May 1, 2012

The best batsmen I've seen

In the post-Bradman era, these players delighted spectators and deflated the opposition with their ability to dominate the most fearsome attacks
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Over the years the question Down Under has been: "Who's the next Bradman?" I never saw Bradman bat, so I didn't eyeball the sun, but I have seen a galaxy of batting stars among those who have graced the Test arena during the past 50 years. The five best batsmen I have laid eyes on are Neil Harvey, Barry Richards, Garry Sobers, Viv Richards and Sachin Tendulkar.

To me, Harvey was the best Australian batsman since Bradman. He had grit and style and a great sense of adventure. He was dubbed "pocket dynamo" by Ray Robinson, doyen of Australian cricketer writers, and he lived up to that tag.

The first big match I ever saw was the day at the SCG in 1954-55 when Harvey blasted the England attack for an amazing unconquered 92 in a total of 184. Australia lost the match by 38 runs but he won me forever. I have never seen the equal of Harvey's batting, and I've seen most of the great batsmen of the past 50-odd years.

He had all the shots, the drive, cut, pull and hook. Dapper, and fleet of foot, he was an electrifying batsman who could carve up an attack. His average is less than those of some who played for Australia recently, but Harvey batted against some of the greatest bowlers to bestride the Test stage: South Africa's Neil Adcock, Peter Heine and Hugh Tayfield; England's Alec Bedser, Frank Tyson, Brian Statham, Tony Lock and Jim Laker; and the West Indians Sobers, Wes Hall, Alf Valentine and Sonny Ramadhin.

The quality of the opposition counts when you are picking the best of the best. I fancy that if Harvey were playing today, using a modern bat against the weak West Indies, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Sri Lankan attacks, he would average round 75 in Test cricket.

When I first saw film of Sobers carving up a good Australian attack in the tied Test match at the Gabba in 1960-61, I couldn't think of a better batsman I had seen after Harvey. Undoubtedly the greatest all-round cricketer to draw breath, his batting alone places him in exalted company. His shot selection was terrific, and he played all the strokes imaginable, plus a few of his own.

The way he played Richie Benaud's legspin had me confused, because seeming half volleys from Benaud were either blasted to the cover boundary or blocked. I first thought Sobers was "resting" between hitting boundaries, but no, it had to do with how the ball arrived. He defended a hard-spun ball just above the eyes and smashed to the fence a delivery that was a little flatter, a ball with a trajectory below eye level.

In 1971-72, Sobers led a Rest of the World Xl Down Under, and the 254 he hit against Australia at the MCG prompted Bradman to declare that Sobers' knock was the best innings he had seen from anyone in Australia.

I was among the Australians who attended a rum punch night put on by Garry Sobers' West Indian team on the eve of the Adelaide Test in 1968-69. Sobers surprised everyone by telling the gathering that he would only be partaking in a few drinks that night, "... because tomorrow I am going to score 100". And he did. As Australia's 12th man I could sit back and watch.

I played a few matches against Sobers, but bowled just two balls to him. Playing for West Indies against South Australia in 1968, he caressed a ball from me through the covers for two runs; then in the Test match at the Gabba I bowled one ball to him, which he swept for one. Sadly, he got out up the other end on both occasions and I didn't get the chance to bowl to him again. I did get an idea of how Clarrie Grimmett felt when he bowled just the one over to Victor Trumper at the Basin Reserve when playing for Wellington against the visiting Australians.

The quality of Barry Richards' merciless attack on the best bowlers of his time was not strained. However, after 1970, fate decreed that his batting genius was mainly limited to belting the hell out of all comers in county cricket. Richards leapt at a chance to play Sheffield Shield cricket in 1970-71, whereupon he astonished everyone by hitting more than a thousand runs at the Bradman-like average of 109. 86.

Sobers surprised everyone by telling the gathering that he would only be partaking in a few drinks that night, "... because tomorrow I am going to score 100". And he did

He hit 325 in one day against a strong Western Australia attack - Graham McKenzie, Dennis Lillee, Tony Lock, Ian Brayshaw, John Inverarity and Tony Mann - with such timing and power that even the WA players stood in awe and applauded him. Lock conceded more than 100 off nine overs, unheard of in Australia, where the old England master spinner usually had the opposition batsmen in knots.

Richards was on 317 when Lillee bowled the last over of the day. The second ball was flayed over cover - one bounce to the fence. The final delivery was a short-pitched ball that rose to above chest height. Most mortals would have done well to fend it to the ground, but Richards went right back on his stumps and somehow swatted the ball over mid-on, one bounce into the crowd.

Bradman picked Barry Richards - along with Jack Hobbs - as one of the two best opening batsmen he had seen; better than Len Hutton, Geoff Boycott, Sunil Gavaskar and Arthur Morris. Some accolade.

That summer Richards batted one-handed in his last innings for South Australia. A ball from New South Wales speedster Dave Renneberg broke his right thumb early in his innings and he retired hurt, but he came back to bat for an over just before the captain, Ian Chappell, declared the innings closed. Richards faced up to legspinner Kerry O'Keeffe, holding the bat in his left hand. O'Keeffe bowled mainly topspinners, at a brisk rate, and Richards hit him through the covers with great power. It was a mix of arrogance and genius. The scourge of apartheid cost Richards a high statistical place in Test history.

Viv Richards was a purveyor of batting of unmatched savagery and mastery. He reminded me of boxer Smokin' Joe Frazier, for there was a confidence, a swagger about him, and an expectation that something special was about to happen.

He wore his maroon West Indies cap tilted back jauntily, as if daring any fast man to try to knock it off his head. Even in the white-hot cauldron of Test cricket, when he was about to face Lillee at his fiercest, Viv, the "master blaster", feared not. He appeared, chewing gum slowly, wheeling his arm holding the bat. He was the epitome of arrogance. He would take guard, look about the field as if the opponents were non-existent, walk a few paces up the track to tap it, and wander back to settle down over his bat. This was his time, his space. Beware. Even his chewing had an air of nonchalance and underlying menace about it. Man, you knew out there that this dude was hell-bent upon causing some serious damage.Whether it was calculated menace or not, it was always magnificent theatre and it always had the desired effect on his opponents.

In Adelaide in 1980, Australian fast bowler Len Pascoe figured he would unsettle Viv if he bounced him first ball. Then, as was normal practice for fast bowlers after a bouncer, he'd go for an outswinger or a yorker.

Pascoe's first delivery was a huge no-ball. Viv was suitably unimpressed; he was visibly angry, but while Lennie was yelling at the top of his voice, Viv held his tongue. Umpire Max O'Connell stepped in and told Pascoe to calm down. Viv walked towards them saying, "Hey Max, no man, let him be. He can bowl what he likes to me. Don't warn him. He's not bowling that quick."

Lennie bowled a yorker next. Viv shuffled into position and hit the ball straight back at him. It flew head-high with the velocity of a tracer bullet. "C'mon Lennie," Viv laughed, as the ball slammed into the fence. "Is that as fast as you can bowl?"

I had an agonising choice for the best of the most recent era, between Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar. Given his superb technique and consistency throughout his career, I give the palm to Tendulkar, the most worshipped cricketer in the world.

No one who has ever seen Tendulkar in full flight will forget the way he stands upright to the quickest of bowlers and punches them down the ground to the fence. He has always presented the full face of the bat in those classic shots hit in the arc between mid-off and mid-on. Mostly he is a model of orthodoxy, but he can improvise brilliantly. When in the mood and on the hunt, Tendulkar puts the greatest bowlers to the sword. He attacked Shane Warne more successfully than any other batsman in his time, but his attack on Warne probably brought the best of the legspin wizard's competitive instincts to the fore. They always had good battles, but on the slow wickets in India, Tendulkar won most.

At 18, Tendulkar hit a splendid century on the lightning-fast wicket in Perth. Some say he doesn't play the fastest bowlers as well as Lara did, but Tendulkar has scored a mountain of runs against all manner of attacks on all kinds of surfaces.

One day, as he watched a Tendulkar innings on television, Sir Donald Bradman said to his wife, "Jessie, come and have a look at this young man. He reminds me of myself batting." Tendulkar is idolised in India, much as Bradman was idolised in his time. And like Bradman, Tendulkar made batting look easy and made the relentless pursuit of runs his cricketing life's work.

Ashley Mallett took 132 Tests wickets in 38 Tests for Australia. An author of over 25 books, he has written biographies of Clarrie Grimmett, Doug Walters, Jeff Thomson and Ian Chappell

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • intcamd on May 4, 2012, 12:44 GMT

    BillyCC,

    You did not address the point about motivation. Barry could not play test cricket and was motivated to give it his all in the first class and WSC matches he got to play. Sure, he may have played and done well against Lillee and others. But surely, Lillee was not as fiercely motivated to excel in those games as he was when he had the Aussie cap on. How could he? All the Aussie players openly admit they bring their A game on playing for their country, more than in any other venue. A few years ago, we had the best of the world versus Australia - that was a disaster; none of the world players were motivated. I look at WSC records as being in a similar vein.

  • S.h.a.d.a.b on May 4, 2012, 6:15 GMT

    It is always a good feeling to read about great batsmen but everybody has its own choice of best batsmen. I have also watched some of the best and great players of last 50 odd years (thanks to BBC, channel 9, star sports, espn & PTV). People usually mixed up while explaining best and great batsmen. In my opinion, best batsmen are those who performed in almost every part of the world they played and great batsmen performed when their team really needed them. ie: Graham Gouch 154* v WI in 1991, Javed 77* v Eng in 1987, Gavaskar 96 v Pak in 1987 etc. Finally, I would say "some batsmen can fall in both categories. ie: V. Richards, Bradman etc". I hope Ashley Mallet won't mind it too.

