March 18, 2013

The best after the Don? That's a toughie

Introducing the next theme in our series: the second-finest batsman ever (after you know who)
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A few days after Ricky Ponting hung up his boots, an Australian paper suggested he was the nation's next best batsman after Sir Donald Bradman. He might be. So might Allan Border, Greg Chappell, Neil Harvey, Stan McCabe or Victor Trumper. The editor of these pages (Sambit Bal) was enamoured of the argument and wanted to extend it to the next best after Bradman, full stop. He called me.

Whoah! I have no more idea than the next man. Had Bradman not averaged 99.94 - say 59.94 was his hypothetical number - we would debate him along with everyone else: some making a case for substance, others for style. These arguments are entirely subjective. There is no wrong or right, just opinion. Unless it is Bradman, of course; then the bets are off.

Sambit banged on about these past 20 years and the place not just of Ponting but of Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and Jacques Kallis in the batting pantheon. I sort of hate him for this but then again, it is the stuff of idle talk among all cricket lovers, so muggins here agreed to open the can of worms. Then the other day Brendon McCullum said that Alastair Cook was the best since Bradman. Ye gods, everyone's at it.

Figures have to feature in the criteria because they are the one constant, but these alter with time, laws, equipment, opponents and conditions. Comparing Trumper or Ranjitsinhji to Kevin Pietersen is impossible, other than to say they all liked a dash. Trumper could invent, Ranji could improvise, Pietersen does both, but the requirement and ambition in 2013 are very different. Barry Richards drove over extra cover and Mushtaq Mohammad played the reverse sweep, but they were the pioneers of their day. Now, if you bat at No. 7 in T20 cricket and can't pull those rabbits from your hard hat, forget it.

Bradman said he would have Iiked to have played the one-day game, and given his general rate of scoring, we can safely assume he would have been damn good at it. Doubtless, he would have cracked T20 too. Not many have been at the limit of their talent in all three formats. Pietersen has, but does this make him the best after Bradman? Probably not.

Tendulkar, then? Or Michael Hussey? Both have records in all three formats that suggest a thorough understanding of the distance of the match and the requirement of the team within it. From there comes the second and key criteria, the ability of the player to bat in a fashion that wins matches for his team. Runs themselves are a necessity: runs made when specifically needed, or in difficult circumstances, assume much greater value. How do we measure this? We can't, not through the ages anyway. Some form of Moneyball algorithm might soon unravel the modern player but, thankfully, the many misty years that have seen cricket evolve from a game of top hats, curved bats and underarm bowling to the kaleidoscope that it has become today do not allow us such forensic detail.

Bradman's chaser may be Trumper or Ranji. Or McCabe, who made a double-hundred at Trent Bridge that Bradman said he could not have played himself. Or Sir Jack Hobbs, he of 197 first-class hundreds; Sir Leonard Hutton, Neil Harvey or Hanif Mohammad. Perhaps it really is Walter Hammond, whose weight of shot and resulting performances are thought by those who saw him to have been unmatched - except by Bradman.

West Indians will say that George Headley was more than just the "Black Bradman", and that Everton Weekes could thrill a crowd like no other, not even Denis Compton. Maybe we should simply go to the Wisden Almanack and bury ourselves in the records. Graeme Pollock, Headley and Herbert Sutcliffe are the only cricketers, other than the Don, to have averaged more than 60. The first two played 23 and 22 matches respectively; are these enough to prove a man's place in the pantheon? Given the merit of the attacks faced, is Kenny Barrington's 6806 runs at 58.67 any less outrageously good than, say, Sutcliffe's 4555 at 60.53? And so on and so on.

In a private conversation that I was asked not to reveal during his lifetime, Sir Donald told me that he suspected Barry Richards and Graeme Pollock would have become the greatest right- and left-handed batsmen of all time had they been allowed full careers

It seems inconceivable to me that a man nominated the best after Bradman spent his career beneath a helmet. One of the Don's more notable achievements was to average 56 during the Bodyline series in 1932-33. The method of the bowling and the field settings that accompanied it brought the great man to earth and won England the series. Bradman wore the traditional green cap of Australia and was thus exposed to physical danger from Harold Larwood, while at the same time being unable to score runs in various areas of the ground because the law permitted a leg-side field with limitless positions behind square.

Those who played against West Indies circa 1976 were confronted by multiples of the same physical danger. None of this is to decry the achievements of those who came after the introduction of helmets. Far from it. Achievement comes within the parameters of the moment. But protection changes technique and expands options. As Kerry Packer famously said to Justin Langer: "Son, if we hadn't invented helmets, you'd be dead."

Bradman really only played against one team, England. Outside of Bodyline, uncovered pitches were his greatest threat. The modern game takes you to all corners. Murali in Colombo; Akram in Karachi; Marshall, Garner and Corporation at the Kensington Oval are all severe tests of character. It has become a merry-go-round, shunting players from airplane to hotel room in a way that players of the past could not conceive. The schedule gnaws away at enterprise and enthusiasm. Stamina is almost as relevant as skill.

The best batting I have seen came from Tendulkar, during the 1998 series against Australia in India, the series when he plotted for Shane Warne and then mauled him. The series when he tore the Australians to shreds. These performances confirmed a suspicion conceived a few years earlier by Lady Jessie Bradman, that the Indian boy batted like her husband. Tendulkar's straight lines and startling ability to slay Goliath were first evident against Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Abdul Qadir in 1989. It is a miracle that we can still watch it today, if in a diminished form.

The best single innings I have seen is by Brian Lara, again against Australia - one year after Tendulkar's tour de force - when he made 153 unbeaten in a chase at the Kensington Oval. Lara played a number of truly great innings, not least in that series, and more of them to wrestle control single-handedly than Tendulkar. He also broke the world record twice. You need a Bradman-like mind to do that. But Lara played in a weaker team and his effect was often lost.

Kallis plays in a strong team but on some devilish home pitches - the Wanderers and Kingsmead, notably. He is technically close to perfect and averages more than Hutton, so what's not to like? Not much. Perhaps a lack of personality in his batting? Or the notion of safety before seduction? But did Bradman seduce? Was his appeal in the sheer relentless nature of the performance that spoke for an emerging people, or in its theatre, which showcased their nation?

Ponting became the most feared batsman in the world but did not have to play against his own high-class attack. The bulk of his brilliance - 2003 to 2008 - came during a period when the others countries went quiet. No Ambrose or Walsh, for example, or Allan Donald. Not much Wasim Akram. Relatively, Ponting's dominance was unchallenged. It is why he so rates the match-saving 156 at Old Trafford in 2005. England, for once in his career, had a gun attack and the series was at stake. Anyway, all of these amazing batsmen wore the hard hat. It may not be your criterion but for the purpose of this analysis, it is mine. So rule out Martin Crowe, Rahul Dravid and Kumar Sangakkara as well. Sorry.

My cricket addiction started in the mid-1960s. It started with Ted Dexter, John Snow and Sir Garfield Sobers. Watching with near tragic commitment and reading, listening, impersonating and playing until lights out, I came to see the 1970s as a golden age. The finest batsmen I set eyes upon were - in a batting order, for the sake of it - Sunil Gavaskar, Barry Richards, Viv Richards, Pollock, Greg Chappell and Sobers. Easily, to be honest, a no-brainer. Others could do marvellous things, Gordon Greenidge and Clive Lloyd among them, but these six men captured the essence of my dream, whether as underdog or bully, and occasionally there was a moment of both for all of them. Only Tendulkar and Lara have stepped in their footprints since.

Because all were at, or near, their best in a ten-year period between 1968 and 1978, it is fair enough to compare and calibrate. The bats, though becoming heavier, were of a type. The dial of world cricket was giving similar opportunity to all except the South Africans, whose breakaway performances in World XIs and strong first-class cricket gave us a clue to the depth of their talent. One-day cricket was an embryo with which they could all experiment. World Series Cricket would have been a useful sorting office but there were no Indians, no Sobers and no Pollock.

Once during WSC, against the Australians at Gloucester Park in Perth, the two Richardses went through the gears together, and it is hard to imagine a better dovetail of strokeplay. Viv's ability to overwhelm an opponent is pretty much unparalleled. His walk to the wicket was a show of its own - has any sportsman made such an entrance! - and his presence, an aura that still exists today, gave him a headstart. The best Viv Richards innings feel like the very best innings by anyone: inflammatory, inspirational, irresistible.

Barry had everything, except a place in the record books. Apartheid denied him that. He was a flawless, almost magical, batsman with an original mind and an arrogance that allowed him to flirt with his audience, sucking them into his unique gifts but too often spitting them out with a careless parade.

In a private conversation that I was asked not to reveal during his lifetime, Sir Donald told me that he suspected Barry Richards and Graeme Pollock would have become the greatest right- and left-handed batsmen of all time had they been allowed full careers. He saw a lot of Richards during his summer with South Australia - the summer in which he made 300 in a day in Perth against a fine Western Australian attack that included the young Dennis Lillee - and enough of Pollock during World XI matches and so forth.

Pollock was really something. An executioner - albeit a graceful one, with an insatiable appetite for runs, and more runs. South Africans flocked to watch him at work, and then, as the Castle lager took over, licked their lips at the wreckage of his victims. "Vier lopies [four runs]," the Afrikaans commentators would exclaim. "Pollock… vier lopies!" and they would rejoice, for he was their worship. As the Pollock stance became wider and the Pollock bat became heavier, the method stayed the same. Keep it simple, stupid, he seemed to say, rock back and forward and thump it for four. Disbelieving bowlers were left stranded in their follow-through by cover drives and pulls that scorched the earth. It is hard to look beyond Graeme Pollock.

Unless you look to Sir Garfield. He was a shadow when I caught him at Lord's in 1973 - the bomb-scare match - but imagine the thrill of Garry Sobers in the flesh. He made 150. Thanks Garry. Rohan Kanhai made a tasty hundred too.

We went home and suddenly West Indies were beating England in their back garden. We pushed up our collars, rolled our shoulders and thrashed back-foot drives without a care in the world. This was the thing about Sobers; it was as if he had not a care in the world. Bradman said that Sobers' 254 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground was the best innings he saw, better even than McCabe's. That will do for me. Sobers was genius. He had hands as fast as snakes and feet that danced. There was a lot of Sobers in Lara, another with genius, and there are not many, Viv Richards perhaps. That is what Geoffrey Boycott thinks - that Sobers, Richards and Lara had genius, no one else. I defer to Geoffrey occasionally.

There was something of an emperor in Greg Chappell. Though his walk to the wicket was brisk, his head was held high and seemed to survey the vulnerability of the enemy. The strokes were from the classics - upright and surprisingly powerful. There was an on-drive to die for and uncanny placement through point and the covers. Everything about Chappell was precise and serene. The one surprise came when he was out. It seemed so unlikely. He made light of weakness and confronted strength with a visible strength of his own. He was brought down once, by West Indies, but even in that dogfight there was elegance. To average close on 54 in the Golden Age, and to do so without having the West Indians as your own, is to pass the exam with honours.

Finally then to Sunny, whose degree in batsmanship surely had honours of its own. Sunil Gavaskar CBE (Courageous Batsman Extraordinaire). This was a man who carried the cliché with him - the hopes of (nearly) a billion people - and did so before it was fashionable. The haughty Poms, the arrogant Aussies and those terrifying islanders from the Caribbean were all the same to Gavaskar, who tucked in behind the ball and relied on sound technique and exquisite judgement to make 34 Test match hundreds. His defiance spoke for new India: "We will not be bullied, we will fight them on the fields of Mumbai, Kingston, Melbourne and Manchester and we will never surrender". His occasional attack brought delirium. It is true that in the middle chapters of the Gavaskar story protection came from a skullcap, but the legend was formed by then and by a still head, set bare.

So who is it to be, this mythical best after the Don? It is tempting to say that Bradman himself was right about the two South Africans, but the hypothesis itself is not enough to go on. Barry has been my own favourite batsman - only Sachin nudged him for me. Tendulkar might well be the perfect answer - liked as he was by Lady Bradman, and for the many miles he has covered without compromise. It is truly remarkable that he defied Imran Khan in the late 1980s, Shane Warne in the late 1990s and Dale Steyn in 2011. Sachin could be the man but for the lid.

I go for the majesty of Sir Garfield Sobers, for his ability to make cricket a thing of beauty and joy; for breaking the world record score as a young man and playing with the same instincts as an older man. And for scoring more than 8000 runs at an average of nearly 58 when he had all those late nights from which to recover - never mind that he bowled quick, quick, slow, and caught flies. Yup, It's Garry. There is no going back. I just hit the "send" key.

Mark Nicholas, the former Hampshire captain, presents the cricket on Channel 9 in Australia and Channel 5 in the UK

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | March 21, 2013, 20:03 GMT

    Yes, Don Bradman is one of the best test batsman. Why other did not perform like him. Reason is simple only his team mates have same advantage, but they unable to perform. After great depression, it is just like filing the places. Take example of Headley, his batting average against Eng was more than 70 but against Australia, less than 40. Sutcliff near to 70 against Australia. He was almost double of him in term of statistic. Whereas Bradman average 89.78 is only 25% better than him. Playing against Grimmet and Reilly in timeless matches, they delivered more than 1200 balls in some test matches. It looks like you are facing 4leg beak bowlers overs in one match. I asked question which no body want to give answer, are you ready to accept Loahman 10.75 bowling average is more than double than other great fast bowlers like Marshall, Wasim Akram and many others. Can we say he is the best test bowler or not.Maintaining 10.75 is not possible any other case with grabbing more than 100 wkts.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | March 19, 2013, 2:55 GMT

    Yes Mark, a Grand choice.I saw Sobers at his best in action both in India & in England. Sobers was simply poetry in Motion. Whether he batted, bowled or fielded there was no other Cricketer who moved so gracefully as Sobers did. His innings of 168, I think in Sydney or Brisbane Test vs. Aussies, was classified by Jack Fingleton as the greatest innings in living memory. Sobers hit the seamer Mckiff bowling with the new ball for a SIX off the back foot which sailed over the sight screen. He cover drove a ball so hard that Burke at deep extracover after failing to stop the ball had to rub his hands under the arm pit. That was vintage Sobers, ferrocious yet so gracefully Silken! Bradman might have an average of 99.9 but Sobers was a complete Cricketer who thrilled the crowd with his grace the minute he stepped on the field. In my opinion there may be hundreds of great batsmen & some super great but inimitable Sobers is born once in a century to delight Fans. I was lucky to see him Live!.

  • POSTED BY Sir.Ivor on | March 18, 2013, 11:41 GMT

    Mark Nicolas has indeed taken into consideration all the great batsmen over a century. But in naming the best he has come to the only one who truly can be called the greatest cricketer, of all time-- not just -- the greatest batsman. Garfield Sobers the genius I was fortunate to see for the firt time in 1958/59 in India. It was not just his skills in this great game. When he stood at slips in silk shirt and upright collar, you could see the magician in him. When he batted, the bat ended up at the end of a full circle. Somehow that has stuck in my mind as the benchmark of a truly great batsman.The natural follow through of someone born to play cricket. When he bowled he could bowl really fast or teasing spin. It is in the context of his abilities other than just batting that his greatness needs to be judged. He excelled across countries against all opponents often great themselves. Without questioning anyone else's claims to greatness, let us just accept that Sir Gary was the greatest.

  • POSTED BY DaveMorton on | March 18, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    One for the record-book - I agree with Mark Nicholas! Well, it had to happen one day. From Hutton, when I was a little kid, to Tendulkar, Cook and Kallis now, as I approach old age.....this is a list of joy-giving batsmen, of whom Sobers was the best. From before my time, Cardus has given us Trumper, Sutcliffe and Hammond, Arlott has eulogised Hobbs. Come on, you scientists. Invent that time-machine. Soon.

  • POSTED BY supacricfan on | March 18, 2013, 6:54 GMT

    Stats alone wont give you a right picture,comparing players of different eras is almost impossible!!cricket is a totally different game now..laws have changed quite a lot now,remember during Bradman era LBW rule was quite lenient- ball had to pitch with in the line of the stumps to be given out!!!!that will obviously boost the averages!!cricket wasnt a pofeesional sport then,now players entire career depends on how they perform in the cricket field,that adds huge amount of pressure and imagine expectations of billion people on sachin and taking into consideration the longevity and dominating in all conditions and bowlers of 3 different generations TENDULKAR is the best batsman ever !!!!sobers and bradman were obviously in the class of their own but they never had expectations of billion people,no technology to assess players weaknesses and also no media scrutiny..all these considerations will put SACHIN above the rest!!

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | March 18, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    A piece to inspire debate, for sure! However, the key to this article is it's all about opinion. TO throw in my own 2c, I can't speak much about a lot of batsmen before the 80s, but my FAVOURITE of the lot is, and always has been, Viv. Close second is, and always has been, Danny Buckingham. Then, a whole lot of daylight. That Lara fella was handy with the bat, too...

  • POSTED BY VoltaireC on | March 18, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    Mark-Enjoyed this piece filled with nostalgia, boyhood heroes, great performances and damn statistics! I will make only one correction....Sir Garry was not the best since Bradman....he's simply the BEST EVER CRICKETER! Rarely ever Ian Chappell worships anyone....but unmistakably he worships Sir Garry for all the right reasons. His batswing is of 360 degrees, making always the cleanest contact....this man simply beggars belief. Bowls all kinds of spin, superb swing and very lively, fields like he meant to be....if he plays in T20 he would have 300% SR at the minimum.....ask all respected Aussies and they would be unanimous in saying that Sobers is the Best Ever!

  • POSTED BY kapslock_kk on | March 18, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    Mark is right in picking Sir gary sobers as th best ever batsman ,,Al gr8 thinkers of game like Boycott , ian chappell , Clive loyyed , tony Grieg , mike procter, denise Lillie etc have picked sobers as the best ever batsman they have seen in their lifetime , man was simply genius , never played with thigh pad in his career apart from helmet, used to take on best bowlers spin or fast , bradman asked him to come to south australia for playing with them , his late night parties were famous & to do next day on cricket field is stuff of legend,, regret i couldn't watch him play , from what i hv heard from cricket pundits GARY SOBERS is best batsman everr without any doubt & to add he could use to bowl fast , spin , etc ,,outstanding fielder as well ,,he is BEST EVER CRICKETER as well

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | March 22, 2013, 22:32 GMT

    Yes, after great dipression they were just filling the places. Those days, cricket was not famour so in other teams players were mostly not up to mark. Also they had to face Austraila too. Whatever you are thinking it is self assumption. Are you ready to accept that Headley did not get timeless matches against England just like Bradman had. So what would be actual difference. 71.23 into 89.78 with very few timeless test matches. Whatever he achieved, it is against amatuer bowlers. You are matching it with modern days batsmen. For me Viv is better than him due to his distruction ability against pace. Gavaskar also. Obvious so king of king, Brian Lara all are better batsman than him. These four are better than him. I always count him one of the best test batsmen but on so many points others are better than him. Like Headley, Trumper, Jack Hobbs are better than him on wet wickets. In elegancy Trumper, Jack Hobbs were far better than him.

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2013, 22:27 GMT

    No way that Tendulkar can be compared to Bradman, I don't think he has one innings in the Wisden Top 100 innings. Tendulkar was always kept in the Indian side and selected at a young age. He was also McGrath's bunny for a while. The other thing to remember is that guys like Ponting, Gilchrist and Hussey spent most of their best years outside of the Australian team due to our inane selectors. If Hussey had played in the 2005 Ashes series we would have won! I agree with the general tone of the article that the next best batsman after Bradman is a lottery between a number of players. Sobers is a fair pick of those players.

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | March 21, 2013, 20:03 GMT

    Yes, Don Bradman is one of the best test batsman. Why other did not perform like him. Reason is simple only his team mates have same advantage, but they unable to perform. After great depression, it is just like filing the places. Take example of Headley, his batting average against Eng was more than 70 but against Australia, less than 40. Sutcliff near to 70 against Australia. He was almost double of him in term of statistic. Whereas Bradman average 89.78 is only 25% better than him. Playing against Grimmet and Reilly in timeless matches, they delivered more than 1200 balls in some test matches. It looks like you are facing 4leg beak bowlers overs in one match. I asked question which no body want to give answer, are you ready to accept Loahman 10.75 bowling average is more than double than other great fast bowlers like Marshall, Wasim Akram and many others. Can we say he is the best test bowler or not.Maintaining 10.75 is not possible any other case with grabbing more than 100 wkts.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | March 19, 2013, 2:55 GMT

    Yes Mark, a Grand choice.I saw Sobers at his best in action both in India & in England. Sobers was simply poetry in Motion. Whether he batted, bowled or fielded there was no other Cricketer who moved so gracefully as Sobers did. His innings of 168, I think in Sydney or Brisbane Test vs. Aussies, was classified by Jack Fingleton as the greatest innings in living memory. Sobers hit the seamer Mckiff bowling with the new ball for a SIX off the back foot which sailed over the sight screen. He cover drove a ball so hard that Burke at deep extracover after failing to stop the ball had to rub his hands under the arm pit. That was vintage Sobers, ferrocious yet so gracefully Silken! Bradman might have an average of 99.9 but Sobers was a complete Cricketer who thrilled the crowd with his grace the minute he stepped on the field. In my opinion there may be hundreds of great batsmen & some super great but inimitable Sobers is born once in a century to delight Fans. I was lucky to see him Live!.

  • POSTED BY Sir.Ivor on | March 18, 2013, 11:41 GMT

    Mark Nicolas has indeed taken into consideration all the great batsmen over a century. But in naming the best he has come to the only one who truly can be called the greatest cricketer, of all time-- not just -- the greatest batsman. Garfield Sobers the genius I was fortunate to see for the firt time in 1958/59 in India. It was not just his skills in this great game. When he stood at slips in silk shirt and upright collar, you could see the magician in him. When he batted, the bat ended up at the end of a full circle. Somehow that has stuck in my mind as the benchmark of a truly great batsman.The natural follow through of someone born to play cricket. When he bowled he could bowl really fast or teasing spin. It is in the context of his abilities other than just batting that his greatness needs to be judged. He excelled across countries against all opponents often great themselves. Without questioning anyone else's claims to greatness, let us just accept that Sir Gary was the greatest.

  • POSTED BY DaveMorton on | March 18, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    One for the record-book - I agree with Mark Nicholas! Well, it had to happen one day. From Hutton, when I was a little kid, to Tendulkar, Cook and Kallis now, as I approach old age.....this is a list of joy-giving batsmen, of whom Sobers was the best. From before my time, Cardus has given us Trumper, Sutcliffe and Hammond, Arlott has eulogised Hobbs. Come on, you scientists. Invent that time-machine. Soon.

  • POSTED BY supacricfan on | March 18, 2013, 6:54 GMT

    Stats alone wont give you a right picture,comparing players of different eras is almost impossible!!cricket is a totally different game now..laws have changed quite a lot now,remember during Bradman era LBW rule was quite lenient- ball had to pitch with in the line of the stumps to be given out!!!!that will obviously boost the averages!!cricket wasnt a pofeesional sport then,now players entire career depends on how they perform in the cricket field,that adds huge amount of pressure and imagine expectations of billion people on sachin and taking into consideration the longevity and dominating in all conditions and bowlers of 3 different generations TENDULKAR is the best batsman ever !!!!sobers and bradman were obviously in the class of their own but they never had expectations of billion people,no technology to assess players weaknesses and also no media scrutiny..all these considerations will put SACHIN above the rest!!

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | March 18, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    A piece to inspire debate, for sure! However, the key to this article is it's all about opinion. TO throw in my own 2c, I can't speak much about a lot of batsmen before the 80s, but my FAVOURITE of the lot is, and always has been, Viv. Close second is, and always has been, Danny Buckingham. Then, a whole lot of daylight. That Lara fella was handy with the bat, too...

  • POSTED BY VoltaireC on | March 18, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    Mark-Enjoyed this piece filled with nostalgia, boyhood heroes, great performances and damn statistics! I will make only one correction....Sir Garry was not the best since Bradman....he's simply the BEST EVER CRICKETER! Rarely ever Ian Chappell worships anyone....but unmistakably he worships Sir Garry for all the right reasons. His batswing is of 360 degrees, making always the cleanest contact....this man simply beggars belief. Bowls all kinds of spin, superb swing and very lively, fields like he meant to be....if he plays in T20 he would have 300% SR at the minimum.....ask all respected Aussies and they would be unanimous in saying that Sobers is the Best Ever!

  • POSTED BY kapslock_kk on | March 18, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    Mark is right in picking Sir gary sobers as th best ever batsman ,,Al gr8 thinkers of game like Boycott , ian chappell , Clive loyyed , tony Grieg , mike procter, denise Lillie etc have picked sobers as the best ever batsman they have seen in their lifetime , man was simply genius , never played with thigh pad in his career apart from helmet, used to take on best bowlers spin or fast , bradman asked him to come to south australia for playing with them , his late night parties were famous & to do next day on cricket field is stuff of legend,, regret i couldn't watch him play , from what i hv heard from cricket pundits GARY SOBERS is best batsman everr without any doubt & to add he could use to bowl fast , spin , etc ,,outstanding fielder as well ,,he is BEST EVER CRICKETER as well

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | March 22, 2013, 22:32 GMT

    Yes, after great dipression they were just filling the places. Those days, cricket was not famour so in other teams players were mostly not up to mark. Also they had to face Austraila too. Whatever you are thinking it is self assumption. Are you ready to accept that Headley did not get timeless matches against England just like Bradman had. So what would be actual difference. 71.23 into 89.78 with very few timeless test matches. Whatever he achieved, it is against amatuer bowlers. You are matching it with modern days batsmen. For me Viv is better than him due to his distruction ability against pace. Gavaskar also. Obvious so king of king, Brian Lara all are better batsman than him. These four are better than him. I always count him one of the best test batsmen but on so many points others are better than him. Like Headley, Trumper, Jack Hobbs are better than him on wet wickets. In elegancy Trumper, Jack Hobbs were far better than him.

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2013, 22:27 GMT

    No way that Tendulkar can be compared to Bradman, I don't think he has one innings in the Wisden Top 100 innings. Tendulkar was always kept in the Indian side and selected at a young age. He was also McGrath's bunny for a while. The other thing to remember is that guys like Ponting, Gilchrist and Hussey spent most of their best years outside of the Australian team due to our inane selectors. If Hussey had played in the 2005 Ashes series we would have won! I agree with the general tone of the article that the next best batsman after Bradman is a lottery between a number of players. Sobers is a fair pick of those players.

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | March 22, 2013, 22:09 GMT

    @eternity, it is a completely different thing to face great bowlers versus dominating them. Out of your list, Tendulkar has only ever dominated Warne throughout his career. One of the reasons why Bradman supposedly never faced great bowlers was because he dragged their averages up so much that there were no great bowlers in the 1930s; they just don't show up on the stats. But let's not forget that for every great bowler that Tendulkar faced, there were many others who were not so good and where you could cash in.

  • POSTED BY remnant on | March 22, 2013, 20:28 GMT

    Just a short addition: Bradman's team at one stage were so strong, that they were called the Invincibles! Mediocre, fillers?

  • POSTED BY remnant on | March 22, 2013, 19:44 GMT

    My main point is no matter how much Bradman's achievements are nullified,even if somehow the peer comparison is left aside considering that he uniquely played when everyone around him were duds, not only in his team, but even in Eng, SA, WI & India, due to depression era difficulties, that still does not raise a mid 50 avg player who does not have triple ton, never played a winning innings, none rated in all time best list, has a poor 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings record to be considered the greatest. All that he has in in Test cricket are: 51 centuries in 197 Tests. Somehow this should convince us that he is the greatest. In order to bolster this argument, we get the 100 tons argument. Well shouldn't those 50 tons go into ODI category? Somehow the lack of big innings should be excluded in judging him, and other similar shortcomings waived. And a different metric used to come up with him and him alone as the best. I mean does it sound reasonable?

  • POSTED BY remnant on | March 22, 2013, 19:35 GMT

    @ZA,I just saw your post related to why DB's record is so exceptional. You infer that it had something to do with the poor quality of cricketers thrown up by the great depression. Well if that was the case, although I don't have any data to back, up, but then how long did this scenario last. As I know the Bodyline series happened in 1932/33 right at depression and Bradman avged 56,due to this tactic which was specifically designed to counter him. But if we see his record until his retirement in 1948 in post war era,by the time he had played Eng,SA,WI & India,the depression was a relatively distant memory,yet his performance stayed consistent!I did not understand why Australia during the depression were filling places with mediocre cricketers except DB,which allowed him to be the prima donna of the side.Shouldn't the depression have also impacted England and others equally?If DB got duds in his team who let him inflate figures, then even Lara & Sachin of 90s were lone rangers.Y not them

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2013, 18:12 GMT

    Dear Mr. Mark,

    Such a masterpiece it is, thanks a lot. I believe you have emphasized on the performances/players who have survived worse conditions than today and scored enormously with style, elegance and audacity. You've mentioned about a lot of cricketing legends, missed a few, but that's understandable because otherwise this article would never have ended. But my question is, what is the reason you've not considered a man who not only mastered the uncovered pitches, below standard bats, highest standard bowling attacks with bare head, but also ignored a major physical challenge with style which none of the Pollocks, Rechards' or Chappels had to even face. Yes, Tiger he was, I'm talking about Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi. I understand he couldn't be selected as the best after Sir Don, but where speculations could be in the air like "Had they given chance to have a full career(Like Pollock or Bary)", why "Tiger" was not even in the nominations?

  • POSTED BY remnant on | March 22, 2013, 16:01 GMT

    Sachin may be in the all time top 10 of Test batsmen, but his achievements to be considered even in top 5 are suspect. Purely objectively: Where are the triple tons, those long innings, that such giants are supposed to possess? Any match winning innings that can be laid at his feet, let alone considered as one of the all time rated innings? He has played more countries as is being stated but then so has Kallis, who has a higher average than Sachin, and perhaps a nine century difference separating him them. When Kallis has played on more bowling friendly conditions, and has doubled up as a strike bowler. Sachin's record against the 90s Pak Test team is also not that great. The only way Sachin's records can be beefed up are when the ODI scores are conflated, else on pure Test cricket merit, he is a mid 50s avg. player, who has scored more centuries in larger no. of matches. But that has happened before: Wasn't Gavaskar at 34 tons in 123 Tests, a similar case when he hung up his boots?

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    See the difference: GA Lohmann has some FC rivals, most in or around a particular era. More, he played only 18 tests. Whereas, Bradman's next rival is Pujara. Headley is his FC rival, averaging 70 against his 100! Lohmann looks very special. But his rivals are much closer than DB's. And stats point to Headley as the second best. If you check carefully, GAL would look the bowling equivalent, so to speak, of Headley rather than DB. Stats don't tell the whole story, but tell many things. Stats assume a special significance in DB's case. GAL serves not much threat to this fact.

  • POSTED BY SG70 on | March 22, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    @ BillyCC

    Heres a piece of FACT for you : Nobody (incl most of the 99.94% that vote for Bradman) ever consider the likes of Bowes, Voce, Bedser, Larwood to be anywhere remotely close in caliber , skill , and speed to say : Wasim, Waqar, Shoaib,Saqlain, Qadir, Ambrose, Walsh, Bishop, Donald, Steyn, McGrath, Warne, Mumu etc etc etc etc(Got bored hence the etc's )

    Once you come to accept this piece of fact you will realize why people vote for Tendulkar.

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | March 22, 2013, 12:50 GMT

    To hypothesise - that had Bradman played in the modern era he'd have done this or that - is an exercise in futility! Who knows? To assume he'd have bettered a modern batsman's avg - let alone maintained his magical 99.94 - is statistical nonsense. No statistician can extrapolate results, given the uncertainties of the real world. Today's 24x7 cricket is markedly different with 3 formats, tight schedules, intense competition & uncertain variables (pitches, conditions, injuries, fatigue, etc). Yes, Bradman was slowed by WWII, boat travel & serious health problems, especially fibrositis. It's so difficult to play with such a disabling muscular disease. No ifs or buts. It is what it is! It's creditable he achieved so much in that era. It's much to Sachin's credit that he's sustained from age 16 a consistent 23-year career - in a far more demanding, complex & competitive world. He's pushed the limits with his phenomenal Staying Power (not just longevity) to be the best! It is what it is!!

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | March 22, 2013, 11:19 GMT

    I am unable to understand why you did not find Lohmann record. Just go to England test records in bowlers and find it. It is very easy to find. Tendulkar combine average against Zim and Bangl is near to 100. One more thing is that Bradman only travelled four times to England in 20 years. He faced Hedley Verity 17 test matches. It means that regular bowlers were not repeat in his 37 test matches against England. Most consistent opponent was Hammond 31 test matches against him but he was not regular bowler. Other one was Gubby Allen with 12 appearance against him and then Larwood with eleven matches against him. Main thing is attack, not bowlers like when Tendulkar faced Warne, Lee, McGrath and Gillispie, two seam, one wrist and one swing at a time then finding runs is very difficult. You need flawless batting technique. Only ten grounds in two courntries Bradman played as compare to him atleast 60 in test matches in ten counrties. Six bowler took 100 or more and in his case 60 bowlers.

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | March 22, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    ZA77 - I would try and argue the point about Loahman but I cant find any record of this player on Stats Guru. Players can be only judged on what they were able to play at the time and as Bradman was unable to play in WI, Africa or the sub continent he simply cant be judged on that as we never know. SImilarly you cannot use one-day figures against him as the game was yet to be invented. A career test average no matter the opposition of 99.96 simply is astounding. If you dont believe me ask yourself why Tendulkar is unable to average anywhere near this against the weakest test nation Zimbabwe. There are so many legends of the game and it is no diservice to Tendulkar to say he sits behind Bradman.

  • POSTED BY CricFan24 on | March 22, 2013, 10:17 GMT

    @Chris Kay - Headley averages 72 at No.3 and 91 against England at No.3 ! Bradman's triple at No.5 was the one where he "reverse ordered" the batting line up on a wet wicket.

  • POSTED BY CricFan24 on | March 22, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    @ Chris Kay - Looking at the stats again, even the remaining 250+ scores or triples ( i.e ones scored by batsman batting after No.3) seem to have occured when the batsman involved came in early. You seem to have opened a Pandora's box ! Worth pursuing the issue.

  • POSTED BY CricFan24 on | March 22, 2013, 10:01 GMT

    @Chris Kay - A quick check shows that most 250+ scores are scored in the positions 1-3. Cant's say how many exactly but would venture a good 90% or so ! Batting positions 1-3 it is if you want to be most prolific !

  • POSTED BY CricFan24 on | March 22, 2013, 9:58 GMT

    @ Chris Kay : Re. "No merit either in the argument that the better your team is, the better you perform. Much of the time, then, the others cut into your chances". Couldn't agree more. Unless the batsman concerned is in a team which gets 50 all out everytime it is actually better to come in early and play out your innings to its full potential. The most prolific spot for a batsman for pure run-scoring is 1-3 . Richards and Lara too have better figures at No.3. No.4 is a more pivotal position and may benefit the team more , but not the batsman.

  • POSTED BY CricFan24 on | March 22, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    @Chris Kay : That's the thing - almost impossible to argue with the actual stat itself. The only thing is to look at possibilities. Lara has particularly weak against extreme pace. In another interesting slugfest going on elsewhere it has been pointed out that Lara never got a Hundred against any real pace bowler till the batting friendly conditions of the 2000s arrived. Then he got 4 against Flintoff and Lee. Zip against any other real pace bowler. With Bradman, the stats simply bulldoze everyone... unless we look at it slightly obliquely. 56 in the bodlyline series. No requirement to adapt technique to multiple formats and risky strokes, innovate etc,. The fact that in the 1930s and 1940s Headley averaged 80 against England then ( the only noteworthy team of the era besides Australia)...All in all, yes, impossible to argue against the Don "directly"...But no harm imagining various "what if" situations in the modern era - with it's own different challenges.

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    All this is wishful thinking. Lara fans can say he'd, in 20s and 40s, have averaged 100 as well. And Bradman fans can reply that he'd have averaged 200 today. Can't technology detect bowlers' flaws, too? The reality is that his figure stood at 100 while the rest struggled to reach 60. No merit either in the argument that the better your team is, the better you perform. Much of the time, then, the others cut into your chances. Your figures count better, of course. If anything, that in itself is a pressure. Any random period from DB's career follows almost the same pattern. If 29 hundreds and 7k runs and 50 tests aren't enough for you to judge, well, you're a simpleton. Which player has ever reached anywhere near, at any random stage?

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | March 22, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    One very important revelation was that Bradman was not as good on wet wickets like George Headley or Victor Trumper ,who outscored he Don on wet tracks.Infact Jack Hobbs was a better champion than the Don on wet tracks .Adding first class cricket records with his197 centuries and 61,237 runs Hobbs could have been the best ever batsman.Bradman did not also champion bodyline bowling like Stan Mcabe or later Viv Richards or Gavaskar.In pure natural ability Rokan Kanhai or Victor Trumper may have edged the Don.

    I agree overall with the question of comparing eras.However Bradman would atleast have averaged 75 runs in the 1970's -the peak of the pace bowling era.I back both Sobers and Viv Richards to average3-4 more runs in the modern era than their overall test averages with the easier paced pitches and inferior bowling attacks.However remember the pressure Sachin and lara faced.Playing for champion teams they may have even performed better.Thus comparison is unfair,morally.

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2013, 5:20 GMT

    CricFan24, you can see I was rather responding to similar attempts made against DB. Otherwise I'd not have mentioned it at all. As for contentious dismissals, that applies to every player. BTW, I've made a mistake; Viv's average in India is less than his overall figure. But his avg against them is marginally ahead. In any case, he was very special as a match-winner.

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | March 22, 2013, 5:19 GMT

    @cricfan24, Bradman scored runs from the beginning of his career at age 20 to the end of his career at age 40. In his last series at age 40, he averaged 73. In his worst series at age 25, he averaged 56. How's that for longevity? And there were injuries throughout, including sickness and health issues. So to answer your question, if he had played hundreds of games, he would have averaged 95, (his first class average) and scored more than 100 100s (which he did in first class cricket).

  • POSTED BY CricFan24 on | March 22, 2013, 4:55 GMT

    @Chris Kay - Once you start slicing and dicing you will manage to pick some "flaws" in just about anything. Tendulkar has played 2 full series in matches "involving" Mcgrath in which he avg. 50. These ofcourse include dismissals by other bowlers as well as several contentious and also freak dismissals...There are many explanations for any perceived anomaly which there will be in batting careers of any length, nevermind those extending a quarter of a century - But then once a tit-for-tat is started we would go on and on...

  • POSTED BY CricFan24 on | March 22, 2013, 4:02 GMT

    The longevity issue is actually only one of Tendulkar's attributes. As far back as 2002 he was widely recognized as the 2nd best after the Don , not just by consensus but also by various statistical measures in some studies by groups such as Wiisden. He was averaging around 59 then..with the Laras,Kalliss, Pontings etc not even in the same frame...Then Tendulkar started a poor run in the main due to injuries while the rest piled them on..For batsmen who batted right through the 1990s ( by far the tougher time for batsmen) only 3 batsmen average 50 + (Steve, Tendulkar and Lara) . Lara -52, Steve -53...Tendulkar almost 60 (MINUS Ban and Zim)...So, the longevity issue is just another criterion.

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2013, 3:49 GMT

    All silly things are being said about Bradman's 'advantages'. What about the guy in favor of whom all this is heard. He averages 150+ in Sydney but only 35 elsewhere in Oz. McGrath, almost his contemporary has bowled to him only in 3 tests there. How lucky the other batters were in this regard? And talking of the impact of this bowler, Eng won at Ashes 05 in tests where he didn't bowl. Why this guy doesn't have an invincible average? Don't say aggregate is as important as average. If that's so, then Chanderpaul would be better than Richards. BTW, Viv's average in India is higher than his career average. Mind you, he was something else!

  • POSTED BY CricFan24 on | March 22, 2013, 3:39 GMT

    All the others are retired. There's an element of nostalgia involved. Till end 2002 , before injuries diminished him, Tendulkar was head and shoulders apart from his peers. A while after he is retired , and partisan fervour or neighbourly and other bigotry has cooled - Then the appreciation of Tendulkar will only increase. How much would Tendulkar had averaged if he played only 50 odd Tests in the 1930s and 1940s. How much would Bradman have averaged if he played hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of matches in different formats - with possible injuries in the process.

    For me it's Tendulkar first...A marvel of batsmanship....

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | March 21, 2013, 21:35 GMT

    @Rangaraaj: To establish the next best to Don, one has to see the cricketers over generations which is tough. However, I do not agree with your statement that Sobers "played for the team that had the best, most lethal attacks of all time, no pressure on batsmen". Worrel was the first non white captain of WI when WI toured Australia in 1960. That alone puts a lot of pressure on the Team. Secondly, the Austalian attack was lethal with Benaud, Davidson, Johnston, Mckiff, Archer, etc. Australia won that series. How can there be no pressure on their leading batsmen over the series? Subsequently, the WI slowly became a dominant side in all aspects & Viv Richard may have played for such a team. But there is always pressure on the batsmen to perform. It is the opposition bowling they have to perform against, not their own. Sobers scored heavily against India in 1959. He was dominant in all countries: OZ, UK, India, Pakistan & WI. Anyone's great performance does not belittle other greats!

  • POSTED BY Rangaraaj on | March 21, 2013, 18:45 GMT

    You have to compare greats in different conditions. Most Bradman's runs came in Australia, at home. Never toured India, Pakistan, West Indies, and of course Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Sharjah etc. This factor also goes against the likes of Greg Chappell, Boycott, Barry, Pollock, Headley, Weekes, Hobbs. Only 4 qualify here, Viv, Gary, Sunny and Sachin. Viv Richards and Gary played for teams that had the best, most lethal attacks of all time, no pressure on batsmen. Viv came a cropper against spin in India, exposed even by Hirwani. Sunny was great but his problems were limited strokeplay, poor in ODI. Don,Gary took advantage of no lbw on front foot. In Chennai, Gary used his pads for 3 hrs. Therefore, it's Sachin. 1. Don and his wife compared him to Don. 2. Good performances against all attacks home, abroad. 3. Against pace, spin, all conditions, formats, longevity. Tallest thing about Don was 99 avg. Sachin's most runs in Tests, ODIs, 100 100s, ODI 200, matches if not surpasses it.

  • POSTED BY Metman on | March 21, 2013, 15:45 GMT

    Lara,Tendulkar what.?????.... It has to be Sobers..just look at the mans' average after 93 tests......Lara,and especially Tendulkar and Kallis,just play to get their names in the record books.

  • POSTED BY on | March 21, 2013, 14:24 GMT

    Longevity for the sake of longevity sounds absurd. There have been so many greats who left the scene rather early for the sake of youngsters or were forced by a better sporting culture.

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | March 21, 2013, 12:29 GMT

    Nobody is belittling the great Don's 99.94. It's incredible & most likely will never be matched (my words). Likewise, Sachin's total runs & centuries in Tests & ODIs are incredible & most likely will never be surpassed. Performance cannot be measured by just one statistic, whether it's a person or a country or an institution. To play consistently for 23 years reflects on his phenomenal Staying Power, especially in today's intensely competitive world. There's plenty of real evidence (as presented in my earlier posts) from an array of respected sources. BTW, TIME is not a tabloid! Murdoch's The News of the World is. It's been shut down amid the mega-scandal in the UK! Even as we speak, there's a book just launched: "Sachin - Cricketer of the Century". SA's great Allan Donald writes: "Tendulkar's is the first name that comes to mind the moment you ask who is the greatest"! So let's not belittle the Little Master or the great Don. Both belong in history as the "greatest" of their eras!!

  • POSTED BY remnant on | March 21, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    @ZA, you are apparently targeting the bowlers who bowled to Bradman and running them down.Well if that was the case, then why is nobody else from that era, anywhere even close to him in average.Kindly note, an average literally means the aggregate of all innings.This levels out any crest or trough.Consider any of his contemporaries, but this will remain hard to explain or spin otherwise. That is why this is the real benchmark of cricket historians.Agreed that Sachin has played the largest innings and had any other of these listed greats played, they would have had similar statistics. his achievements are more quantitative than anything else.Bradman played close to 2 decades,and used to travel for months over ship for foreign tours, and and the seven year interruption due to war.His pre and post war record nevertheless did not alter much.Until his retirement in 1948, he had 29 centuries in 52 Tests.Sachin has played 197 Tests perhaps and has 51 centuries. So where does greatness lie?

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | March 21, 2013, 11:07 GMT

    Shaggy please do not give up. Just enjoy the comments. Healthy comments are always welcome. One reason is that never compare players betwen two different eras. So many are against Tendulkar but I enjoyed their comments. Tendulkar totally scored 20 centuries against Aus (test + one day). Best against the best attack. Otherwise Sangakarra is there with batting average more than 57. 33 centuries in 200 innings. Statistically he is better in test but cricket is not game of only statistic. It is true Tendulkar has flawless batting technique. That is his strongest point. No one come close to him in term of technique. From 1928 to before word war II, Don Bradman faced only two bowlers with 100 or more wicket that was Verity, although Maurice Tate was also there. Take example of Gubby Allen he only played 25 test matches why while in same period Hammond played 85. Larwood came in 1926 and only played 21 test matches why. Yes, I accept him one of the best but not best of the best.

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | March 21, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    JA77 - im going to give up because you keep banging on abouts longevity stats and luxury stats of the modern player who get to play more cricket of certain bowlers without addressing any of the points I have made.

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | March 21, 2013, 9:27 GMT

    Shaggy, it is only your self assumption that he is still short of 40 average. Playing against ten teams with one day pressure is different and you are comparing it with two countries game. Bradman never faced quality bowlers that is why his average is 99.94. Never faced any fast bowler with 100 or more wicket in test matches. Mat over concrete pitches, timeless matches, same team same bowlers, amatuers, lack of quality bowlers faced by him and so many other facts. He faced difficulty for bouncers, lacking to understand googly, absence of elegancy, batting with horizontal bat, facing difficulty to play Eddie Gilbert and so many other facts are there. For ten grounds, too much lacking but for 60 grounds for Tendulkar has no lacking. Don faced difficulty to play Hollies plus Ian Peeble trouble him but Tendulkar is best agaisnt best bowler Warne. List the bowlers which you think had special deliveries like Grimmet was flipper specialist. In 37 test matches how he managed more than 200 wkts

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | March 21, 2013, 7:27 GMT

    More than 148 bowlers took 100 or more in test matches. 38 + 45 + 6 + 5 + 41 + 13=148. Don Bradman case 0+ 0 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 6/148. Totally he faced six of them. Tendulkar faced more than 60. For Sir. Bradman, category wise leading bowlers in histroy as per follow. 1. For leading 38 fast bowlers, Don faced none. 2. For leading 45 fast medium, he faced none. 3. For leading 6 medium fast , he faced one. 4. For leading 5 medium, he faced one. 5. For leading 41 off break / slow left arm orthodox, he faced three of them. 6. For leading 13 leg break he faced one. There was no speed guns like Shoib Akhtar, Lee, Thomson or Frank Tyson. No Richard Hadlee, Lillee, Dev, Botham, Imran Khan, Bob Wills and Trueman and many many others. No Marshall, Garner, Holding, Robert, Colin Croft, Ambrose, Walsh, Bishop and Hall. Not a single great bowler from W. Indies. No Wasim, Waqar, Allan Donald, Pollock. No Warne, Kumble or Gupte, Macgill or Benaud, Abdul Qadir or Mushtaq Ahmed or Kaneria.

  • POSTED BY on | March 21, 2013, 7:15 GMT

    The problem with these 'so many matches too many runs' players is that they'd be carrying all those dubious records too. For example, Tendulkar managed his 200th ODI defeat in the very match he reached 100th ton. Worse, it took all formats for the positive one. Bradman's greatness lies in that even while he was tantalizingly close to such an aggregate and average, he decided enough was enough. Compare.

  • POSTED BY on | March 21, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    See the difference. Best, so obvious. Second best, too many candidates: Richards, Sobers, Hobbs, Lara... In any other game, it'd be the best that would have been tricky. I'd rather sum up: Bradman, miracle; Sobers, legend; Lara and a few others, geniuses...

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | March 21, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    ZA77 - Why do you keep beating on about the number of wickets taken by opponents. If your stats have any merit you will need to include the number of games as we have established in the modern era there is a lot more cricket and greater oportunity for all bowlers to take more wickets. Have you ever considered the possibility that these bowlers were in and out the side as they were destroyed by Bradman.

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | March 21, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    Leading bowlers faced in test cricket top five by Sir Don Bradman were Gubby Allen 82, Larwood 78, Ken Farnes 60, Constaintine 58 and Charlie Griffith 44. Fast Medium Voce 98, Bowes 68, White 49, Bell 48 and Geary 46. Leg Break Wright 108, Walter Robbin 64, Peebles 45, Hollies 44 and Macmillan 36 Off Break / SLAO Laker 193, Mankad 152, Verity 144, Vincent 84 and one more. In Tendulkar case FAST are Walsh 519, Hadlee 431, Wasim 414, Ambroze 405, Ntini 390. Fast Medium McGrath 563, Pollock 421, Vaas 355, Kallis 261 and Hoggard 248. Leg Break Warne 708, Kaneria 261, Qadir 237, MacGill 208, Mushtaq 185. Off Break / SLAO Murli 800, Vettori 325, Saqlain 208, Emburrey 147 and Panesar 126.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | March 21, 2013, 4:15 GMT

    @ZA77 - "Batting technique not 100%, with horizontal bat, you cannot play in modern era." - interesting you should say that as Sachin's technique is supposed to mimic Bradman's more so than any other MODERN player. LOL!

  • POSTED BY Meety on | March 21, 2013, 4:12 GMT

    @jay57870 on (March 20, 2013, 9:37 GMT - if you want to go into tabloid opinion, a US magazine (approx 10 to 15 yrs ago), undertook an extensive analysis of ALL sports & concluded that Don Bradman was the greatest sportsman of all time. At the end of the day, no matter how much you want to maipulate the quotes, Sachin will only ever be in amongst a pack of other great batsmen vying for 2nd best.

  • POSTED BY Insult_2_Injury on | March 21, 2013, 3:38 GMT

    Loved the article, not interested in the subjective conclusion. The question never gets old and it's always interesting to contemplate when a batch of greats end (Ponting) or near the end (Tendulkar, Kallis). Much as Bradmans' opponents were mainly gleaned from one country, the contenders shouldn't be disadvantaged by supposed lower quality opponents. Surely the main comparison criteria is long term dominance over whichever opponent is presented and admiration as an entertainer from an impartial cricketing audience. Well written update of the main candidates. Look forward to the next instalment with 5-10 years of hindsight!

