 60's?? well if he can it'll make him the 2nd best average of all time, so we will wait and see, remember ponting was over 60 a few years back, till his form drop in last 4 years, dravid was up at 58+ untill recently. It is clear if u want these top averages u either have tp be like kallis and tendulkar who are actualy getting better with age, or u have to retire 33-34 be4 u start to slow down. mike hussey was up at 70-80 for a while too, tille he avg 30-35 last few years so he's dropped off alot. Sachin and kallis are 2 best test batsman of this era

  • POSTED BY muzwazi on | June 8, 2011, 9:02 GMT

    great article, i agree 100%. As an Australian fan its disappointing to see our team quickly fail, but after 12 years of Australia dominating it's great to see cricket finally being intriguing again. Lara, Tendulkar, Warne, Gilchrist, Mcgrath, Ponting, and Kaliis are all greats of the last 15 years and they were all legends all contending for a spot in an all time 11. The next batch of greats i feel will be from south africa, india and despite the obvious bias Australia. Steyn, AB, Amla, Kohli and Gambhir are all currently awesome players and no doubt there are good players coming through. Look out for the next aussie kids though, Usman, Cummins and Mitchell Marsh will be the next big thing

  • POSTED BY cloverfield on | June 8, 2011, 9:01 GMT

    @Ashwath_Krish : Sometimes its a good idea to actually READ and UNDERSTAND the article before you go around ranting about it......Mr. Roebuck never compared Trott to SRT, Kallis and Ponting....read the article and try to comprehend what the writer is saying...he says that though Trott is a good batsman and an accomplished accumulator of runs he might or might not end up as a great....also, he never said that all those mentioned in the bowling table are greats....he just mentioned the names who currently top the charts, very clealy saying that among them, only Steyn deserves to be called a great....I would say that Mr. Roebuck is the one who should feel that he has wasted his time writing this article when people dnt understand what he is trying to convey and not the other way around...

  • POSTED BY Ramesh-IT on | June 8, 2011, 8:59 GMT

    VVS is irreplaceable in Test cricket. There isn't anybody in past decade who could have scored 281 against Australia (330+ in the match), and put the team in position to win after following on. Batted out the whole day against Warne and 7 other Aus bowlers, are you kidding me? what else do you need, numbers like 10000+ runs? Great men perform in Great matches and situations which desperately need them to perform, and Laxman has done it time and time again, still continues to do so.

  • POSTED BY robheinen on | June 8, 2011, 8:40 GMT

    The difference between the 'ordinary' expert player and the great player is they make a difference when the going gets tough. They dig their team out of a dire situation. Take Warne in the world cup 1999 v South Africa. Take Steve Waugh in the same world cup matches.

  • POSTED BY Vijay_MatchWinner on | June 8, 2011, 8:36 GMT

    Left out so many players. VVS and Zaheer too are great players and match winners. They might not have good statistics, but they are surely great players

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 8:32 GMT

    i love this article as it defines the fact that greatness can be only achieved if the player they play against are good.

  • POSTED BY mogan707 on | June 8, 2011, 8:30 GMT

    By comparing the statistics of the batsman and bowlers he has shown by placing a deliberate cut-offs ,The author's main intention is to show that Johnathan Trott and Steve Finn are best to replace the likes of SAchin,Kallis,Sangakkara ,Steyn etc.And by mentioning Kevin Pietersen in the background,he has clearly stated that England can only produce match winning greats along with South Africa(since he mentioned Amla, De Villers).No mention of upcoming batsmen from other countries.A very narrow analysis has led to these conclusions.An incomplete article.Whether there is any part-2 of it.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 8:28 GMT

    I agree with Johnny Paul that with 3 different versions its difficult to have Greats...Take Cook & Trott for example,(Even I feel they r not half as good as A GREAT PLAYER),they can't win u t20 matches by themselves(KP can),so u don't consider them Great....Moreover,Player POOL of each country has grown now,so they keep rotating players every now & then.This means,its all the more difficult to play all matches for ur team throughout ur career...Players get injured more often & hence the IMPACT isn't as much as in CASE of Steyn & Warne...

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 8:28 GMT

    @skidmarks: "not one single mention of new zealand or a new zealander." There's a fairly obvious reason for that: New Zealand have not had a great player since Richard Hadlee and Martin Crowe retired, nor is there any current New Zealander who looks likely to become one. Fleming, Cairns and Vettori were all good but not great - certainly not in the same class as the others mentioned. Shane Bond briefly touched greatness, but didn't sustain it long enough to be called a true great.