  • hyclass on May 4, 2012, 1:57 GMT

    @beertjie...during the 85 Rebel Australian tour of SA,an attack consisting of the formidable pace battery of Hogg, Rackemann, McCurdy and Alderman,was shredded by Pollock. Hogg later described Pollock as,'The hardest hitting batsmen he'd seen with 80% of his shots able to reach the boundary. I wasn't fortunate enough to see him play, but his record and the comments of those who played against him support his inclusion in this list. His record is exceptional. I did see Richards bat in a reasonable standard, 'contrived for tv' match, some years ago, long after he had retired. I was immediately struck by the astonishing quality of his game,even then,which was reminiscent of Gavaskar and support his inclusion in any 'best of' list.

  • hyclass on May 4, 2012, 1:45 GMT

    I admire your childhood affection for Harvey but the bowling names that you're quoting, hardly support your case. Harveys average is a consequence of him being less effective than a number of subsequent batsmen. It must be evident that he played against a number of weaker Test sides during his career. Im sure that the attacks that Greg Chappell faced cause he names you have quoted to pale. Marshall,Garner,Holding,Croft,Roberts,Hadlee,Khan,Dev,Botham,Snow,Willis,Underwood.The list goes on. Id imagine that Border,Ponting,Lara and many of the great SL,Indian and Pakistan batsmen might feel justifiably aggrieved as well. I congratulate Harvey on his success but there can be no question that he is statistically inferior to others for a reason and that he does not belong among such exalted company.

  • BillyCC on May 3, 2012, 23:30 GMT

    @intcamd, the difference is that Seles stopped playing. Richards kept on playing and still performed against the best. Also, the champions always seem to find a way. Seles had a new style and was an early phenomenon. Federer also had the same dominance and Nadal got on top. Nadal himself was an early phenomenon, and Djokovic has responded in kind. So Graf could easily have done the same, and regained her domination.

  • intcamd on May 3, 2012, 16:02 GMT

    It is a bit like Monica Seles' case in women's tennis. Upto the time she was stabbed, she dominated tennis and won 7 of prior 9 GSlams, while Graf had won just at W, where Seles did not even participate in one of them (91 I think). Would you say Seles was the better player, and deserves to be the best of all time? I am a Seles fan, and think she was clearly better than Graf (as proved by the record prior to stabbing), but there is not enough longevity to put Seles at #1 of all time, and yet many commentators put Graf at the best of all time, thereby giving more credit for longevity, regardless of how she got there. If similar reasoning were used in cricket, Gavaskar would be placed ahead of Barry Richards.

  • intcamd on May 3, 2012, 15:58 GMT

    I hear both sides of the argument on Barry Richards. His detractors say he only played 4 tests, so how can you judge him on that alone? His supporters point to WSC and assorted first class matches. On balance, I am inclined to his detractors' side. Sure, he had phenomenal WSC or domestic/county record. But he was motivated to excel in that format, being shut out of test cricket. The others might or might not have been as motivated to excel in them. We all know test cricket is the pinnacle, you get your tail up for that, more than for other formats, if you are top notch. Secondly, longevity is very key here, and although some years elapsed between his 4 tests and WSC, that is not enough to say how he might have fared in the middle.

  • postandrail on May 3, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    Posted by Lord_Dravid on (May 02 2012, 19:04 PM GMT) As a % of MOM's won to Tests played Tendulkar is only ninth on the list of Man Of The Match winners among specialist batsmen who've won 10 or more. Not very often judged the match's best player is he let alone the greatest player ever? He's actually behind Sangakarra, de Silva, Smith, Hayden, Ponting, Lara, S,Waugh and Jayawardene,

  • Abaa on May 3, 2012, 7:15 GMT

    you mentioned Sachin ... So you are safe :o) LoL

  • jay57870 on May 3, 2012, 4:15 GMT

    Ashley - Let's also weigh in the opinion of ICC Hall of Famer Sir Richard Hadlee on Tendulkar: "When you score as many runs as he has in Test and one-day cricket and score as many centuries and half centuries as he has done, it makes him arguably the greatest player ever in the history of the game. Statistics speak volumes of his contribution to Indian and world cricket. He is a phenomenal player." Asked if it meant Tendulkar was greater than even Don Bradman, Hadlee said: "Well, Sir Donald Bradman has been regarded as the greatest player ever. He played just Test cricket. He hasn't played any other forms of the game. Clearly that is understandable. But to see Sachin and other players actually adjust to different forms of the game and different conditions all around the world, even though the average is fractionally more than half of the Don's is in itself incredible. You got to respect it and write those performances." Hadlee's views should count. He's New Zealand's finest cricketer.

  • intcamd on May 4, 2012, 12:44 GMT

    BillyCC,

    You did not address the point about motivation. Barry could not play test cricket and was motivated to give it his all in the first class and WSC matches he got to play. Sure, he may have played and done well against Lillee and others. But surely, Lillee was not as fiercely motivated to excel in those games as he was when he had the Aussie cap on. How could he? All the Aussie players openly admit they bring their A game on playing for their country, more than in any other venue. A few years ago, we had the best of the world versus Australia - that was a disaster; none of the world players were motivated. I look at WSC records as being in a similar vein.

  • S.h.a.d.a.b on May 4, 2012, 6:15 GMT

    It is always a good feeling to read about great batsmen but everybody has its own choice of best batsmen. I have also watched some of the best and great players of last 50 odd years (thanks to BBC, channel 9, star sports, espn & PTV). People usually mixed up while explaining best and great batsmen. In my opinion, best batsmen are those who performed in almost every part of the world they played and great batsmen performed when their team really needed them. ie: Graham Gouch 154* v WI in 1991, Javed 77* v Eng in 1987, Gavaskar 96 v Pak in 1987 etc. Finally, I would say "some batsmen can fall in both categories. ie: V. Richards, Bradman etc". I hope Ashley Mallet won't mind it too.

  • hyclass on May 4, 2012, 1:57 GMT

    @beertjie...during the 85 Rebel Australian tour of SA,an attack consisting of the formidable pace battery of Hogg, Rackemann, McCurdy and Alderman,was shredded by Pollock. Hogg later described Pollock as,'The hardest hitting batsmen he'd seen with 80% of his shots able to reach the boundary. I wasn't fortunate enough to see him play, but his record and the comments of those who played against him support his inclusion in this list. His record is exceptional. I did see Richards bat in a reasonable standard, 'contrived for tv' match, some years ago, long after he had retired. I was immediately struck by the astonishing quality of his game,even then,which was reminiscent of Gavaskar and support his inclusion in any 'best of' list.

  • hyclass on May 4, 2012, 1:45 GMT

    I admire your childhood affection for Harvey but the bowling names that you're quoting, hardly support your case. Harveys average is a consequence of him being less effective than a number of subsequent batsmen. It must be evident that he played against a number of weaker Test sides during his career. Im sure that the attacks that Greg Chappell faced cause he names you have quoted to pale. Marshall,Garner,Holding,Croft,Roberts,Hadlee,Khan,Dev,Botham,Snow,Willis,Underwood.The list goes on. Id imagine that Border,Ponting,Lara and many of the great SL,Indian and Pakistan batsmen might feel justifiably aggrieved as well. I congratulate Harvey on his success but there can be no question that he is statistically inferior to others for a reason and that he does not belong among such exalted company.

  • BillyCC on May 3, 2012, 23:30 GMT

    @intcamd, the difference is that Seles stopped playing. Richards kept on playing and still performed against the best. Also, the champions always seem to find a way. Seles had a new style and was an early phenomenon. Federer also had the same dominance and Nadal got on top. Nadal himself was an early phenomenon, and Djokovic has responded in kind. So Graf could easily have done the same, and regained her domination.

  • intcamd on May 3, 2012, 16:02 GMT

    It is a bit like Monica Seles' case in women's tennis. Upto the time she was stabbed, she dominated tennis and won 7 of prior 9 GSlams, while Graf had won just at W, where Seles did not even participate in one of them (91 I think). Would you say Seles was the better player, and deserves to be the best of all time? I am a Seles fan, and think she was clearly better than Graf (as proved by the record prior to stabbing), but there is not enough longevity to put Seles at #1 of all time, and yet many commentators put Graf at the best of all time, thereby giving more credit for longevity, regardless of how she got there. If similar reasoning were used in cricket, Gavaskar would be placed ahead of Barry Richards.

  • intcamd on May 3, 2012, 15:58 GMT

    I hear both sides of the argument on Barry Richards. His detractors say he only played 4 tests, so how can you judge him on that alone? His supporters point to WSC and assorted first class matches. On balance, I am inclined to his detractors' side. Sure, he had phenomenal WSC or domestic/county record. But he was motivated to excel in that format, being shut out of test cricket. The others might or might not have been as motivated to excel in them. We all know test cricket is the pinnacle, you get your tail up for that, more than for other formats, if you are top notch. Secondly, longevity is very key here, and although some years elapsed between his 4 tests and WSC, that is not enough to say how he might have fared in the middle.

  • postandrail on May 3, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    Posted by Lord_Dravid on (May 02 2012, 19:04 PM GMT) As a % of MOM's won to Tests played Tendulkar is only ninth on the list of Man Of The Match winners among specialist batsmen who've won 10 or more. Not very often judged the match's best player is he let alone the greatest player ever? He's actually behind Sangakarra, de Silva, Smith, Hayden, Ponting, Lara, S,Waugh and Jayawardene,

  • Abaa on May 3, 2012, 7:15 GMT

    you mentioned Sachin ... So you are safe :o) LoL

  • jay57870 on May 3, 2012, 4:15 GMT

    Ashley - Let's also weigh in the opinion of ICC Hall of Famer Sir Richard Hadlee on Tendulkar: "When you score as many runs as he has in Test and one-day cricket and score as many centuries and half centuries as he has done, it makes him arguably the greatest player ever in the history of the game. Statistics speak volumes of his contribution to Indian and world cricket. He is a phenomenal player." Asked if it meant Tendulkar was greater than even Don Bradman, Hadlee said: "Well, Sir Donald Bradman has been regarded as the greatest player ever. He played just Test cricket. He hasn't played any other forms of the game. Clearly that is understandable. But to see Sachin and other players actually adjust to different forms of the game and different conditions all around the world, even though the average is fractionally more than half of the Don's is in itself incredible. You got to respect it and write those performances." Hadlee's views should count. He's New Zealand's finest cricketer.