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | March 21, 2013, 1:07 GMT

    The reality: Tests, ODIs & T20s are an integral part of the international cricket calendar, managed by ICC & the boards. They have ICC rankings for all 3 formats! There's the World Cup for ODIs & T20s! Very popular! Test cricket is fading. So ICC's working on a WC for Tests too. Sachin's 100 international centuries (Tests+ODIs) is hailed as an epochal milestone by virtually every cricket columnist, commentator & statistician! The reputed historian David Frith proclaimed: "Hail the boy king Tendulkar"! TIME Magazine did a special report (my earlier post). Cricket's moving with the times. The modern era is totally different from Bradman's. It is what it is! Sachin is the highest scorer of total runs & centuries in both Tests & ODIs. Combined too! These are key accepted metrics (apart from avg). Big innings: Many (check cricinfo list). He's the first man to score 200 in ODIs, notably vs SA (Steyn, Kallis & Co)! Bradman was the greatest then, Tendulkar is the greatest now! Let's move on!

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | March 20, 2013, 22:27 GMT

    ZA77- We re not debating the best bowler and besides I have found no record for a Loahman on cricinfo. I would imagine in the non-professional era, it owuld have been very hard for bowlers to play a lot of tests and dont believe it would be only to do with English bowlers. Besides a lot of the English bowlers were shunned by the England administration after bodyline. Yes Headley is right up there but he clearly wasnt the best in his day and we are debating number 1. It doesnt matter how good the bowling is an average of 99.96 is astonishing, you can argue the quality of the bowling all you want but if Tendulkar was greater than Bradman he should be averaging over 100 against a very weak Zimbabwe attack. If we are debating the quality of the bowling shall we consider Tendulkars average against the 5 weakest attacks in his time Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Bangladesh and West Indies he has a sample of 84 tests against weak opponents 6874 runs at an average 0f 60. Thats still 40 runs short.

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | March 20, 2013, 22:23 GMT

    @jay57870, what a ridiculous example trying to use GDP per capita. But I'll humour you and still prove that Bradman is the best. Bradman's average of 100 is many many standard deviations greater than the next best average of 60. And it's not like Qatar is way ahead of second place in the GDP per capita stakes. So if you want an apples and apples comparison, this means you're comparing a country like Qatar to a country an extremely poor country with extremely low GDP per capita. Let's not name names but I'd know where I want to live.

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | March 20, 2013, 20:14 GMT

    Wally Hammond played 85 test matches in 20 years from 1927 to 1947. If we deduct six to seven years then 85 matches in 13 years. Garry Sobers 93 matches in 20 years and Imran Khan 88 in 20 years and so many others. Reason is simple those also too much cricket were there. But England bowler enable to play why? Take example of Clarie Grimmet of Aus, he played 37 test matches and took 217 wickets. It means 5.8 per test, he was flipper specialist. Are you ready to accept G Loahman 10.75 bowling average made him best of the best bowler in all time. Bradman near to triple figure and he is near to single figure. Also where should we put Headley more than 70 average against England. But he was able to play on wet wicket. Yes I am totally agree that Don Bradman is one of the best test batsman.

  • POSTED BY on | March 20, 2013, 17:05 GMT

    @ legfinedeep the answer is Inzamam ul Haq

    ==================================== very simple answer..... a batsman s as good as he performs in winning matches because that is the ultimate goal of every player in the team. so lets crunch some numbers and get a list of the highest averages of batsmen in winning test matches ( at least 20-25 matches or more). I did that and got the result and I can BET that many will be surprised to see the name of this unsung HERO !!!!

  • POSTED BY remnant on | March 20, 2013, 16:39 GMT

    @jay, The Test+ODI clubbing that is being proposed is an argument that cannot stand the test of any metric. Bradman never played ODIs. But if this is how the argument is to be made then why not first class, where agian Bradman averages similarly. And then ofcourse there are those who have close to double hundred centuries in first class matches. Fact is on the metrics of comparison, as they are: whether its average, peer comparison( that should answer the modern game vs old times), double hundreds, TRIPLE hundreds, dominance of existing opposition(Bradman has dominated all the countries he played Eng,SA, WI & India), and influence on the matches(winning average -130 for Bradman). And lastly any batting innings that can be rated in the all time best list. So tell me how does Sachin rate here in this list. Now bringing the ODI achievements is actually a fallacious and perhaps a sophistic move to inflate twice what is lacking on a Test match to Test match comparison.What next T20 results?

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | March 20, 2013, 15:57 GMT

    Bradman's 99.94 is incredible & most likely will never be matched. Still it's just an average: It's fixation as a "one-size-fits-all" metric can be overdone. For example, Qatar boasts the world's highest GDP per capita. That does not make it the world's best place to live in. Because an all encompassing index like GDP per capita (an average) cannot depict the entire economic spectrum. Similarly a batting average does not reflect the entire cricket spectrum of realities. Bradman played 70+% of his Tests against England only: limited # of familiar grounds & conditions. As explained earlier, it's a far more intensively complex & competitive 24x7 world today. The bar is much higher. One needs to look at other metrics too: Tendulkar's international record of 34,230 runs & 100 tons (to-date) most likely won't be surpassed. He outstrips his closest rival Ponting now by 7,148 runs & 29 tons - that's more than what the great Don scored in his entire Test career! That's total dominance!!

  • POSTED BY remnant on | March 20, 2013, 15:22 GMT

    There is only one cricketer who can be called the greatest without even a triple ton. Winnability and peer comparison aside, does a triple century on even batting friendly tracks count or not? Atleast a triple needs to be there in the CVs of these giant of giants. Wat say?

  • POSTED BY on | March 20, 2013, 12:01 GMT

    See some points that only serve to even more weaken their case while trying to belittle the great. He had so many flaws in technique. If anything, that only adds to his stature since he still manages double the average any other mortal has done irrespective of any era. And his average halved in body-line series; still it was 55 around! No matter that's mentioned in favor of someone whose average stands at nearly 5:1 for Sydney vis-a-vis Rest of Oz!

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | March 20, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    ZA77 - Your missing the whole point, everyone played for enjoyment in that era, even Bradman. If around today he would also have the advantages of todays professionalism. How can you ridicule an average of 99.76, when Tendulkar cant achieve this against the club level bowlers of Zimbabwe. You can always take stats and make them what you want to see, if you remove Zimbabwe and Bangladesh from all test records Tendulkars average is 51.3 (only .2 in front of Ponting.) Times change the world changes it doesnt mean that the inventions of Alexander Graham Bell is anyless important than the NASA scientists that got astronauts into space. Everyone in history has played there part and to make light of a 99.86 is a blinkered vision.

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | March 20, 2013, 10:40 GMT

    Za77 - You are simply missing the fact that they play a lot more cricket these days then they did in the 30'2. To go and play test cricket Bradman had to spend a month on a boat. You say he didnt play against any bowlers over 200 wickets which is completely understandable. Bradman played every test available over a 20 year period and played 50 tests. Not too many bowlers average over 4 wickets a game. It was impossible for bowlers to take 200 wickets. On top of that they were non-professional with very little medical assistance, no bowler was going to have the longevity of a batsman like Bradman. Current day bowlers do not play cricket for 20 years and this is what it took to play 50 tests. Then you point out stats of Gavasker having the equal amount of scores over 50 - again he played more tests. My question to you is if it was so easy in Bradmans day why dont any other batsman average over 60 - Bradman's average was 99.96. He was still averaging 100 at the age of 40.

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | March 20, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    Shaggy076 ZA77 - wow so many weaknesses for Bradman so I ask why couldnt players get him out for under 100. Becuase all bowlers of England were belongs to army and navy and they were playing as an enjoyment. Those days England did not have quality spinners. Pace were also not be compare with modern era. If you took top 50 bowlers of all time, almost bowlers belongs to modern era and very few to old one. How we know Bradman 89 against England is better or Sutcliff 66 batting average against Australian attack of those day, which one is better or we should only focus on statistic. Sutcliff faced quality spinners like Grimmett, O Reilly, Meily and so on. If you are not agree please list bowlers top five only in each category according to wrist spinners, finger spinners, seam and swing bowlers which Don Bradman had ever faced. If statistic is criteria, are you agree that Loahman is far better than Lillee, McGrath and Others. His bowling average 10.75 just like Bradman 99.94.

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | March 20, 2013, 9:51 GMT

    Only six bowlers took more than 100 wickets in test matches, which he faced. Tate (1924-35) took 32 wickets against Australia from 1928 to onward with bowling average 39.71. Wright (1938-51) took 108 wickets maintaining career bowling average 39.11 and Hedley Verity (1931-1939) took 144 and then in 1943 he died during World War 2. He took 21 wickets in Australia against them with bowling average 34.57 throughout his career. We may count William Voce (1930-47) in the list as well who took 98 wickets in career with facing him at home grounds only. Alec Bedser and Jim Laker (1948-59) came after World War 2 when he was finishing his career. Jim Laker took 9 wickets with bowling average 52.44 in only three test matches, which he faced against Bradman in 1948. Also Vinoo Mankad of India took 162 wickets in career with average 32.32. His average was 52.5 with grabbing 12 wickets in five test matches against Bradman throughout his career.

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | March 20, 2013, 9:37 GMT

    TIME Magazine conducted a special report last year (May 21), comparing Tendulkar's international cricket performance versus his nearest cricket rival Ricky Ponting & concluded that he led by a "margin wider than the gap between the two top scorers in other major sports"! This comprehensive analysis compared America's big sports & great stars: football (Favre vs Marino), ice-hockey (Gretzky vs Howe), basketball (Abdul-Jabbar vs Malone), baseball (Bonds vs Aaron). TIME proclaimed: "his ability to carry it for more than 22 years while utterly dominating his sport makes a good case that Tendulkar is the world's greatest athlete"! Likewise after Sachin's ODI retirement, Stats editor S. Rajesh in his analysis (Dec 23 cricinfo) reported he is "Way ahead of the pack"! He has dominated ODIs as no other: as an Opener, as "Australia's tormentor", as "World Cup superstar", as "The matchwinner" & so on! Whatever one's opinions, it's difficult to argue against evidence-based reporting!

  • POSTED BY on | March 20, 2013, 9:32 GMT

    Laughable arguments! Bowlers can spot batters' weakness today. What about the converse then? He batted against single opponent. Doesn't that hold for his contemporaries, too? And why does this Sachin not stand out likewise then from the rest in his own era but for an overhyped yet artificial longevity?

  • POSTED BY Tumbarumbar on | March 20, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    Supacricfan, I can understand enthusiasm but struggle with delirium. Tendulkar better than Bradman? Apart from the small matter of averaging a tad under a hundred, scoring a hundred every second test and resuming his career after an eight year gap due to World War two there are those other things that players like Sachin don't even have to think of. Uncovered pitches and grounds that more closely resemble paddocks than cricket fields, balls leaping and jumping off a length on sticky wickets hitting bodies protected only by thin pads and gloves with spiked rubber coverings. No front foot no ball rule which allowed bowlers to skate a meter further down the pitch, lightweight bats with a sweet spot the size of a grape, huge boundaries and of course no doctors, physios and support staff. Bradman also carried the hopes of a nation. One man, one headline, all it said was, 'He's out' and everyone knew who it was.

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | March 20, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    jay57870 - Real evidence, how about 99.64 - Tendulkar doesnt even average that against Zimbabwe. Oh, but your argument of Bradman only playing against England, its still an average of 99.64. Greats, are greats and they would be greats in any era - If Bradman was playing today he would have the financial backing to practise 24/7 and use all the other modern luxuries. ZA77 - wow so many weaknesses for Bradman so I ask why couldnt players get him out for under 100. Struggled with spin, he has a first class average of 113 and played regularly against O Reilly. Anjun - Your right the game is more evolved but the Don if he played today would also be more evolved. The game is more evolved than when Viv Richards played shall we draw the line through everyone who played before 2000. I am of the same generation as Ponting and Tendulkar, they are greats (legends) but I'm not so self centered, naive to think the achievements of past generations should be glossed over and ridiculed.

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | March 20, 2013, 8:49 GMT

    No bowler took more than or equal to 200 wickets in career except Alec Bedser(1946-1955), whom Don Bradman faced during his last period after world war 2. His bowling average was 46 against Australia during 1946-1948. Although he maintain 27.49 bowling average throughout his career against Australia. He was the only regular bowler who played more than 50 test matches in his career which Bradman faced throughout his career or we may say that Bradman never face any regular bowler with test matches at least 50 when he was playing against him. In history of test cricket, more than 150 bowlers took equal to or more than 100 wickets in which 55 are members of 200 club then 21 to 300 club then 400 to 10 members and for 500 only 5 bowlers available then 600 to three and 700 to two. Tendulkar faced atleast 60 bowlers who took 100 or more and he only six in which three came after world war II. For me anyone should make valid judgement with taking all points which I discussed.

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | March 20, 2013, 8:40 GMT

    Don Bradman scored 42 fifty plus innings in which two innings are 80 plus to 99. Then 29 hundred plus in which 150 plus are 18 and two of them are 175plus to 199 then twelve are 200 plus and in which 300 plus are two with 6297 runs scored in 50plus innings. We can compare it with Sunil Gavaskar as he had also managed 42 (22 are fifty plus and 20 are hundred plus) fifty plus innings in his first 52 test matches with run scored 5007 at 27 grounds in four continents in which seven grounds are in India with 50plus 4205 runs scored. Gavaskar faced bowlers like Derek Underwood, Imran Khan, Micheal Holding, Ian Botham and Malcom Marshall He lost his wickets 50 (12+11+11+8+8) times by these five bowlers in his career and faced others like Wasim Akram, Richard Hadlee, Denis Lillee, Joel Garner, Andy Robert, Bob Willis, John Snow, Thomson, Craig McDermot, Merv Hughes, Lance Gibbs, Abdul Qadir and Garry Sober in his whole career. Bradman lost his wickets against Verity, Bedser, Larwood, Tates etc

  • POSTED BY ZA77 on | March 20, 2013, 5:24 GMT

    No doubt Bradman is one of the best test batsman. For me Tendulkar is ahead of Bradman. Reason is simple, no weakness against any bowling attack against all conditions. Don Bradman played only in Eng and Aus. Always faced difficulty to play Eddie Gilbert. Adaptablity not 100%, like body line series made him half. Always had problem to face boosie (googly) like in last inning what happened. Also on other ocassion he faced difficulty to face it. Batting technique not 100%, with horizontal bat, you cannot play in modern era. Not elegant batsman like Victor Trumper. Also his ability to play on treachous wickets are doubtful. Victor Trumper was better than him on wet wickets. When we asked for best, criteria should be the best one. For best all things should be there. Honestly compare weaknesses of Tendulkar with him and then decide by your self, who is better. Tendulkar have no weakness like he had so many.

  • POSTED BY on | March 20, 2013, 4:55 GMT

    I don't believe it is fair to compare players of the past to the present best players of cricket. Cricket is an ever evolving game and I believe it is wrong to 'assume' Sir Don Bradman would fare the same in the much more 'evolved' game of cricket. If you were to somehow bring Sir Don to the present, he would be having an odi average of about 25-30 and a test average of 40-45, which is pretty average for a NORMAL player. I don't think the Sir Don of the past would not be able to match to the technical levels of Australian players like Mike Hussey & Ponting (Tests), Shane Watson & Clarke (Odis) etc. I believe we are playing a much more evolved game of cricket and Sir Don would be completely bogged down by pace attack to the likes of Daryl Steyn and Mohd. Irfan. Moreover, Sir Don has not experienced playing in the changed subcontinent pitches with turning tracks. After all, playing in the 1930's & 40's was a lot different from playing today..

  • POSTED BY SouthPaw on | March 20, 2013, 3:49 GMT

    Sir Garfield, without any doubt, the true "Mr. Cricketer"!!

  • POSTED BY legfinedeep on | March 20, 2013, 3:26 GMT

    Hassan Rafique Mir: so come on, don't hold out on us. What answer did you get?

  • POSTED BY on | March 20, 2013, 2:06 GMT

    Well, as expected, most comments on patriotic lines. And no wonder a certain player leads even Sir Don. The number you commands depends on your country's population! Maybe that separates this game from, say, tennis. Federer would perhaps have been preferred over Sampras no matter the latter comes from a much more populous country.

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | March 20, 2013, 0:51 GMT

    An update: After Ricky's retirement, the scorecard (Tests/ODIs) stands frozen as a record: Sachin's 34,071 runs & 100 tons outstrip Ricky's by a staggering 6,989 runs (26% margin) & 29 tons (41%). These gaps are equal (~) to what Bradman achieved - 6,996 runs & 29 tons - in his entire Test career! And the "daylight" gets longer as the Little Master continues to play into the sunset! Critics say that's because Sachin's played many more matches. True. But that's precisely the point: He's outlasted his rivals (longevity) because of his phenomenal Staying Power over 23 years! He has pushed the limits of human performance! The physical endurance & mental toughness have enabled him to play through pain & injury, slumps & fatigue & to cope with adversity, crises & security threats - not to mention constant media scrutiny - and, yes, the expectations of 1+ billion people! So TIME declares: "We have had champions ... legends, but we have never had another Sachin Tendulkar and we never will"!!

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | March 20, 2013, 0:40 GMT

    Mark - The Bradman era is totally different from the modern era: It's a sea change from a bipolar world (Eng, Oz) to a multipolar one. It's seen the advent of a WI dynasty, a post-apartheid SA & a significant "power" shift to South Asia. Moreover, cricket is far more complex & challenging with the addition of the shorter formats: It's now a 24x7 sport with diverse conditions, pitches, weather, time zones, schedules, around the world. With modern medicine, technology & improved protective gear, facilities & training, cricket is moving with the times. Helmets & covered grounds have made it better & safer. Importantly, it's a much more intensively competitive world. Just look at the ICC rankings! The bar has been raised. Yes, the great Don's 99.94 is commendable: he dominated the opposition, mainly Poms, in the small Test world he played in. But to dominate international cricket in today's big world is a far more compelling story. For that we need real evidence, not agonising opinions!

  • POSTED BY boxer44 on | March 20, 2013, 0:31 GMT

    Bradman played all his games in either Aus or Eng, so I have to say Sir Garfield Sobers

  • POSTED BY Venkatb on | March 19, 2013, 22:38 GMT

    Lady Jessie and Sir Don were in their 80s when they observed Tendulkar so they can be excused for being too adulatory. There is no denying that Gary Sobers was the most talented cricketer and batsman ever. Had he been born 25 years earlier or later, with the tamer bowling attacks of the 30s or the benefit of helmets, he may have averaged over 70. In the competitive 60s India was the only weak side Sobers played against - I had the opportunity to watch him as well as meet him in Calcutta on a riot-packed January 1. Sobers was way ahead of anyone else as a batsman - he was cavalier yet could slow himself down to save his side - he had 2-3 different strokes for every ball - he was a delight to watch. Every other all-rounder or batsman was a poor man's Sobers. Viv Richards was a lesser batsman than depicted for he had the benefit of a fearsome pace attack - fearing retaliation, nobody dared bowl a bouncer at any WI batsman - nobody save Lillee!

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 22:36 GMT

    Can it truly be said Sobers was a better batsman than Hammond, Hobbs, Headley, Weekes, Pollock, Barry Richards or Tendulkar? The fact Sobers may have been elegant, stylish and a great all rounder, is irrelevant. The article is about the next greatest batsman to Bradman. Style and elegance have no place in determining this, otherwise Bradman would not be number 1.

    I believe if Bradman was playing today he would average about 110, because pitches are covered, boundaries are smaller, bats are more powerful, protective clothing gives more confidence (Bradman said he would have worn a helmet) and some bowling attacks (Bangladesh, Zimbabwe) are weak. So, Bradman would have averaged twice what Tendulkar does! Enough said.

  • POSTED BY Rally_Windies on | March 19, 2013, 22:25 GMT

    Best after Don ---

    an discussion without Jack Hobbs and George Headly !

    this article is a mistake ....

    it should be :" best I have seen"

    the author limits the selection to players he has seen, which is not really fair ....

  • POSTED BY gotmymojo on | March 19, 2013, 22:24 GMT

    Without a doubt, Sir Garfield Sobers is the greatest cricketer. It was master class watching him batting, bowling or fielding. He had class and authority. Others don't even come close by a mile. Sobers is numero uno. A fantastic batsman, who was fearless, scored runs at a high rate and dominated the opposition. He was not interested in averages or statistics that the so called great modern players do. He also said one does not need a helmet as one has the bat to protect oneself! Amazing cricketer and a true gentleman.

    Viv Richards, Barry Richards, Pollock, Lara, Greg Chappel, Majid Khan, B.K. Kunderan were also a pleasure to watch.

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | March 19, 2013, 21:34 GMT

    A piece of logic worth mentioning to any doubters: Bradman single-handedly increased first class and test bowling averages of all bowlers in his era by between 5-10 runs per innings on average and that's if we compare him to an equivalent No.3 batsman who averaged 60 in the same era. Need anyone say more.

  • POSTED BY Moppa on | March 19, 2013, 21:16 GMT

    While we're debating how easy Bradman had it, not many people know that he nearly died at the end of the 1934 Ashes tour after suffering appendicitis which led to a condition called peritonitis that was often fatal at that time. He spent many months recuperating in England and missed the entire 1934-35 Australian season.

  • POSTED BY Captain_Tuk_Tuk on | March 19, 2013, 20:32 GMT

    I agree with Mark Nicolas after Bradman Sir Garry Sobers is the best batsman of all times. They have played without helmets and the bats and pads of that time weren't like today, neither power plays nor AC dressing rooms or such luxuries. Garry Sobers hit 6 sixes in a row in a Test match if he had played in today's era in T20s with helmets and light bats and pads I can never imagine what he would have caused with the bowlers. And @remnant Garfield Sobers was the greatest all rounder of all times, again this is just my opinion.

  • POSTED BY remnant on | March 19, 2013, 20:24 GMT

    @luvcricket, among the greats compared here, Sachin does have a poor 4th innings record, especially if he is being touted as the greatest. I mean it is delusional to put up a mid 50 avg player as the best across ages! you wouldn't be pushing his case were he not Indian. Admit it. That's the only reason why this has gone so long. I have seen Sachin since his 1989 debut and know his class. But that does not deny that his avg against the Pak team of 90s, in Tests isn't not that good. We are getting into subjective territory here, and one man's opinion is another man's ravings. However on objective criteria such as peer comparison and winnability, he does not stand apart to be considered the greatest, or as the topic is: the 2nd greatest! The thrust to confer the pinnacle of batsmanship to Sachin, stems more from emotional reasons than objective assessments.

  • POSTED BY swarzi on | March 19, 2013, 19:48 GMT

    Mark, Let me put this case to rest: I'm going to use Tendulkar's own words: Sachin Tendulkar said that on visiting the Gt Sir Don Bradman on his 90th birthday, he asked Sir Don, "what do you think you would average, if you were playing now"? Sir Don's answer was, "70". According to Tendulkar, "now" in the question meant if Sir Don was playing in this modern era. But he was totally wrong, Sir Don understood the word "now" in the question to mean, if he (Sir Don) was playing at "his present age" of 90! Hence, Sir Don was confident that if he were playing at his old age of 90 in the modern era, he would still have averaged "70"! I therefore think it is an insult to the unmatchable Sir Don and the many gt batsmen who like Sir Don were equally good in their prime and old age to suggest that Tendulkar is second best after Sir Don - even though Sachin very fit to play the game, has been playing consistently for the last 2+ years; but in 35 innings can't score a single 100 and only averages 29

  • POSTED BY luvcricket_new_gen on | March 19, 2013, 19:29 GMT

    @remnant, no one has a proud record in 4th innings chases. I just meant that whenever India had successful 4th innings chases, Sachin did make contribution. It need not be big 100s (infact no one has numerous big hundreds in 4th innings). Lara did have a couple but that is on his day. In terms of consistency, he was no where close to sachin. No one is close to sachin in terms of consistency. I agree on one point. Sachin was over and done at end of 2011 WC (peak). I would have preferred him staying on 99 hundreds which in itself is sth unassailable. But still it was a 22-year consistent career. And go and watch some youtube videos. Sachin has outplayed waqar, wasim, akthar, donald, mcgrath, ambrose, warne, murali, steyn, caddick, and many other premier bowlers.

  • POSTED BY remnant on | March 19, 2013, 19:28 GMT

    Although I haven't seen Sobers in his playing days, but when Kallis finally hangs his boots, then in time posterity will confer on him an exalted status as perhaps the greatest all rounder. Agreed that Sobers scored huge scores, but Kallis the batsman and Kallis the bowler outshine many great allrounders. In a couple of decades, history might confer the greatest all rounder tag to Kallis. This is my opinion.

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 18:40 GMT

    very simple answer..... a batsman s as good as he performs in winning matches because that is the ultimate goal of every player in the team. so lets crunch some numbers and get a list of the highest averages of batsmen in winning test matches ( at least 20-25 matches or more). I did that and got the result and I can BET that many will be surprised to see the name of this unsung HERO !!!!

  • POSTED BY Cricket_archive on | March 19, 2013, 18:24 GMT

    It is a good article from mark but i think it is very difficult to compare the batsmen from differentl eras and deciding who is better.its is simply not possible because the conditions,pitches,bowlers,technology,equipments etc were all different in different eras.we should compare batsmen of same era and i think there were some great batsmen produced in the last 20 years such as

    1.Brian lara; Most elegant and stylish batsmen to watch,capable of playing long and matchwinning knocks.saviour of westindian team and high critical acclaim.

    2.Sachin Tendulkar:A batsmen with perfect tecnique, consistecy throughout the career,saviour of Indian team and high critical acclaim.

    3.Ricky ponting:the most dominant and aggressive batsman,most matchwinning knocks .

    4.Jacques kallis: the most underrated batsmen,the darke horse of south africa,highly consistent batsmen and deserves same recognition as above.

    we as a cricket fan should respect all these batsmen for what they did.

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 18:21 GMT

    A great read. My old man always said Graeme Pollock was the best he ever saw. And Chappell too. but I can only comment on who I have seen... I'm surprised no mention of Steve Waugh. My Aussie blood aside I always thought I'd prefer him in my side over Lara or Tendulkar. He was undefeatable in defense and he put you to the sword in attack. He didn't have all the shots but when did you see hem get out to a short ball? he just put his bat down and let it him. His 200 in 1995 against the West Indies was defining not just as a player but what sort of man he is. is he next best to The Don? maybe not, but he was the best that I have seen.

  • POSTED BY Mittaraghava on | March 19, 2013, 18:19 GMT

    I have a few words about the great G.Sobers.I have seen him tour India as a captain.He is undoubtedly the greatest alrounder the game of cricket had ever seen.As a batsman he has played some of the greatest innings evr played especially the double century vs the world 11,which the great Don Bradman said,it was the best innings he had seen.But i noticed during his era ,Sobers never created the aura ,the fear among the best bowlers of his time ,as did V.Richards against Imran Khan,R.Hadlee I.Botham,Kapil Dev.They have said that in their interviews also and V.Richards in a TV interveiw told blatenltly,that he walked down the pitch to dominate the bowlers ,which was his nature.His f

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 17:58 GMT

    1. Vivian Richards. 2. Don Bradman 3. Brian Lara 4. Javed Miandad 5. Gary Sobers 6.Adam Gilchrist 7.Virender Sehwag 8. Hashim Amla (He is now fastest to 10 ODI hundres, and he already has triple hundred in test cricket, and he is bound to move upward in this list) 9. Barry Richards 10.George Headley 11. Graem Pollock 12. Sanath Jaysuraya/Walter Hammond 13. Sachin Tendulkar/ Kevin Petersen 14.Jack Hobbs 15. Inzimam-Ul-Haq 16. Jacques Kallis/Sunil Gavaskar/Len Hutton 17. Mohammad Yusuf/Martin Crowe 18. Ricky Ponting/Greg Chappel 19. Gordon Greenidge/Saeed Anwar 20. M.S.Dhoni 21. Mohammad Azharuddin 22. Zaheer Abbas 23. Yuvraj Singh/Majid Khan 24. Mark Waugh 25.Allan Border 26. AB Devillies 27. Mathew Hayden 28. Arvinda De Silva 29. Saleem Malik 30. Rahul Dravid/Mahela Jayawadene 31. Rohan Kahani 32. Desmond Haynes 33. Graham Gooch/Kumar Sangakkara 34. Gundappa Vishwanth 35 3 Ws 36. Ian Chappal Special mention for Shahid Afridi for being able to score faster than anyone.

  • POSTED BY Mittaraghava on | March 19, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    Since 1960 i have followed world cricket.I divide the batsmen i have seen as per the era they played into 3 groups with top 3 from each era. The first group 1.G.Sobers 2.G.Chappel 3.Ken Barrington second group 1.S.Gavasker2.V.Richards 3.S.Waugh third group1 S.Tendulker 2.B.Lara 3.R.Ponting To select the best batsman from 3 different eras is difficult.The only batsman who dominated all the best bowlers in the world during his era is indeed Viv Richards.The great bowlers of his time have confessed this in their interview on many occasionss.Hence keeping aside all statistical records and conditions of different eras,my choice is "Sir Vivian Richards"

  • POSTED BY remnant on | March 19, 2013, 17:12 GMT

    @luvcricket, Sachin's 4th innings record isn't something to glow about. Besides his impact on inlfuencing the matches(Test matches we are talknig here) has been dismal for someone being anointed as the best. The only innings where he took the match to victory could be the 1999 Chennai test against Pak, but even here he could not cross the line. Other than that there is hardly any other instance of him winning any match for India. Now some would say, he didn't have support etc, but close to 200 matches, surely some situation would have meant he could have raised his hand and delivered like Lara did for WI single handedly on a no. of occasions. Besides Sachin's record against Pak bowlers of 90s isn't that impressive. Although he only played two series against Wasim, Waqar etc, and has this century however the average is not high at all. Most of his big scores have come after the retirement of some of these players. He was one of the two best players of 90s. But not anymore.

  • POSTED BY pipsonian on | March 19, 2013, 16:52 GMT

    Mark, you need to be very careful now when you visit India, if you ever plan on visiting India. I bet, Indians didn't like it when you put Gary ahead of Tendulkar but guys, what you need to understand is that even Lara and Kallis are better than Tendulkar. Tendulkar is a technically very correct batsman but sorry, he is not a match winner and he does not instill fear into the enemy. Even if you ask the greatest bowlers of Tendulkar's era, they will tell you that he wasn't someone they were afraid to bowl to. I have heard greates like Walsh, Ambrose, Donald, Akram, Waqar that they didn't think Sachin was the best batsman they had bowled to. No doubt his longevity is appreciable but sorry he is not the best batsman.

    NowI would like to see a similar series to best bowlers, and Wicket keepers

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 16:26 GMT

    All this talk becomes relevant if it shifts to who's the (distant) second best. Sobers, Richards and Lara come to my mind, for their sheer aggression. But then Sobers and Richards didn't use helmets and that's a very valid factor to vote them. Hard to choose between; still Sobers' better stats and the fact that Richards perhaps faced lesser bowlers go in the former's favor. I know too little of some other giants like Weekes, Headley or Hutton. So Sobers would be my choice. And Sobers' with his added bowling credentials stand very close to the maestro, as a cricketer. BTW Ponting, a match winner, and Kallis, somewhat a miracle as a cricketer, too are my favorites.

  • POSTED BY luvcricket_new_gen on | March 19, 2013, 16:04 GMT

    SACHIN SACHIN - the greatest batsmen cricket has ever seen. Over 20 years of class, runs against every bowler, in every conditions, having all the strokes in the book, ability to guide other players when batting, knowing where exactly the next ball would be, winning matches on his own (yes, he was an one man army in 1990s for India, and look at India's most 4th innings run chases in tests it would have sachin's contribution), and above all the crowd darling, he can pull masses in all parts of the world. ODIs - no one near him and in tests he is along with Lara, Ponting and Kallis after Don. But if you talk both formats no other player stand near to Sachin. His technique and elegance makes you forget all worries when you watch him bat.

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 16:01 GMT

    Sobers was the greatest of all the time than DON and than Lara....

  • POSTED BY rockx on | March 19, 2013, 15:44 GMT

    Lovely piece of writing, very elegant. Captured almost all of the great batsmen of the last century. I would have liked a mention of Adam Gilchrist in the essay. For sheer ability to invoke the fear of god in the opposition, I think there is no one who could match Gilly except of course the king of all batsmen, Viv Richards. I would rate Sehwag along with Viv and Gilly in that category.

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 15:28 GMT

    Hashim Amla is the fastest 10 ODI hundreds, and now he has 11 hundreds from 64 ODI innings and no other batsman has scored 10 ODI hundreds in less than 80 innings. Sachin Tendulkar did not have a single hundred in 66 ODI matches, the number of matches in which Amla scored 11 hundreds, and just check how many of them have come in winning cause. Lara has many big scores like 500, 300s, and many more double hundreds than Sachin Tendulkar, and that too in far less number of matches. Shahid Afridi has many fastest hundreds. Javed Miandad has played many remarkable innings under pressure than any other batsmen. Viv Richards averaged more than 47 in ODIs with an strike rate that was impossible in those days. Gilchrist, Jaysurya, and Sehwag could destroy bowling attacks. There are many batsmen who have higher averages than Sachin and even Gary Sobers, then how can you argue that Sachin or even Gary Sobers was best since Don Bradman, or for that matter, Don was the best of them all.

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 15:10 GMT

    Bradman played largely against one team? But his first class record is as impressive. He continued where he left from, even after such a big break and at an age where most batters tend to look half, if not less, the players they once were. He is the biggest miracle at least in sports. Ponting, Lara and Richards were great, but the gap is too big. For any other player, different eras may look tricky to compare. But when one stands apart from his contemporaries in such fashion, well, even an argument becomes irrelevant.

  • POSTED BY vsssarma on | March 19, 2013, 15:01 GMT

    After Bradman, the best test match batsman of all time has got to be Brian Lara. In the series that he played, Don Bradman scored about 12.5% of all the runs scored by all the batsmen. The next best is Brian Lara, who scored about 10% of all the runs. Lara excelled and stood tall in a weak team.

  • POSTED BY bbpp on | March 19, 2013, 14:51 GMT

    No player has been so far ahead of his peers as Bradman. Not Pele, Maradona, Laver, Federer, Nicklaus, Woods, Jordan etc so anyone bringing up eras and playing conditions to try to make an argument that their idol is no.1 is clearly idol worshipping and therefore lacks objectivity.

    No. 2 however is open to debate. Hobbs and Tendulkar are the finest batting technicians and that is why they have had the unparalled consistency spanning decades. Sobers, Viv and Lara are batting geniuses perhaps without the discipline of the previous two but they are geniuses. Headley was called the black Bradman for a reason. No. 2 should be one of those....your pick. Pollock and B Richards unfortunately paid for their brothers' sins but FC averages of 54 are not Bradmanesque.

    Chappell, Gavaskar, Ponting, Kallis, Miandad, Hammond, Weekes, Dravid, Border, Trumper, Ranji, Worrell, Compton and others are why we love the game.

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | March 19, 2013, 14:29 GMT

    Mark - If opinion-based arguments are to be believed, then let's weigh in cricket historian David Frith's informed opinion: "It is tempting to mark down Bradman and Tendulkar as the finest two batsmen who ever lived"! So he posed the question: "So what did the greatest of a former era think of the greatest of our time?" The great Don personally wrote to Frith extolling Sachin wherein "he felt himself in tune with his (Sachin's) technique and his aggression"! Like Don himself: An equal. Yes, Mark's "suspicion" of Lady Bradman feeling the same way is "confirmed" in writing by the founding editor of Wisden Cricket Monthly! Yes, Sobers is arguably the greatest all-rounder. Still, several cricket greats - notably Sir Richard Hadlee (NZ), Allan Donald (SA), Viv Richards (WI) & Nasser Hussain (Eng) - have opined that Sachin is the "greatest" batsman ever! Obviously it's not a "toughie" at all, Mark: Nobody gets the final word. As Frith says: "The 'argument' can never be settled absolutely"!!

  • POSTED BY vumpire-republic on | March 19, 2013, 14:18 GMT

    One can only comment on what one has witnessed for oneself. In the 25 years of cricket that I've seen, Lara and Tendulkar stand above everyone else. Lara was the more artistic and flamboyant (as well as more dominating against spin), but Tendulkar at his peak (mid to late 90s) was an incredible combination of thrilling strokeplay and perfection of balance & footwork. Lara was also blessed with typical West Indian languid athleticism, and perhaps that's why sustained fewer injuries than Tendulkar, who battled back and elbow problems that hampered his batting mid-career (and affected his batting style in his 30s, which became much more conservative). And while Lara was remarkable for his ability to make grand-daddy hundreds, Tendulkar has been remarkable in his ability to supremely straddle both Test and ODI cricket, over an incredible time-span.

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 13:03 GMT

    Lara get my vote. Pure genius.

  • POSTED BY bestbuddy on | March 19, 2013, 12:58 GMT

    Can you trully make a comparison between players separated by so great a period of time? So many variable have changed over the years. The bats, the balls, the pitches, the protective gear, the relative fitness and intensity of the cricket. Sobers was no doubt a sterling player, though the majority of current fans have never seen him play, let alone on tv where one can truly study a players technique and ability. And he may have played in a time wherea few drinks (read many) were the norm; but so did the opposition, so this was a level playing field and should not be considered. Sobers played in a time where rest days were the norm, and scoring rates barely above 2 an over, hardly an intense form of the game. He also played almost no limited overs cricket, nor did he play year round, or have to spend 2+ hours a day just on fitness. I dont hear him running 10km a day like ntini did. Sobers as he was then would not be as good as others are now, unless he were born in this era

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    Amen to that. No man who has used a helmit can be better than any man who didn't wear one. I agree with that totally.

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | March 19, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    Supacricketfan; I think you need to read my posts again they are quite simple to understand. You say I shouldnt put down the modern cricketer - please find a quote from me where I have put down any modern cricketer. I have said Tendulkar, Ponting, Kallis and the list goes on are all legends. I said I expect Tendulkar would have scored a heap of runs without helmets. My argument with you is simply you saying TENDULKAR is the best ever in caps lock like its not debatable. You then say the challenges of Tendulkar are far more difficult than Bradman. It seems to me your the only one that is having a go at a generation of cricketers is you. Every generation has had there own challenges and my argument is simple that you simply cannot compare generations, sio you compare players against there peers at the time Bradman was twice as good as his peers, Tendulkar the equal of several greats. Thus Bradman is the best ever.

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 12:12 GMT

    I have this feeling that maybe in 10 years the answer could be Amla, he is as elegant as they get, yet thanks to M Clarke's delaying tactics hit 99 in a session and 196 of just about a run a ball to turn a series on its head, 311 no to thump the brash English, 254 no in Nagpur and so on and so forth. He could very well end up with an ave of over 60 in 2 formats of the game, and he is no slow coach nor is his batting ugly. If he can keep improving he ticks all the boxes!!!

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 11:54 GMT

    I remember a cricket clinic over a few days in Perth in the early 80's and we had both Barry Richards and Garry Sobers coaching us!!! I remember all us 14 year olds bowling to Garry Sobers in the nets and he was using his right hand only with the bat behind his back and was belting the ball over our heads to the boundary every bowl! What a privilege :-)

  • POSTED BY swarzi on | March 19, 2013, 11:20 GMT

    Cont'd: It is unfair to batting to tell anyone who really knows about cricket; or one who does not know anything about the game that a batsman can be of such high rating, and at any stage of his career, he would be playing for almost 3 years; batting in approximately 40 innings; and not scoring a single 100 for such a long period; just registering an average of under 25! I am sure that neither one of Bradman, Sobers, Richards, Lara, Hobbs, Hutton, Gavascar, Headly, Kallis, Weeks, and Amla would have at any stage of their career, when they were/are still fit to play be producing such abysmal record.

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    Sir Vivian Richards is the best after The Don. He had the charisma, performed when he was required and was one of the greatest entertainers to ever grace the cricket field. Most importantly HE WAS FEARED THE WORLD OVER

  • POSTED BY swarzi on | March 19, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    Mark, your pick of Gary Sobers is spot on. However, don't you think that it would be grossly unfair to the game of cricket, and to the concept of batting in particular, to suggest to an alien from Mars, who came to earth and has watched every test match for nearly three years now, in an effort to understand the game of cricket; or more practically, to even mention to a group of youths who are aspiring to become great batsmen, but have also watched every test match for almost three years now that Sachin Tendulkar is the second best batsman that cricket has ever produced? We all know that Tendulkar is a great batsman; but we know also that there are many batsmen who are ahead of him in filling that gap between Sir Don and the rest. We know too that Sachin's ability is over-hyped due to 3 things: the love that the media has for him; his quantitative and obvious record which he built up because he has played significantly longer than anyone else; and the BCCI markets his name effectively

  • POSTED BY hhillbumper on | March 19, 2013, 10:45 GMT

    So is there an Indian fan who doesn't think Tendulkar was the best ever? There have been so many. Headley was immense.Both Richards,Sobers,Lara Dravid. Kallis is a good batsman but can he dominate an attack.

    There is an element of damage caused to the other team and you would have to think in his pomp that Viv Richards was the most feared batsman of modern times. Also if you look at his impact culturally and socially then Richards would have to score very highly.

    As for those who critice Bradman for not touring India then what would it prove? india as ever had a very poor bowling attack and it would just have inflated his averages

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 9:55 GMT

    Inzimam-ul-Haq was the best batsman after Don Bradman. Inzimam averages higher than any other batsmen except Don Bradman in the test matches won by their respective team. If you rate a batsman in terms of his batting ability plus his ability tp play equally well or better under pressure, then Javeed Miandad is the greatest batsman of all time. If you consider the dominating ability of a batsman, then Viv is the greatest batsman of all time, and he will be followed by Adam Gilcrist, Jaysurya, Virender Sehwag, and Shahid Afridi for his ability to score more rapidly than any other batsmen. If you look all these qualities in a batsman and the ability to play the fast and spin bowling equally well, then Brian lara is the greatest batsman of all time, and may be Gary Sobers. If you consider consistency as the factor, Hashim Amla is the greatest batsman since Don Bradman. If it has to be averages, then there is Graem pollock, Barry Richards, and George Headley after Don Bradman

  • POSTED BY abhijeet_gdr on | March 19, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    A wonderful piece by Mark Nicholas again. You truly are a great cricket writer and thinker. I personally have not seen much cricket prior to 1995. I'm sure your judgement is accurate. But of the batsmen I've seen since 1995, the greatest would surely be Tendulkar. And I'm taking of the Tendulkar between say 1996 to 2002. I've never seen batsmen-ship of that order. Tendulkar's batting back then was a confluence of Beauty, Arrogance, non-nonchalance. I've never seen a batsmen dominate world class bowlers with such Beauty- the straight lines in his batting like you say- with such eloquence. Tendulkar's batting during that period gave me and I'm sure many more a different kind of happiness. Lara was a close second. Ponting, like you say, has never taken on Great attacks. His dominance was when World Fast bowling was probably passing through its worst drought & i believe it still is. A very plausible piece by Mark Nicholas again. Your commenting on Television is a treat to listen to.

  • POSTED BY Shahed.Akhtar on | March 19, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    I am sorry but the debate is flawed. Why after Don Bradman? This debate has to be bound by era, playing conditions etc along with the other parameters - purity / correctness / technique, pleasing or artistry, expectations, impact, quality of opposition, statistics, endurance, among others. Did Bradman or Sobers or Richards or Gavaskar play a doosra / teesra / reverse swing - no, at least not officially. Similarly, did Tendulkar or Lara or Ponting or Kallis play the likes of Liilee or Thompson or Roberts - no. So, how they can you compare across eras and across different playing conditions. It is not apples vs apples !!

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | March 19, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    I give high marks to Indians who are not blinded by the only batsman India has ever produced who can live with the greatest of the great. SRT is the best India has ever produced (although his prolonged sunset is doing him no favours). More than that cannot be said. I too could play the one-eyed nationalist's card & make an excellent case for Hobbs as being the best ever (incontrovertibly better than Bradman on damaged pitches), but I choose not to. Hobbs' reputation is absolutely secure without my support - he needs no bigging up. Rather, I would choose as my greatest ever - and certainly along with Vic Trumper the one that I would have loved to have seen - the man who was the first truly great West Indian: George Headley. Indians speak about SRT carrying Indian batting on his own in the '90s. That, my friends, pales to insignificance when compared with GH's contribution to WIndies in the '30s. And his test av. (60.83) is better than SRT's (54.12), & even the great Sir Jack's (56.94).

  • POSTED BY remnant on | March 19, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    I think in this debate a point that has been relatively neglected is the significance of runs by these greatest of the great players. This criteria should along with the peer percentile separate the wheat from the chaff. There is little doubt in my mind, that Bradman would still tower through, while some including Sachin may not shine as bright. But then these too, are to my mind the strongest reason for judging batting talent: Influencing the overall match result through performance and secondly analyzing the distance in excellence, one has maintained from their peers. Rest are all white noise.

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 8:01 GMT

    I think the best who can break the records of tendulkar might b alister cook from england and sangakara can also

  • POSTED BY Meety on | March 19, 2013, 7:15 GMT

    @smudgeon on (March 18, 2013, 6:52 GMT) - Featured comment - ahh Danny Buckingham, sprayed the monitor over that one! Great stuff!

  • POSTED BY bford1921 on | March 19, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    What a lot of drivel is being dredged up here for favorite players. Clearly the greatest player was not Indian, get over it, in fact on numbers and impact the greatest player of the last 15 years is South African. The arguments for the more aesthetic players or intimidating are noble, but the idea that someone like Tundulkar, as fine a player as he has been, is in the high company mentioned in the article is laughable. Great that national esteem has been raised by his performances but a measured view of players contributions has been made by Mark, and his personal preference is statistically reasonable as well as exciting to watch, Sir Garfield Sobers.

  • POSTED BY supacricfan on | March 19, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    shaggy076,dont think u can read/understand english,go through the richards quote again,if u still cant understand then god help u,Lolclearly says sachin is the best..re:mars comment,coz ur writing doesnt make no sense at all just like ur sycophancy towards bradman,mind u that i am not taking any credit away from the great bradman..regarding protective equipment-batsman like sachin would have adopted to the game with out equipment ,u can't take that into consideration when u havnt seen him play with out equipment.i am sure bradman or for that matter any player would hav definitely played with helmets if he was playing in this era..difference in averages-sachin,lara,kallis might have definitely averaged more if they had played in that era where pressure of sustaining place in the team is not as high as today..so rest the case and rather than taking all the credit away from modern day batsmen jus think sensibly!!

  • POSTED BY RoshanF on | March 19, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    Mark, you said it yourself " The best Viv Richards innings feel like the very best innings by anyone: inflammatory, inspirational, irresistible". And didn't Viv play those unforgettable innings aplenty. No bowler during his time Lillee, Thompson, Imran, Hadlee or spinners can say " I had the measure of him". No batsman put such all out fear in opponents as did the original Master Blaster. No doubt Sobers was the the greatest cricketer who ever lived as he could do nearly everything with majesty. But when it comes to batting he would have to give it to Viv. Besides Viv had to play much better bowlers than did Sobers.

  • POSTED BY aarifboy on | March 19, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    Mark Waugh and David Gower were the best to watch.Mark was more pleasing to eyes than Gower though

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | March 19, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    @US_Indian, read the finer print after the caption. It says "batsman". Regardless, Sobers and Bradman have an equal case of being the greatest cricketer of all time. One did amazing feats with bat and ball. The other was worth two great batsman.

  • POSTED BY Vijay_vikram on | March 19, 2013, 5:13 GMT

    To be honest, Tendulkar is better than BRADMAN.. Bec, if u see the amount of years and test sachin has played with more than 55. Hussey had an average of 80 + for almost 40 tests, now his avearge is 40+... So Bradman has not played much...

    SACHIN the GREAT. many may wont agree, but d stats say that..

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | March 19, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    Sobers was the best batsman I have seen and by far the greatest all-round cricketer. Although his brilliant strokeplay is always remembered, it's sometimes forgotten that he could play a rearguard defensive innings as well as anyone when he needed to. I was there for every day of the Lord's test in 1966 when Sobers and his cousin, David Holford, dug WI out of a deep hole with a 6th wicket stand of 274 unbroken after WI were 5 down and just 9 runs ahead. On that tour Sobers scored 722 runs at an average of 103, took 20 wickets @27, held 10 catches and captained the team- just awesome.

    The best display of batsmanship I ever saw was by Barry Richards in the first game of the season, 24th April 1974, between MCC and Hampshire, the previous season's county champions. Richards was out mid-afternoon for 189 out of 249 and in my memory scored off almost every ball he received after lunch. Had he not played only 4 tests (av. 72) he might have rivalled Sobers.

  • POSTED BY the_complete_batsman on | March 19, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    While it is an exercise in futility trying to compare across eras, one can certainly determine the best of each era. For me, Tendulkar towers over everyone since 1990, with only Lara coming close. People who bring up SRT's supposed lack of match-winning ability betray a lack of understanding of Test cricket when they forget that Test matches can only be won by bowlers. Batsmen can at best set them up or win threm in 4th innings chases. Even then, the bowlers need to have taken 20 wickets. SRT has set up matches for his team many times, only to see his weak bowling attack fail to take 20 wickets. Lara had Ambrose, Walsh and Bishop to help him for the first 10 years of his career. That aside, the fact is that SRT has more 100s in winning causes than Lara does. Besides, SRT is the only batsman of his era who could consistently dominate any kind of bowling in any conditions. I feel Lara was a little suspect against extreme pace, whereas SRT was always completely at ease against everything.

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 3:59 GMT

    If I would have to pick my team, I would pick Viv Richard before Bradman. I have not see Don or Sobers, but from Gavaskar to Tendulkar, no one can match his brilliance and dominance. He had the amazing ability to perform under trying circumstances and makes batting look so easy. I am not a big fan of statistical analysis. In statistics, Sehwag appears far better than Greenidge but is he? Misbah looks ahead of Salim Malik but is it really so? I believe players should be judged by their ability to win matches for their team and perform under difficult circumstances like Viv who is arguably the best batsman in all formats of the game

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | March 19, 2013, 3:38 GMT

    I apologize for errors in my earlier lists leaving out Hammond and Headley.