  • POSTED BY CanTHeeRava on | June 8, 2011, 8:28 GMT

    A timely article I must say. I am not sure whether I would not be following the Indian team after the Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman retire (in whichever order). I already do not follow the ODIs and T20 teams. The test teams are those that will give us great players. As Peter rightly hints at, one can be spotted early to be destined to become great. I am happy to follow teams (England and South Africa, at the moment) that offer players who appear to be playing because to them it means more than a cricketing contract. Roughly cricketing eras have a 20 year cycle (equivalent to a full fledged playing career). What made great players in the previous eras of cricket was they played for the game and like most occupations in the world sportsman could live on workman like salaries. Suddenly, since the beginning of 21st century the world (not only Cricket) has increasingly become more materialistic. Materialism breads mediocrity. Hence, greats are going to be few and far between.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 8:24 GMT

    Kallis is the greatest player of his generation. He might not have his face plastered all over billboards and be hero worshipped, but his record speaks for itself.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 8:22 GMT

    England definitely have the personnel to become the dominant test side in the coming years, I feel India, South Africa and Sri Lanka all seem to be rather lacking in the bowling department at the moment. West Indies certainly seem to have some good quality players, but I think the WICB needs to sort itself out before the West Indies return to anything close to their 1970s-80s dominance. New Zealand, as usual, have a smattering of talent, but it seems to be rather scarce. Australia, as always, have talented players, but there seems to be a few serious issues with the selection committee that need to be ironed out. Bangladesh have probably only three world-class players in Tamim, Shakib and Mahmudullah (Mushfiqur could be added to that list as well), and then there's Zimbabwe, who should probably be removed from the test calendar, actually I see Ireland as being potentially more competitive than Zimbabwe at test level...

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 8:22 GMT

    Pietersen a great player? Don't make me laugh - at best he's a good player who's played a few excellent innings. Of current batsmen who are not already indisputably great, those with the most potential to become so are probably Amla, Dilshan and Cook. Among the bowlers, it's hard to look beyond Steyn (I don't think Swann will ever be 'great') - there are a few others who might just about possibly earn the mantle, but I very much doubt it.

  • POSTED BY MaruthuDelft on | June 8, 2011, 8:18 GMT

    A great cricketer should be able to cause a real turn around to the fortunes of the country he is playing for; or stop decline; plus he should bring something refreshing to the game for good watching. Tendulkar has done it over his career. Dhoni has taken India to the top without adequate bowling fire power. Dravid brought India's first test series win in Pakistan and almost one in Australia. Lara extended the Windies supremacy for a while and so as Ponting for Australia. Obviously Sangakara and Steyn are greats. For different reasons Laxman, Sehwag, Kallis, Gayle and Jayawardena fall short of being greats. Of the current crop only AB De Villiers and Virat Kohli have it but again the multidimensional nature of AB's personality could be a hindrance and illusions could stop Kohli; he is yet to play a test but is world champion already; too much too early; but I hope Kohli and Sehwag would make their marks in the coming tours to England and Australia.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 8:16 GMT

    Coming back,Numbers are definitely not the only criteria for greatness and is quite misleading when you see the performance of the Lankan players outside Sri Lanka and look at the way the article is squeezed to accommodate Trott at 20. This article will put the likes of Graeme Pollock or Barry Richards to back room if you merely look at the numbers. Alas ,Days of greatness for Cricket is numbered now.

  • POSTED BY gabrialgihan on | June 8, 2011, 8:12 GMT

    One of the best articales ever...But it is sad it dosent include the worlds greatest baller murali and the lightning malinga.

  • POSTED BY Munkeymomo on | June 8, 2011, 8:09 GMT

    Im a huge fan of Darren Sammy, think he is a top captain for the Windies and I hope he leads them to some due success, but a great? I dont think so, sorry Darren.

  • POSTED BY skidmarks on | June 8, 2011, 8:03 GMT

    anderson could be great, he finally developing into the bowler he promised to be.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 8:00 GMT

    Trott and Cook? They have to perform in sub-continent condition first, then we'll see where they stand. Playing in similar conditions offered in Australia, South Africa and England will not make them legends of the future.

    I dont know about cook, but trott is a good player, but as i said they have perform against india/srilanka in india and srilanka against spinners.

    For bowlers, i think Styn is the best and bowlinger follows him after. R. Aswin has great potential too, but then again he has only bowled well in IPL, (which is consider a school cricket league) and he has to perform well, outside india.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 7:52 GMT

    I believe that to be great, one of the primary requisites is to have complete mastery over one's own field of art. On that basis neither Trott, hussey,Cook nor Zaheer qualify to be great. Though great performers, they lack the zing that little bit (a lot in fact) to push them to greatness. They are more like those students in a class who consistently get good grades but lack inventiveness and mastery towards their subjects. Mastery over the art is absolutely necessary. Performing somehow through grit is a good quality, but does not catapult a person to greatness.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 7:48 GMT

    I got into an argument with an english guy over this a few days ago..I told him, it's important for England that KP get back into form, he is their one potentially great batsmen..Cook and Trott(Cook in particular) tend to be quite one paced, no doubt their good batsmen, but one paced. He disagreed with everything I said

  • POSTED BY stormy16 on | June 8, 2011, 7:41 GMT

    Interesting thought but a meaningless debate on who would be great from the current players - greatness can only be measured at the end of a career as it would be a reflection of the career itself. Greatness is hard to define and what is great in one era may not neccessairly be great in the next however in cricket we do have few minimum qualifications and one of them has to be longevity and impact. Some of the current players are already obvious - Sachin and Kallis.