  • harshthakor on May 3, 2012, 2:41 GMT

    Had Barry Richards had a complete career in International Cricket I would have backed him to be the best after Bradman.No batsman combined technical perfection with such an ability to destroy the best of bowling attacks.His 207 in Packer Cricket was a masterpiece and so was his 100 in the 1978 supertest final when he outscored Sir Viv Richards.Bradman rated Barry the best batsman of his era.

    In the 1970's and 1980's bowling attacks were more lethal and pitches were were far more favourable for the pacemen.In addition there was no headgear or restriction on bouncers.In the modern age the likes of Viv Richards and Gavaskar and may well have averaged 3-4 runs more than what they did.

    Where Tendulkar wins is that he bore more pressure than any great batsmen and no batsman ever may equal his record of scoring 100 centuries.

  • Beertjie on May 2, 2012, 23:32 GMT

    Well said, @HumungousFungus. Barry Richards for those who saw him play (1965-1983) was the SRT of our era. Perfection and ease combined with a hunger for runs initially that could not be sustained as he saw his prospects of ever playing international cricket disappear. I understand Ashley Mallett's admiration for that Harvey innings. I saw Graeme Pollock on one leg score 209 against Australia in 1967. Since I didn't see Harvey myself (although I saw all the others) I would have replaced Harvey with Pollock, but why overlook Lara? It's tough comparing across generations, but I count myself lucky to have seen most of them live.

  • Emancipator007 on May 2, 2012, 22:43 GMT

    @Philip_:Concur,for me Aravinda has been one of the classiest bats of all time against high-quality bowling(savaged Imran,OZ pacers), just did not get the world platform (meager, infrequent 2 Test series in Eng,OZ,WI at his prime as a dazzling strokeplayer,forget his stats/average). He still did well in OZ, Eng and practically dominated OZ in ODIs. He would have been the 1st past 10,000 ODI runs, not SRT, if only SL got more away tours (only Pak, India helped SL). I see the same problem for Tamim (rare, raging talent) and the only "pure" all-rounder in world cricket today Shakib (frontline bat as well as frontline bowler unlike reluctant bowlers Watson and Kallis)as far as peer/pundit recognition goes. A. Flower too missed out on the kudos. Test Bats I would stop life to watch:Sunny,'90s Tendu,Greg, Kapil, Botham, Gower,Lara, Aravinda,Viru,KP. Primarily ODI bats:pioneers Deano,Miandad,'90s Ganguly,Kalu (his 20 average did not matter, he brought sheer joy), Jaya &Gilly on song,Aravinda.

  • Lord_Dravid on May 2, 2012, 19:04 GMT

    lara was good but not better than tendulkar..tendulkar has been in the game for more than two decades and still counting which in itself is a remarkble achievement...also tendulkar played and plays with 10 times more pressure on him than lara or any other batsmen for that matter.. those who say tendulkar isnt a match winner go and research how many man of the match awards he has won..and in some matches tendulkar has played good knocks in a losing cause but that you gotta blame the rest of the team, its unfair to blame tendulkar all the time.

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on May 2, 2012, 18:42 GMT

    @mk49_van asks "Why do these folks keep picking Barry Richards"? Maybe because they know a thing or two about cricket, and maybe because they experienced the pleasure of watching him bat, which you clearly didn't so you have my sympathies. More seriously, some broadcasting organisation somewhere should make more film of Barry Richards battng available on youtube or somewhere so that the poor deprived younger generations can get a glimpse of the greatest batsman I, and many others, were privileged to witness.

  • shrikanthk on May 2, 2012, 16:41 GMT

    Waspsting : Ashley himself isn't saying that Lara played fast bowling better. He is attributing that opinion to others. And to be fair to him, there is no dearth of casual fans who hold that opinion.

    Anyway, Ashley does pick Sachin in the end, which implies that he himself doesn't think that Lara played fast bowlers better.

    Harvey's choice is debatable, especially given his rather sketchy record against England - the best side of his era. Nevertheless, hardly anybody else averaged more than Harvey's career average in the era he played in (excluding Sobers who is not an exact contemporary). Goes to show that the 50s wasn't a great time to be a batsman.

    Also, it may be argued that Harvey was a better player of spin bowling than either Chappell or Ponting.

  • Scube on May 2, 2012, 15:43 GMT

    @Kays789: Lara scored 8 centuries in matches won by WI! How does that qualify for consistently contributing to team's victories better than SRT!?! Btw, Lara scored 600+ in a 3 test series against SL that Windies lost 3-0! And if you conclude that Lara was therefore after personal milestones, then you understand Cricket as much as I understand Latin! So, no point arguing! But the overwhelming fact is that both SRT & Lara played in teams with at best average & often pedestrian bowling attacks!

  • on May 2, 2012, 15:13 GMT

    Greg Chappell is the 2nd best Aus batsmen of all time in my opinion. Just look who he played against, his world series av and his overall Test av. Enough said

  • on May 2, 2012, 15:08 GMT

    Any Praise of SRT and envy brigade are out to knock him. All the greats mentioned in the article also rate SRT AS ONE OF THE BEST.

  • Hush78 on May 2, 2012, 14:53 GMT

    I am Sri lankan and truly believe sachin is probably the best batter specially due to his commitment and concentration for the game.he has done many batting feats which may never be broken much like murali's records in bowling. But I think there will be a time he should make a decision wether to stay some more time in the game and loose lot of respect he has earned by pears, cricket fans in the world.I believe he is also making the same mistake jayasuriya did by over staying more than they should have.I see recently even some Indians posting again sachin which is so sorry to see after so much he did to indian cricket.so I hope sachin will make that decision soon and still live in people's mind as the best there was.....

  • waspsting on May 2, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    @Phat-Boy - how well Lara played fast bowling isn't the point. the point, as raised by the article, is based around the comment, "Some say (Tendulakr) doesn't play the fastest bowlers as well as Lara did" - i.e. a comparison between Tendular and Lara's respective ability at handling fast bowling. I've never heard anyone say anything like that (leaving aside that i disagree with it, and can back that up with stats) re: questioning the writer's credibility - if you write absurd things, your credibility comes into question. see Xolile's earlier comment if you want to look at concrete numbers and not subjective opinions (like who attacked Warne, or who played fast bowling better, etc.) - and try refuting what he says. I have no problem with someone saying Lara is better than SRT or vice versa, but if someone says Lara is better because he plays the reverse sweep better - i'll point it out for what it is - absurd. @Emancipator007 - appreciate the kind words.

  • on May 2, 2012, 13:51 GMT

    LOL. Ashley Mallet well done. You've appeased a lot of people who would have been at your neck for not selecting a certain batsman. Love Viv Richards the most have to say. Didn't care who the opposition was, what the situation was. Just hit the ball. The only batsman who comes close is Sehwag. Why is it that Indians cannot digest SRT not being named? He is a stats delight but to me, a record craving batsman. In the initial stages of his career he did play for teh team, but later on it was plainly obvious what he was playing for. Also, Viv Richards, Garry Sobers and Barry Richards never changed their game. SRT has done that. The fan will say to adapt, the realist will say bosh. @Kiranlegend, 23 years to win the world cup, and not a single triple century. Loose indeed

  • uday_narayanan on May 2, 2012, 12:57 GMT

    @kiranlegend .. very very well said. I second you on every word that you've posted

  • postandrail on May 2, 2012, 12:44 GMT

    Regarding Tendulkar. Surely the best measure of a specialist batsman's dominance is his % of Man of Match Awards for Tests played. To help his team win is what he's there for after all, not just to accumulate runs for his own gratification. The figures for modern era batsmen are Sangakkara 14/108 - 13.0%, Ponting 16/165 - 9.7%, S.Waugh 14/168 - 8.3%, Tendulkar 14/188 -7.4%. Hardly flattering for a player some are willing to call "the greatest ever"!

  • honey-lotion on May 2, 2012, 11:49 GMT

    I didn't even bother to read beyond the first para when I didn't see Brian Lara's name not in the list of five batsman.

  • on May 2, 2012, 11:43 GMT

    Next to Bradman, Sir Gary undoubtedly the next best. In those days when he wielded his willow more like a golfer, even a score of 250 was considered as risk in a day's play. But, Gary was always aggressive and stylish. God only knows what a destructive batsman he would have been had he played one-dayers or T20's. Next,closely followed by Sir. Viv. As some readers rightly pointed out , Greame Pollock would be there right on top. I still cannot forget that flowing cover drive of Venkat playing for the South African legends against Indian legends when he scored a 100. At that he was 50 and still had that power to caress the ball like a tracer bullet to the cover fence. It was indeed cruel that the world missed him and Barryat their peak and would have posed a real challenge to the marauding Windies pacers of the '80's. Lara, for the sheer quality of his innings is definitely up their top.