    My list in order of merit would combining test match scores with ODI scores or first class cricket incase of Hobbs and Barry Richards)

    1.Don Bradman 2.Sachin Tendulkar 3.Viv Richards 4.Jack Hobbs 5.Brian Lara 6.Gary Sobers 7.Walter Hammond 8.George Headley 9.Sunil Gavaskar 10.Len Hutton 11.Barry Richards 12.Graeme Pollock

    List in order of merit for only test cricket

    1.Don Bradman 2.Brian Lara 3.Sachin Tendulkar 4.Gary Sobers 5.Jack Hobbs 6.Viv Richards 7.Walter Hammond 8.George Headley 9.Sunil Gavaskar 10.Len Hutton 11.Graeme Pollock 12. Greg Chappell

    Overall to me Sachin may just pip Barry Richards for the title of most perfect batsman posessing every ingredient for a complete batsman At his best from 1976-1981 Viv was 2nd only to the Don .

  • POSTED BY US_Indian on | March 19, 2013, 2:53 GMT

    The caption is in itself wrong.The whole argument following through is wrong obviously. With due respects to Don, SRT, Lara, Ponting, Imran, Akram, Waqar, Inzi, Miandad, Gavaskar, KP, Azhar, Dravid, Laxman, Zaheer Abbas, Mahela, Sangakara, aravinda ,Smith, Amla, Richard, 3W's etc etc and the list is long, with all the arguments intact i would rather put these 2 above everyone in the list and some unmentioned names too with specific insistence on Don,SRT they are the one and only Sir Garfield Sobers, and next to follow Jacques Kallis. The argument is closed once and for ever please no more articles on this subject for heaven's sake. If you ever want to write article on similar subject please exclude these two names and can include anyone whom you want because these two will remain at the top of the list and 3rd best and the rest.

  • POSTED BY Crictragic1 on | March 19, 2013, 2:47 GMT

    Totally in agreement. Tragics like us, somewhat older and probably wiser than Mark Nicholas in mny ways! Good analysis though. It certainly has to be Sir Garry; unbelievable charisma, brutal at times, but generally, sublime dominance; pure joy to watch.

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 2:45 GMT

    In my mind, Garfield Sobers was the cricketer extraordinaire. He was a great batsman, a great bowler, a great fielder. No one else comes close to him. Bradman was a great bat as is Tendulkar BUT they were only great batsmen. Sobers was the complete cricketer. If I was asked to pick a team he would be my first pick.

  • POSTED BY Selfishkar on | March 19, 2013, 2:31 GMT

    Sachin Tendulkar has played 197 tests, yet he was voted man of the match only 14 times. Kumar Sangakkara has played 80 tests less Sachin yet has same number of man of the match awards. I won;t even insult Ponting by comparing his man of match win ratio with that of Sachin's.

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 2:07 GMT

    And there also the picture along expected lines! If Sangakkara was from a country with a billion perhaps it'd have been his picture there. No matter his average against Zim and BD combined fails to match the maestro's overall. And he's struggling to maintain a career average matching the miracle's body-line one. The 50+ average he somehow managed in Oz owes mainly to Sydney which historically suits SC players.

  • POSTED BY ravi.m on | March 19, 2013, 1:56 GMT

    Finally, an article of significance on Sobers the batsman. Thanks, Mark. I've heard Chappelli, DK Lillee, Bishan Bedi and the likes consistently referring to Sir Garfield as the best batsman they ever saw.

    Here is a statistical tribute to your article: It is fair to say that scoring a century is the true arrival of a batsman. Sir Garry scored his first in 1958 & last in 1973. So, let's look from 01-Jan-1958 to 31-Dec-1973. That's 16 full years and he played more than 80% of his Tests in that period.

    75 Tests, 130 innings, 7260 runs, avg of 64.8, 26 tons & 26 halfs. Most great batsmen are likely to be around that mark in their middle 80%.

    Here's what separates Sobers: Let's look at matches involving the best bowlers of his time: Trueman, Snow, Underwood, Davidson, Fazal, Bedi & Gupte.

    47 T, 81 innings, 5120 runs at 74.2 with 19 tons & 19 halfs. 16 wins, 2114 @ 105.7. 18 draws, 2349 @ 97.9.

    Now, you do that to most others, the average actually decreases against the best!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 1:38 GMT

    Batting, nobody even comes close to Bradman. Even his body-line average is eluding most careers. However as cricketers, Sobers, Kallis and Murali are pretty close.

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 1:15 GMT

    bradman wasthe best without a doubt

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 0:46 GMT

    @Lallubhai - The point of Longevity is valid. But Bradman played for nearly 20 years till his 40 yrs of age and his career was also interrupted by world war. Its not that his international average is 99.94, his first class average is more than 100. No one can ever dream that. I wonder how many runs and how many centuries he would have scored if played 100+ tests in those 20 yrs.

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 0:29 GMT

    It is a Good Article. But comparing batsmen of different generation makes no sense. During Bradman there was only test format. But with 3 formats now, its not fair to take only tests. Each format will need its own talent. Taking that into account and with all technology to analyse a person's weakness, no one can know how Don would have fared. So if we consider before ODIs started and after, it would be Don and Sachin respectively. only these 2 persons were able to beat all odds against them for a prolong period. Gary is a great cricketer with all round talent but second to Don in batting, I really doubt that!

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 0:21 GMT

    Why on earth would you even publish a comment from a one-eyed Indian fan that Tendulkar is better than Bradman, let alone make it a featured comment? It destroys a thoughtful article and, for once, some considered opinions from posters. Very disappointing, Cricinfo.

  • POSTED BY RodStark on | March 19, 2013, 0:05 GMT

    The reason Bradman is so overwhelmingly regarded as the greatest ever is the way his statistics so completely overshadow the contemporaries he played against. I read another article about this that argued that his dominance was completel;y unmatched in any sport, and I can believe it. It's not as though his contemporaries were no good--there are some great names among them--but he was streets ahead of them. This sort of comparison is much easier than trying to compare different eras. Tendulkar may perhaps be the greatest batsman of the modern era, but his record does not completely eclipse his rivals in the same way.

    That said, one thing rarely mentioned about Bradman's career is that he lost six years to the war. If he had played through these years, would his record have been even greater, or would the larger size of the sample have brought down his incredible avaerage?

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 0:04 GMT

    No one has had a career as long as Sachin in the modern game, with the overkill of international fixtures in all three formats. And for a number of those years he was the best batsman in the world. On the other hand, Dravid was actually more consistent and played more valuable innings for a number of the other years ... Sobers followed by Kallis was the greatest cricketer of all.

    Two observations on which others might have some views: first, what was Greg Chappel's weakness, either in technique, consistency, quality of opponents or overall statistics? I can find none.

    Secondly, have a look at Ken Barrington's stats. He was thought full even by the standards of his day, but he scored a mountain of runs at a phenomenal average - and had particular success overseas, surely an important indicator of class.

    Finally, some mention should be had of Border and Gavaskar - the best against the Windies pace men in their prime.

  • POSTED BY 07sanjeewakaru on | March 19, 2013, 0:03 GMT

    LOL!This is not a toughie Mark..Sir Garry winning by miles.Only human in the history of the game to posses and resist such a vast raw talent and display them with such an aura.

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2013, 0:02 GMT

    A wonderful piece. Thankyou.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 23:40 GMT

    Interesting analysis Mark! Though I am not a big fan of doing comparisons between players from different backgrounds because their are so much variables that affect a batsman which can't be represented in mere stats.Take Bradman for example; unbelievable stats no doubt supported by the fact that he got to play in the days with uncovered pitches, less protective gear on the body but one has to take in account as well that most of his cricket was against England. He didn't play in dustbowls of Subcontinent so we don't know how good a player he was of spin. Talk about Sachin, he has to carry a burden of billion hopes and he has consistently performed in every condition. Similarly Sobers and the list goes on. So IMO we can't rate these batsmen as 1, 2..They have all been legends in their respective era's and lets savor and enjoy every memory. Again this post is no disrespect to any of the above mentioned cricketers.

  • POSTED BY Soso_killer on | March 18, 2013, 23:30 GMT

    I dont understand why anyone would want to remove Kallis' record in SA when it has been statisticaly proven that it is hardest to bat in. Of batsmen (foreign) to have played a minimum 6 Test Matches and 12 innings only 2 batsmen average 50 in SA (since readmission). 1. A. Strauss 9 Mat and 17 inn averages 51.62. 2. S. Waugh 9 Mat, and 14 inn 50.25. What also has to be taken into consideration is that even trundlers are dangerous in these conditions, Z. Khan is a good example of this, and many others of course. Why would you remove stats against certain countries to suit your own agenda. Ponting averages 30 odd in India the very same "weak attack". Viv never faced Garner, Marshal etc. Ponting never faced Warne, McGrath etc. We can all make excuses to suit our agendas.

    The is not a chance Dravid is better than Kallis.

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | March 18, 2013, 23:28 GMT

    Lallubhai - That has to be the most biased argument I've ever heard. No contest between the Don and Tendulkar - you are deluded. There are so many great batsman of the current era that Tendulkar is only the equal off. Your argument was because he only played 50 tests. Sorry there was something about a world war. The Don played every test match available over a 20 year period from 1928-48 so you cant argue about longevitity. DO you think he should have played to 75 so he had enough opportunities to play 200 tests so he could lay claim to the greatest ever. Tendulkar is a superstar know question but dont ignore that there are so many other superstars equal to or in the Don's case better than him.

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | March 18, 2013, 23:15 GMT

    @peterhrt, appreciate your comments on the prominent critics' views of Bradman, but you need to provide context. And the context is simple. Arlott rated his best mate Hobbs as the greatest ever. Biased perhaps? Fingleton hated Bradman because of a range of things including just general jealousy and bitterness. Again, a level of bias perhaps? I believe Bowen rated Grace as the greatest ever, and a strong case can be made for that.

  • POSTED BY dh511 on | March 18, 2013, 23:03 GMT

    Just in regards to Lallubhai. Sachin No contest - really? in caps no less. Just a bit of history for you, the 1930s in Australia featured The Great Depression and there was not a lot to look forward to except The Don, so don't presume that there was not "super heavy expectations". Oh, and there was also the fact that there was a little thing called WWII that curbed the amount of games he played. He dominated before and after - there's no reason to suggest the in between would have been different. Rules change - how would Sachin go without all that protection he wears or with the old bats they used to used. The fact is you can't compare players of different eras, only of the same era and The Don is so far ahead of everyone else it's not funny. He is almost a statistical impossibility. Sachin is clearly a great but his record is not that much better than a dozen current players.

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | March 18, 2013, 22:44 GMT

    A few things are clear from this post. 1. About 99.94% of people think that Bradman is the best ever. The remaining few have some strange reasons for not thinking he is the best. 2. Tendulkar, Sobers and Richards make up the bulk of the votes for second best but that's because they are in living memory. This also highlights why Bradman is the best. Living memory or not, he is always talked about across all generations. In 1000 years time, Tendulkar and Richards might not even make the list. Sobers would, because of his all-round ability. 3. Kallis gets hard done by because for whatever reason, he's just not marketable to be judged among the greats. But there are plenty of reasons why he should be considered among the top echelon.

  • POSTED BY Nerk on | March 18, 2013, 22:17 GMT

    The Don was the best batsmen ever. He is statistically miles ahead of his next opponent. The Indian people saying Sachin had the hopes of a nation resting on his shoulders know little of the effect of Don Bradman during the Depression, nor his standing in the post-war period. He was a god, not just in his own country but around the world, he even beats Pele in a survey of the greatest sportsman of all time. Bradman played on uncovered pitches, a damp one of those would turn sharper than any dustbowl India could doctor up. On a hard one a pace bowler could bounce it sharply off a good length, and Bradman was without protection. One commenter stated that Bradman only played 50 tests, well after 50 tests Sachin's average was only 49. Sachin better than the Don, you have to be kidding me.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 22:10 GMT

    The writer himself admits that Bradman only really played against england, therefore why is he accorded God Like status. Sure his average is extraordinary but at a time when cricket wasnt as widespread as it is today then its unfair to compare anyone to him, or him to anyone else.

    As a child watching Viv Richards walk to the crease was a sight in itself. His disdain and contempt for opposition bowlers was in itself a psychological blow for any weak minded individual. Theatre such as this hasnt really been since.

    Tendulkar too is a contender simply because in his early years he contended with a strong australian bowling attack, and faced bowlers of the quality of Donald, Waqar, Wasim, Walsh and Amrose.

    Lara is a contender because not only did he excel at his game and smashed records he played in a team in decline and thoroughly disunited. Which in a team sport makes it even more difficult to excel.

  • POSTED BY SyedArbabAhmed on | March 18, 2013, 22:08 GMT

    Tendulkar is never been a match finisher

  • POSTED BY cloudmess on | March 18, 2013, 21:58 GMT

    Jack Hobbs was a better batsman than his stats suggest. Owing to the dirt-tracks they played test matches on c1912, hardly anyone in cricket averaged over 40. Victor Trumper, mentioned here as possibly Australia's second-best ever batsman, averaged less than 40. Hobbs averaged in the high 50s during this period. He also scored 100 1st class centuries on the better, flatter pitches of the 20s and 30s, and played some fabulous test match innings - and all after the age of 40, when his reflexes were surely past their best. Imagine what he might have achieved had he be born 20 years later.

  • POSTED BY dgrusse on | March 18, 2013, 21:55 GMT

    cannot compare player from then and now these guys with out all these protective gear would all get kill . they change the game because of west indies pace that the truth.

  • POSTED BY handyandy on | March 18, 2013, 21:46 GMT

    At the risk of sounding sacrilegious I often wonder just how Bradman would perform today.

    Bradman was way ahead of the curve back in his day ... but I suspect that the standard of the average cricketer is much higher now. Bowlers train harder and fielding is better. Players and coaches pore over ever frame of video footage trying to work out a player's weaknesses. There is also the pressure of constantly playing in all forms of the game.

    I suspect that even Bradman would be hard pressed to play 150 tests today and maintain an average of much better than 50.

  • POSTED BY SG70 on | March 18, 2013, 21:37 GMT

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=11;template=results;type=batting

    To all those fuming at people who are making a case for Tendulkar because he is supposedly just about Longevity ( as though it is a insignificant achievement ) .. have a look at that stat above for Top 50 Intl run scorers. The last three on that page are : Andy Flower(11,580), Hooper (11,523), Gower (11,401). All very fine players who had decent careers spanning more than 10yrs each. Together their Run tally as of today is **JUST** 274 runs more than Tendulkars tally of 34,230 despite featuring in a whopping 165 more Test innings AND 73 More ODI innings between them. When you have gotten over your rage, please calm down and think about how insane that is. If this doesnt convince you then its quite likely that you have some other issues or an axe to grind or just plain trolling.

    @karim_s .. well said.

  • POSTED BY kossmanx on | March 18, 2013, 21:16 GMT

    @Lallubhai, you'd better check Bradman's stats. He played over 20 years from the age of 20 to the age of 40. In his last year, at the age of 40, he scored over 1000 runs at 113. He lost 7 years of cricket due to world war II when he was aged between 30-37, arguably his prime years! They also played half as much cricket in those days. Finally his worst season average was 56, all of the modern greats have had form slumps. Sorry but there is no contest against this guy.. whatever the argument. No other cricketer has so much daylight between themselves and others of the same era, for this guy it happens to be everyone else as well.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 21:10 GMT

    It is Sobers...I might be tempted to pick Viv, Sachin or Wally but it is Gary.

  • POSTED BY inot on | March 18, 2013, 20:19 GMT

    The Don was the best of his era. Sachin, Pontin and Lara are three of the best of their time. Bradman played mostly in Australia and a bit in England. He had home field advantage. He played on uncovered pitches, in familiar climates but without the benefit of modern equipment. He played when the front foot rule was in effect and the leg side rule was not. He played with unlimited short pitched deliveries and an LBW rule that was more favorable to batsmen. RH batsmen were able to negate off spin by padding up.There was no pressure to score quickly because Test matches were not limited to 5 days etc. Comparisons are academic. To me WHAT a player accomplished is as influential as HOW. On style, the little master ROHAN KANHAI is the best batsman I've ever seen; Master Blaster VIV RICHARDS is the MOST DOMINATING. WARNE and MURLI are my best SPINNERS; Whispering Death HOLDING and MARSHALL are my QUICKS. BUT SOBERS IS EASILY THE BEST ALL ROUNDER AND GREATEST CRICKETER I HAVE EVER SEEN.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 20:15 GMT

    The point is simple. If you are looking for the best player ever, it has to be Sobers. Dravid could not bowl but kept wickets each time India needed to accommodate an extra batsman or bowler in place of a specialist wicketkeeper. Would that balance him with Sobers? A little unlikely, shall we say. Best batsman? After DON? Pure speculation. Technically ,Gavaskar; practically Viv Richards whose presence was that of sheer confidence, even disdain for the bowlers;.All others such as Lara, Sachin, Ponting,Laxman, Vishwanath, Gooch,Greg Chappel,Amla,Aravinda de Silva, have their talents to speak of but statistically no match to Bradman. But because of the difference between their 'all-terrain' abilities and Bradman's England-Australia limitation (besides the Imperialist hype), I would scarcely be inclined to be drawn into a debate. Just rejoice that there were/are such great, dedicated, skillful and knowledgeable entertainers.

  • POSTED BY Lallubhai on | March 18, 2013, 20:10 GMT

    The best cricketer of all time .....Sir Garfield Sobers , NO CONTEST .WHY ? He could do everything and anything .The best batsmen of all time, Sachin Tendulkar , NO CONTEST . WHY ? Ask anyone in history to go out to bat with super heavy expectations every time and they will not stand up for long. SRT is still standing after nearly 200 test matches .Full respect to The Don but he only played 50 odd test matches , NOT REALLY TESTED . The brilliant Mike Hussey also had Bradmanesqe stats when he started playing test cricket . The longer he played the lower his average became . What would have The Dons average become had he played even 100 test matches ? YOUR GUESS IS AS GOOD AS MINE.....

  • POSTED BY remnant on | March 18, 2013, 20:03 GMT

    I believe the better way to settle this debate is to measure not just the average of these players across the ages, but to judge them on peer percentiles, instead of absolute averages. This will give a better perspective, about their respective averages. So if in an age like post 2000s, most players are getting 50+ avgs, then obviously we can understand the percentile in this era is different than say, the 70s and 80s when there were more lethal bowlers and lesser physical protection gear available. The top marked players across generations can then be identified and subsequently rated.

  • POSTED BY robelgordo on | March 18, 2013, 20:02 GMT

    You can't compare eras, but you can compare against contemporaries.

    Bradman scored almost twice as many runs per innings than anyone playing in the same era. Tendulkar has scored about the same runs per innings as another 10 or so batsman in his.

    That makes Bradman the greatest. For anyone with a basic understanding of statistics and history this isn't a debate.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    They say that Kallis is great coz he played much of his cricket in South Africa, but they forget that he didn't have to face African pace battery. Lets remove Indian and South African bowlers from discussion. Against the remaining 8 Test nations, Kallis averages 54.44 while Dravid averages 55.46. Obviuosly Dravid is better than Kallis against other 8 nations. It is only his comparatively poor performance against South African pace battery and Kallis's great display against poor Indian bowling that makes the difference.

    Lets forget bowlers and try to eliminate conditions. Again Outside India and South Africa, i.e. in other countries, Dravid averages 56.98 while Kallis averages just 54.82 outside of India and South Africa. While Kallis's Career avg. is almost 4 runs more than Dravid, it is quite clear that Dravid was a better batsman than Kallis in and against other 8 nations.It's just the home advantage and the fact that he doesnt have to face SA bowlers that soars his avg above Dravid

  • POSTED BY remnant on | March 18, 2013, 19:56 GMT

    Bradman scored heavily against South Africa also.If i'm not mistaken then in 1933-34 series, he alone was the scorer in those series with a double and another ton. His record agiasnt all opposition teams(WI, India included) was exceptional and not just against one. Thing is if those teams were so easy to score, then why is nobody else near the 99 avg.? The closest he has is 62 by Headley. All through cricket the best batsmen have been in the mid fifites only. which is where Sachin also hovers. Bradman had an avg. of 56 only in one series in the Bodyline Test series, with a century as well. This is nothing less than superhuman considering, the new tactic that was developed to counter him, with a stacked legside field, and bouncers upon bouncers being bowled at 90+mph in 8 ball overs, on uncovered pitches, and no helmets. That must have required a different type of courage and ingenuity to counter these tactics. And the avg. and century suggest that it was a commendable job

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 19:39 GMT

    Sachin is the best odi player ever and there is no comparison where as Lara isfar better batsmen in test cricket as we'll as many others were better than sachin But overall speaking sachin is the best batsman ever

    Sachin

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 19:36 GMT

    Sorry to spam Cricinfo comment board, but as Writer didn't care about Dravid at all, so i felt obliged to put his case forward. Lets forget about everyone else and talk about Sachin Dravid If Sachin averages better IN & AGAINST Australia, SA, Sri Lanka and Bangla Desh, Dravid averages better IN and AGAINST Pakistan, Zimbabwe, England, West Indies and New Zealand. That's 5 against 4 in favour of Dravid. No other player had as much impact on Indian Test Performances as Dravid. Dravid has won more away tests than Sachin. Dravid has won 4 man of the series awards, all outside Indian sub-continent. Sachin has won 5,only 1 outside India sub-continent. what is it exactly that makes Sachin such an obvious candidate for this discussion and not Dravid? Is it the amount of runs? Sachin had a headstart of 7yrs. Give Dravid 30 more tests, i bet he would have surpassed Sachin. Is it the dynamic strokeplay? Where has the respect for classical test batsmanship gone, of which Dravid is the finest ex.?

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 19:33 GMT

    Cricket has never seen this before, A player who carried for so many years with unmatched perfection. Represented in all formats at the highest level of display. 200 and 175 in ODI against the best attack is not of so long ago innings. Mcgrath and company was one of the best bowling unit of all time so was the greatest ever bowlers like Murli and Vaas. so is the best of Steyn n company.. And when they say they have nightmares of a player it means a lot. In the Modern cricket when fielding standards are so high, no easy runs are allowed and when every time you go out millions are just looking and expecting only one man to excell it has to be the One and Only one "Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar". I remember someone said. I dont know how God look like but if can play cricket he has to be Sachin...

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 19:33 GMT

    Donald Bradman, was a great batsmen. Head and shoulders above everyone else of his era. However I truly believe that if you transported Sachin Tendulker as is against any of the attacks Bradman played against, I think you will find Sachin would be averaging 200. As a South African fan, for me to say that Sachin is a better batsmen than Kallis says a lot. Another fact is that Sachin never had a world beating side to support him, India have only recently become world beaters While Kallis and Bradman played in one of or the best sides in the world for most of there careers. Watch Sachin play a drive, then watch bradman there can be no comparison

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 19:28 GMT

    Bradman did not state Sobers' 254 was better than McCabe's 232. What Bradman said was Sobers' innings was the finest he ever saw in Australia. Of McCabe's innings, both the greatest batsman ever (Bradman) and arguably the greatest bowler ever (Sydney Barnes), who also watched it, said it was the greatest innings they had ever seen! It is the one innings in test match history I wish I could have seen. The next best batsman to Bradman would be either Hammond, Hobbs, Pollock, Sobers, Weekes or Headley.

  • POSTED BY Soso_killer on | March 18, 2013, 19:20 GMT

    I think this will always be a subjective issue with no out and out right answer. But in my opinion the will be wrong opinions or at the very least over the top and arbitrary. My favourite player growing up was Sir Viv. But for his longevity, and with video analysis to analyse batsman weaknesses everything evens out in terms of uncovered pitches and lack of helmets etc. So for me it has to be Sir Jacques Kallis. He bats in the toughest conditions in the world i.e. South Africa and averages 57 there making the likes of Lara, Ponting, Tendulkar mere mortals who all average under 50. He is without a doubt the greatest cricketer to have graced the game. Don the Brad might be the greatest bat, but Kallis over all is the most valuable cricketer ever. All hail King Kallis!!

  • POSTED BY Rohit1968 on | March 18, 2013, 19:10 GMT

    Excellent analysis. Richards certainly was the most dominating in the Golden Era. However he never did have to face Holding, Roberts, Garner, Croft or Marshall. One would register his record in the Shell Shield cricket between 1972 and 1991- 2899 runs @ 38.17. Maybe the swagger would be a little subdued in those conditions.

    A reader notes that the Great Viv would often get bored once past 100. But then he had mere 9 centuries in 78 innings in the domestic league. This contrasts with his 47 centuries and almost 15000 runs he scored for Somereset.

    I would rate him at par with Sehwag, for the fear they invoked.

    Amongst so many equals, the tag for being the second greatest batsman should account for the kind of bowlers faced. Sunil Gavaskar is my man.

    As complete cricketers, Sobers and Kallis are unparalleled.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 19:01 GMT

    To add to my previous comment, between 1996-2005, that's a decade, Dravid was 2nd only to Sachin in average and 2nd only to Lara in Total Runs. I wonder what kind of discussion on '2nd best after Bradman' can miss out on Dravid!! C'mon people, Show yourself some respect by showing respect to Dravid. This is just not fair to write him off in just one line. The least he deserved was a paragraph dedicated to him. Did you forget Eden or Adelaide or Headingley?? Not fair at all. No one else has been in the middle for 30,000 deliveries, for God's sake.