  • POSTED BY Dhoni_fan_from_a_dada_era on | June 8, 2011, 7:40 GMT

    Here are a list of people who will somedays stake a claim on greatness: Gambhir, Kohli, Devendra Bishoo, Darren Bravo, AB De Villiers, Hashim Amla, Dilshan, Among bowlers we'll have claims from Swanney, Steyn...

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 7:38 GMT

    Average isnt really the only indicator of greatness..almost every batsman in that list is a no 4 or above.Is Test Batting Greatness limited to Spots 1,2,3 and 4? What about VVS Laxman? Show me someone in world cricket who can play with the tail as well as he does? Dont his exploits versus Australia ( the best test team during the bulk of his playing career) guarantee him greatness?

  • POSTED BY mononz on | June 8, 2011, 7:38 GMT

    I enjoyed this article and found it a very fair appraisal. It is a shame that the nature of players/pitches these days mean the list must be dominated by batsmen - we all love watching a great bowler in full flight! Another reason why the Asif/Amir incident was terrible for cricket. I agree with chandau's comments there is certainly more to greatness than numbers and flair certainly does play a part. Everyone would have their own ideas, but I think other factors may be adaptability and leadership. Also this article focuses on greats in great teams, but the greatest players are probably those that shone despite being in poor teams, usually carrying them. Brian Lara, for example, fits all of these criteria - as well as being beautiful to watch! Another might be Richard Hadlee. Kallis is often underrated but I personally think he is probably the greatest of the current cricketers (yes including Tendulkar!)

  • POSTED BY freddieraghu on | June 8, 2011, 7:34 GMT

    @ Peter Roebuck... Whenever people talk about greatness in cricket, whether in past or present names like LARA, BOTHAM, HADLEE, KAPIL DEV are mentioned and should be mentioned... I didn't quite understood your criteria... NUMBERS or CHARISMA or CLASS or IMMACULATE TALENT... Take any one of those qualities or all put together, You shouldn't be forgetting Brian Lara, Ian Botham, Richard Hadlee and Kapil Dev...

  • POSTED BY Truemans_Ghost on | June 8, 2011, 7:21 GMT

    KP could have been great and he looked for a while like he might become so, but I think he has missed his chance. He remains a very good bat, but he missed his chance to be the real legend he promised to be. I don't know what to think about Trott. He's a hard player to love, but he get a lot of runs. The bowling cupboard looks a bit bare doesn't it? Steyn and Swann are top bowlers. Finn has youth on his side so he could (maybe) grow into it. But Bollinger? 30 year old Tremlett? Darren Sammy?

  • POSTED BY MarkBobbyChandy on | June 8, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    Where on Earth is Laxman nd Dravid.

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | June 8, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    also these stats dont tell any story at all. massive FAIL of an article. think before you write next time.

  • POSTED BY sameer_ahmed on | June 8, 2011, 7:09 GMT

    Hashim Amla, AB Devilliers, Tamim Iqbal, Brendon Taylor, Virat Kohli, Dale Steyn and Mohammed Aamer (If he gets to play cricket again) will be the greats of the game in times to come and I do not have an iota of doubt about this.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 7:07 GMT

    On another note, there is nothing stopping England becoming a great side. Strauss is a very good captain, in Cook, Trott, Pietersen and Morgan you have outstanding talent. Prior seems to make runs whenever he needs to and is building a good record for a keeper. Then you have strong depth in the bowling With Anderson, Bresnan and Tremlett probably being the top three but with Finn, Broad, Onions etc waiting in the wings. Then you have one very good spinner in Swann and Monty Panesar who is a great talent in reserve. All of these guys apart from Strauss have a lot of cricket left in them, there's potential there for England to get to the top and stay there for five to ten years in my view.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    Future greats? Have to say i think Cook and Trott could well be on the way, they just stand head and shoulders above their team mates in what is a pretty reasonable batting order, could well turn out to be the Hutton and Hobbs of this century. I also believe that not only Steyn but with him, Morne Morkel could be remembered as a great new ball pair by the time they are done. Morkel is starting to find those areas on the pitch that seem to elude the likes of Broad. Shane Watson, clearly is also on the way, however he needs to score more centuries at test level, his one day batting is exceptional. Others that have started down this path or may have the ability to include the likes of AB DeVilliers, Amla, Darren Bravo, Tamim Iqbal, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and Shakib Al Hasan.

  • POSTED BY MarianvO on | June 8, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    Indeed, statistics do not tell the story. We all saw the potential for greatness in Mohammed Amir, although he only played a handful of matches. Alas.

  • POSTED BY faran88 on | June 8, 2011, 6:54 GMT

    the list includes ppl who are still playing international cricket. laxman has retired. he was a great player then how can he be a great of the future. see the title of the article and stop crying. to be honest sachin, kallis should not be in the list coz the world knows they are legends not just great and they are at the end of their careers. the writer should have talked about younger players only. dont know the fuss about zaheer knan, a very good bowlers but not good enough. look at wasim and waqar, they bowled on same spin friendly or dead pitches but did much much better that is why they are greats. Z khan will be known as a good bowler. that;s it. I am putting my money on Virat Kohli to come up as a strong contender and Dale steyn not doubt is the only fast bowler who can reach the likes of Imran khan kapil dev mcgrath wasim, etc. good article, just coz ppl like crying doesnt mean its bad.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 6:49 GMT

    Timely article and it does not matter if many names are missing from ex list.The advent of T20 will rob true greatness from Cricket and if someone wants to compare Lasith Malinga's T 20 exploits with Richard Hadlee and Holding's death knells, then Cricket will become farcical compared to the heights and glory reached by the Magicians like Messi or Federer or the shear tenacity and aggression of Nadal or Djokovic or the shear joy of watching Spain or Barcelona. This is because these games have not been tampered or tailored like Cricket and they retain their originality.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 6:48 GMT

    "@neutral_boy on I think current bowling attack is bit lesser than bowling attack 10 -15 years ago."

    What is there to think on this:)?

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | June 8, 2011, 6:48 GMT

    hahaha this may be the most ridiculous thing ive ever read. not surprising coming from roebuck. trott and cook should never even be mentioned in the same sentence as ponting, kallis and tendulkar. no mention of brett lee, dan vettori or mitchell johnson? mike hussey? ab de villiers? graeme smith? michael clarke? cmon dude.

  • POSTED BY navin82 on | June 8, 2011, 6:48 GMT

    The best way I think to put things in perspective is to look at the top batsmen and top bowlers in the 1st IPL, all were cricketers who had retired or were about 35 or more. Cricketeers ability to perform is supposed to decline at that time your body will wear down. Sachin Tendulkar is by far the best batsman today..to me that is a sad thing a man 38 yrs is totally dominating the world more than he has done even when he was younger. I do agree he is one of the all time greats but he should not be able to be better at 38 and he is not alone as was seen by the IPL. Cricket is facing very very gloomy days in the next 3-4 years. Only great bowler is Steyn he still has several years to go but if he does not get injured he will be great. As for barsmen in the next few years there are no greats...a few with good potential like Kohli but not an all time great

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 6:42 GMT

    i think judging greatness with statistics is a joke!!...can numbers ever put the context in which laxman scored those astounding 73 runs in mohali last year??..i doubt it...and i doubt anyone in those aforementioned names...especially trott will ever come close to playing an innings of that calibre Laxman definitely is a great of this era and its utterly dissapointing that cricinfo didnt even select him in the indian all time XI. @meety:- any bowling list with sammy and finn in it is not a good yarstick.Theyr relatively new and i think it was a poor choice of stat to display by roebuck. How can zaheer be expected to have an average of 26 when every 2nd innings played in india touches 450-500.Im not saying zaheer is a "great" but if the argument is about the candidates for greatness i think he warrants a mention!!

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 6:37 GMT

    I agree with chandau, whilst Jayawardena & Sangakkara have scored the runs, Aravinda de Silva will always remain the greatest srilankan cricketer/one of the greats of our time. Heavily underestimated for his simple stature it only took a few strokes from his bat for anyone to realise what they were up against. Who can forget his innings in the 96 WC semifinal and final.

    @hakapuu Why do you always have to make it about Indians, Don't forget Chris Gayle has 2 tripple hundreds as well. Also goig by your extremely narrow minded viewpoint and analogy Shewag is greater than Tendulkar merely cos he has scored 2 double hundreds. The day Shewag doesn't struggle in South Africa & Australia we can consider him great. Let's see how he fares in English conditions this summer.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 6:35 GMT

    I agree with Rahul Rajan. Where is the great Brian Charles Lara> i mean when it comes to 'GREATS' of the game how can he be excluded. but i have a point is that Greatness should not be looked at from the games point of view. it should be also looked at how all these Greats have conducted themselves on and off field as well.

  • POSTED BY mak102480 on | June 8, 2011, 6:34 GMT

    A lot of ppl here are missing the point.......those two tables don't reflect peter's view on who is great and who isn't. In fact, he argues the point that even with the plenty of runs that cook and trott are scoring, they might not become great. And besides Steyn, nobody can claim to be a great bowler in today's world...........people often throw on the words like "great" and "legends"......As good as VVS and Zaheer are, check their records. An avg of less than 50 and more than 30 is NOT considered great...........Granted, being great involves more than just averages but you cannot be a great without a good record. You can have great stats and not be considered great (cook, trott, samaraweera, jayawardene) but you can't be considered great without having good stats.

  • POSTED BY rsrinath on | June 8, 2011, 6:32 GMT

    comparing cook and trot with sachin,wall and kallis is the joke of the decade.what the hell is this whole article all about?????a terrible article from peter roebuck(obvious)...

  • POSTED BY CricFan24 on | June 8, 2011, 6:21 GMT

    Tendulkar and Steyn are the last of the greats - now that Warne,Lara,Murali etc are gone. Even Kallis doesnt fully qualify. Look at his record through the much tougher '90s and early 2000s. He just piled them on in the mid to late 2000s on great batting pitches....Difficult to see ANY true greats around anymore

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    Well said Peter... what an amazing writer you are.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 6:16 GMT

    Who are cricket's future greats? Not much to see here except current greats coming to an end. Steyn is the exception. Perhaps, Cook, de Villiers, Amla or Gambhir, but we'll see.

  • POSTED BY Dattatreya on | June 8, 2011, 6:14 GMT

    This is a favorite but cliched topic of trying to define "greatness" in a cricketer. Many articles, podcasts, TV shows have covered this and Invariably you end up with more questions than answers - is greatness only measured by stats? What about the "impact" a player has on his own or opposing teams? - Is he a cultural icon of the game & for future generations? (Bradman, Sachin, Imran -yes but not Kallis or Ponting)? - whats the context in which he produces his best game? How many times has he single handedly won or saved matches (think Laxman, Flintoff, Bevan)? - Is there a shelf life to "greatness"? Does he retire on a high or is it ok if he looses form and gets dragged out of the game ignobly (think Jayasurya, Hayden, Ganguly)? - Was he the "first" of a kind? Even tho others may have surpassed him he broke barriers for the first time (think Hadlee, Sunny) "Greatness" is when YOUR fans give you that status in their hearts or minds. And when ALL fans accord that respect = "LEGEND"

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 6:12 GMT

    Worst article...I would say biased article..author forgot to mention many great Indian players who played great cricket all around the world in recent past. Author mentioned england players are great because they played very well in recent tour of Australia and their home soil. In the recent tour of Australia I would say Australia lost instead of England won. India played very well in pressure situations and that's why they are No.1 team in the world in test...Mr. Peter Roebuck please wake up and see the Indian cricket also...

  • POSTED BY chandau on | June 8, 2011, 5:56 GMT

    Have to go with SIVASENA; if average was the primary criterion then many of the greats we know of like VIV, Miandad, Azzar, Gower, and more will not be in a to p 20 list. Lets take Sri Lankans for example: while Sanga & Mahela average above 50 many a fan would say Ari De Silva was a master and rank him above Sanga or Mahela. Ask a Pakistani to compare Miandad with Yousuf and you know the answer. Its not just scoring runs or taking wickets but the aura, the aggeression, the authority, the arrogance that seperates the masters and grates from the rest. Viv Richards walking into the middle chewing gum in a cap with the 3 front buttons open with only pads and gloves for protection; now that is a a great man. Aravinda hammering both Brett Lee and Mcgragh into the stands during the world cup that is arrogance :)

  • POSTED BY skidmarks on | June 8, 2011, 5:53 GMT

    not one single mention of new zealand or a new zealander.

  • POSTED BY neutral_boy on | June 8, 2011, 5:49 GMT

    I think current bowling attack is bit lesser than bowling attack 10 -15 years ago.Cricket World had missed Murali,Malinga,Warne,Mcgrath,Akram, Waquar like bowlers who can be real threat for any inform batsman . So avarages of the batsman is higher than previous decade . I do not under estimate current batsman. What i say is their's averages can be less when they played "that" era.

  • POSTED BY maddy1986 on | June 8, 2011, 5:44 GMT

    well i think in batting department these persons are the contestant viratkohli,adrian bharat,hashim amla,ab devillers,A akmal, and alaistar cook .in bowling concern dale steyn.very slim chances for other bowlers like boulinger , ashwin. if south africa give another chance to nitini he will show his greatness. bad luck for others including harbhajan

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 5:43 GMT

    In Sri Lanka, I think Dinesh Chandimal will be the next in line to replace Sathasvam, Wettimunis, Tennekoon, Roy Dias, Aravinda, Arjuna , Mahela and Sanga. Hope he will be wisely groomed.

  • POSTED BY hakapuu on | June 8, 2011, 5:39 GMT

    @Peter Bourke: Sehwag is someone who is flashy/exciting and also accumulates lots and lots of runs. He almost broke the record for maximum triple centuries (Only 3 other people have two 300s like him which include lara and bradman!). Please get your facts right before commenting!