  • on May 2, 2012, 11:32 GMT

    thought Javed Miandad would get a mention when it came to best batsmen against pace along Viv era.Also i dont understand why the authors fail to list Indian bowling attack in the "easy to score against" list....regarding this sentence from Ashley ""using a modern bat against the weak West Indies, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Sri Lankan attacks, "" WI opens with Edwards and Roach/Rampaul/Taylor.They have a good spinner in Bishoo.Sunil Ramdin who isnt playing is a good prospect.Have just seen them working Aus batsmen over..they lost due to batting (as always)..watch out for these bowlers in England next month..where do Indian bowlers stand in comparison??Do India have any automatic bowling choice except ZAK..easily they are the trough..and i am from India

  • Meety on May 2, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    @kiranlegend - I agree 100% regarding "...we needn't degrade others..." particularly to mak their favourite seem better. I will disagree with you regarding "...Objectively, Sachin is clearly more consistent than Lara..." - I would of agreed a few months or years ago. However, an article on this website in IT Figures, shows that Lara was amazingly consistent. So all I will say is that it is not as clear as you may think, (btw if its Lara v Sachin - I would say Sachin was the better, but I was more often awed by Lara).

  • Philip_Gnana on May 2, 2012, 10:08 GMT

    Sir Viv Richards anytime. Not seen anyone like him nor do I think I will until I die. His very walk to the batting crease with the sway and the swing of the bat oozed confidence and sent a message to the bowler " I am gonna get you". Lawrence Row was amazing too so were a few other Windies. Richards the greatest of the cricketers from the 70's to date. Nothing will ever change my mind about that. One major issue that we need to consider is the batsmen from the smaller nations who consistently had to face very strong fiersome bowling attacks. These batsmen can so easily be over looked. Philip Gnana, surrey

  • Bruisers on May 2, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    Len Hutton or Graeme Pollock should have been ahead of Neil Harvey..

  • kiranlegend on May 2, 2012, 8:43 GMT

    <<continuation 2>> it is tough to compare players of different eras.. comparing Viv and Sachin.. U can't just say.. we have to see the strike rates in odis right? and yes.. when we see strike rates, it is amazing that he maintained such a high strike rate in that era with that average.. but Tendulkar too had good strike rate right fromt he start. At the end it comes down to temporal endurance and the pressure of more than 1 billion population and changing dynamics of the game with technology and change in scoring rates.. I have to say Tendulkar adjusted well to all the things pretty well. Just imagine he is still among highest averages in IPL for those who played 50 matches and above. among highest run getters too. Team requires runs to win,and he scores runs more consistently than any other batsmen across all generations who played international cricket in ALL formats.What more do u want? I don't ask u to call him the best batsmen of all time but I ask u not to make loose statements.

  • kiranlegend on May 2, 2012, 8:26 GMT

    <<continuation>>Objectively, Sachin is clearly more consistent than Lara. That clearly says it all. He's been consistent barring some under tendulkar standards patches in the 2006-07 and 20011-12 seasons. We sitting here making loose comments about all these cricketers.. compare them objectively not with emotions. Emotions make u make some loose statements. moreover, like Lara, sachin had to bear Indian batting single handedly in the nineties.. only from 2001 odd, did we see the likes of sehwag, dravid, yuvi perfoming more under Ganguly. For me, he is a match winner too.. look at the number of test matches he saved.. there are match winning innigns too.. there are quite a number of good scores of his that India lost because rest 10 were not competent enough. If he scores a century and India loses, what does that mean? rest of the team lost it on that day or the oppostion team played better or both. Lara, Kallis and ponting needn't face the wrath of WI, SA and Aussie attacks resp.

  • kiranlegend on May 2, 2012, 8:17 GMT

    Firstly I have to say i am an Indian.. and I am not here to show my zingoism or patriotism.. there is no need to choose who is the best but if we have to talk about it.. we needn't degrade others by using words like selfish or some one mentioned somewhere that 'he batted to pump up his average.' each has his own style of scoring runs.. To my mind, i haven't seen cricket from those days but i feel Garfield Sobers is all time second.. Kallis would give close competition but Kallis played when pitches started really getting better post 2000.. more so post 2002. As a bowler, Kallis shined in the late nineties.. and after 2002, he started bowling relatively lot less indicating his decline in bowling or his interest towards batting. Apart from Kallis, i feel No modern cricketer who played cricket in the last 15 years should be discussed along with sachin w.r.t discussions pertaining to who is the best cricketer et al.. ponting, dravid, gillchrist are superb but when pitches got lot better.

  • Meety on May 2, 2012, 7:50 GMT

    @BillyCC - fair enough, although I would say that legacy can diminish if the returns drop off over time, the only problem with Sachin having a good 2012/13 is that it will be pretty much eclusively on home soil. Anyways I admire him, & hope that he finishes off with style (just not against Oz) - LOL! @Emancipator007 - regarding the Miandad interview, I never really liked Javed, but I always respected his talent both skillwise & the ability to get under people's skin - LOL! I have grown pretty tired of late of people needing to bag a player to make their favourite look good. On that interview page, there was both sides of that coin on display. As for Khan, without a doubt the finest leader of men to have played cricket, Ian Chappell probably close, but Imran gets the nod due to the rabble & intrigue that exists behind the scenes in Paki cricket. I'd probably have Fleming, Brearly & Tubby ahead as tacticians, with Tubby & Imran as the two best captains of my time.

  • Prem1992 on May 2, 2012, 7:47 GMT

    Sachin never had backup from his team members for most part of his carrer unlike many of his modern counterparts. He never had the luxury of playing alongside a decent bowling attack. Considering these things i would rate tendulkar slightly ahead of ponting , kallis, lara

  • Sandeep.M.J.D on May 2, 2012, 7:10 GMT

    All names are thrown in here on this article, so now it's my turn. Spare a thought for Mark Waugh, the stylish ever on this planet. Cheers :)

  • TheWonderBoy on May 2, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    great insights to batsmanship :) a bowler can understand d little things and d class of batsman better....nice article..

  • on May 2, 2012, 6:09 GMT

    Which cricketer has pounded bowlers of 3 different generations?? any guessess..it is Sachin Tendulkar....frm walsh, ambrose to waqar, wasim, mcgraths, warne to 'bret lee, malinga, mendis, taits... and still ppl question sachins calibre....If u still wanna go by stats..then chk this..he is one of the only players who've scored century's in all test playing grounds n test playing nations..no one can make 100 centuries without pounding the balls all around d world.. he has belted aus attach on their home grounds..and just failed only one time in the recent series(that can b made exception)..Only batsman to score 9 ODI centuries in a calendar yr..and only batsman to score 1000 runs in a calender yr 6 times...his counterparts can't even come closer to him.

  • Thesonofg on May 2, 2012, 5:39 GMT

    Since the writer is talking about the best batsman he has seen I must add my piece. I have seen many including Majid Khan, David Gower, Tom Graveney, Doug Walters, Sir Garf, Sir Viv, Rohan Kanhai, Greg Chapell, Gavaskar, Tndulkar, Lara etc. The best that I have seen however, is Lawrence Rowe. No one could bat like him. It was an amazing feat to watch him play. I am sorry that some posters here did not get that opportunity.

  • Josh1942 on May 2, 2012, 5:35 GMT

    Dear old Ashley - how could he forget the absolute hidings Graeme Pollock gave him? I watched Pollock massacre him on several occasions. In just 20 tests, against the world's best attacks, he scored centuries in half of them plus 2 double hundreds. His average speaks for itself. More importantly he was a joy to watch and a really good guy.I note some negative comments on Barry Richards - Bradman's opinion will do me. I played against Richards at school - he was in year 7 in his schools first team and I was in Year 10.He was already that good.He had reflexes faster than most top sportsman and that gave him extra time for shot selection. The session before luch at Kingsmead in Durban against Australia in 1970 must rank amongst the greatest batting ever seen. The Australians had four fielders in an arc behind the bowlers arm and they could barely move before the ball struck the fence such was the grace and power of Richards that day. Tendulkar is the best I've seen.

  • Nadeem1976 on May 2, 2012, 4:51 GMT

    Thanks for choosing Sachin over Lara. Lara was amazing batsman but Tendulkar is genius. His 23 years long career is greatest of all time. No cricketer in the world has played more international balls than Tendulkar. He is cricketing genius.

    I am Pakistani but i still believe that Sachin is greatest cricketer ever born. He is too good.

  • BillyCC on May 2, 2012, 4:45 GMT

    @Meety, in the short-term and considering the recent Indian defeats, Sachin's standing has diminished. However, what if he has a great 2012/13 season? Then the position will reverse again. Regardless, I use the word "standing" and not "legacy". Legacy is long-term and cannot be tainted by short-term performances. This applies to Ponting if he continues to play on. The whole historical record must be looked at, and it will say that Sachin is ranked between the second to probably the fifth greatest batsman of all time. It is clear from the above article that Mallett is ranking Tendulkar in his top 6 with Bradman at number 1.

  • Marcian on May 2, 2012, 3:57 GMT

    I feel that legendary players of eras gone by were probably better than the modern day greats who play with better bats and all kinds of protective paraphernalia. Jack Hobbs, Walter Hammond, Len Hutton and George Headley, to name a few, played on uncovered pitches unlike the flat tracks we see in the sub-continent and other parts of the world today [post 1980s]. This why Viv Richards and Sunil Gavaskar [played without helmets] stand out in the modern era, in my opinion.

  • on May 2, 2012, 3:52 GMT

    Lara is more attractive stroke maker than Sachin!

  • on May 2, 2012, 3:46 GMT

    You have put Sri Lankan attack as an weak attack. With Murali (The higest wicket taker) and Chaminda Vass (Best One day Figures) and Sri Lanka is responsible for the first three lowest dismissels in one dayers. Don't under estimate Sri Lanka as always done

  • Marcian on May 2, 2012, 3:36 GMT

    Stormy16: Mate, I think its misleading to say he [The Don] played only against England. In fact, he played against West Indies (1930s), South Africa (30s) and India (40s), but only on home soil. Cheers!

