“Here at the lovely Eden Gardens, its Kapil Dev running in from the pavilion end to bowl to Javed Miandad….” … Those vibrant words from the commentator’s way back in the era of All India Radio sound like melody even today and it’s glowing part of India’s dominant sports fraternity. With the advent of Television, Internet although Radio has suffered a setback but the sports Cricket has stayed as a greatly passionate and popular game which was very famous in the Easter years and is continuously attracting the vast population and increasing its huge fan base today. Cricket, the game that was known to be invented by the British of the United Kingdom, was firstly introduced in India by the Great Ranjit Singhji after whose name India’s biggest and most significant domestic competition The Ranji Trophy that began on July 1934. Even before than India’s first International Assignment was back in the year 1911 when they toured England to play their first ever test match they played. Later on, they again visited England in the year 1932 when the team was named as “All-India” cricket team. They played one test match at the Lord’s Cricket Ground and that was 1st ever Test Match to have been played by Independent India. Our first International series victory was against Pakistan back in 1952 which came soon after Independence.
So much so about the brief history of Indian Cricket. But what about those phenomenal men who made our cricketing history proud? Here is the list of 25 Popular and Best Indian Cricket Players of all time without whom our country would never have achieved the position in the cricketing fraternity for which we are famously known all over the world :
Famously known as CK, he was the first player who captained India in Test Matches. He made his 1st Test appearance against England in the year 1932 and played his last against the same opposition in the year 1936. During his entire cricketing career, he played 7 Tests, averaging 25 with the bat and a career-best score of 81. His significant contributions include memorable innings of 153 runs that included 11 sixes against Arthur Gillian led MCC side that toured India during 1926-27. His fitness was supreme those days which can be signified by the fact that he played a first-class match at the age of 62 where he scored 52 against Uttar Pradesh which was the last innings of his career. During his 1936 tour to England and also the 1933-34 seasons he averaged 37.59 with the bat and scored more than 1000 runs and took 51 wickets in first-class cricket. His last trip was in a charitable organization coordinated in 1963-64 when he performed for the Maharashtra Governor’s XI against the Maharashtra Primary Minister’s XI. Apart from the National Indian Team, he represented the teams like Hindus, Madras, Hyderabad, Central Regions and Berar, Holkar, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Indians and much more. He was also a real fanatic of tennis and throughout in connection to soccer.
(2) Lala Amarnath:
Father of former Indian cricketer an all-rounder Mohinder Amarnath, Lala Amarnath was a gigantic figure in Indian cricket history. He was the first captain of Independent India under whom India won the first Test series in 1952. He played 21 Test matches for India after the World War. Lala was one of the finest all-rounders India has ever produced. He led India in England tour in the year 1936. A strong man by personality he never was scared of criticism and always stood by the point. He always put his team in priority ahead of personal things and would never support anything wrong. An efficient team player, Lala Amarnath will always be remembered for his significant contributions in the history of the game of cricket. He played as many as 24 Test matches scoring 848 runs with an average of 24.38 with one hundred and four fifties. His Test best was 118. As a bowler, he took 45 wickets with two 5 wicket halls with best of 5/96. One remarkable player and a popular and best Indian cricket players of all time.
Another all-time great Indian Cricketer, he was as good as Sunil Gavaskar as far as technique is concerned. He hardly missed playing the new ball in the uncovered pitches in England. That spoke immensely about his technique. It’s a pity that he only played 10 Test Matches in his career span that lasted from 1929 to 1951. Even though he played only few Test Matches, he is regarded very highly regarded by all cricketing pundits all over the world. He was a very attractive stoke maker who could play all the cricketing shots in the book. In his tour of England, he collected almost 900 runs thereby making an English Cricketer, CB Fry exclaim to paint him white and take to Australia as an opening batsman. He was the oldest player in Test history to score a Test hundred where is scored 154 against England in 1951-52 at Delhi. In his 10 Test matches, he averaged 47.72 with 3 fifties and 3 hundreds to his name scoring 859 runs with 154 his best in his last Test Innings.
He was the 1st ever Indian who scored hundreds in both innings against Australia, in tests played after Independence, in the year 1948. He was extremely efficient batsman in terms of technique. He was a very fluent batsman who handled both pace and spins very confidently. He could also bowl right arm quick. He was the captain of India during the 1951 to 1953 seasons and led India to 14 Tests and India’s first ever Test victory came under his captaincy against England at Madras which India won by an Innings and 8 runs in the year 1951-52. He had a very good record in Tests where scored 2192 runs with a very respectable batting average of 47.65 where he amassed 7 hundreds and 9 fifties. His career best was 164 not out. He was also a more than capable bowler where he took 20 wickets in Tests with his best figures reading 4/29. He the first ever Indian player to complete 1000 Test runs. He held the world record of highest number of runs in a partnership in first-class cricket for 577 runs with Gul Mahomed in 1947 Ranji Trophy final against Baroda which was broken by Sangakkara and Jayawardene of Sri Lanka in 2006 with a stand of 624 runs against South Africa. Truly an all-time great cricketer India has ever produced.
Another past Indian Great, he was a masterstroke maker who courageously played the hook shot very well and also was a very fine cutter of the ball. He played 55 Test Matches for India in which his most significant series was against England in the year 1961-62 where he scored 586 runs with an outstanding batting average of 83.71 against a hostile English fast bowling attack that included Fred Trueman, Sir Alec Bedser and others. In this series came his highest Test score of unbeaten 189 which he scored in Delhi and he also amassed 7 hundreds in the entire tour. His significant contributions also include an innings of 59 and 39 runs in a Test match against Australia in the 1964-65 series which helped India to win the match. He also scored a hundred in his last Test Match Innings against New Zealand which came in 1965 in the month of February. In the 55 Test matches he played he averaged 39.12 with 3208 runs which included 7 hundreds and 15 fifties, with 189 not out his best. He was batsman who had a calibre of averaging way over 40’s in Test matches since his batting average did not do justice to his potential. But still was a class apart and a true Indian Cricket Legend.
A legendary Indian Cricketer of 1950’s, Poly Umrigar captained India in 8 consecutive Tests which two Tests against New Zealand both of which India won by an innings. There were many memorable performances that came from this iconic Indian cricketer which include a series in the year 1959 where he was a topper of the batting averages and also he played one of his best knocks in his career against a formidable West Indies fast bowling attack that included the likes of Wes Hall, Roy Gilchrist etc. He also scored heavily in the home series against Pakistan in 1952-53 with 560 runs with four fifties and couple of hundreds. He played a very crucial knock against a test against England where he scored 130 not out which helped India win. In his England tour in the year 1959 he scored a breathtaking 118 against Fred Trueman, Brian Statham at Old Trafford. In the same year India toured West Indies and though India lost all the five Test Matches of the series, he finished with 445 runs and 9 wickets in the series with his best being 172 not out. In 59 Tests Umrigar averaged an impressive 42.22 with 3631 runs with 12 hundreds and 14 fifties and 223 being his best test score. He also took 5 wickets twice in an innings with best being 6/74. He captained India for another three years but never again captained the nation. His 337 runs operate in a five-Test Match Series was the maximum by an Indian at that time.
Known as Mulvantrai Himmatlal Mankad, was well known for the World Record opening stand he had with Pankaj Roy against New Zealand in the year 1956 at Madras. He shared an opening stand of 413 runs that remained unbeaten for 52 years. In that match he scored 231 runs which was at that time an Indian Test Best Score until it was bettered by Sunil Gavaskar. A genuine and a rare commodity all-rounder the game has produced he was very effective equally with the bat and ball. In the year 1952 in a Test Match against England at Lord’s he was the top scorer for India with the bat when he scored 72 and took 5/196 where he bowled 73overs. In fact, Mankad was one of the three non -England players from “away” whose name appears in the honours board at Lords’ in England both with bat and ball. Mankad played a significant role in India winning against England in Madras in 1952 where he took 8/53 in the 1st Innings and 4/53 in the 2nd Innings helping India to register their first ever Test Match against the British. Mankad played 44 Test Matches averaging 31.47 scoring 5 hundreds and 6 fifties with a career best of 231. He also took 162 wickets with bets being 8/52. He captured 5 wickets in an innings 8 times and twice he took 10 wickets in an innings. He was not free from controversy, as in the year 1947-48 during India’s tour of Australia he ran Bill Brown (Australia) for the batsman was out of the ground in his end. That incident is famously or infamously called now as “Mankading.”
(8) Nari Contractor:
A very talented Indian batsman whose promising career was cut short due to devastating injury that almost took his life. He was a very courageous batsman as in spite of two broken ribs by England quickie Brian Statham, he scored a very brave 81. In the same year later he played a crucial knock of 74 against Australia at Kanpur which helped India to register their 1st ever Test victory against Australia. In the 1961-62 series against West Indies he led India in the Caribbean where he faced a serious blow in the head of a vicious delivery from an West Indian fast bowler Charlie Griffith which led him unconscious in hospital for six days and when he needed blood transfusion, the then West Indian captain and Great Frank Worrell was the first to donate blood to him. In his short career of 31 Tests he scored 1611 runs with an average of 31.58 where he scored a solitary hundred and 11 fifties. His top score was 108. Nari played on those days where the batsman would have no protective gear to safeguard against bodily injuries which makes the runs he scored immensely valuable. If not due to injury, this man could have been certainly an Indian maestro who would have served India for a long time than he actually did.
(9)Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi:
Nicknamed as Tiger Pataudi he was captain courageous and led India in successful ventures. He is often described as India’s greatest cricket captain. He was the youngest player to captain India at the age of 21years and despite an accident that permanently damaged one of his eyes, it did not stop him from playing cricket as he could find it easy to play with one eye with a cap pulled over the other. Against England, in Madras, he scored 103 in the Third Test which helped India to register their first Test Series Victory against the British. From 1961 to 1975 Tiger Pataudi played 46 Test Matches for India where he scored 2793 runs with a career average of 34.91 scoring 6 hundreds and 17 fifties in his name. His best score being 203 not out. Under his captaincy India won 9 tests, drew 19 and lost 19. It was under his captaincy that India recorded their first ever overseas Test victory against New Zealand which came in the year 1968. He was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1968, and Indian Cricketer of the Year in 1962. A true Indian legend which is born once in a generation.
With due respect to Sachin Tendulkar, many term Sunil Gavaskar as India’s all-time best Test batsman. His technique was unquestionable and backed it up supreme courage as he faced the mighty fast bowling attacks of England, Australia, Pakistan, West Indies etc. He is regarded quite highly in the cricket fraternity simply because he faced the fast bowling quartet of the Windies in the 70’s and 80’s with utmost ease who were terrorised many teams and who are, still at today’s date are still considered as nightmares. His courage can be defined by the simple fact that in those days’ players would hardly have such protective equipment which is no way anywhere near to what modern players use today. Sunil use to face the fast bowlers bare-headed in most of his career and towards the end of his stint he used to wear a ‘skull-cap’ just to guard his head. He featured in 125 Test Matches in India and in 108 ODI’s with his highest score being 236 not out against the West Indies in 1983 in Chennai which was an Indian record at that time. He was also the highest century scorer in Tests (34) which was overtaken by Sachin Tendulkar, and highest run-getter (10122 runs) which was taken over by a former Australian Captain Allan Border. A prolific scorer he is also a deserving member of the ‘Hall of Fame.’
(11) Gundappa Vishwanath:
Played his cricket in the era of the Great Sunil Gavaskar, Vishwanath, formerly known as Vishi, was another world-class batsman who was primarily known for his unmatched wrist-work. A man with superlative technique personified he was known for his artistic square-cuts of the front foot which he would do it to even with the best of deliveries he faced. He represented India during the 1970’s where he played significant part in 91 Tests from 1969 to 1983 scoring 6080 runs with an average of 41.93 with 14 hundreds and 35 half-centuries. The highlight of his cricketing career was the fact that he scored almost all his runs against dominant sides on tough and challenging wickets. Some examples includes fifty in each innings on a green-top in New Zealand against the same opposition. He held a career average of more than 50 in Test Matches against the fast bowling attacks in the likes of Australia, West Indies. In a Test Match against the West Indies in the year 1974-75, he scored 97 not out against that fiery pace attack which is regarded as 38th best innings of all time by Wisden and 2nd all-time best innings which is a non-hundred. Vishi is regarded as the best batsman of his time by one of his contemporaries, Sunil Gavaskar who considers Vishi even a better batsman than himself.
(12) Kapil Dev:
One of the all-time great all rounder’s in the history of cricket; India was blessed to have such a terrific player who was a genuine match-winner with both bat and ball. Not to mention, he was a supreme athlete and class fielder as well. He has won many critical matches of India single-handed and he was the one who instigated the belief in an underrated cricket team which eventually won the Prudential World Cup in 1983 against that time mighty and 3-time world champions the West Indies. In the ages when India lacked fast bowling talent it was Kapil Dev who stepped forward and took the challenge and his records speaks of itself. Having played 131 Test’s and 225 ODI matches, he significantly scored closed to 5500 runs in Tests and about 3700 runs in ODI’s mostly in India’s winning cause. Not only that he was a key wicket taker for India who took 434 Test wickets and 253 ODI wickets as well. He was the highest wicket-taker in the world in Test Matches breaking Sir Richard Hadlee’s record till Courtney Walsh overtook him. He played the master class innings of 175 not out against Zimbabwe in the 1983 World Cup when India were down and out that eventually helped India to not only win the game but they went on to win the trophy as well. That’s the reason why this game-changing innings is termed as all-time Great ODI Innings in Indian Cricket. Of late, Kapil was included in the elite group of International Cricket Council’s (ICC) ‘Hall of Fame.’
He was considered as the pillar of Indian Batting line-up during the 70’s and late 80’s along with G.R. Vishwanath and Sunil Gavaskar. He was even rated as world’s best batsman during that time. He was a prolific scorer who was successful on grounds all over the world that included Australia, England and New Zealand. Dilip has an unique achievement of scoring three successive Test Hundreds at Lords which earned him the Man of the Series award in the year 1986. This is also the World Record of most number hundreds scored by any visiting batsmen in the Test arena in the same venue. In the 1978-79 Test Series of India against the West Indies he was involved in a partnership of more than 300 runs in a Test Match at Calcutta with Sunil Gavaskar. During his entire cricketing career he played 116 Tests scoring 6868 runs with a batting average of 42.13 with his best knock being 166. He also participated in 129 ODI’s scoring 3508 runs with an average of 34.73 with the best of 105. He is undoubtedly one of the best Indian Cricket Players of All Time.
(14)Bishan Singh Bedi:
Arguably one of the greatest spinners that India has ever produced, in fact one of the all-time great cricketer in the world, Bishan Bedi was instrumental behind several Indian Test victories. His spin bowling is often described as one that had lot of grace, guile and mystery which was also artistic. He had the unique capability to flight the ball at ease and also hold it back on occasions when he needed. He could hurry the batsman with his subtle variation in pace. His rhythm and control and ability to bowl the entire day were a blessing for any captain. Out of several successful Test series he had, his memorable performance was against Australia at Calcutta in 1969-70 where he took 7/98. His beat bowling was also against the same opposition where he took career-best match figures of 10/194 at WACA, Perth. In the 67 Tests that Bedi played he took 266 wickets with a bowling average of 28.71 with career best of 7/98. He took 5 wickets in an innings 14 times and 10 wickets in an innings only once. Bedi is second only to Lance Gibbs in regards to maiden overs analysis 16.35 against 16.62. He has bowled 4.2 overs per wicket as against 4.24 by Gibbs.
(15) Erapalli Prasanna:
One of the formidable members of the famous Indian spin quartet, Prasanna was a genius off-spinner who bamboozled batsman with utmost ease and precision. He was a deadly bowler who could take wickets on any surface. Prasanna had fantastic prowess over his craft and had the capability to beat the batsmen in the air, and was often unplayable in the sub-continental pitches that offered a lot of spin. He made his Test debut against England at Madras in 1961. Although he had a very tough overseas tour of West Indies in 1967, he came back strongly against England with some fine performances in the same year. Prasanna played 49 Test matches in all taking his tally of wickets to 189 with a bowling average of 30.38. He took 5 wickets in an innings 10 times and twice took 10 wickets in a Test Match. He will be remembered as a all time legend till the day cricket is played in India and all over the world.
Perhaps the most dangerous of the all-time great spinners India has ever produced, Chandra as he was nicknamed was extremely clever leg-spin bowler who was very unpredictable due to the fact that his deliveries were very quick through the air and would hurriedly reach the batsman even before he anticipated thereby catching him in no man’s land. Chandra, being physically disabled in his right hand which was also supposed to be his bowling arm had the blessing in disguise that his arm speed was naturally very quick and the deliveries would skid on to the batsman at pace and even the bowler himself was not aware that which ball would go at such a speed and which not. The fact which was admitted by Chandra himself. He was not a big spinner of the ball but still he got a lot of success due to his variations. Spin bowling was dominated by the Indians from 1960’s to 1970’s during which Chandra played a major role. Chandra was a wrecker in chief against Australia on 1977-78 where he took same figures in both innings (6/52) that helped India win and he became the first bowler in history to register same bowling figures in a same Test match. In 1976 he along with Prasanna played a important role in India’s win where both of them took 19 wickets. He played 58 matches and took 242 wickets at an impressive average of 29.74 with a career best of 8/79. He was one of the few players who had a unique distinction of getting more wickets than runs with the bat (167).He was Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1972.
(17) Subhash Gupte:
An artistic leg-spinner who had the ability to spin the ball on any surface, Subhash Gupte was a genuine talent that emerged during India’s Golden Era of World-Class spinners. He was a magical leg-break googly bowler who was a massive turner of the cricket ball who was termed by experts as one who could turn it even on a glassy surface but he did not sacrifice his line-length for turn. He was always at the batsman with his accuracy. His deceptive googly accounted for many top-order batsmen. In the year 1952-53 he took 50 wickets against the dominant West Indies with an outstanding average of 23.64. He also took 27 wickets on excellent batting tracks while bowling at the greats like the three W’s, Rae etc. In 1954-55 he also took 21 wickets against Pakistan as was the most successful bowler. The next season he was devastating against New Zealand where he took 34 wickets at an exceptional average of 19.67. Again in the year 1956-57 he took 9/102 against the West Indies in a Test Match at Kanpur and in that series he captured 22 wickets. In the year 1959 he toured England where he took 95 wickets at 26.58. In his last but one Test he bowled a dramatic spell of 4/6 in just 18 deliveries. Overall, Gupte played 36 matches taking 149 wickets at a career average of 29.55. 12 times he took 5 wickets in an Innings with 10 wickets in a match only once. It was a pity that he only played for India till the age of 32 but he will be remembered for his mastery of spin bowling art.
Srinath was one of the few genuine fast bowlers that India has ever produced. During the times when there was a dearth of fast bowlers in India and there were no quality pacers after Kapil Dev and Manoj Prabhakar, he stood up to serve India for many successful ventures. He was a spearhead of Indian attack for a period of 12 years. He was also 2nd highest limited over’s wicket-taker taking 315 wickets which is only after Anil Kumble. He was also the quickest to 100 wickets in ODI’s. Starting from 1992, 1996, 1999 and 2003 World Cups in which he took 44 wickets which is the highest for India in World Cup’s. He was also 2nd fastest Indian to 150 wickets. In the years 1991/92 in the tour of Australia, Srinath was selected as the 3rd pacer and he finished the tour with 10 wickets at 55.30 with the best of 3/59. Then in South Africa at Cape Town he took 12 wickets at an average of 26.08 with his best being 4/33 in 27 over’s. His chances increased seemingly with the retirement of Kapil Dev when, in a home test against West Indies he took 5/60 and he was declared Man-of-the-Match as India won the match by 96 runs. Srinath’s majority success was against South Africa where he took 60 wickets at 24.48 both home as well as away series included. He played 67 Tests and took 236 wickets at 30.49 with 10 times 5 wickets in an innings and 10 wickets in an innings once. His best was 8/86 against Pakistan. In 229 ODI games he collected 315 scalps at 28.08 with a best of 5/23 with 3 five wicket hall’s.
One of the great leg-spinners the World has ever produced, Anil Kumble is an Indian legend who won many matches for India single-handedly. This icon from Karnataka was known for his deception and work-horse like effort, as he could bowl over after over in a Day and would never get tired. He could bowl as many as 40 over’s in day and could still maintain terrific line and lengths from the beginning of the day till the end. He made remarkable performance in Test match against Pakistan at the Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi at 1999 where he took all 10 wickets in an innings for 74 runs which remains his career best and he became the only player after England’s Jim Laker to achieve such feat in the cricketing history. Not only that, he was a genuine match-winner when it came to ODI’s as well. He was the strike bowler for India in both the formats of Cricket. In the 90’s he took his career best figures of 6/12 against the West Indies in an ODI Tournament. He pivotal performance was in the World Cup in 1996 where he bowled phenomenally well taking 15 wickets in just seven matches at a paltry average of 18.73.Kumble took 100 wickets in 21 Test’s which was second fastest by an Indian. In 1992 on the South African tour he took 18 wickets at 25.94 which included 8 wickets in one Test Match. In the same year when England toured India he took 21 wickets at 19.8 and helped India win the third Test by an Innings at 15 runs. Overall he played 132 Test matches taking 609 wickets at 29.65. He also played 271 ODI’s and took 337 wickets at 30.89. He has a test hundred (110 not out) to his name as well. Along with Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralitharan, he will go down as a lead spinner in the World and a true Indian legend.
Arguably one of the greatest batsman of all time, the one who was described by the all-time Great Sir Donald Bradman as his replica, has played a significant part in glorious cricket history. His ability to play spin, pace at equal proficiency describes about his versatility and supreme technique that he possessed that made him such a Great player that he was. He had an exemplary fitness to play 200 Test Matches and 463 One Day Internationals and is distinguishable player to have scored 100 International Hundreds (51 in Tests and 49 in ODI’s) which no other player who have played in the history of the game has achieved ever before. Sachin has played several memorable knocks for the country, all of which may not have been in the winning cause, but they will be remembered forever by all sports lovers simply because mostly were played when India were under serious pressure and in the manner in which they were played. Few such innings include 136 against Wasim, Waqar and Saqlain led attack Pakistan in 1999,(he was injured playing that knock) 114 against Australia at Perth in 1992, 241 against the same opposition at Sydney in 2004,169 against South Africa at Cape Town in 1997 against a fiery Allan Donald etc. He also played some great limited over’s knock which include 98 against Pakistan in 2003 World Cup, a blistering 134 against Australia at Sharjah in 1998, which according to many is his best ODI knock. Tendulkar also got the first ODI double ton when he got 200 against South Africa at Gwalior in 2010.Having scored over 15,000 runs in Tests and over 18,000 runs in ODI’s this phenomenal player was ICC’s Best Test Batsman for a total number of 1157 days during in entire career. He played a key role in India winning the ICC World Cup in ODI’s in 2011.
(21) Rahul Dravid:
Ideally a Great No.3 Test Batsman not only India has ever produced but the World as well, Rahul Dravid was named as “The Wall” because of the fact that he had immaculate defence and solid technique with the bat to counter any type of bowling on difficult pitches. Unlike most Indian batsman, his record shows that he was mostly successful abroad rather than in India because solely for that reason. In 1996 one of his several memorable performances came when India toured South Africa and in the Third Test at the Wanderer’s, Johannesburg he scored 148 runs in the 1st Innings and 81 runs in the second Innings which almost won India the game but couldn’t do so because mostly of the weather. It was his first of several Man-of-the-Match awards in a series where he scored 277 runs at 55.40. He followed it up with another successful trip to the Windies where he scored 360 runs at an average of 72.00. He was the top scorer in the calendar year 1996-97 where he scored 852 runs at 50.11 with one hundred and 6 fifties. His success story wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the famous Australian Tour in the year 2000-2001. After India lost the first Test both teams moved to Eden Gardens as Australia were looking for their 18th successive Test match win and subsequently winning series which captain “Steve Waugh” defined as the “final frontier”. India, after conceding over 400 runs in the 1st Innings to Australia were down and out and were following on in their 2nd Innings and although they batted better but were still at a spot of bother at 232/4 needing another 42 runs to avoid innings defeat when Dravid joined another Indian legend V.V.S Laxman and they both played an innings of life-time which not only helped India win that game but was registered as one of the greatest partnerships and Test Match Innings to have been ever played in history. Dravid scored 180 and Laxman got 281 and they registered a partnership of 375 runs and India won the game by 171 runs becoming the 2nd team in history to win a test after following on. He was very successful in limited over’s format as well as he had tremendous success in 1999 World Cup and was the top scorer in 2011 World Cup as well. He had great Australian tour of 2003. He also had an extraordinary England Tour in 2002 where he scored 602 runs in the series at an average of 100.33, including 3 hundreds and 1 fifty and was adjudged joint man of the series along with Vaughan. In his 164 match career he averaged 52.31 and scored 13288 runs with 36 hundreds and 63 fifties with 270 being his best against Pakistan. He kept wickets in limited over’s and scored 10889 runs in 344 matches at 39.16 with 12 hundreds and 83 fifties with 153 his best. This also includes 14 stumping’s. He is one of the few players who have Test hundreds against all Test playing nations .Truly, a remarkable career.
Born with a natural talent and as he said in his latest press-conference that “cricket is in my blood” the current Indian Captain is arguably one of the modern great if not the great batsman of the modern generation. His fabulous stroke play and control over the game distinguishes him from all other contemporary batsmen of his generation. The master batsman has amassed six double hundreds in this calendar year becoming the top scorer of the year. The unique factor about him is that he has been extremely successful across all the formats for more than a year now. Be it Test Cricket, ODI’s or T-20 cricket Virat Kohli has been the go-to man for India. He along with MS Dhoni has formed a formidable partnership which has won many games for India. In Tests, he has been equally devastating and perhaps second only to Steve Smith of Australia in terms of consistency in Test cricket. In the recently concluded home series in India (13 Test’s in all) against New Zealand, England Bangladesh and Australia, he was instrumental in almost all the games due to which India won every series. He has been the captain under whom India has already tasted success in the World Cup(Under-19). Few of his other achievements include scoring the fastest hundred for his team in just 52 balls, He is the second-fastest player to reach 1000 runs in limited over’s cricket, he has the record of scoring the fastest 5000 runs in ODI’s and second fastest in the World. He also holds the record for the quickest 7000 and 8000 ODI’s in the World. He is also the quickest to 10, 15 and 20 hundred in ODI’s. Along with being the fastest to 25 ODI hundreds he also has scored the fastest 1000 T-20 International runs. Who can forget his memorable Australian tour in 2014 where he single headedly won the game for India in the 4th Innings chasing 360 odd. He got 141 but India failed to win. He also got hundred in the 3rd Test where he scored 169. He finished second highest run scorer after Steven Smith of Australia and although India lost the series 2-0 he earned a lot of accolades for cricket experts. He has so far played 63 Test’s averaging 53.75 with 5268 runs so far with his best being 243.Kohli has 20 Test hundreds and 15 fifties to his name. He also has played 202 ODI games scoring 9030 runs averaging 55.74 with 32 hundred’s and 45 fifties with best being 183 being his best. He has been equally successful in T-20 games playing 55 matches getting 1956 runs with outstanding 52.86 average with 18 fifties and a top score of 90 not out. His strike rate has been close to 150 in T-20’s. People believe that if anyone can break Tendulkar’s record of 100 International hundreds it will be Kohli.
(23) Virender Sehwag:
He was selected as one of the all time great opening batsman for India who would be partnering Sunil Gavaskar in the all time great Indian eleven. A typical dasher of the game, he was known to take the game away from the opposition in no time with his master stroke and belligerence. Graeme Pollock once said that he could pay anything and walk miles to watch Sehwag bat. He has multiple batting records under his name which includes the highest Test score made by Indian batsman which was 319 he made against South Africa in Chennai and also the fastest 250 by any batsman in history. In fact he is one of the four batsman in the world who scored two triple hundreds and who took five wickets in an innings. He also was the first double hundred scorer in ODI cricket when he scored 219 runs that was later on surpassed by Rohit Sharma who made 264 against Sri Lanka. He also has the feat of achieving a triple hundred in Test cricket and a double hundred in ODI cricket which only Chris Gayle had previously. Under the captaincy of Saurav Ganguly in the year 2002 Sehwag opened the innings in an ODI game against England although primarily he was a middle order batsman. He scored a brilliant 82 and eventually India won the game. In 2001, he also opened the innings where he got a superlative hundred off 69 balls against New Zealand which was an important match as it was the decider of the finalist. Incidentally it was his first maiden ODI hundred. He was also instrumental in India’s first series win against New Zealand where he a got a hundred of just 60 deliveries. A fearless cricketer who was very successful in Tests scoring 195 against Australia in Sydney 2003, 309 against Pakistan at Multan in 2004 to name a few. He was the highest scorer in single day of Test Match as well. In the 104 Test matches he played he scored 8586 runs at 49.34 with 23 hundreds and 32 fifties with 319 is highest. Viru also got 8273 runs in 251 ODI’s averaging 35.05 with 219 being highest.
Arguably one of the greatest captains India has ever produced. Saurav Ganguly is regarded as the one who changed the mindset of Indian Team touring abroad. He taught them how to fight fire with fire when it comes to sledging, especially against Australia. He instigated the belief among the players like Kapil Dev did in 1983 that India has the potential to win abroad. That self-belief helped India to successfully win many overseas tours under Saurav’s regime. In 2002, Ganguly was awarded the 6th ODI batsman rank of all time by Wisden. Ganguly’s lucky break when he was called in between India’s tour of England when Navjot Sidhu left the tour in between due to controversial reasons in 1996. His debut was memorable as he scored back-to-back hundreds at Lord’s and Trent Bridge. Although India lost the series 1-0 but his debut was one to remember as it was mark of a new era of Indian cricket. As Rahul Dravid described him as in off-side first there is God and then Saurav Ganguly, he was known for his supremacy of driving the ball in the off-side and scoring at will in the zone. It was under his captaincy that India won the series against Australia 2-1 in 2001.His personal success was mostly in the limited over’s format which includes 2003 World Cup where he got 465 runs with 3 hundreds at an average of 58.12. In the tournament, India reached the finals but lost to Australia in the final game. He was handed over Indian team captaincy in 2000 against an ODI series in South Africa at home. India won several ODI tournaments under him which includes the famous Natwest Series final victory at 2002 which is also memorable for the fact that Saurav Ganguly took off his T-Shirt in the Lord’s balcony after winning the game. In the 113 Tests, he played he scored 7212 runs with an average of 42.17 that includes 16 hundreds and 35 fifties. His best score is 239. He also played 311 ODI games averaging 41.02 with 11,363 runs with best being 183. This includes 22 hundreds and 72 fifties.
(25)Mahendra Singh Dhoni:
Dhoni, popularly known as MSD will go down as probably one great captain who has given us the taste of all major tournament victories. He is the only distinctive Indian captain who has won all the ICC tournaments in all formats along with many other bilateral series. He is the best finisher of the ODI game for India and probably one the World has ever produced. He significantly contributed to many Indian victories which include 91 not out in the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka where India was in a spot of bother chasing 274 runs to win and he played a match-winning knock along with Gautam Gambhir who got 97. