Wasim Akram (1966 -)
The Pakistani all-rounder is best known for bowling at the death in One Day Internationals. The left arm swing bowler would bowl fast, straight and full to lead his side to many victories. With over 400 test and 500 ODI’s wickets on his resumé – Akram can rightly be classed as a bowling legend in his own right – but he was also a fine batsman – compiling a top score of 257 not out at Test level.
Richie Benaud (1930 -)
Richie Benaud is affectionately known as the voice of cricket. His playing career was slow to start but it would end up with him being classed as the greatest leg spinner the world had ever seen – until the arrival of Shane Warne that is. Since retirement he has been a cricket broadcaster for Channel Nine in Australia, the BBC in the UK and also Channel Four in the United Kingdom.
Sir Ian Botham (1955 -)
Sir Ian Botham was an English all-rounder best known for his performances during the 1981 Ashes series in England. After resigning the captaincy after the second test – he performed miracles in the third test – smashing an unbeaten 149 to stave off an innings defeat to the tourists. With a lead of 129 to play with, England skittled out the Aussies for 111 to win the test match by just 18 runs. A career with over 100 tests for his country with 5000+ runs and nigh on 400 wickets taken sums up what a talent he was. He is also known for his charity work and his punditry for the Sky Sports network.
Sir Donald Bradman (1908 – 2001)
The Australian cricketer Don Bradman is acknowledged as the greatest cricketer of all time. To prove this accolade one has only to look at his test batting average of 99.94. Playing a style of attacking cricket he drew many fans and piled many runs. So successful was he that when England faced Australia during the times of the great depression a special tactic was created just to counter his finesse. This was known as ‘Bodyline’ where full length balls were delivered to the body of the batsman in hope of deflections to the leg side. This tactic was later outlawed. He also holds many test records including that for most double and triple centuries (12).
Andrew Flintoff (1977 -)
As modern day cricketers go – Andrew Flintoff probably stands hands and shoulders above his fellow players. The Lancastrian became a folk hero in the UK during the 2005 Ashes series as England took back the burnt bits of wood. His career has been dogged by injuries but he is still England’s talisman.
Sir Richard Hadlee (1951 -)
Sir Richard Hadlee was one of the best to ever emerge from New Zealand. Playing in over 200 Tests and ODI’s for his country. Hadlee was another of the great all-rounders of the 80s, producing with both the bat and the ball. He was awarded the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1982 for his performances for both his nation and his adopted county of Nottinghamshire.
Imran Khan (1952 -)
If you talk about Pakistani cricket then often the first name you’ll hear would be that of Imran Khan. The all-rounder captained his country to World Cup glory down under in 1992, defeating England in the final. With 362 test wickets to his name and 3807 test runs, his record stands up to the toughest scrutiny.
Brian Charles Lara (1969 -)
Brian Charles Lara was the most talented batsman of the modern era. Some might argue that but on pure talent Lara at full-flow was one of the most thrilling sites on the cricket field. The graceful left hander holds the World Record for scores at both test and first-class level, with scores of 400 against England and 501 against Durham. Lara was a great and no-one can doubt his ability at the very top level of the game.
Malcolm Marshall (1958-1999)
Quite simply one of the very best pace bowlers of all time. The West Indies have long produced great, pacey, fiery quick bowlers, but they are usually big, tall, imposing men. Marshall wasn’t one of these, standing at a regulation 5’11” he used swing and his intelligence to reach the top of the cricketing tree.
Sanath Jayasuriya (1969 -)
Sanath Jayasuriya is one of the best all rounders in the history of the game. He is the only man to score more than 12,000 runs and capture more than 300 wickets at the same time. He rocketed into fame after helping Sri Lanka win the 1996 cricket World Cup. His aggressive style of batting in the first 15 overs of ODIs has completely changed the game. He also has the second highest total in one day cricket and the fastest 50 in ODIs off just 17 balls. With these and numerous other records it is of little doubt why Jayasuriya is considered by many as the best ODI player ever.
Glenn McGrath (1970 -)
When he stepped on to the test scene – no-one could’ve predicted what the brightness of the future for this Aussie pace bowler. Glenn McGrath went on to become one of the highest regarded fast bowlers of all time. Notching up 563 test along the way, McGrath along with Shane Warne led the Aussie bowling attack for the best part of 15 years. The Australian side during that spell were by far and away the top test nation in the world and McGrath was one of the most important cogs.
Sir Vivian Richards (1952 -)
Viv Richards was also known as the ‘Master Blaster’. He has the record for the fastest test century, coming from just 56 balls. Till 2006 he held the record for most number of runs in a Calendar year. Viv Richards was a splendid captain too. He is the only West Indian captain not to have lost a test series. He also played a vital role in the West Indies’ 1975 and 1979 World Cup victories. He was also selected as one of the 5 Wisden cricketers of the century.
Sir Garfield Sobers (1936 -)
Sobers was an exceptional all rounder. He has the record for the highest maiden test score at a staggering 364 runs, aged just17. He is the first person to hit six consecutive sixes off one over in first class cricket. He had a test average of 57.78 and had 235 test wickets to his name. He is widely regarded as the greatest all rounder the world has ever seen, Leading to his inclusion in five Wisden cricketers of the century.
Sachin Tendulkar (1973 -)
Tendulkar, also known as the little master is the leading test and ODI century scorer. He is also one of 3 batsmen to surpass 11,000 runs along with being the highest career ODI runs at more than 15,000, averaging over 45 per innings (as of 29.6.2007). He is regarded as one of the finest shot makers in the game. He has been very successful from a young age scoring 5 centuries before turning 20, which is a world record. He also has the record for most man of the match and man of the series awards for ODIs.
Inzamam ul-Haq (1970 -)
‘Inzy’ as he is affectionately known was the mainstay of the Pakistani batting attack for most of the 90s and 00s. A graceful right handed batter who couldn’t run for toffee, Inzamam amassed 8830 runs for his country, leaving him just three runs shy of the record (held by Javed Miandad). His career however will be marred by the doctored ball controversy at the Oval test match in 2006, when he kept his team off the field when the umpires decided that the Pakistani fielders had illegally tampered with the ball.
Shane Warne (1969 -)
Warnie is widely regarded as one of the greatest, if not the greatest bowler of all time. The leg spinner has been one of the most controversial figures in the sport but his quality is second to none. He has now retired from all first class cricket but is seeing out his contract as player-coach of the Rajasthan Royals. His influence both on and off the field should never be overlooked.