  • Emancipator007 on May 2, 2012, 2:51 GMT

    @Nerk,even while agreeing Ash can have his own comments/views, I would trust @Waspsting's comments as he is one of the few absolutely honest,erudite,unbiased commenters around on cricinfo and knows his cricket history well. One does not always have to be a guitar player or a vocalist to be able to comment/critique about rock bands/artists. @CricFan24:Absolutely, I keep saying that Tend is/was the ONLY finished Test batsman at age 16 in international cricket history.He is playing with the same skill levels at 39 as at 16! He scored high-quality100s in Eng, OZ,SA b4 turning 19. Young fans don't have excuses, clipping/footage of his knocks available on YTube. Only frailties; unable to impose himself on a game like a fearless Lara/Richards or have the same, relentless hunger for big 100s like Don. Talent and technique wise possibly the most complete batsman in history.My take is that SRT has actually not realized his full talent/capabilities and could have had a 70 average in this era.

  • Emancipator007 on May 2, 2012, 2:32 GMT

    @Meety:About Tend legacy poser;Can write an essay. Fans/ analysts need to understand that SRT's skills/talent have not DETERIORATED one bit even after 23 years as attested by his superb 70 and 80 plus scores in first 2 OZ Tests. The issue is why he let that 100 brouhaha affect his concentration/resolve for which he should be playing; getting India into decisive positions to win matches with significant innings/scores irrespective whether they are 100s or not. My take has always been that SRT is EXTREMELY proud of his skills/abilities to tackle pace; the moment he is seen to be ungainly for long period of time or incompetent to tackle pace; he would call it a day. If all 3 recent series against SA,Eng and OZ pacers are looked at closely, none of Morkel/Steyn, Eng pacers or OZ pacers ruffled him; just he did not get 100s except against SA.BTW, excellent comments in Miandad interview piece;concur wholeheartedly that Imran is greatest leader in cricket history.

  • Harry_Kool on May 2, 2012, 2:03 GMT

    Ashley, how dare you offer an opinion on this subject. Some of these readers are far more qualified than you to offer on opinions based on their history of having played at the highest level, are accredited coaches & professional journalists. (Spoken with tongue firmly planted in cheek). @Xolile, only someone who hadn't seen Thomson bowl would say that. Someone like Viv Richards endorsed that fact, but what would he know, he only played test cricket at the highest level and actually faced him.

  • soorajiyer on May 2, 2012, 1:57 GMT

    People need to understand that each person has an opinion and that could be significantly different from what you perceive is true! And somebody calling for Mr.Millet's credibility, need to read a bit of cricket history. Its no objective analysis of who is the greatest, its a subjective opinion of who appeared best to Mr.Millet of the people he saw. He has not even mentioned he has seen all the cricketers of his generation. Chill guys, learn to be objective :)

  • Greatest_Game on May 2, 2012, 1:42 GMT

    Mallet recollects how, as a ten year old watching his first test, he saw Harvey "blast(ing) the England attack." I too had a similar experience: at my first test, age eleven, I saw Barry Richards destroy the Australian attack! (Mallet was not bowling - he was dropped after the first test!) My memories of this innings are still vivid, and I have always ranked him as one of the greatest. In this his second test, Richards scored his maiden century - 140 off 164 balls. At lunch he had scored 94 of SA's 126 for 2! In the 4 test series - the only tests he played - Richards scored 508 in 7 inns, avge 72.57. It is not only Mallet (& I) who rank Barry Richards so highly - consider these quotes: Richie Benaud "No more elegant player has taken the field in our time." Greg Chappell, "He has undoubtedly been the biggest influence on my career." Sir Donald Bradman: "the world's best-ever right-handed opener". Bradman also included Richards in his posthumously published "best ever team."

  • HyderabadiFlick on May 2, 2012, 1:39 GMT

    @rk_ks I Agree.Close to 90% of discussion converts into Tendulkar centric,that is enough to prove that yes,Sachin is indeed the all time greatest cricketer.Some said he did not win the WC,some said he did not represent a #1 team in Tests,some said lara is better than Tendulkar etc.He over came all these hurdles and has achieved every possible goal of his career and faced constant challenges from media, fans, cricket experts to name a few. He has scored against all the oppositions in home and away conditions. He scored runs against greats like Ambrose, Akram, Bishop, Walsh, Warne, Donald, Pollock, Mcgrath, Murali, Waqar, Lee, Steyn and yesteryear greats like Hadlee, Botham, Marshall, Qadir, Imran. Against Australia he has 20 100's the best attack of our time. Only the greats have to go through the tests all the time. He is not playing for any records and money.He will get Bharat Ratna for sure one day. Matt Hayden once said "I have seen God, he bats at #4 for India in tests". - Jai Hind

  • wicketman on May 2, 2012, 0:42 GMT

    Interesting article and as one commenter pointed out, it is based on the writer's opinion. I would just like to reiterate; Brian Lara NEVER SCORED A TEST MATCH 100 AGAINST AKRAM AND YOUNIS - Pakistan OR ALLAN DONALD - South Africa. Against GENUINE pace, he never looked comfortable - remember what Shoaib Akthar did to him in the ICC semi-final - 2000. Sachin and Ricky Ponting in his prime were much better players of genuine fast bowling. I would just like to mention a player whom due to persistent knee injuries had to curtail his career - Martin Crowe. For me, he was the best caucasian batsmen of the last 35 years and if his career had not been cut short, he may well have been regarded as one of the all time true greats.

  • Greatest_Game on May 2, 2012, 0:40 GMT

    Mallet states clearly that his choices are deeply personal: "the five best batsmen I have laid eyes on," he wrote. His choices are based on his recollections, and nothing else. Arguing that he should have included or excluded this or that player is not commentary on the article. Contributors who believe that his choices must agree with theirs display ignorance and arrogance: they suggest a belief that he has not the right to his opinions, and to write about them. These forums are for commenting about what was written in the article. When they become a vehicle for indignant devotees to condemn a piece because their idol is not the subject of slavish praise, and to squabble about what was in fact not the subject, we all are made poorer. Our opportunity to share our love of the game, and to enrich our experience of it by collectively interacting and communicating, is diminished. To honour the game we must respect the writers and each other. If not, what is the point of contributing?

  • Phat-Boy on May 2, 2012, 0:15 GMT

    Waspsting - Lara may not have hit a century against Donald but he did hit 83, 91 and 81 in consecutive tests against Donald's South Africans - who's attack also included Pollock - in 2001, and 7 half centuries in 11 tests. I don't think that would suggest that he had a noted weakness against Allan Donald do you? He also hit 96 against Waqar and Wasim taking the new ball in 93 and followed it with a half-century in the next game. The only other series he played against them was in 97-98, and he fell to Saqlain Mushtaq and Azhar Mahmood in that series as often as he did to the great pace bowlers.

  • mumbaiguy79 on May 2, 2012, 0:07 GMT

    Nice piece Mr. Mallett. As you might have known by now, the best way to generate "comment traffic" on an article is by throwing Tendulkar in the mix :). Would have loved to see Lara there in the list along with Tendulkar though.

  • on May 1, 2012, 22:15 GMT

    Lara is better than Tendulkar.

  • batmannrobin on May 1, 2012, 21:59 GMT

    @kays789 - Stats straight from stats guru Tests:

    Sachin in matches won - 63 (matches played) 5594(total runs) 248*(highest) 66.59( average) 20 ( no of 100s)

    Lara in matches won - 32(P) 2929(R) 213(H) 61.02( Average) 8 (100s)

    ODIs: ( matches won)

    Sachin 234(p) 11157(R) 200*(H) 56.63(A) 33 ( 100s) Lara 139 6553 169 61.82 16

    ODI tournament finals -

    Sachin 40(P) 1851(R) 138(H) 54.44( A) Lara 19 507 153 28.16

    so could u please justify this statement now - " the irony is that he has the worst record of any decent batsman when it comes to match-winning contributions. says a lot doesnt it?"

  • Nerk on May 1, 2012, 21:57 GMT

    Does anybody read the title. "The best batsmen I'VE seen." Its not the "best batsmen ever" or "The best batsmen you guys have seen." It is Mallet's opinion, not an objective analysis. You want that, go to Stats Guru. @waspsting's comment "it makes me question(s) the writers credibility as a judge of the game." I would value Mr Mallets ability, as someone who has not only seen a lot of first class cricket, played a lot of cricket but also played for Australia, and I think that having done all that, he deserves to have his opinion.

  • teo. on May 1, 2012, 21:07 GMT

    Unfair to have chosen ST over Lara based on your criteria. You claimed the best way to judge a batsman was to look at the quality of the opposition.... Lara faced the BEST the world through at him.. some of Lara's innings in Aus especially were SO savage, that it would have come with a PG Rating if they where shown in highlights...

  • henrystephen on May 1, 2012, 20:50 GMT

    Ashley, you're a brave man for offering your opinions. Don't you know that people who comment on cricinfo know much more about playing test cricket than former test cricketers?

  • scooternz on May 1, 2012, 19:40 GMT

    I remember watching Viv when I was a kid...awesome!!....I gotta say tho...My top 5 would have Lara in it...When Lara was in his early years he was the batsman every cricket follower wanted to watch. The way he played...awesome!!

  • mishvik1 on May 1, 2012, 19:11 GMT

    Style rather than substance seems to be the decider of this list. There were only 3 teams with real good pace attack. WI, Aus and Pak. Viv Richards luckily never played against WI, averaged 44 against Aus and 42 against Pak. Some of his best innings were against Eng and India, who definitely did not have the best of the best bowling attack. Compare this with Gavaskar (I never liked him though) who had the average of 66 against the most fearsome attack - WI.

  • hhillbumper on May 1, 2012, 19:03 GMT

    I wish I had a quid for very time an Indian fan comes on here claiming Tendulkar is an all time great. Richards would demolish him as well as the opposition>Richards set out to destroy where as Tendulkar sets out to pump up his average.Not even best Indian batsman of modern era. Dravid was more secure and Azzha was better to watch. What next Sehwag as an all time opener.