  • POSTED BY vxttemp on | March 18, 2013, 18:55 GMT

    The amount of pressure Tendulkar had to or is dealing with can't be compared to any other sports legend ever. The other thing that makes me wonder is, how is WI bowling any less to Indian bowling - be it 90's or now. You guys think prasad, raju, kumble, chauhan, sanjeev sharma, ankola, vivek razdan, sunil johsi, balaji, zaheer khan, kuruvilla, debashish mohanty, manoj prabhakar, subrato benarjee, srinath, few kulkarni's(raju, nilesh, dhawal), Thiru kumaran, sreeshanth, irfan pathan, munaf patel, dinda, ashish kapoor, nikil chopra, ajit agarkar are world class bowlers - compare anyone in this list with Donald/pollock/steyn/deviliers(always wondered how he could be dropped- in one 1-day tournament in India - batsmen couldn't score 4 per over)/morkel/Kallis/Mcmillan or Mcgrath/Gillespie/Lee/Warnie or even with Walsh/Ambrose/Marshall or Imran/akram/waqar/shoab/quadir/saqlain/mushi/MohmadAmir.. Ian Bishop and Mohamed Asif are far better than any Indian bowler during Tendulkar's era..

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 18:53 GMT

    Where is Sangakkara? a class player and professional who carries himself well on and off the cricket field and a great role model for any young cricketer.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 18:52 GMT

    The Very Fact that Dravid was eliminated from this discussion very callously in a single line makes this article pointless for me. It is such disrespect to him. Between 1999-2004, Dravid was the best batsman in International Test Cricket. He dominated every bowling. And there were Akram, Donald, Walsh and Ambrose in that 1999-2004 period plus the australian bowlers too which Ponting was not required to face. You didn't take into account Dravid's impact as a Test match winner and Test match saver. What about his overseas record in a team scared of anything swinging or seeming or bouncing? Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi pitches help Sachin swell his overseas average. Take into account the stats outside Indian sub-continent and you'll find that Dravid is the best Indian batsman, even better than Gavaskar and Tendulkar. Sorry to say, but the whole article is very superficial. Its easy to admire dynamic batsmen like sachin or lara, but we often forget to admire stoic and gritty ones like Dravid

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 18:45 GMT

    They don't make 'em like they used to! For those who did not have the pleasure of seeing him, Sir Gary was the Mercurial God of cricket. His feats are legend the world over. Nuff respeck to Bradman and his achievements; but he played nearly all his cricket in Aus and Eng in conditions he knew and bowlers he was largely familiar with. However, no lesser critics than Ian Chappell, Dennis Lillee, Barry Richards, Fred Trueman attested to Sober's magical genius with the willow. Yet the same man would open the bowling, both quite quick or swing (a la Akram), could bowl slow leftarm orthodox and chinaman/googlies. then, when he was finished bowling, he would position himself in the "batsman's pocket" at shortleg or silly mid on where he took scores of catches. He wasnt finished there either. His feats off the cricket field, on dance floors, bars, clubs and with the ladies are worth a tome of its own. They dont make em like they used to! Incomparable!

  • POSTED BY warneneverchuck on | March 18, 2013, 18:21 GMT

    Tendulkar all the way. He has better average in all test playing nations.

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | March 18, 2013, 18:14 GMT

    This is my order of rating

    1.Don Bradman 2.Sachin Tendulkar 3.Viv Richards 4.Jack Hobbs 5.Brian Lara 6.Gary Sobers 7.Barry Richards 8.Graeme Pollock 9.Sunil Gavaskar 10.Len Hutton 11.Greg Chappell 12.Ricky Ponting

    In pure test cricket I would promote Brian Lara to 2nd place nosing Tendulkar and promote Gary Sobers to 3rd place,just nosing Hobbs and Viv Richards.Sachin's 100 centuries is something incomparable and no sportsman has dominated a sport at the top for 2 decades.

    Ultimately it is all debatable between Tendulkar Lara,Barry or Viv Richards and Gary Sobers.An important aspect is whether performance in one day cricket is a criteria.That would automatically promote Viv and Sachin over Lara and Sobers.

  • POSTED BY PACERONE on | March 18, 2013, 18:08 GMT

    In the days that Sobers played you could bowl as many bumpers as you felt like bowling.English bowlers were told not to bowl and bouncers at Sobers.Their bumpers were been deposited to the boundaries.In Jamaica he made a century on a terrible wicket against England.Check how many times he was there to save W,I.He was the only player of all those mentioned who did not start his test career as a batsman.Did he wear a thigh guard.It does not look like he has one on when you look at his pictures.THE GREATEST BATSMAN.

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | March 18, 2013, 18:02 GMT

    Infact the article could demarcate between great batsman who were match-winners and those who could bat for their lives.Viv and Barry Richards ,Greg Chappell or Graeme Pollock would fall into the category of match-winners while Gavaskar,Kallis,Miandad and Border were champions in a crisis . Lara,Tendulkar and Sobers were champions in winning causes and in saving games,which made them unique.Statistics simply did not do justice to Rohan Kanhai who in the eyes of some fans even surpassed Gary Sobers at his best.He championed winning and match-saving causes mastering great pace and spin.When the chips were down Rahul Dravid,Javed Miandad or Alan Border could even overshadow Viv Richards or even Sachin Tendulkar.

    In terms of pure talent I can never forget Gundappa Vishwanath who at his best was India's best match-winner and a master of both pace and spin.

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | March 18, 2013, 17:52 GMT

    Viv Richards was the greatest match-winner who could turn the complexion of a game more than any batsman and was the best ever player against pace bowling.From 1976-81 he was unarguably next only to the Don compared to batsmen. Barry Richards was an epitome of batting perfection while Tendulkar posessed every component of a perfect batsman,maybe even more than Sobers if you consider the pressure he faced.However no batsman bore the brunt of his team's batting as much as Lara who turned the complexion of matches or even series (1999Frank Worrel trophy) single-handedly.Arguably he is the strongest candidate for 2nd spot to Bradman if you consider the number of his mammoth scores and the value to his side.At his best he was simply a sight to behold.

    Mark ,left out some greats like Rohan Kanhai,Javed Miandad and Alan Border.Border and Minadad were the ultimate to bat for your life while in raw ability or creative genius Kanhai even surpassed Bradman and overshadowed Sobers at his best.

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | March 18, 2013, 17:41 GMT

    Great article,Mark.I applaud your selection and criteria and agree that arguably that Gary Sobers was the most complete batsman after Bradman.He posessed great technique,consistency,temperament,ability to win and save matches,ability to conquer all types of attacks in any conditions and above all radiated more joy than any batsman .Mark has also very well analyzed Tendulkar ,Lara ,Barry and Viv Richards,bringing out the merits of all these greats.In the end only a photo finish could seperate such greats.I also praise his consideration of Greg Chappell,another modern great.

    Overall in my personal rating Brian Lara would just scrape Sobers considering that he championed the cause for a relatively weak team amassing mammoth scores and scoring at a breathtaking run rate.Lara at his best won games on his own and even overshadowed Tendulkar.In pure test cricket arguably Lara could be rated marginally above Tendulkar if you asses his average percentage score.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 17:28 GMT

    Enjoyed reading the article on a topic which can be as controversial as ever. Not willing to jump into a bandwagon because opinions on the "best after..." can be as personal as anything, I can't help but think that someone should talk about the greatest and next greatest bowler of all time, instead of all the time trying to debate on who is the best after Bradman.

  • POSTED BY AltafPatel on | March 18, 2013, 17:27 GMT

    It's too early to put Clarke and Cook. You can't judge someone on basis of one year performance. There were many in the past like Straus, and Gibbs who averaged above 50 with continuous centuries at their peak but retired with averaging around 40. Samarvira of Srilanka was once averaging 70 in initial 20-30 matches retiring with average around 50.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 17:24 GMT

    In every comments section there has to be someone that says that Flopdultar is the best, get over it he's not even the second best, piling on the runs against Bangladesh and Zim don't count, his highest score is against Bangladesh, Lara was a better batsmen, he actually won test matches off his own bat.

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | March 18, 2013, 17:17 GMT

    sir ivor sobers a great all rounder for certain with bat, pace/spin and fielding a true great but i am not a saffa so lets get that straight , but kallis i would put above him, other than batting tempo and sometimes thinking more of his game than the team ethic, but he is a colossus as a cricketer, other than spin his game has everything and if you put his separate skills he would be up there with the best in batting bowling and catching. in years to come when hes sitting in his rocking chai,r he will be remembered as such.

  • POSTED BY Neuen on | March 18, 2013, 17:09 GMT

    The Don wasn't the best. A amateur who faced bolwers who averaged over 30 and a South African team with the strength compared to current Bangladesh and Zimbabwe and had a bad eye sight which was the reason for him being kicked out the army. Statistics do not tell the class of a player. People completely ignore the strength of the opposition and the rules of that era. He was the best of his era yes not ever.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 17:06 GMT

    For all the craft and poetry in this piece, I can't help but feel its a little pointless? Cricinfo's articles are generally insightful and relevant but they have a funny habit of lapsing into these odious comparison series. Can we not just enjoy each players worth on merit, rather than stack them up against each other? It only ever turns into 'SACHIN IZ DA BEESSSTTT !!1111!!!' anyway.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 16:37 GMT

    I think richard was one the greatest ever in history after bradman.Although sachin got most runs but his contribution in his team victort is very less as compare to both and i feel pointing is standing at bette we compare position in that aspect.if we compare style and teachniuqe we can easily see tedulkur is behand also here. sureesh mandan

  • POSTED BY Rally_Windies on | March 18, 2013, 16:33 GMT

    Kind of Left out, Jack Hobs and George Headly ....

    its kind of ego centric to assume that the next best after Bradman comes from the stock of players you have "seen" ...

    Especially since you never "saw" Bradman ...

  • POSTED BY blink182alex on | March 18, 2013, 16:30 GMT

    cricket isn't all about stats, we could all make cases for whichever great batsmen to be considered the greatest. But it's also about entertainment and that's why for me Viv Richards is the best - perhaps better than Bradman. If you consider Bradman only ever played in Aus and Eng, he didn't have to challenge many foreign conditions, and the standard of bowling at that time was not great.

    Viv would dominate an attack and would get bored once past 100, with the bowling attack WI had at the time there was no need to go and an score 200's 300's that he could of done as their bowlers would tear through the opposition.

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | March 18, 2013, 16:26 GMT

    on averages and runs scored some may say bradman. but i can only vote for people i have actually seen live and on tv. it has to be Sir Viv Richards the most destructive of batsman who ever played the game who never worried about the match situation or bowler or his averages ( i don't think Bradman was a guy who looked at his averages bythe way ) but he never had to bat against the number of great fast bowlers that were about during the whole of his career.

  • POSTED BY SnowSnake on | March 18, 2013, 16:19 GMT

    I refuse to believe Bradman was the best in the first place. He just has one metric of average score during the time when travel was on ships and replacements for injured players were almost impossible. Picking one arbitrary metric and proving that he is the best is like picking total runs scored and calling Sachin the best. When you compare Bradman on broad set of metrics then picking the best of all time in cricket is always a "toughie."

  • POSTED BY Hanumall on | March 18, 2013, 16:02 GMT

    Comparisons across decades (centuries?) are not tenable, because every factor has changed over time - rules, quality of cricketing gear , quality of opposition, umpiring, quantity of cricket played, variety of formats, number of countries now playing cricket, kind of talent drawn to the game , coaching , technical correction and rehab facilities available etc etc). Who is the greatest among Bradman, Lara , Richards and Sobers is a question that cannot be answered unless they all play in the same period under comparable conditions. Because of big money in cricket, the bar is being raised all the time in terms of cricketing standards and skills. The best players of the current generation, other things being equal, would be much smarter than their counterparts of an earlier generation.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 16:01 GMT

    If one has to take into consideration, the longitivity and consistancy, there is noone to match Sachin Tendulkar, 100 centuries is not a joke. No one can come anywhere near this record. Similarly scoring over 34000 runs is also unparallelled. To me it is just Sachin

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    Dear Mark Nicholas, thank you. What an extra ordinary piece!! We have read about all these legends, in separate articles, watched a few of them play, on TV or at stadiums around the world.. But to read about them all in one place was, for the want of a better term, magical. This article makes me realize why we love this game so much.. The sheer abundance of heroes and their romantic tales.. Glad i could read this.. Hope Sambit Bal does this to you more often..

  • POSTED BY peterhrt on | March 18, 2013, 15:48 GMT

    According to historians, there have been few candidates for greatest batsman ever. For a hundred years there were only four. Grace, the pioneeer, was furthest ahead of his contemporaries; Trumper the most brilliant on bad wickets; Hobbs the master of all conditions; and Bradman the heaviest runscorer on good pitches. As recently as the 1970s, several prominent critics, including Arlott, Bowen and Fingleton, placed Bradman behind one or more of the other three due to his failure on bad wickets. Universal covering of pitches, and computerised statistics, then propelled The Don to pole position. Of batsmen to feature during the past 60 years, the media have elevated four to the highest plane: Barry Richards for class; Viv Richards for dominating the best bowling; Lara for the most breathtaking innings; and Tendulkar for technical completeness. Sobers, confusingly, has been discussed more as an all-rounder. Purely as a batsman he sits just below this elite group, which now numbers eight.

  • POSTED BY longhorndms on | March 18, 2013, 15:45 GMT

    I did a calculation where I collected a list of ALL test batsmen with an average of 30+. Then for every player in that list, I calculated a mean average of their era. Then I calculated how much more each player's average was compared to the mean average of their era. Then I filtered that list to include only those players who have playerd for 15+ years. This is the list I got:

    1- Don Bradman (avg: 99.94, 51.69 ahead of mean) 2- J Kallis (avg: 56.92, 13.71 ahead of mean) 3- G Sobers (avg: 57.78, 13.5 ahead of the mean) 4- G Headley (avg: 60.83, 13.21 ahead of the mean) 5- S Tendulkar (avg: 54.32, 11.32 ahead of the mean)

    *Stats up to date till Oct 2012.

  • POSTED BY KallisTheGreatest on | March 18, 2013, 15:38 GMT

    @Seether1: Its my personal choice mate.Don't care about that.btw pleasure to got a reply from an expert like you.like to see your super selections. @Shan156 @Seether1 Both Cook & pup nearing 8000 run mark & Amla has only 5000+ at the moment.isn't there any difference? my selection only based on entire record of players still playing, not their current form.Both cook & Clarke Scored heavily in all around the world but I didn't see Amla scores that much in spin friendly conditions except 2010 indian series.But i'm pretty sure he will surely be a legend sooner than later.

  • POSTED BY KishoreSharma on | March 18, 2013, 15:30 GMT

    Excellent article. However, the point must be made that while the advent of helmets, uncovered wickets and smaller boundaries may make batting easier in some respects, they may have been offset by a few other developments. The first is the advent of hawkeye, which has made umpires during the past decade much more willing to give batsmen out lbw off the front foot - which has particularly helped inswing and off spin bowlers. The second is the advent of reverse swing, which provides pace bowlers with a significant additional weapon. The third is the development of the doosra. All these developments need to be given weight when assessing whether batting has indeed become easier over the years. I suspect not - it is as difficult, except the challenges have changed. But the conclusion, i.e. Sobers, is fair enough, though I would have gone for Tendulkar.

  • POSTED BY manojdis on | March 18, 2013, 15:20 GMT

    Thanks to YouTube, I had quenched my thirst of witnessing the old greats and I 100% agree with Sir Gary as the 2nd best batsman, purely taking the 254 knock against aussies. SUBLIME!! His follow-through is magic! He can clear that MCG fence just from a free swing of the bat (which ends up striking his back!) against spinners just standing within the crease. I haven't seen anything like that!! But my personal favorites are 3 batsman whom I place second only to Sir Gary; Sunny Gavaskar, Graeme Pollock and Barry Richards! Sunny the little emperor, what a stance, what balance, what technique!! His wrist work is without peer! Graeme Pollock, Simple but brutal. You guys take a look at his 89(71) vs Bradman XI, 136 against aussies on Youtube and see for yourself. Then the majestic Barry! I haven't seen anyone who has that much of time to play strokes. He bats against the likes of Colin Croft as though facing a spinner, eons of time! and such sereneness!! May more vids of him be available!

  • POSTED BY zoot on | March 18, 2013, 15:19 GMT

    The best I saw was Sobers but he batted at six. The best opener I saw was Barry Richards and he looked better than Graeme Pollock.

  • POSTED BY LakmalPhysics on | March 18, 2013, 15:19 GMT

    A biased selection of players. How he can omit Sangakkara from this list? Sanga is improving day by day and is the most consistent batsman in modern times. Kalllis's average is in mid fifties because of his 40 not outs in tests. Sachin is a fading star and should retire giving his place to youngsters. Sanga is the best among this modern greats.

    1. Sanga 2. Sachin 3. Ponting 4.Cook 5. Kallis

  • POSTED BY GeraldCalt on | March 18, 2013, 15:15 GMT

    Most of the above are only batsmen you've seen though. I maintain that I've never seen a better batsman than Brian Lara. Tendulkar strayed on the cocky side every now and then and looked worse for it. But looking at statistics, I think I'm right in saying that the next highest average of those who've played ten tests was NZ's Stewie Dempster (or was for a long time). I'd like to have seen him play.

  • POSTED BY ProdigyA on | March 18, 2013, 14:46 GMT

    If there was one man who could turn a sport by its head, who could move it away from just two countries... ITS GOT TO BE SACHIN. He came, he saw, he conquered.

  • POSTED BY liz1558 on | March 18, 2013, 14:42 GMT

    No doubts that Garry is the man. Just one criticism - when Mark said that Gavaskar, Barry Richards, Viv Richards, Pollock, Greg Chappell, and Sobers were all at their peak between 68 and 78, he's wrong. Sobers was at his peak between 58 - 68. Or perhaps 67. Either way, right man, wrong decade.

  • POSTED BY Nigah on | March 18, 2013, 14:28 GMT

    It's very strange to see that all cricketing world love to declare Bradman as the only finest batsman, I have seen some of his betting does peoples know he always love to play by covering all three stumps? remember there was no LBW since 1960 i think, also does anybody love to tell me what kind of bowlers were available during 1927 to 1947? Again is all are dying to forced Bradman the world best because his Avg. was 99.94, Okey leave the average for a moment keep the style in the mind then no one close to Bradman than Inzimam-ul-Haq.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | March 18, 2013, 14:10 GMT

    I find it funny when people say Tendulkar is good. Statchin is barely above club level and is only in the team because there is absolutely zero talent coming through.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | March 18, 2013, 14:08 GMT

    Mark has got it wrong here. Ponting is clearly the best since Bradman, closely followed by Hussey and Lara.

  • POSTED BY screamingeagle on | March 18, 2013, 14:05 GMT

    @Oopercut, Sehwag is good in his own way, but I have my own doubts on how he would have fared against the WI and Aus bowlers of yore. Might have had a few good, even great innings, but I do not think he would have had Gavaskar's consistency.

  • POSTED BY screamingeagle on | March 18, 2013, 14:04 GMT

    Finally I read someone writing about Gavaskar. I might get flamed for this, but to me he stands taller than Sachin as far as tests go. More importantly, he retired on a high. I like both, but probably Gavaskar a bit more, especially when one considers the attacks he faced. I am an Indian fan and a Sachin one, but also realistic.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 14:02 GMT

    SRT IS NOT the best after Don, I'm an Indian and I think he's not even one of the top 3 Indian batsmen. Those honors go to 1. Sunny 2. Dravid 3. Vishwanath. For me, the sole criterion for judging the greatness of a batsman is his contribution in team victories/draws, and Dravid in this regard stands heads and shoulders above many of his global contemporaries, not just Indians. SRT may have played some good inns. but how many of them have come during crisis? In the last 10 years how many matches can u count on your fingers that were won bcos of SRT, only 387 chase against Eng comes to mind, that too in home cond.! For every match winning inns. played by SRT, Dravid has played 5 of them! BC LARA also has the same failures as SRT but Lara is better than him because he has fought many matches literally single handedly, his often last wkt partnerships in the time of crises are the stuff of legends, this is where SRT falls flat on his face Great Article Mark...keep it up pls!

  • POSTED BY king_kenie on | March 18, 2013, 13:55 GMT

    I agree that Sobers is the best cricketer of all times since he has one up on Kallis with his spin bowling, but since I am young and am only hearing about some of these players for the first time I am definitely not the most qualified to make a judgment. Yet I say that the only man in the world to score 500, 400, 300, 200 and yes many centuries, is more than special to me. For me I would rate him as having the strongest powers of concentration in batsmanship and yes he was the most gifted of batsmen ever, albeit not the most productive.

  • POSTED BY BellCurve on | March 18, 2013, 13:53 GMT

    @ St.Ivor; @kapslock_kk - If Sobers could bowl spin and pace, then surely he could bowl spin when conditions favoured spin and pace when conditions favoured pace, right? His career statistics should therefore be better than that of a bowler than can only bowl pace or only bowl spin, right? So how do you explain his poor career bowling statistics (average: 34.03; strike rate: 91.9)?

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    Something to ponder about : Out of the top 5 highest test averages in the history of the game, 3 belong to bradman's era. Need i say anything more?

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 13:24 GMT

    For those who believe that bradman is the unquestionable all time greatest,here is some interesting info among many of his counter points. the fastest n the most fearful bowler he played against,Larwood,averages just 35 ,neglecting his bodyline series. Such epic stuff !!! this is just one of the many many obvious points you can present against him if you bother n truly care to look beyond a number called '99.94'. there are so many things to look at like his LBW to clean bowled ratio which is so amazingly different from that of modern batsman for obvious reasons. etc etc n etc.... 99.94 can only mean that he was much better than his contemporary friends . just that.period. To generalise his average of 99 over d history of the game will be a huge huge mistake !!!

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 13:18 GMT

    gary sobers is the greatest cricketer ever. period. but not the best batsman IMO. To judge the best batsman,you have to take into account sheer stats,sheer genius,class,longevity,the kind of strokes he possesses,ability to mesmerise spectators with their game,ability to play anywhere against anyone in any state of the game. Go through history of the game,which is the one batsman who had it all. IMO the decade of the1990 was the toughest time to bat in cricketing history as it had deadly combination of great pacers n great spinners. only SACHIN averaged 60 in that decade. he was in his prime when all great bowlers of this time were in their prime. He is the most complete batsman ever. Treat to the eyes,possesses all kinds of strokes,has none of the seemingly weak points against pace or spin,can score at will,can play orthodox n unorthodox strokes,innovate whenever required. And to do all of that under those unbelievable expectations of billions is truly out-of-the-world. Privilege !!!

  • POSTED BY IndiaNumeroUno on | March 18, 2013, 13:10 GMT

    The reason Tendulkar is the best is he has made his runs against a plethora of attacks (not just one or two countries), on different pitches and under tremendous pressure of a billion plus fan following... something which the likes of Bradman, Cook etc would not even get close to. To see what pressure does just check what happened to the great Don playing his last match, or Cook when he played right after being compared to the Don... now think about having a billion plus eyes and hopes on you EVERY time you go into bat... incomparable.

  • POSTED BY Biggus on | March 18, 2013, 13:03 GMT

    Here we go again, and as usual for the bulk of Indian fans (most of these are not cricket fans per se, but fanboys who shout for India as a perceived national duty) the following criteria seems to be the guiding principle:- India=Good, Australia=Bad. No distortion of statistics is too fanciful, no theory of why their 'God' is supreme over all others is too tenuous to press. Example:-Larwood, Voce, Hedley Verity and Alec Bedser are 'Village Green' bowlers, a patently ridiculous statement. Most of these haven't even seen Viv Richards play, let alone Sobers or Bradman so are forced to pluck these spurious ideas from their heads that are nothing but the product of wishful thinking driven by the need to justify their love for this 'God'. My goodness, Sachin is without doubt a fine player but doesn't even boast the best modern average. Bradman was half as good again as Herbert Sutcliffe and Wally Hammond and damn near twice as good as anyone else, yet this is brushed aside as nothing.

  • POSTED BY Beertjie on | March 18, 2013, 13:03 GMT

    Great article, Mark. Agree with your selection. I caught him at Lord's in 1969 when he got only 50, but for the reasons you mention he was truly great. Watched more of Pollock and Richards in the flesh and they too were truly great. Run accumulators no matter how correct somehow cannot ignite the hero-worship. Besides, what's the point of scoring runs if your team doesn't win? You have to score at a fair clip for that to come about. So context is everything and by broadening it you are able to narrow down the field. On another note, great strategy by Brendon McCullum. Cook must have kicked himself after his dismissal. Having watched Langer being floored by Ntini in 2006, I agree entirely with Packer!Good post @legfinedeep on (March 18, 2013, 10:20 GMT) The most ridiculous post I have ever seen on this website @ Xolile on (March 18, 2013, 10:45 GMT) and I'm a fellowcountryman.

  • POSTED BY UglyIndian on | March 18, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    Hmmm....I think Kevin Pietersen has played more breath-taking and match defining innings in one year (2012) than Tendulkar has, in his entire career. I know a lot of Tendulkar fanbois will diss me for saying that...because deep down even they wish that Tendulkar could play like Pietersen.