  • POSTED BY TheOnlyEmperor on | June 8, 2011, 5:34 GMT

    Greatness comes not from truly exceptional performance but from truly exceptional achievement in sport. Greatness is an admixture of many truly remarkable performances that set new benchmarks and standards, style and flamboyance, consistency, ability to battle the odds and adversity when lesser mortals around you fail or chicken out when faced with similar circumstances, longterm impact on the sport and audience, developing an iconic stature, making a strong opposition look mediocre, etc. Greatness cannot be earned, nor is it bestowed. Greatness is recognised and apparent to all, even those who refuse to openly acknowledge. Greatness is not a title, nor can it be created by lobbying and media hype out of racist and nationalist sentiment. Greatness is an attribute - it is absolute not relative. In the light of this, can be start our discussion ....? :P

  • POSTED BY deegowd on | June 8, 2011, 5:30 GMT

    While we could say that ABD, Amla, Trott. Gambhir are most likely to be considered greats in a couple of years' time after Sachin, Ponting, Kallis and co. retire, it would be a disappointment. While these men are very good, nobody can claim to be able to fill a stadium of fans who come just to watch him. In the 90s it was said that India came to a halt every time Sachin was at the crease. Drawing crowds just to watch them is something that greats of the caliber of Bradman, Sobers, Viv, Imran, Lillee, Warne could do. Alas, we might have to wait a few years after the current greats retire. The horizon is still grim after these people. Steyn and Sehwag are the most certain of the current cricketers to rule people's hearts after 2-3 years. Apart from him not much.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | June 8, 2011, 5:25 GMT

    @Peter Bourke - I understand your reasoning, but early on in the article Roebuck says "Longevity is demanded at the door", Cook could go onto earn the title of great, but right now for my mind he is in a purple patch - how long that purple patch lasts will determine his greatness. Remember it was only 12mths ago he was close to being dropped from the side! @Rahul Rajan - I also understand where you are coming from, whilst Zaheer has gained a whole lot of respect from me - he isn't even on the bowling list above. He carries the Indian attack for sure, & is IMO the best pace bowler India has EVER produced. He is a GREAT of INDIAN cricket, whether he achieves world acclaim as great will probably depend on the next few years you mentioned. @sivasena - unfortunately average IS the best yardstick, players like M Waugh & VVS Laxman & D Gower will probably be well reviewed 100yrs from now but not as greats.

  • POSTED BY donda on | June 8, 2011, 5:23 GMT

    Where is VVS Laxman name.........hello are you kidding mr. writer. The only best thing in test cricket today is VVS Laxman and he has not mentioned his name.

    This is a very bad article. If you had to give credit to greats then give to every body. mention all great names. Where is Mahela . Where is Murli, Where is Warne, Where is Akram , this is not a good article.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 5:23 GMT

    Poor Article and poor comparisons , Zaheer Khan is much above Steyn as he bowls on spin friendly or say batting friendly pitches all year , no mention of VVS also adds to the proof of article being very sub standard.

    Clark , Tremmlet , Finn , lolz , such a poor article , and no mention of Zaheer-- got to be a pooor article

  • POSTED BY Ashwath_Krish on | June 8, 2011, 5:23 GMT

    This is probably the lengthiest Joke I've ever read. Jonathan Trott along with the other greats. This guy has just played 20 Test matches for God's sake. Or atleast remove the other legends from that list and include Andrew Strauss, Ian Bell, Alastair Cook, Eoin Morgan. Then it would make sense ! Please don't insult the likes of SRT, Kallis and Ponting !! Guess Peter was drunk or may be someone just hacked into his account and wrote this ;-) ... And why are we talking about a replacement for Dale Steyn ?? May be Roebuck went into a Time machine :D :D ... and Stuart Clark ???? for performing well in their Domestic Cricket ? Then why don't we have Rahul Sharma or Iqbal abdullah who bowled exceptionally in the 4th Edition of the IPL ?? I've waste 20 minutes in all ( 10 minutes reading the article and 10 minutes posting this comment). But , I simply couldn't digest this !!!!!!!!!! Worst article EVER !! Remove it if possible ~

  • POSTED BY dsig3 on | June 8, 2011, 5:08 GMT

    The bowling is horrible. Dale Steyn and Swann are the best but the rest are all either just starting or retired/suspended. You might as well pick them at random. Alot of people are whinging because their bowler didnt get into the list for x reason. A bowlers average never lies. Check out Zaheer and Anderson, they average around 30. No excuses, they are good but certainly not great.

  • POSTED BY PrashantRawat on | June 8, 2011, 5:00 GMT

    Well Nice article. but i think Gambhir deserve a thought

  • POSTED BY howizzat on | June 8, 2011, 4:53 GMT

    May be Sehwag and Amla in batting and none in bowling.

  • POSTED BY _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on | June 8, 2011, 4:51 GMT

    Sadly Roebuk is right. I honestly believe that flat pitches,increased injuries and politics have lowered the standard of cricket and thus lowered the amount of truly great cricketers coming through. Steyn is the ONLY cricketer U30 who has one solid foot in. NB: Viv's avg was high for his era.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 4:50 GMT

    where is zaheer khan...............................