  • rk_ks on May 1, 2012, 18:40 GMT

    @Kays789 - One cannot earn respect if he plays for his own records. The 400 which lara scored did not help WI win the game against ENG. One cannot stay in the game for 23 long years (which is also a record) who is selfish enough.

  • kantipur on May 1, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    Lara is only batsman to score 100,200,300,400 and 500 and to break Lara's record somebody needs to score 100,200,300, 400, 500 and 600. I don't see anybody in million years breaking this record. If you don't see such batsman being top 5 batsman of post war era then probably you are not fit enough to write.

  • kantipur on May 1, 2012, 18:28 GMT

    Mr. Mallett, you selected SRT over Lara because of consistency. However, If you closely scrutinise the career it will be clear that Lara has been more consistent batsman than Tendulkar. You just need to see career ranking graph to know it. Tendulkar have been out of top 20 batsman in the world twice. Most of the time in his career he has been out of top ten batsman in ranking at that time. Lara most of the time in his career stayed in top 5 and very rarely go out of top ten.

  • ElBeeDubya on May 1, 2012, 18:05 GMT

    I have never seen Barry Richards but I have a South Asian friend (who was studying in England in the mid 70s and thus saw a lot of cricket live or on TV) who rates him as one of the two best batsman he has ever seen - better than Chappell and Gavaskar (two other names that is getting mentioned here). The only other name that he mentions with great enthusiasm is Viv Richards. He doesn't watch a lot of Cricket now since he lives in a country without much cricket coverage so I am not sure how Lara or Tendulkar compare to these two but I will put Lara ahead of Tendulkar and Tendulkar ahead of Ponting, Kallis, Sangakkara, et al.

  • waspsting on May 1, 2012, 17:44 GMT

    the description for Harvey suggest that the author is romanticizing his childhood memories. one or two things he says about players I've seen and can judge... makes me question his judgement about things i haven't (Xolile hints at this, too)

    - Tendulkar played Warne well, but did not "attack him more successfully than any other batsman in his time". that'd probably be Lara - and since the writer specifically mentions Lara, i find this odd.

    - "Some say Tendulkar doesn't play the fastest bowlers as well as Lara". Who says that? Lara was rushed - what with that high back lift - against fast bowlers,and bad at handling the short ball. Doesn't have a test ton against Wasim, Waqar or Donald. Tendulkar seemed to take the quick men in stride.

    When i see stuff like this written, it makes me questions the writers credibility as a judge of the game.

    -

  • stormy16 on May 1, 2012, 16:47 GMT

    I havent seen the Don or anyone from that era but you cannot compare the Don to say Viv as the Don ONLY played against Eng!! Yes the man has a great batting record but he played in a different era which is not even comparable to say Sachin who has succeeded in 8 countries. All things held equal no doubt the Don is the Don of batting. Next for me is Sachin through his sheer volume and amazing record. You need to put those two guys aside and look at the rest. Viv possibly has Sewag as a competitor but Viv is the best for everything that is a master balster. For technical perfection guys like Ponting and Chappel come to mind. The point is I think we need to expand this criteria to other levels of batsmanship to enable comparison.

  • on May 1, 2012, 16:47 GMT

    I would Javed Miandad to this list and take out Neil, since once Viv Richards has said quote "If my life depends on batting and I have to choose someone else to bat for me, I would pick Javed Miandad" that says a lot about a batsman and he was one of the most sharp cricketing mind ever and all rounder there to be in his days.......He played for team and not for his personal records like Sachen specially..........

    See Yaa

  • doesitmatter on May 1, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    Take that Lara 'n Ponting fanboys..SRT it is for AM :)..I know Lara is blah blah blah, he has scored blah blah blah and more blah blah but SRT is no slouch :)

  • whiskeysour on May 1, 2012, 15:59 GMT

    Viv Richards. Master Blaster. Never wore a helmet. Never backed down. Always attacked. Inspired everyone. The best.

  • Deuce03 on May 1, 2012, 15:53 GMT

    Amazing - even when you mention Tendulkar it seems the fans aren't abated unless he occupies every available space. Mr Mallett has clearly chosen his five based on personal preference and entertainment value, and you'd struggle to find a more entertaining and glamorous fivesome than those mentioned here. Maybe Lara merits a mention, as he was a most entertaining player, but not at the expense of (either) Richards or Sobers, and probably not at Harvey either. It's rather depressing that fans have such short cultural memories. The high aggregate records of today can't be compared with older ones because modern players play more matches. Just because a player hasn't played in the last five years doesn't mean they weren't great.

  • on May 1, 2012, 15:29 GMT

    @Cricfan24 well said. People have short memories but for me the real value of a player's contribution is the esteem he is held in by the people he shares the dressing room with. Sachin is idolized by his team mates and the reason is that they understand his true worth. No selfish player can earn adulation and respect but people who haven't followed Tendulkar's career can say all the nasty things they can. You can't take away from the aura, the magic and the talent of SRT.

    Couple of notable names I would add to that list- Inzamam, Ponting, Andy Flower, Sangakarra, Hayden

  • StatisticsRocks on May 1, 2012, 15:12 GMT

    It's unfair to compare players across different eras as it is like comapring apples and oranges. In fact it is not possible to make such a comparison as everything has changed so much and further the obvious reason being that these players did not play at the same time and did not face the same bowlers or similar conditions or rules and many other factors. Yet we see article after article attempting in vain to rate or compare players, more so batsmen than the bowlers acros eras or different time points. IMO the ratings or comparisons should be done within a given era or over a decade or two not more than that.

  • on May 1, 2012, 14:37 GMT

    Best I've ever seen in no particular order are Inzamam Ul Haq, Lara, SRT, Bradman,Everton Weekes, Gavaskar, Steve waugh, Graeme Pollock,George Headley Sobers, Viv Richards. They played against tough opposition. This is the measure of a great player. Although SRT has had it easy over the last few years with all these batting friendly wickets.

  • CricFan24 on May 1, 2012, 13:49 GMT

    Most kids in here have probably not seen Tendulkar in the '90s. During the mid 2000s he did turn into an accumulator because of continuous,serious injuries. So,that's what the kids remember. All said and done, when history is written - Bradman and Tendulkar will stand out on top among the rest.

  • Chris_Howard on May 1, 2012, 13:24 GMT

    Great work, Ashley. Totally happy with this list. Fantastic to see Richards getting due recognition, too. I saw some footage of him many years ago and was flabbergasted. I'd never seen anyone bat with such nonchalance. And great to see HArvey being recognised too. Too often people have short memories and only remember Greg Chappell or Ricky Ponting. I really look forward to the day when some writes a computer program that really can pit any player against another.

  • Kays789 on May 1, 2012, 13:06 GMT

    never seen Neil Harvey, the other three were definitely impressive but give me lara any day over tendulkar. what use is he when the guy plays solely for his own records and image? the irony is that he has the worst record of any decent batsman when it comes to match-winning contributions. says a lot doesnt it?

  • on May 1, 2012, 12:45 GMT

    what happens to Lara i think he deserve to be in the five however maybe you did not watch him bat

  • HumungousFungus on May 1, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    Excellent article Ashley. For those misled by the fact that Barry Richards played little Test cricket into thinking he may not be as great as he undoubtedly was: He is the only player I have ever seen play live who could literally decide he was going to score a hundred, and then score one. Had he had the relentless thirst for runs of The Don, or Kallis, or SRT, for example, he would be even higher in the pantheon than he is. Instead he often found batting boring, and would give his wicket away. And for those who think that comparisons across eras are meaningless, Neil Harvey's 92 not out in the Sydney Test of 1954 must go down as one of the GREAT innings. Tyson and Statham bowling blindingly fast (and make no mistake, they would be fast in any era), on an uncovered wicket, from about 18 yards (back foot no ball rule), batting with probably 2lb 4oz of wood, with no helmet, chest guard, arm guard, and nobody else scoring above 16? Any batsman playing today would struggle to do better...

  • churdoynz on May 1, 2012, 12:12 GMT

    Well, from what i've seen on film, I think Graeme Pollock would definitely be in my top 5 - a powerhouse with a golden eye... perhaps ahead of Harvey

  • on May 1, 2012, 12:11 GMT

    The only dominating class act in the current era has to be chris gayle. Sehwag , KP, dilshan are good too but gayle is in an another league. The modern greats in my eyes are lara , tendulkar , kallis , inzi , dravid , yousuf, sangakara , ponting, jayewardene, chanderpaul , gilchrist and hayden. Younis has it in him to get into this club but first he would have to perform against SA in SA this year.

  • on May 1, 2012, 12:02 GMT

    My biggest cricket regret is the batsmen I never saw. Bradman, Ponsford, Hammond, Hutton, Compton, Cowdrey, May, Edrich, Harvey, Sobers, Richards (Barry and Viv), Morris, Chappell, Gower, Boycott, Haynes and Greenidge, Walters... the greatest shame of my life.

  • Drew2 on May 1, 2012, 11:56 GMT

    @harshthakor totally agree about Greg Chappell. People have forgotten how good he was. He had a tremendous record against the West Indies - very similar to Sachin Tendulkar's record against them. The difference is that Chappell's was against an attack that was far superior to what Tendulkar has ever had to contend with. Viv Richards was for me, the greatest batsman since Bradman. He had no regard for personal averages or accumulating a huge career aggregate. He simply dominated and destroyed quality bowlers and won matches.

  • on May 1, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    as Zahidsaltin said it is virtually impossible to create a list of 5 best from the last 50 years and not include Lara. the best one has seen... he definitely would be among them.