  • POSTED BY IPSY on | March 18, 2013, 12:43 GMT

    Beautiful writing Mr Nicholas! However, Geoff Boycott is second only to Ian Chappell when it comes to sujective opinion in cricket. I therefore think that Geoff is correct in choosing Richards, Lara and Sobers above the others in the mould of Bradman. Pick anyone of them and the overwhelming majority of objective cricket fans on the planet would agree that he's second to Bradman. I must admit though, that based on the excellent manner in which you assessed each batsman in this article, I have to differ with you and give the prize to Lara. He is the one who constantly produced the most unbelievable performances that challenged the reign of Bradman. It's true that Sir Gary was also unbelievable, but if we're crystal clear in our objectivity, it's not difficult to conclude that Brian Lara is the only batsman after Bradman who in his relatively short career challenged Bradman's genius. And the great Pakistani Haniff Mohammed even thinks that Lara was better than Bradman - Ask him.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 12:43 GMT

    I don't really get it why a batsman (read Donald Bradman) is he established *greatest batsmen, ever* when he played only at Home and England. Either he alone, or the Australian team never played in West Indies, India, South Africa and India. Again, apart from South Africa and England, Bradman played in an era when the other test nations had just started playing, which is more like playing Bangladesh in the early 2000's. Even South Africa who had made its maiden test appearance in the 19th century was a team which often got bowled out for less than a 100 runs.

    But I guess it has more to do with 'academic recognition' then with reason, which makes Donald Bradman the greatest ever batsman.

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | March 18, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    SupaCricketFan ; So what is your point Richards said Bradman was the best ever. I believe that is my argument. Are you trying to prove my argument? Also, Viv Richards was in Australia during the summer and on TV here said something to the effect that Ponting is the best player he has seen play. No modern day player can say that Bradman is the best they have seen simply because they havent seen him play.

  • POSTED BY Cricketfan08 on | March 18, 2013, 12:20 GMT

    Agree with Mark. Tendulkar is unfortunately not a match-winner. His average in ODI when chasing scores on 275 or more is really poor. Seems to say a lot about him handling pressure. Last many years he has been poor overseas.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    It cannot be anyone but Sachin purely by the weight of his performances.

  • POSTED BY the_complete_batsman on | March 18, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    I agree with Mark Nicholas that the greatest batsmen post Bradman are, in no order of precedence , Sobers, Tendulkar, Viv Richards, Lara, Gavaskar, Greg Chappell, Graeme Pollock and Barry Richards. These represent the absolute elite among batsmen after 1950. Others like Steve Waugh, Border, Ponting, Kallis, Dravid, Walcott, Worrell, Weekes and Miandad are only a notch below. Before 1950, the list comprises of Bradman, Hobbs, Hutton, Hammond, Sutcliffe, Headley, Trumper, Ranji, C.B Fry and finally Grace. I think these names more or less cover the greatest batsmen cricket has seen.

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | March 18, 2013, 11:56 GMT

    SupaCricketFan - What are you trying to say with your Mars comment? It makes no sense. I mentioned I played cricket late 80's until current only to back up my point with cricket equipment and the advancements. I guess if Tendulkar made the runs in Mars we would have to consider atmospheric conditions. Your comment makes no sense. Bats today, protective equipment today is so advance. The players like Barry Richards, Viv Richards were facing Jeff Thomson without helmets how would Sachin go in that enviroment? The answer is we will never know but we suspect he still would have got a lot of runs. The only thing that is definitive is at his time Bradman was twice as good as any other player on average, whereas today there is no difference between teh averages of Kallis, Tendulkar, Lara, Dravid and many other superstars. As such ad there was no equal of Bradman in his era then I think this comprehensively concludes that Bradman was the greatest ever.

  • POSTED BY ObjectiveCricketism on | March 18, 2013, 11:54 GMT

    For those of us who have seen all the great batsmen since the mid 1950's, the answer is pretty easy.

    Sir Garfield Sobers was an absolute genius whose batting was better than all who have come after him. He never batted for averages. Had he done so, he would have averaged over 70 in his day and probably over 80 in the current batsmen friendly era. As a batsman, he would easily have been king of the shorter formats also and he would have made someone like Chris Gayle look slow by comparison.

    Alas so many people commenting here did not see him bat and will not understand what I mean. It is a shame that Mark Nicholas only saw Sobers towards the end of his career. Had he seen Sobers at his best, his article would have been much shorter.

  • POSTED BY supacricfan on | March 18, 2013, 11:52 GMT

    Shaggy 076-Sir vivian richards quote "I believe Sir Donald Bradman is the greatest of them all, but seeing Tendulkar bat, I can say that when he is in top flight, in a variety of conditions, I have seen the best," said the 60-year-old former West Indies captain when approached to comment on Sachin Tendulkar's elusive ton of tons.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 11:49 GMT

    @ supacricfan: guess you need to change your handle to supasachinfan. What the heck is handling the pressure of 1 billion people? This statement often made by commentators is made up purely as conversation starters or people who have nothing else to talk about. Statistically speaking, out of 1 billion odd people, discounting babies, elderly people, people who don't watch cricket, the 1 odd billion becomes less than half a billion. Unless they have some super powers, they cannot put pressure on any human being. While a player may have it at the back of his mind, his first priority would be to do well for himself so let's not make big deal out of it. To compare with Bradman, we need to look at only Test matches which Sachin ain't there as compared to his ODI career. For that matter of fact the best Test player India has ever produced is Sunil Gavaskar. People who have know their cricket will agree to this.

  • POSTED BY nursery_ender on | March 18, 2013, 11:46 GMT

    Posted by kingcobra85 on (March 18, 2013, 5:51 GMT) The records of older players seems equally inconceivable to be me as it is to you for totally different reasons. No thrid umpries, No neutral umpires, No DRS, No video analysis, No player burnouts and No media scrutiny. The modern day players who average about 50 can easily add 10 runs to their averages.

    Which still leaves them 40 runs short.

  • POSTED BY Bonehead_maz on | March 18, 2013, 11:36 GMT

    Beautifully written and explained Mark Nicholas. A pity even you ... EVERYONE forgets to mention Grace !! @ moppa..... exactly ! and to those that think human ability has increased so much please consider Usain Boult's world record is 6.3% better than Jesse Owens (in 1936), Nolan pitched 5.8 % faster than Walter Johnson (in 1918). Hard to imagine someone near twice as good as the other best ?

    To me the question that originally got your thinking Mark, is pretty easy..... Harvey and Ponting were better than the other aussies since.

    The other is WAY too hard lol, but please everyone, don't forget Grace !

  • POSTED BY ooper_cut on | March 18, 2013, 11:34 GMT

    If there is a mention of Gavaskar, surely there should be a whisper of Sehwag who simply dashed away the notion of what test cricket is. He was only testing himself against himself, no one else mattered to him.

  • POSTED BY Drew2 on | March 18, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    @Xolile you have gone to great lengths to bring down the undisputed greatest batsman of all time. You can't bring him down with statistics. He was simply twice as good as the next best in his era. No batsman in any era has come remotely close to that feat. You have conveniently left out the fact that WWII took 7 years of his prime away and dismissed uncovered pitches as batting paradises. No more really needs to be said.

  • POSTED BY MrGarreth on | March 18, 2013, 11:23 GMT

    I've always believed in Robin Jackman's argument for the greatest cricketers: judge them by how much better they were than those around them in their era. Bradman was still miles ahead of those around him. This is why it is so hard to judge 2nd best. While Bradman was at least 40 runs above every other batsmen around him, no one else has been able to be even 5 points clear of the next best around them (not in the modern era anyway). Growing up as a South African I can tell you that Graeme Pollock was described as something of an enigma. Who knows what may have been...

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | March 18, 2013, 11:18 GMT

    Supacricfan - I never had a go at Sachin, just your portrayal of the modern day cricketer and there hardships. Sachin is a superstar, but none of those blokes you mentioned would ever rate him above Bradman. Every era have had there troubles and I reckon it would have been a lot harder batting on uncovered pitches in a particularly wet climate like England, than it would be for the modern day player through the video technology.

  • POSTED BY Gilliana on | March 18, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    Gary Sobers was an allrounder and for this I will not include him as the candidate. Neither would I hoot for the great Don because he played only at home and England. It was another era though and the game has changed becoming for specialised and advanced with innovation on various aspects of the game. Personally, I feel that the Don would not have achieved as much as he did if he was playing now. Hence it is unfair to to those master batsmen who had recently left the game and those that are still in action. My choice is Brian Lara for the way he played the game with flamboyance and was the man to rely on when it mattered most. He came, played, conquered and left in the same way he came to the game. I always feel that a batsman should be judged on the way he plays the game and not by the records he breaks.

  • POSTED BY lazyplayers on | March 18, 2013, 11:08 GMT

    @supacricfan by your logic your college physics professor is more brilliant than newton. Vishy Anand is the greatest chess player - better than Bobby Fischer and all. Baichug Bhutia will be better than pele.what the heck is expectation of billion people, at the same time you also play for billion rupees.

  • POSTED BY PadMarley on | March 18, 2013, 11:03 GMT

    This is a never ending discussion. I oppose having one single great when i look back at some of the amazing 'once in a life time' performers of history. Lets get rid of the concept 'Bradman was the best'. I would put him as one of the greats. He didn't have opportunity to prove him self in 4 very important criteria in the history of test bowling. 1. Facing and succeeding against 80s deadly bowling attacks [WI/AU], 2. Reverse swing/yorker revolution from Pakistan, 3. Mysterious spinning revolution of 90s/2000s [Murali,Warne, Saqlain, Kumble], 4. Having to adapt to many test nations, varied attacks and conditions. - Viv, and Sunny cherished against criteria 1,2,4 - Lara Cherished against criteria 2,3,4 - Sachin Cherished against all four [partly qualified against criteria 1 though] Brett Lee, and Shoeb Aktar, perhaps are not all time greats, but they both have two important slots in the history to fill, and we all know why. Sachin and Lara did well against these two as well.

  • POSTED BY Akhter786 on | March 18, 2013, 11:02 GMT

    since this article is primarily all about opinion, i had mine too. How can Sachin be second greatest! Oh come on , he is best when it comes to records runs and et al. Is that all, is greatness all about records. I am of the opinion that even Dravid is a far better than Sachin, just look at the situations where he has scored his runs.

    It has to be Sobers, & then it has to be Kallis!

    just have a look at this man's stats and the way he has pounded them

  • POSTED BY Moppa on | March 18, 2013, 10:51 GMT

    Funny how Mark Nicholas writes an article to debate no.2 on the greatest batsman list and we end up debating no.1... some people are really so stubborn. For my part, I've not yet heard a coherent argument as to why Hammond, Hutton, Hobbs, Ponsford, McCabe and all the other indisputably fine batsmen of Bradman's era failed to also average 99, in fact were fully 40 runs short, given how easy batting was back then. Until I do, I'm with Mark Nicholas, Sambit Bal and 99% of non-Indian cricket supporters: case closed, Bradman is the best ever.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | March 18, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    @karim_s on (March 18, 2013, 4:40 GMT) - unlike every player post Bradman - he NEVER gorged on a constant diet of minnows. 75% of his cricket was played against the BEST OPPOSITION he could possibly against. Name a batsmen post WWII that has that honour! = = = Some really poor comments on here, I admire Sachin greatly, (prefer Lara as the modern best batsmen), but I refues to bag any of those greats to prove a point. Lara at his best was a genius who nobody could emulate, whilst Sachin was a meticulous machine who honed his craft. Both bloody brilliant. Briefly Punter outshone them both, but his last 4 or 5 years diminished his aura, a similar thing IMO is happenning to SRT.

  • POSTED BY supacricfan on | March 18, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    Thanks cricinfo for featuring my article,shaggy076..where did u play cricket ?! At MARS?!lol..ask warne,mcgrath,Donald,..they will tell you why they rate sachin as the greatest batsmen they have bowled at?!even legendary VIV has said "of all the batsman i have seen,sachin is the greatest" am sure he has seen few batsmen around!!Another legend BC lara has said "sachin is a genius,i am a mere mortal"Matt hayden-"i have seen god,he plays at no.4 for india"..Dont under estimate modern day batsmen,fielding levels have improved beyond imagination compared to the bradman era n the technology literally strips batsmen weaknesses..bradman n pollock are legends but dont need to insult anyone else praising them!!

  • POSTED BY BellCurve on | March 18, 2013, 10:45 GMT

    In aggregate, the following arguments explain why Bradman may not have been the best of all time. (1) He faced around 12,000 balls and was dismissed 70 times; this allows for significant statistical noise. (2) The quality of bowling he faced was weaker than that of the last 40 years. The physiology of fast-bowlers is similar to that of athletes; look at the improvements in Olympic records from 1928 to 2012 as a measure of advances made in strength, speed and endurance since the days for Bradman. (3) Similarly, the quality of fielding has improved drastically since 1928. (4) Averages of other batsmen in the matches that featured Bradman suggest "uncovered pitches" was not an issue for Bradman; most of the time he benefited from hard-baked, heavily-rolled clay/marl surfaces which were a joy to bat on. (5) The Don was pure box office; umpires knew it; proportionally he was given out LBW/run-out fewer times than any of the other contenders.

  • POSTED BY jkaussie on | March 18, 2013, 10:32 GMT

    I'm an Aussie and for me after Bradman it has to be Sachin. Made runs everywhere, in weak teams and strong teams, against some of the game's greatest attacks, and awesome to watch too. The next best Australian bat has to be Ponting, and I have grown up watching both the Chappells, Allan Border, Steve Waugh and so on - just able to murder attacks, made runs everywhere, especially when it counted. But I reckon us cricket fans have been spoilt in the last 20 years! Ponting, SRT, Lara - WOW! Either way and any player, it's great to watch!

  • POSTED BY legfinedeep on | March 18, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    Since this site is mostly populated by Indian fans, and they are the ones who tend to be the most vocal about cricket, it is no surprise that Tendulkar has the popular vote. However, I find it ludicrous when they cite "longevity" as one of the reasons for his greatness. To my mind, his longevity *detracts* from his so-called greatness. A truly great player would have known when the time was right to hang up his boots, rather than overstay a welcome in relentless pursuit of records. He has played some great innings but he has equally many times played for records. I have always said that if SRT played for any other country, he would never have been as over-hyped as he is, simply because he comes from a country where cricket is the ONLY sport that counts, and where people are given to creating Gods out of cricketers, whereas the same is not the case in other countries.

  • POSTED BY zummerrset on | March 18, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    It can only be Sir Viv for me - swagger, brutality, strength, intimidationand the best 'eye' in the business. Genius.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    Sachin without a doubt...

  • POSTED BY rienzied on | March 18, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    Sachin doesn't play enough for the team, Lara in my opinion is the true batsman of our times, Sachin got a lot of his runs in the first innings on docile pitches, however Lara made his all over the world, and on much tougher wickets, circumstances and in a very weak batting lineup. I have been told Sobers is one of the most exciting and complete players of all time, in all facets of the game, but my vote is for B.C. Lara...

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | March 18, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    Im sorry how does SUpaCricketfans man love for Tendulkar become a feature article. You mention that the LBW was less stringent in the Bradman era therefore he needs to be discarded. But you dont mention any of the modern advantages. Cricket wickets were uncovered to the mid 80's, bradman used a tooth pick of a bat, even the bats when I started playing cricket in the late 80's were nowhere near as good as todays bats. Players now are professional and have the ability to work on there game every day of the year. You hit the ball now with massive bats, finely compressed on glass like outfields and you say that Tendulkar has it hard because he has a billion fans. For the above mentioned reasons with uncovered wickets I would put Barry Richards as the next best and I will try and put a top 10 together. Its so hard to compare gernerations but its easy to see with the conditions Bradman had that he is clearly the best ever, not many batsman averaged over 50 in his day.

  • POSTED BY Phenom_Qasim on | March 18, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    Brilliant piece of writing but slightly disappointed being a Pakistan fan having not seen Miandad with those greats.

  • POSTED BY CricFan24 on | March 18, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    1 ) Sachin ....... 2) Argue all you want.....

  • POSTED BY ranpath on | March 18, 2013, 9:38 GMT

    Glenn Turner !!!! This New Zealander's appetite for runs was incredible. To be honest I am not sure of his career stats, but I recall many occasions when he accumulated a high percentage of his team's total. Granted he was a slow accumulator of runs, possibly slower than Boycs ( the article also forgot him too by the way ) and quite psooibly did not play a large amount of tests or at an array of venues.

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | March 18, 2013, 9:38 GMT

    I would go for a controversial selection, not for his own doing but apartheid in SOuth Africa robbed Barry Richards of playing more test matches. Due to the lack of test matches its hard to make a statistical case but I have heard so many players of that era interviewed who has said that Barry Richards was by far the best player they have ever played against.

  • POSTED BY BlightyTragic on | March 18, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    I know this may seem not in the same league, but I feel he was always forgotten when these arguments occur, but something has to be said about Andy Flower. The only Zimbabwean as far as I know that averaged over 50.00, and he didn't play Bangladesh OR Zimbabwe! As mentioned, I don't think he is near the dizzy heights of being held in the same breath as those second to Bradman, but I don't believe he should be completely forgotten about either.

  • POSTED BY gujratwalla on | March 18, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    I think it is not fair to compare players of different eras.Every era has its heroes and we shall not deny them that...i have been following cricket since 1967 and have enjoyed every pleasing cricketer that has caught my imagination and i love them all.Dale is the latest in line of the players i admire and Hashim Amla another.So the wheel will keep turning.We salute all the players you have mentioned here...great cricketens all...

  • POSTED BY Chris_Howard on | March 18, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    The thing I marvel at about Tendulkar is the longevity. You could field two complete teams with the legends that have come and gone since his debut - and he's still going! Helmets or not, with that sort of longevity and the consistency to match, it has to be Tendulkar.

  • POSTED BY SR92 on | March 18, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    Sachin is technically, statistically and functionally the most comsummate modern batsman. The first thing to say about Bradman is he played village green bowlers in amateur cricket and never played more than 25 days of international cricket in a year. His technique, to put mildly, was crude. He was well ahead of his generation of cricketers, by some 10-15 years atleast. Whilst it's hard to argue Tendulkar is better than Bradman, it's just as hard to make a case for Bradman's being better than a most elegant, poised, precise strokemaker we've all watched, relished and scrutinized either live on television or, a fortunate some, in the flesh. Viv was disdainful, Lara brash and bold, Dravid dependable, Kallis poised, but only one man seamlessly bore all those epithets at different times across 3 decades.

  • POSTED BY VenkatChetlur on | March 18, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    It doesn't matter what conclusion Mark reached. That is inconsequential since it is near impossible to compare batsmen of different eras - the game has changed so much in so many ways. The sheer joy of reading about (and reliving some of) the innings and the mannerisms and skills of the batsmen is enough for me. Fantastic piece of writing. P.S. I would vote for Viv but I am more than happy to go with Gary Sobers! :-)

  • POSTED BY waspsting on | March 18, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    Those little corrections noted - I agree with Sobers as #2 and I'd have Tendulkar at 3.

    Also agree with the premise that the margin between this level of batsman is razor thin, and any choice ultimately is an arguable opinion.

    My criteria for greatness is consistency, ability to score against all attacks in all conditions (a focus on lack of weaknesses, as opposed to presence of strenghts - which all the players listed have aplenty).

    Hamond had his troubles with fast bowling, as did Lara. Viv, Border, Miandad relatively poor at converting 50s to 100s.

    everyone has a weakness here and there, no matter how tiny.

    Tendulkar's the best i've seen on this front and i'd plump him just behind Sobers (who i didn't see, but who clearly wasn't bothered by anything - save failures in NZ, where he didn't play enough for any hard conclusions to be drawn)

  • POSTED BY waspsting on | March 18, 2013, 9:05 GMT

    Bradman did NOT say Sobers' 254 was the best innings he ever saw, better even than Mcabe's 232 - he said it was the best innings he saw PLAYED IN AUSTRALIA.

    Bradman held to McAbe's innings being the greatest ever to his dying day.

    Saying Sobers had "feet that danced" gives a highly distorted view of that undoubtedly great player's batting style.

    He hardly moved his feet at all. he'd often just belt overpitched balls off the back foot.

  • POSTED BY Gillyisgreat on | March 18, 2013, 8:56 GMT

    A charming article and the "impossible question" well addressed . The final judgement , as it may have been with 10 or a dozen different players , hard to fault . Sir Garfield Sobers was a most exceptional player , as a kid i saw on the black & white telly a ferocious young D K Lillee skittle Sobers in Perth and when the came to Melbourne , young Lillee snared the great man for a duck again , did he have Sobers' measure ? Alas , the World XI had a second innings and Sir Gary hit that incredible 254 , DK 2 Sobers 1 ? , not quite , but Dennis learnt his lessons well and i had to be happy with Doug Walters scoring a 100 before lunch on the final day of that game . PS great to hear someone remember Danny Buckingham ,he may not have played Tests , but when his talent was handed out , they must have thought , this one will be good.

  • POSTED BY SamRoy on | March 18, 2013, 8:46 GMT

    Funny thing is Bradman himself thought Sobers was a better batsman than him. While I don't agree on that, I think Bradman is the best batsman but I definitely think Sobers is the best overall cricketer and Bradman the second best.

  • POSTED BY Romanticstud on | March 18, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    I reckon ... If Jaques Kallis was just a batsman, like Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting or to a lesser degree Sachin Tendulkar ... that he would have more hundreds than Sachin ... Often he has taken South Africa out of the doldrums when Smith and Co have failed at the top of the older ... and formed major partnerships with Gary Kirsten, Hashim Amla, AB De Villiers, so as to get South Africa into formidable positions where the bowlers can attack ... There have been times when he has failed ... So too has Lara, Ponting and Tendulkar ... But then the likes of Graeme Pollock and Sir Barry Richards had their careers cut short by the ghosts of political adversity. Imagine Pollock and Richards vs Holding, Garner, Mashall and Co in their prime ... I remember seeing Pollock play local cricket at the Wanderers and hooking bowlers for six ...

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    Surprised to see not one mention of Dravid anywhere!

  • POSTED BY kamran.afzal on | March 18, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    Delightful read as usual, Mark. I guess it's a subjective choice, and it's hard to argue against Sir Sobers. And I like how you have covered almost every great batsman. Two notable omissions though: Dravid, as mentioned by quite a few others, is right up there with Tendulkar, Kallis and Ponting (though Lara is a class apart); and the other omission, in my opinion, is Zaheer Abbas - 100 first class centuries is not something one can dismiss.

  • POSTED BY AltafPatel on | March 18, 2013, 8:08 GMT

    It's too early to put Clarke and Cook. You can't judge someone on basis of one year performance. There were many in the past like Straus, and Gibbs who averaged above 50 with continuous centuries at their peak but retired with averaging around 40. Samarvira of Srilanka was once averaging 70 in initial 20-30 matches retiring with average around 50.

  • POSTED BY ThemanID on | March 18, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    You forgot to include 1. Chris Martin

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    For Me LARA is the Greatest Ever its hard to imagine any1 even Bradman playing a innings single handedly for his team lyk lara dis in his entire career.....his 153, 213, 375, 277, 400 all his 34 test centuries r just epic.....

  • POSTED BY AltafPatel on | March 18, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    @ AKHILKRISHNA143 Completely disagree with your view. It's absolutely one sided, favoring player from our nation. Debate of such topics require opinion with natural viewpoint.

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | March 18, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    Haha, yes - Bradman didn't play for 23-24 years with the same level of consistency as our Little Master, huh? I guess he only had a test career that stretched 20 years (small matter of WWII broke that up), and only managed 29 centuries at a pitiful 99.94. Played first class cricket for 22 years, averaged 95ish with 117 centuries (that's one every two games, for those playing at home). But of course, that pales in comparison to 23-24 years and averaging...er...54, is it? :) I do enjoy Tendulkar for all his talents and longevity, of course. Still, neither Tendulkar or Bradman are a patch on Danny Buckingham...

  • POSTED BY Semoli on | March 18, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    Don was the best batsman, Garry was the best cricketer. I would turn this article around and ask, who after Garry :)

  • POSTED BY Seether1 on | March 18, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    @KallisTheGreatest: Too early to put Amla in that category but its ok to put Cook and Clarke? Do you even know anything about cricket?

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 7:12 GMT

    It's truly a superb article, but not sure if you have thought of this? Among all these players it was only Sachin who soaked up with pressure from billions of people and more importantly the longevity he has had its truly unimaginable. He has been tested with world's finest bowlers of diff generations like Marshall, Ambrose, Wasim,Waqar,Glenn,Warne,Murali and even the current generation's steyn and emerged as a winner with flying colours .. without a doubt in my mind it's SRT for his longevity and the ability to perform as good as home in various conditions be it in Australia or sri lanka

  • POSTED BY ARJUN217 on | March 18, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    ha ha real funny articl don bradman he may avergs 99 but can he play 23 24 year consistent cricket his averg should b came dwn 40+.100 hundred 50+ averg runs evrywr sachin is the REAL GOD OF CRICKET .THE NEXT SHOULD BE DRAVID,AND KALLIS real warriors then bradman deservs a place.SACHIN THE ONE nd ONLY BEST CRICKETER ever.

  • POSTED BY Haleos on | March 18, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    @ VoltaireC - Agreed completely. He is Da Vinci of Cricket and should get the title Mr Cricket rather than someone who played for 7 odd years and was special in ODIs more than tests.

  • POSTED BY rubble11 on | March 18, 2013, 7:00 GMT

    I can only go by who I have seen in the last 35 years. My list would be Tendulkar, V. Richards, Lara, Ponting, Kallis, Sangakkara, Border, Laxman, Gilchrist, Gavaskar. I never saw Pollock, and I only saw Barry Richards fleetingly play WSC. Batsmen I enjoyed watching the most - M. Waugh, V. Richards, Gilchrist, Gower, Border (who was my favourite cricketer), Ponting, Tendulkar, Greenidge, Sehwag, Sangakkara. To karim_s -Ii like your selections, but my best fast bowler in that time span would be big Curtley Ambrose..............and only because Lillee wasn't at his best then.

  • POSTED BY AltafPatel on | March 18, 2013, 6:59 GMT

    It't not easier to decide on this highly asked question. Lots of contenders there, Sobers, Hammond, Barington, Kallis, Tendulkar, Sutclif, Sangakara etc. But they all deserved name for the discussion and everyone should be given respect noting their strength and play at their time.

  • POSTED BY CoolBarn on | March 18, 2013, 6:56 GMT

    To the people wondering why the Don is automatically number one, all I can say is play on even just one pitch that hasn't been covered and you'll see why. If you play on a wet wicket, it is extraordinarily hard to score runs. If you play the same way as you do on a normal, dry wicket then you'll be out very quickly.

    Sure there mightn't have been the variety of bowlers and teams for the players of the early-mid 20th century to face, no 4-man extreme pace attack of the West Indies, or an amazing spinning team like Bedi, Chandrasekhar, Prasanna, and Venkat, or the incessant pressure of a Warne/McGrath combo, but the men who played back then weren't trained monkeys either. They had enough pace and were accurate, certainly accurate enough to cause a lot of problems on a wet or sticky wicket.

    And that is why the Don is number one. You go out in the back yard and play on an uneven wet surface facing a bowler the speed of Harold Larwood, and average 100 every time you bat. Good luck!

  • POSTED BY CoverDrive888 on | March 18, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    Of the players I've seen (since the mid 60's), I agree completely. I saw some of the 254 in Melbourne on tv. I still can't believe how hard he hit the ball, and it wasn't with one of the modern bats where almost anyone can hit a six with no obvious effort, and the fence was the boundary, not 10 metres in.

  • POSTED BY aryanraw on | March 18, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    oh man!!! again??? lets put it to rest once and for all...sachin tendulkar is not the greatest batsman of all times...and before u pounce upon me i will tell u why?? simply because u cant comapre Genuises with mortals...Sachin is God...even an atheist will agree with me....ask Mr.PM of india..whenever there is a crisis in india(all those scams etc) even he turns to tendulkar and asks for a century so that indian people will forget the crisis for time-being(if not forever)...so to conclude i will appeal to all sachin fans( i mean worshippers) that dont even compare sachin with any other so called batsman x,y,z...let them be happy!!! HAIL SACHIN TENDULKAR...

  • POSTED BY blackmagic9970 on | March 18, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    To all the one-eyed, biased, overly patriotic Indian supporters and commenters:

    Do you realise how nonsensical it sounds to even suggest that Tendulkar could conceivably be considered as a better batsman than Bradman?

    All I can do is laugh when people raise arguments about Bradman playing limited opposition at limited venues and conveniently discounting uncovered pitches, poor quality grounds, minimal padding, poor quality bats and the fact that modern day batsmen go off for bad light constantly.

    Here's another one for you. Sachin's combined average against the whipping boys of international test cricket (Zimbabwe and Bangladesh) is 96.55. He still can't come close (especially when you realise Bradman averaged 178 and 201 against India and SAfr respectively).

    1. Bradman 2. Daylight 3. Tendulkar 4. Daylight 5. Let the debate begin.

  • POSTED BY satishchandar on | March 18, 2013, 6:44 GMT

    @notvery : There is no flat track actually. It is the track on which u grow up which makes your ability to bat on it easily. Most of the tracks in India are tracks that assist spin and dont assist fast bowling that is because of the geographical placing of the nation. I wouldn't blame anyone for that. It is the same way the spin tracks are tough to be prepared on the sides of Australia and England. To many outsiders, they find it tough to play here in so called flat tracks and have it easy in fast bouncy tracks because, it is there where they learnt their trade. Using the same logic u use, we have the moral rights to term those tracks as flat tracks too. Because, we were not bale to score there as well as not blessed with 145+ seamers who can bowl lots of deliveries in same area consistently.

  • POSTED BY thetruelies on | March 18, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    Here lies the answer....

    " Tendulkar might well be the perfect answer - liked as he was by Lady Bradman, and for the many miles he has covered without compromise. It is truly remarkable that he defied Imran Khan in the late 1980s, Shane Warne in the late 1990s and Dale Steyn in 2011. Sachin could be the man but for the lid."

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    Awesome Article!.... and very well narrated!...

    But just a question, why Lara is not their in that list!... For bradman we talk about AVG, but Lara was the man who made sure the highest score record is by him and him only!... He was a wonderful batsman, playing with the weakest team in those era's.... Though he was not that successful in ODI's, but in tests he was a Master.

  • POSTED BY cgkirtikar on | March 18, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    very enjoyable article. some names like jayawardene, dravid, inzamam, zaheer abbas, laxman, steve waugh, gooch, gower and their ilk are clearly missing, still I liked the simplicity of Mark's treatise on whom he thinks are the knights of batsmanship in his eyes.

  • POSTED BY pitch_curator on | March 18, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    @notvery -- YOU get your facts right first. Bradman played in an era where there was not much planning at all. The one time the opposition planned for him (in the bodyline series), his average halved. So, obviously he could not counter them. If the existing technologies were used and his batting were dissected, his average would have been in the mid 40s. How many innovative field positions were used in those times?? FYI, even deep mid wicket was not kept in those times as it was considered "not cricket". And he played only against England. How many good spinners did England have and how many turning tracks did he play on?? All question marks. He played in a different era when the game was not professional. To compare him with a guy who has played in all conditions against all oppositions with so much technology which dissects his technique is just a joke. To put it simply, the game that Bradman played was a video game. The real professional game of cricket is being played from mid 90s

  • POSTED BY Shan156 on | March 18, 2013, 6:40 GMT

    @KallisTheGreatest, maybe true but if it is too early to pick Amla, then it is way too early to pick Cook. BTW, on current form, Sachin wouldn't even rank in the top 5 Indian batsmen leave alone the world. He is way past his prime although I do believe that India would need him in SA.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    For me, it would be. 1. Bradman 2. Richards 3. Sobers 4. Sachin 5. G. Chappell 6. Gavaskar 7. Hutton 8. Javed 9. Lara 10. Graeme Pollock for youngesters over here: Sanga, Dravid, Kallis, Ponting etc started playing when the pace started declined as well.. How many tons were scored by Dravid, Sanga, Kallis & Co against the likes of Wasim & Waqar? Ambrose & Walsh? etc.. the batsmen of 70's & 80's played the best bowlers of all times such as Lillee, Imran, Hadlee, Snow Marshall, Akram, Garner, Holding, Croft & some very fine spinners as Qadir, Underwood etc.. the batsmen of 50's & 60's also played some great bowlers Fazal Mahmood, Ray Lindwall, Fred trueman, Davidson, Halls, etc.. now you're scoring runs against the weak bowling attacks of WI (No AMbrose or Walsh), India (w.out Kumble, Srinath etc) SL (w.out murali) Aus ( No Mcgrath, Warne) Bangladesh) so having an average of 50+ is not a big deal at all. 3 greatest ever bowlers (Lillee, Imran & Hadlee) rated Viv as the best...

  • POSTED BY Shan156 on | March 18, 2013, 6:38 GMT

    While Tendulkar possesses all the shots in the world, is pleasing to the eye, can switch gears at will, been super successful in both tests and ODIs, personally, I go for Sunil Gavaskar as the best test batsman India has produced. To face the great Windies, Aussie, Pakistani bowlers, Hadlee, Willis, and Botham with just a skull cap, at the top of the order and to average 50+ is simply amazing. His ability to play spin was legendary. If you get a chance, watch his 96 in his last innings against Pakistan in Bangalore (1987). While every other batsmen struggled to post a double digit score, Sunny played a marvelous innings on a rank turner, albeit in a losing cause, against a three prong spin attack of Qadir, Tauseef, and Qasim with Akram and Imran to support (I don't think Imran bowled in that innings though). To me, Sunny is an under-rated batsmen. The young Indian generation praise the Sachins, Dravids, and Laxmans without understanding that Sunny did it al,l and more, in his time.

  • POSTED BY srtamit on | March 18, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    For me , Tendulkar is always ahead of every other player mentioned here. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar is all time great.He is simply grater than Bradman.

  • POSTED BY Shan156 on | March 18, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    Indian fans never cease to amaze me. They post conflicting arguments based on the context. They claim India is one of the best teams ever but then when it comes to rank the best batsmen, they claim it is Sachin because he carried the Indian team alone. @Nitin Jain claims that in Bradman's times, there were no technological advancements wherein bowlers could spot weaknesses of batsmen. Sure but neither were there bowling machines to hone your technique against various kinds of bowling. So, technological advancement (or the lack of it in that era) has been both an advantage and disadvantage for both era batsmen. Tendulkar wears so much protective gear that were not used by batsmen those days. Sachin may not be alive now had he faced Akhtar without a helmet. What about uncovered wickets? Bradman lost the prime of his career to the great war. He averaged 99.94, the next best was 60+. Tendulkar averages 54+, Sangakkara and Kallis average more. Why insult Bradman to praise Sachin?

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    there should not be a question of who is the best after don instead who is the best after don and sachin . after taking into consideration you have left some very sharp criteria also like the modern day analysis of players .... and for your information sachin for the past two decades has gone through the most ..... sachin has scored against greatest bowling and fielding opponents of all time like 2003s oz and 90s pak teams and literally mauled them .... one more criteria needs to be added --- sachin played 3 times more matches than bradman and don himself said that some players need not be called great given their careers be extended, so it can be said for the don too ... yours isn't a well analysed article ..... but quite informative

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 6:28 GMT

    tendulkar, lara, ponting or kallis!

  • POSTED BY siddiqi3456 on | March 18, 2013, 6:23 GMT

    For me it is kallis (the walking coaching manual), he bats on those wickets where a mediocre bowler becomes a great. and also his technique both against fast as well as spinners is eye catching.Sobers had not to face the great spinners like warne, murli, kumble's etc and their variation which even takes a great 20 to 30 games to pick. Also Bradman scored 95% of runs against England and stat sometimes lie.For me 1.kallis, 2. pointing 3. lara(scored runs but always in a losing cause), 4. dravid 5. tendukar ( only because of his stat), 7.bradman(played only against one attack),8. sorbers 9 barry richards 10 vivian richards. All the greats of the past have to face only fast blowers.and not the cunning spinners of mid 90's. A excellent observation but not a great decision.

  • POSTED BY KallisTheGreatest on | March 18, 2013, 6:19 GMT

    Modern Day Top 5- my picks.1. Kallis 2.Sachin 3. Sangakkara 4.Cook 5. Clarke. I think it's too early to put Amla in that category.

  • POSTED BY S.Jagernath on | March 18, 2013, 6:19 GMT

    Donald Bradman often avoided the sticky wickets in any case,he started the batting order the opposite way,he played almost all his cricket at home,Teams like the West Indies,India & even S.A were as good as Bangladesh.Playing against terrible opposition at home is very easy.A lot of people average over 100 against Bangladesh,Tendulkar averages 136 in Bangladesh.Bradman could pad up a ball outside off & not worry about being called out not offering a shot either.I question his average & who it was gained against in which conditions.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 6:18 GMT

    Great article, but the fact that you compare sachin to guys like ponting, kallis and Lara is an error. There is Bradman and Sachin, and then there's everyone else. Period.

  • POSTED BY anur8g on | March 18, 2013, 6:15 GMT

    Not able to understand why people are still comparing every Tom, Dick and harry with the greatest Sir Don.He played without Helmets, pads and against that 1932 body line bowling. and for those who knows that he played only against 1 country..Sir Don played Test matches against 4 countries.Eng, Ind, SA, WI and batting avgrs are: 89,178,201,74 resp. now come to the 2nd point. In 1st class cricket his average is 95.14 (in case of Sheffield shield avg is 110). Also Wisden hailed Sir Don as, "the greatest phenomenon in the history of cricket, indeed in the history of all ball games". so please stop comparing such a great cricketers to anybody. It is a humble request.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 6:14 GMT

    Dravid Sangakkara also need a mention if not comparision. Mark, Dravid averaged 2 and half hours at the batting crease against Aussies. Averaged in the high 50s for more than 100 tests and won matches in Australia Pak Windies almost singlehandedly. 13,000 plus runs at 52plus is a decent stat which should give him the legendary status

  • POSTED BY cccrider on | March 18, 2013, 6:13 GMT

    Oh, gosh, some of the comments. Who in their right mind could question the Don at No. 1? On average alone, there is simply no argument, no question. It stands like a collossus in his time, ever since, and now. Show some grace and class, and acknowledge the indisputable.

  • POSTED BY S.Jagernath on | March 18, 2013, 6:12 GMT

    A nonsensical article actually.A man who has played some of the best innings in very,very difficult conditions has been missed,Rahul Dravid is ubelievably not mentioned.I realy can't understand that when you look at his statistics,the amount of green pitches he has contended with,the dust bowls,being forced to go up the order & open in very difficult conditions.Sachin Tendulkar is the greatest,possibly ever for me.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    @karim_s I agree with everything you've said other than adding Mcgrath in the same line as Akram. Wasim Akram is the greatest of all bowlers. :) carry out a similar analysis and you'll see Akram above and beyond any other bowler.

  • POSTED BY ImpartialObserver on | March 18, 2013, 6:10 GMT

    First, I'm an Indian. Let me own it. Very interesting and favourite topic of all, but always OPEN ENDED. So, I'm happy that Mark has given his choice at least. If you ask 100 people from anywhere, they would not all have the same choice. Even Australians would differ. Some would say Ponting is the best, others, that Hayden or Chappel is the best, etc. However, except for having stayed too long, I would really rate Sachin as the best. There are pressures of their own for every player. If Bradman/Viv (by the way, Viv is really my favourite bat. I started liking Sachin because he was batting a little like Viv when he came in - his initial front-foot movement) had to bat without a helmet, they did not have to bear the pressure of expectations Sachin had to bear. In fact many times I feel Sachin could have been a lot better except for our mad expectations. Seriously expectations can make people do crazy things and expectations of Indians put the word "crazy" into shade! I know it!

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 6:05 GMT

    It had to be Sir Garfield Sobers. This article is beautiful. Thank you Mr Nicholas.

  • POSTED BY Ozcricketwriter on | March 18, 2013, 6:01 GMT

    I totally disagree with this. While Garfield Sobers was undoubtedly the best all-rounder in history, and his batting alone was very good, he is not the best batsman of all time. He is, however, the 2nd best player after Bradman. For the 2nd best batsman, it is a choice of Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, George Headley or Viv Richards. Viv Richards had a lovely eye but was inconsistent, and somewhat lazy. Headley had to work hard for his runs but his overall number of tests wasn't that high. Tendulkar of course has longevity and consistency on his side but at his peak was nowhere near the others I have mentioned at their peak. The best of the best, at his peak, comparing all others to their peak, is of course Brian Lara. And since we will be looking at them at their peak, that is what I look at. Lara is the 2nd best batsman after Bradman. 3rd is probably Headley, then Viv Richards, then Tendulkar. Sobers is the best all rounder and the 2nd best player, but not the 2nd best batsman.

  • POSTED BY D.V.C. on | March 18, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    To the topic. I don't think we pay enough attention to 1st Class figures. We focus on Test averages in these discussions, but why eliminate all the English players who played before there were Tests? They played at the top level of their day. It is not their fault there were no other nations to challenge. It is worth pointing out that Bradman's 1st Class average is 95. He also toured the USA and averaged similarly there. He was at that level no matter where he player or against who. Whenever I see a player with not that many games with a high average, the question I ask is, what is their 1st Class average? That tells me whether they are truly great, or have just come in to Internationals at the right time.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 5:59 GMT

    In my eyes, Tendulkar for early genius and eventual longevity; Richards for the fear he instilled in bowlers and the shots he unleashed; and Lara for the constant genius and stunning grace. Can't choose between these three.

  • POSTED BY Gupta.Ankur on | March 18, 2013, 5:55 GMT

    @notvery : Surely mate you have been watching a very different game from the one Tendulkar has dominated for over 23 years.And surely you cannot blame modern day batsmen for technological advancements since the 1930's when Don use to play.

    Sachin single handedly shouldered the burden of Indian cricket for 12 years before Dravid and Co came to the party.

    To play 600+ International matches over 20 years scoring 100 100's and with a pressure of scoring a 100 every single time you go to bat is super-human achievement.

    He has scored 100's in every country, with 6 in Aus itself, has no weakness against any kind of bowling like Ponting or Kallis.

    He never had the support of good openers or middle-order for good 12 years of his career, when he use to score runs abroad single-handedly.

    To conclude, he is for me, the greatest batsman in last 50-60 years surely and for many to come.

  • POSTED BY D.V.C. on | March 18, 2013, 5:52 GMT

    I enjoyed this piece of writing from Mark Nicholas quite a lot. I find him to be at his best when describing the greats, as he has a talent for hyperbole and grandiose statements. When speaking of such greats Mark's style is fitting. When describing a break in play for rain, not so much.

  • POSTED BY kingcobra85 on | March 18, 2013, 5:51 GMT

    The records of older players seems equally inconceivable to be me as it is to you for totally different reasons. No thrid umpries, No neutral umpires, No DRS, No video analysis, No player burnouts and No media scrutiny. The modern day players who average about 50 can easily add 10 runs to their averages.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2013, 5:49 GMT

    Bradman is No Near to Sachin Tendulkar ........ No technology was there during Bradman time to get the batsman weakness .... But in Sachin's era, Technology is being used & Sachin succeed everytime .......

    Useless to say Bradman is No.1 ..... Without doubt Sachin is No.1 .........

  • POSTED BY ajasp on | March 18, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    Sachin Tendulkar was no doubt the best and even can be ranked above the so called bradman.

  • POSTED BY smalishah84 on | March 18, 2013, 5:42 GMT

    A very well written piece if a little too long

  • POSTED BY Khats75 on | March 18, 2013, 5:38 GMT

    When you talk about greatness in sportsmenship, you not only take into account the technics and statics but some more, the conduct,, aura and longtivity....for Me Tendulakr epitomise them all, he is the real reason India is a powerhouse of cricket, he inspired a full 2 generation of cricketers and have taken a nation short of heros to where it is today, no 1 in Test, T20 and World champion....he is part of some and he has been inspiration for most.........even today in his twilight years....he generate enough respect to be in top 3 batsmen for India.........

  • POSTED BY notvery on | March 18, 2013, 5:19 GMT

    @Karim_s. Tendulkar gets to wear padding all over his body, bats on flat tracks with the world of medical science behind him and a bat that works like a bazooka, travels in 1st+ class luxury getting physio and massage work on a constant basis. Bradman had a fulltime(cough) job. traveled extensively on trains (crossing australia by train was, and still is, a long and bone jarring journey). had to hit the ball with a Bat (not a bazooka) to the fence,....not half way to the fence cos it was roped in half way! As far as bowlers are concerned... Bradman had t oface some very VERY good ones. A V Bedser, H Verity, Larwood, Voce ...etc At the time yes it was only England but really England were always the best possible available opposition. so he never had soft games against Zim,Banga etc etc. Get your facts right next time. Sachin isnt even in the top 5 for the last 20 years. let alone ever.

  • POSTED BY Pinarsh255 on | March 18, 2013, 5:00 GMT

    Brilliant article Mr. Nicholas, informative as well as enjoyable.

    My stubborn mind says,"It is unfair and illogical to compare player of different ages." But as the heart of cricket lover cannot resist the temptation of doing so. I do not enjoy the comparative studies which are filled with statistics. But this work of yours is as good as anything published on this website in recent past.

    Well done Sir. I hope one day Clarke, Cook, Pietersen, ABD, Amla will feature in your analysis.

  • POSTED BY ankit_daga on | March 18, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    A beautifully written piece .

    It won't be a bad idea to extend it into a longer essay . Thoughtful analysis , cohesive argument and going for personal taste over wide acceptance . Very well done sir.

  • POSTED BY legfinedeep on | March 18, 2013, 4:46 GMT

    The two Richards: Viv and Barry.

  • POSTED BY LoveTeamIndia on | March 18, 2013, 4:41 GMT

    Very nice, informative, and well-balanced article. Can't disagree with him too much.

  • POSTED BY karim_s on | March 18, 2013, 4:40 GMT

    Wait, why is Bradman automatically number 1? He doesn't meet any of the criteria you yourself mentioned. Most of his dominance (37 out of 52 games) came against just one team (England), in only two countries (England and home), against bowlers who for the most part aren't considered anywhere close to the best ever. Plus, the stress on his body was nothing close to what a modern day player has to go through -- he played just 52 international games in a period spanning 20 years.

    Now take nothing away from the Don; if I HAD to pick, I would obviously also pick him as the greatest ever. But what I'm trying to point out is the futility of comparing across generations. Or for that matter, even comparing batsman to bowlers / all-rounders. I mean how do you compare Sobers to Sachin, or Sachin to Wasim, etc ...?

    In the modern era (1980-present), I would rank Sachin as the best batsman, Imran as the best all-rounder, Warne as the best spinner, and one of Wasim/Mcgarth as the best quicks.

  • POSTED BY sandy_bangalore on | March 18, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    I think for millions of Indians, its got to the the one and only Viv Richards! Forget the Don, Mr Viv was the greatest ever.

  • POSTED BY sandy_bangalore on | March 18, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    I think for millions of Indians, its got to the the one and only Viv Richards! Forget the Don, Mr Viv was the greatest ever.

  • POSTED BY karim_s on | March 18, 2013, 4:40 GMT

    Wait, why is Bradman automatically number 1? He doesn't meet any of the criteria you yourself mentioned. Most of his dominance (37 out of 52 games) came against just one team (England), in only two countries (England and home), against bowlers who for the most part aren't considered anywhere close to the best ever. Plus, the stress on his body was nothing close to what a modern day player has to go through -- he played just 52 international games in a period spanning 20 years.

    Now take nothing away from the Don; if I HAD to pick, I would obviously also pick him as the greatest ever. But what I'm trying to point out is the futility of comparing across generations. Or for that matter, even comparing batsman to bowlers / all-rounders. I mean how do you compare Sobers to Sachin, or Sachin to Wasim, etc ...?

    In the modern era (1980-present), I would rank Sachin as the best batsman, Imran as the best all-rounder, Warne as the best spinner, and one of Wasim/Mcgarth as the best quicks.

  • POSTED BY LoveTeamIndia on | March 18, 2013, 4:41 GMT

    Very nice, informative, and well-balanced article. Can't disagree with him too much.

  • POSTED BY legfinedeep on | March 18, 2013, 4:46 GMT

    The two Richards: Viv and Barry.

  • POSTED BY ankit_daga on | March 18, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    A beautifully written piece .

    It won't be a bad idea to extend it into a longer essay . Thoughtful analysis , cohesive argument and going for personal taste over wide acceptance . Very well done sir.

  • POSTED BY Pinarsh255 on | March 18, 2013, 5:00 GMT

    Brilliant article Mr. Nicholas, informative as well as enjoyable.

    My stubborn mind says,"It is unfair and illogical to compare player of different ages." But as the heart of cricket lover cannot resist the temptation of doing so. I do not enjoy the comparative studies which are filled with statistics. But this work of yours is as good as anything published on this website in recent past.

    Well done Sir. I hope one day Clarke, Cook, Pietersen, ABD, Amla will feature in your analysis.

  • POSTED BY notvery on | March 18, 2013, 5:19 GMT

    @Karim_s. Tendulkar gets to wear padding all over his body, bats on flat tracks with the world of medical science behind him and a bat that works like a bazooka, travels in 1st+ class luxury getting physio and massage work on a constant basis. Bradman had a fulltime(cough) job. traveled extensively on trains (crossing australia by train was, and still is, a long and bone jarring journey). had to hit the ball with a Bat (not a bazooka) to the fence,....not half way to the fence cos it was roped in half way! As far as bowlers are concerned... Bradman had t oface some very VERY good ones. A V Bedser, H Verity, Larwood, Voce ...etc At the time yes it was only England but really England were always the best possible available opposition. so he never had soft games against Zim,Banga etc etc. Get your facts right next time. Sachin isnt even in the top 5 for the last 20 years. let alone ever.

  • POSTED BY Khats75 on | March 18, 2013, 5:38 GMT

    When you talk about greatness in sportsmenship, you not only take into account the technics and statics but some more, the conduct,, aura and longtivity....for Me Tendulakr epitomise them all, he is the real reason India is a powerhouse of cricket, he inspired a full 2 generation of cricketers and have taken a nation short of heros to where it is today, no 1 in Test, T20 and World champion....he is part of some and he has been inspiration for most.........even today in his twilight years....he generate enough respect to be in top 3 batsmen for India.........

  • POSTED BY smalishah84 on | March 18, 2013, 5:42 GMT

    A very well written piece if a little too long

  • POSTED BY ajasp on | March 18, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    Sachin Tendulkar was no doubt the best and even can be ranked above the so called bradman.