  • POSTED BY cricconnossieur on | June 8, 2011, 4:48 GMT

    Coming from someone like Roebuck , this article is disappointing. If one had to merely look at stats then we dont need Peter Roebuck to tell us how ! What makes sports so fascinating to watch is the unpredictability in its nature.People who make the seemingly impossible ,achievable and the match winners. If no.of goals scored was the only criterion , then it is the penalty-corner specialists who will be considered the greatest hockey players. AT Paris this year , the Federer-Djokivic match was more intriguing than the final as Nadal has beaten Federer with monotonous ease on clay. One cannot ignore match winners and aesthetes of the likes of Michael Hussey, VVS Laxman, Zaheer Khan, S Chanderpaul. Hussey is perhaps the only batsman with 50 plus ave in both formats of the game. Laxman is easily the most underrated cricketer considering the immense pleasure he brings to the game watchers and the weight of his contribution to his team. Zaheer khan for the astonishing skills that he exhibit

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 4:46 GMT

    I wonder if the emphasis on different versions of the game are diluting what we would once consider to be great. For a player to be considered 'great' in this day and age he must contribute at a high level in all three forms of the game. Is this asking too much? It it just a truth that players will never be compared with Bradman and the like because of it?

  • POSTED BY giribabu on | June 8, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    Just wait for couple of months to see Zak Vs Cook... I am sure Cook will not look more than a club level player against Zak..

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 4:10 GMT

    @Rahul Rajan. I'm Indian too man, but Zaheer isn't an all time great pacer by any stretch of the imagination. He does a great job in putting the balls in the right areas, swinging the ball both ways. He can lift his pace on his days, but I don't remember him consistently being over 140 clicks. You might argue that McGrath wasn't up there too often in terms of speed, but his immense accuracy and ability to maintain pressure singled him out. Don't get me wrong, he does a wonderful job for us, but he isn't nearly in the same class as Donald, McGrath, Marshall, Holding, and Akram.

  • POSTED BY harshalb on | June 8, 2011, 4:09 GMT

    I am waiting for Chennai fans to ask - Where are Abhinav Mukund, Badrinath and R Ashvin? and RCB fans to ask - Where are Aravind and Mithun?...it is almost a custom nowadays on this website.

  • POSTED BY SRT_GENIUS on | June 8, 2011, 4:09 GMT

    Li Na won french open ? Shoaib Malik's wife Sania Mirza used to beat her frequently.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 4:06 GMT

    Not agreeing with the author. I really dont believe batting average is the proof of greatness. Quality of the innings you played is the true measurement of greatness.

  • POSTED BY sivasena on | June 8, 2011, 3:59 GMT

    Not agreeing with the author. I really dont believe batting average is the proof of greatness. Quality of the innings you played is the true measurement of greatness.

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | June 8, 2011, 3:56 GMT

    Dale Steyn is the only potential fast bowling great in this era, Asif and Aamer could have been, but are now forever tainted. Graeme Swann has the potential to be the great spinner of his generation. Shane Watson will be the great all-rounder of this era if he stays fit and performs as he has done in the recent past for the next four or five years. In terms of batsmen, it is the non-flashy candidates that may have the truest claim to greatness in this era. Move aside Pietersen, Duminy, Clarke etc and look towards Trott, Dilshan, Gambhir etc.

  • POSTED BY Dhitik on | June 8, 2011, 3:54 GMT

    nice as usual, but sentence not complete towards the end "..., while Cook and Trott set out to score lot of runs. And h...."

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 3:47 GMT

    It would be unfair to discount zaheer khan.Being the lone superstar bowler,strike bowler and workhorse on the dead and dissapointing tracks of india,he has performed his duties with immense creidibilty!And on a pure skill level he matches and even outstrips steyn.whose to say what he might have achieved had he played on helpful tracks more often.With a good 3 years of solid playing left in his career he might prove everyone wrong!especially heading into the english and aussie tours at his peak!

  • POSTED BY Andy500265 on | June 8, 2011, 3:44 GMT

    Brilliant article, but I believe that it was Li Na that won the Women's French Open.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 3:42 GMT

    That Darren Sammy is on that list tells you a little bit about bowling stocks around the world. Thilan Samaraweera is truly a tiger at home, but not so much away. Check out his home and away statistics. I bet they'll tell you a story. Too many batsmen average above 50 these days for my liking.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 3:37 GMT

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't batsmen who are great be batsmen that score lots and lots of runs, rather than ones who are flashy and exciting? Sure there's the likes of Sehwag, Gilchrist, Richards who murdered attacks and scored at a great pace, but other 'great' modern players such as Kallis, Yousuf, Jayawardene accumulate. So on the same token, Cook could become one of the great batsmen if he keeps scoring runs the way he has of late. Granted, his form has come against a misfiring Aussie bowling team and a weakened Sri Lanka, but you still have to score them and he is scoring big. Right now, if you were looking at the England team and saying who do you want to get out, I would think it would be Cook, which to me says he is on the way to becoming a great player.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 3:32 GMT

    The article seems to end abruptly... I'm looking forward to enjoying Dale Steyn' career progress :) I have no quibs in calling him a 'Great' but would prefer a 'Great in Progress.' In bowling circles, no other bowler compares and I'm glad Mr. Roebuck didn't even attempt to bring Broad, Anderson or Zaheer Khan into the equation... there's such a massive gap between Steyn and the rest of the pack. The batting has been dominated by SRT and Kallis, two Greats of the past decades... in South Africa, there is the possibility that AB (if not hampered by the Captaincy) can go on to become a daring accumilator of runs, power, swiftness, determination, creativity... he set out to meet that goal a few years ago and has progressed well... he needs to push that up a notch or two.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 3:26 GMT

    French Open was won by Li Na, not La Ni

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 3:23 GMT

    wheres vvs laxmans name in this whole article??stats cannot prove greatness.A dissapointing article to your usual standards.And you havent provided any answers to the the question posed in your title.Of all the possible greats you could only find a 30 year old jonathan trott and alistair cook.?

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  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 3:23 GMT

    wheres vvs laxmans name in this whole article??stats cannot prove greatness.A dissapointing article to your usual standards.And you havent provided any answers to the the question posed in your title.Of all the possible greats you could only find a 30 year old jonathan trott and alistair cook.?

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 3:26 GMT

    French Open was won by Li Na, not La Ni

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 3:32 GMT

    The article seems to end abruptly... I'm looking forward to enjoying Dale Steyn' career progress :) I have no quibs in calling him a 'Great' but would prefer a 'Great in Progress.' In bowling circles, no other bowler compares and I'm glad Mr. Roebuck didn't even attempt to bring Broad, Anderson or Zaheer Khan into the equation... there's such a massive gap between Steyn and the rest of the pack. The batting has been dominated by SRT and Kallis, two Greats of the past decades... in South Africa, there is the possibility that AB (if not hampered by the Captaincy) can go on to become a daring accumilator of runs, power, swiftness, determination, creativity... he set out to meet that goal a few years ago and has progressed well... he needs to push that up a notch or two.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 3:37 GMT

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't batsmen who are great be batsmen that score lots and lots of runs, rather than ones who are flashy and exciting? Sure there's the likes of Sehwag, Gilchrist, Richards who murdered attacks and scored at a great pace, but other 'great' modern players such as Kallis, Yousuf, Jayawardene accumulate. So on the same token, Cook could become one of the great batsmen if he keeps scoring runs the way he has of late. Granted, his form has come against a misfiring Aussie bowling team and a weakened Sri Lanka, but you still have to score them and he is scoring big. Right now, if you were looking at the England team and saying who do you want to get out, I would think it would be Cook, which to me says he is on the way to becoming a great player.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 3:42 GMT

    That Darren Sammy is on that list tells you a little bit about bowling stocks around the world. Thilan Samaraweera is truly a tiger at home, but not so much away. Check out his home and away statistics. I bet they'll tell you a story. Too many batsmen average above 50 these days for my liking.

  • POSTED BY Andy500265 on | June 8, 2011, 3:44 GMT

    Brilliant article, but I believe that it was Li Na that won the Women's French Open.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2011, 3:47 GMT

    It would be unfair to discount zaheer khan.Being the lone superstar bowler,strike bowler and workhorse on the dead and dissapointing tracks of india,he has performed his duties with immense creidibilty!And on a pure skill level he matches and even outstrips steyn.whose to say what he might have achieved had he played on helpful tracks more often.With a good 3 years of solid playing left in his career he might prove everyone wrong!especially heading into the english and aussie tours at his peak!

  • POSTED BY Dhitik on | June 8, 2011, 3:54 GMT

    nice as usual, but sentence not complete towards the end "..., while Cook and Trott set out to score lot of runs. And h...."

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | June 8, 2011, 3:56 GMT

    Dale Steyn is the only potential fast bowling great in this era, Asif and Aamer could have been, but are now forever tainted. Graeme Swann has the potential to be the great spinner of his generation. Shane Watson will be the great all-rounder of this era if he stays fit and performs as he has done in the recent past for the next four or five years. In terms of batsmen, it is the non-flashy candidates that may have the truest claim to greatness in this era. Move aside Pietersen, Duminy, Clarke etc and look towards Trott, Dilshan, Gambhir etc.

  • POSTED BY sivasena on | June 8, 2011, 3:59 GMT

    Not agreeing with the author. I really dont believe batting average is the proof of greatness. Quality of the innings you played is the true measurement of greatness.