  • getsetgopk on May 1, 2012, 11:35 GMT

    SRT has played 18 test matches against Pakistan at an average of 42 which is his worst average against any team, and those matches were played on dead sub continental wickets, Miandad had an average of 67 against India. SRT's average against Aus and Eng is great but then again im neither of the two, im a Pakistan fan, to me a player averaging 42 is anything but great, Miandad was a much better player than SRT. The author saying SRT stood tall against fast bowling, well that isn't quite true in the case of Akhtar atleast, it isn't just just the case of SRT, i think quite alot of batsmen were uncomfortable against Akhtar, after all he was the quickest the game has ever seen.

  • harshthakor on May 1, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    Ejaz Ahmed Siddiqi:No batsman dominated bowling like Sir Viv who could have broken all the batting records if he wished.In full flow he resembled a bomber destroying an airbase and turned the complexion of a match like no other batsman.I can't forget his first year in Packer cricket averaging 86.2,playing Lillee and Imran like spinners.

    It is sad that we hardly saw Barry Richards in the real game who would then have been the best of them all.His 2 centuries in Packer Cricket,including a double-hundred are unforgettable.Similarly,Pollock may have become the best left-handed batsman.

    If it came to pure batting artistry then David Gower,Gundappa Vishwanath and Zaheer Abbas would top my list.

    However the ultimate batting genius was Rohan Kanhai who on the 1961 Australian tour made the opposition bowlers look like club bowlers.Doing justice to his true ability he may have even overpowered Bradman.

  • on May 1, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    I just have a simple question did someone forget about Sir Brian Charles Lara?

  • harshthakor on May 1, 2012, 11:22 GMT

    In pure test Cricket Brian Lara may be my choice as the best after the retirement of Bradman.No great batsman posessed Lara's penchant for mammoth scores that too scoring at such a breathtaking scoring rate.At his best he dominated test series better than any batsman.Remember the way he turned the 1999 Frank Worrell trophy with 3 consecutive centuries,including 2 back to back winnining ones.I would rate him as the best left hander of all if you consider that he bore the brunt of the weakest of batting sides.When combining test with one-day cricket Tendulkar and Richards edge ahead of Lara.From 1976-81 Viv was the best after Bradman while considering Sachin has ruled the cricket world for over 22 years he is the ultimate king.

  • BellCurve on May 1, 2012, 11:21 GMT

    In a previous article, Mallett implied that Jeff Thompson bowled between 170kmh and 175kmh at his peak. Now he is claiming outright that Harvey would have averaged 75 if he played today. Did it not occur to Mallet than Steyn and Morkel very seldom bowls faster than 150kmh and that Tendulkar averages only a little over 55 in Test cricket? Is Mallett therefore suggesting Thompson was almost 20% faster than today's fastest bowlers, and that Harvey was effectively 35% better than Tendulkar? I would suggest to Mallet that he does two things: (1) compare the number of active cricket players in the world in 2012 with the same number for 1955; and (2) compare the winning times, heights and distances of the 1956 Olympics to the current world records. The rest of us have a responsibility to give these old-timers a reality check when they deserve a reality check. Otherwise we end up with Harvey averaging 75 and Thompson bowling 175kmh. No-one benefits from outrageous claims such as this.

  • on May 1, 2012, 10:40 GMT

    I have seen Viv Richard playing only few matches but someone who has seen Viv playing would agree that no modern batsman can compete with his aggression.

    He used to play without helmet against the likes of Lille. If somehow a bowler able to hit him on body, the next time he used to come more harder on him. How many modern batsmen can do that? In my opinion, none.

  • Simoc on May 1, 2012, 10:40 GMT

    I saw all these batsmen except Harvey live. I didn't see Bryan Lara but rate him as the best ahead of Barry Richards (Richards gave the impression he could pick any spot on the ground to hit the ball to). Then Sobers who looked magnificent as did Greg Chappell and David Gower. Viv Richards was brute force. Sachin Tendulkar is next slightly in front of Ponting (to me they were the best run accumulators). The batsman who changed a test matches direction most was Adam Gilchrist, a revelation in the modern age. But my favourite batsman to watch was Damien Martyn. Style!

  • AlbertEinstein on May 1, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    Tendulker definitely deserved to be a part of this list. Imagine a batsman facing the world's fastest bowler (Akhtar) with shivering legs and still playing him with good feet movement. What a batsman !

  • harshthakor on May 1, 2012, 10:31 GMT

    After the era and retirement of Bradman my top 5 in order are Sachin Tendulkar,Viv Richards.Brian Lara,Gary Sobers and Sunil Gavaskar.At his best Lara was a better match-winner and performer in a crisis than Tendulkar with a greater penchant for amassing mammoth scores.Gavaskar broke records facing the greatest bowling of all.

    Very close behind would be the likes of Graeme Pollock,Greg Chappell, Ricky Ponting Javed Miandad and Alan Border.Without hesitation to me Greg Chappell was the best Australian batsman after Bradman,marginally edging Ponting and Border.At his best Rohan Kanhai would have beaten them all while had he had a complete career Bary Richards would have been at the very top.

  • on May 1, 2012, 10:28 GMT

    Comparing long ago batsmen with those of today is entirely futile. Noone has a clue how they would perform if they were thrust into another time zone with bowlers of different abilities, fieldmen of different agility, pitches of different quality and unbiased umpires.

  • Chris_P on May 1, 2012, 10:25 GMT

    @Emancipator007. Quality of Oz domestic cricket when Richards played? That triple centruy was scored against an attack of 6 bowlers who all played test cricket, and succesfully, including Denis Lillee before his back went on him, the same guy who took 8/29 against a world XI (including Sobers & Gavaskar) just one year later. The same Barry Richards who flourished in Packer's WSC where he faced top quality bowling EVERY time he batted, without a helmet might I add. Anyone, and I count myself blessed in having seen him play, who had ever witnessed him bat would agree. I aave also seen Sunny bat, and although very, very talented, was not in the same league as Richards IMHO. Stats would tend to back that up as he completetly dominated attacks in Sth Africa, England & Australia whilst he played. I would love to see these modern guys play fast bowling without helmets and see how much "courage under fire" is there.

  • harshthakor on May 1, 2012, 10:23 GMT

    The choice of Neil Harvey is most interesting instead of Graeme Pollock or Greg Chappell..Harvey was a master on bad wickets as he showed in S.Africa when scoring 151 not out out of 336 in a winning run chase in 1951.

    Viv Richards ,Gary Sobers and Sachin Tendulkar are unanimous choices..Viv Richards was the best ever player against pace bowling who intimidated great bowling more than anyone.Sobers and Tendulkar posessed all the ingredients required for a perfect batsman be it temperament technique,ability to win and save matches and consistency.Tendulkar's record of 100 centuries will never be equalled.Barry Richards was the ultimate batting machine l as no batsman as technically sound could pulverize bowling to such an extent.Sadly he hardly played test cricket but proved his prowess in Packer Cricket scoring a double -hundred.

    Instead of Harvey ,I may well have chosen Rohan Kanhai,who posessed more batting flair than even Bradman and at his best beat Richards and Sobers.

  • NAP73 on May 1, 2012, 10:15 GMT

    Opinions will usually be influenced by what one has seen and hence it will always be difficult to have a really tru comparison. Stats never give a complete picture either. Personally, I have always thought entertainment and ability to change an innings quickly as important attributes and hence rate Viv in batting, and Warne in bowling, above others. I will certainly replace Warne with Philander if he keeps his momentum though.

  • bismoy on May 1, 2012, 9:54 GMT

    @Erebus26 yes,sachin is not fit,after bradman only sachin name should come in list.Sachin is probably the best orthodox batman in the crciket history.everything about him is correct, add to that he can improvise beautifully as mentioned by Ashley.

  • on May 1, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    Ashley as I saw him in Chepauk bowled India out to a defeat when Vishy and Ajit Wadekar looked like carrying India to another victory after the earlier Delhi Test. He may not be a class like Shane Warne but certainly the best Off Spinner Australia ever produced. Australia's great spinners were always leg Spinners. Similarly greatest English Spinners were either Off Spinners or left Spinners. Ashley's selection of five of the best batsmen he has seen is unbiased and free of Patriotism. But the selection of Neil Harvey is questionable since he was vulnerable against quality spin and he did not dominate any of the series after 1958. Lara would have been a proper choice in place of Harvey. Also why has he forgotten Mathew Hayden as an opening batsman. He was as dazzling an opener as Barry Richards but Barry's Test career was too short to be judged as one of the best five.

  • Zahidsaltin on May 1, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    I didn't read it all because when you don't see Lara among the 5 best of last 50 years then you are surely not qualified enough to write on this subject. I am not a Lara fan and dont rate him above Richards.

  • on May 1, 2012, 9:12 GMT

    ...yeah...Greg Chappell could eat Neil Harvey's lunch...fine player, but no Greg Chappell, and comparing the strength of the bowling in the 1950s against the 80s is absurd; "The first big match I ever saw was the day at the SCG in 1954-55 when Harvey blasted the England attack for an amazing unconquered 92 in a total of 184. Australia lost the match by 38 runs but he won me forever."

    this pretty much sums up the argument, based on emotions of a ten year old boy rather than actual analytical assessment - Chappell had one of the most statistically complete and picturesque careers of all time, this isn't close (even if not Chappell - Dravid, Lara, Miandad, Gavaskar and maybe especially Kallis have been just objectively much better in Mallett's lifetime, this isn't a preference or line ball call) Harvey shouldn't make a list of the top twenty batsmen of all time. Barry Richards is a popular pick, but I don't know how someone can pick a player who has four Test matches in his career.

  • smudgeon on May 1, 2012, 8:54 GMT

    heh Meety - that Sachin comment reminds me of this time I saw a wasp nest and thought "yep, I'll poke that one with a stick" :) it's a good question, of course, and applies to a number of batsmen I can think of.

  • tusharkardile on May 1, 2012, 8:46 GMT

    Opinions... everyone has one, so do you Ashley. But rating Barry above Sunny is bit scandalous.

  • Erebus26 on May 1, 2012, 7:59 GMT

    Tendulkar isn't fit to be in the company of the other choices that Ash has made.

  • on May 1, 2012, 7:58 GMT

    Lara was the best batsman I ever saw. I had no words for the Great man Viv Richards. fan of Abdul Razzaq pakistan zindabad.

  • Meety on May 1, 2012, 7:21 GMT

    @dunger.bob - as far as I'm concerned Barry Richards was the thin edge of a mighty wedge that never was (the entire Safrican team of that era). The way they belted a fairly good (if slightly jaded) Oz team in Saffaland just before their exclusion puts the 2010/11 Ashes in the shade. I often wonder how history would of been if the political landscape over there was more reasonable. They would of been coming towards their apex (I think), by the time the WIndies mean machine started firing, they would of been amazing contests. If they'd never been excluded, (assuming no apartheid), I wonder if you'd see Saffateams as chokers today? == == == @Emancipator007 - yep Sunny was a great batsmen. As you said though, it is Ashley's opinion though. On a slightly different note, do you think Sachin's legacy is being eroded by him playing on?

  • BillyCC on May 1, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    It is the opinion of unbiased guys like Mallett who have also been across more than five generations of cricketers that makes me rate Tendulkar ahead of other greats in the modern era such as Ponting, Kallis and Lara. However, it is also clear from the above descriptions that it is very tight between Tendulkar and the other greats from other eras such as Viv, Sobers etc.

  • on May 1, 2012, 5:39 GMT

    @mk49_van: Barry Richards was brilliant for more than "a season or two". He was always brilliant. He made a savage 208 against Lillee, Walker and co in 77/78 WSC. He was simply imperious when in full flight.

  • tokoloshe on May 1, 2012, 5:34 GMT

    mk49_van - you have obviously not seen Barry Richards bat or read any of the literature there is on him.... They choose him because he was a phenominal talent.

  • Emancipator007 on May 1, 2012, 5:11 GMT

    Lara was an incandescent dazzler and had some big 100s against OZ in OZ, however SRT's overall consistent record in OZ with his impeccable technique shades Lara just a whit. SRT also tackled Steyn, Morkel in SA with aplomb at 37 years. Lara though was supreme against OZ in WI. I feel that Sehwag despite his recent frailties on away tours can still be called the most dominating batsman of this era as he has done enough in his previous tours of OZ,SA and Eng; plus let's not forget that Viru is a CONVERTED opener which makes his records at that SR! doubly astonishing. Plus he has belted Morkel, Steyn,Akthar, Gul in Asia (subcontinent or not,takes some doing)and mastered Murali and Mendis like no other in recent history. Richards too was not his attacking self b/w 1986-91, but fans/pundits still recall only the exploits of the first half of his career; the same kudos should go to Viru. Ash not swayed enuf by Greg of '70s vintage('80s he faltered badly against WI)or Ponting b/w 2002-06?

  • Emancipator007 on May 1, 2012, 5:02 GMT

    1.Since the batters are Ash's own choice, I won't be too critical. Retrospectively though Don made a blunder by not choosing Gavaskar(SMG) in his XI and got too swayed by Barry's attacking instincts in county and OZ domestic cricket (irrespective of quality in OZ domestic). Don passed away in 2001; wish somehow somebody had passed on tapes of SMG's coruscatingly attacking innings of 121 and 90 scored against Marshall, Holding and Daniel in consecutive Tests at Delhi and Ahmedabad in'83 at Sehwagesque SR! Then followed that up with a masterly 236* at Madras (the only one along with Deano to score a 200 against WI pace battery in '80s).The 121 and 90 were the most dominating innings EVER against WI of that era. And as a technician with an almost unbreachable defence , SMG was peerless in world cricket history- ask Imran,Akram, Roberts, Croft, Lloyd,Sobers, Richards (again Don might have been swayed by that other technician Hobbs' awesome first class record of 199 100s).

  • dunger.bob on May 1, 2012, 4:44 GMT

    Wish I had seen Sobers, but he was just a bit before my time. I heard he could hit a very long ball as well as pick the gaps all day long. My Dad used to say that Ian Botham reminded him of Sobers, except he was only about half as dynamic, or good, as Sir Garfield. ... Such a pity about Richards isn't it. If he was even half as good as everyone says he was, then he could be the benchmark opener that everyone tries to outdo. As it is, I'm not even sure there is one we could all agree on as the best ever. Gordon Greenidge for me but I'm sure there are a hundred different possibilities apart from him.

  • mk49_van on May 1, 2012, 4:20 GMT

    Why do these folks keep picking Barry Richards on the strength (quite literally) of a season or two? He must have been very good - but the rest stood out as best for a decade and in case for more than two!

  • luks on May 1, 2012, 3:55 GMT

    One should consider the fact that many of the older batsmen played without helmets and still dared fast bowlers. And, that too when pitches were not as standardized as today. Which is why the players from the older generation will always have a greater charm. Cricket with more money has become too generic and does not allow for larger-than-life characters.

  • on May 1, 2012, 3:43 GMT

    i want to add few more names...sunil gavaskar,hanif mohammad,rahul dravid,justin langer,virendra sehwag..now dayz ian bell,virat kohli,rohit sharma,kumar sangkarra,younis khan are showing the new class of elegance...

  • Marcian on May 1, 2012, 3:38 GMT

    Surprising that he [Ashley Mallett] does not consider Brian Lara as one of the best batmen he has ever seen.

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  • Marcian on May 1, 2012, 3:38 GMT

    Surprising that he [Ashley Mallett] does not consider Brian Lara as one of the best batmen he has ever seen.

  • on May 1, 2012, 3:43 GMT

    i want to add few more names...sunil gavaskar,hanif mohammad,rahul dravid,justin langer,virendra sehwag..now dayz ian bell,virat kohli,rohit sharma,kumar sangkarra,younis khan are showing the new class of elegance...

  • luks on May 1, 2012, 3:55 GMT

    One should consider the fact that many of the older batsmen played without helmets and still dared fast bowlers. And, that too when pitches were not as standardized as today. Which is why the players from the older generation will always have a greater charm. Cricket with more money has become too generic and does not allow for larger-than-life characters.

  • mk49_van on May 1, 2012, 4:20 GMT

    Why do these folks keep picking Barry Richards on the strength (quite literally) of a season or two? He must have been very good - but the rest stood out as best for a decade and in case for more than two!

  • dunger.bob on May 1, 2012, 4:44 GMT

    Wish I had seen Sobers, but he was just a bit before my time. I heard he could hit a very long ball as well as pick the gaps all day long. My Dad used to say that Ian Botham reminded him of Sobers, except he was only about half as dynamic, or good, as Sir Garfield. ... Such a pity about Richards isn't it. If he was even half as good as everyone says he was, then he could be the benchmark opener that everyone tries to outdo. As it is, I'm not even sure there is one we could all agree on as the best ever. Gordon Greenidge for me but I'm sure there are a hundred different possibilities apart from him.

  • Emancipator007 on May 1, 2012, 5:02 GMT

    1.Since the batters are Ash's own choice, I won't be too critical. Retrospectively though Don made a blunder by not choosing Gavaskar(SMG) in his XI and got too swayed by Barry's attacking instincts in county and OZ domestic cricket (irrespective of quality in OZ domestic). Don passed away in 2001; wish somehow somebody had passed on tapes of SMG's coruscatingly attacking innings of 121 and 90 scored against Marshall, Holding and Daniel in consecutive Tests at Delhi and Ahmedabad in'83 at Sehwagesque SR! Then followed that up with a masterly 236* at Madras (the only one along with Deano to score a 200 against WI pace battery in '80s).The 121 and 90 were the most dominating innings EVER against WI of that era. And as a technician with an almost unbreachable defence , SMG was peerless in world cricket history- ask Imran,Akram, Roberts, Croft, Lloyd,Sobers, Richards (again Don might have been swayed by that other technician Hobbs' awesome first class record of 199 100s).

  • Emancipator007 on May 1, 2012, 5:11 GMT

    Lara was an incandescent dazzler and had some big 100s against OZ in OZ, however SRT's overall consistent record in OZ with his impeccable technique shades Lara just a whit. SRT also tackled Steyn, Morkel in SA with aplomb at 37 years. Lara though was supreme against OZ in WI. I feel that Sehwag despite his recent frailties on away tours can still be called the most dominating batsman of this era as he has done enough in his previous tours of OZ,SA and Eng; plus let's not forget that Viru is a CONVERTED opener which makes his records at that SR! doubly astonishing. Plus he has belted Morkel, Steyn,Akthar, Gul in Asia (subcontinent or not,takes some doing)and mastered Murali and Mendis like no other in recent history. Richards too was not his attacking self b/w 1986-91, but fans/pundits still recall only the exploits of the first half of his career; the same kudos should go to Viru. Ash not swayed enuf by Greg of '70s vintage('80s he faltered badly against WI)or Ponting b/w 2002-06?

  • tokoloshe on May 1, 2012, 5:34 GMT

    mk49_van - you have obviously not seen Barry Richards bat or read any of the literature there is on him.... They choose him because he was a phenominal talent.

  • on May 1, 2012, 5:39 GMT

    @mk49_van: Barry Richards was brilliant for more than "a season or two". He was always brilliant. He made a savage 208 against Lillee, Walker and co in 77/78 WSC. He was simply imperious when in full flight.

  • BillyCC on May 1, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    It is the opinion of unbiased guys like Mallett who have also been across more than five generations of cricketers that makes me rate Tendulkar ahead of other greats in the modern era such as Ponting, Kallis and Lara. However, it is also clear from the above descriptions that it is very tight between Tendulkar and the other greats from other eras such as Viv, Sobers etc.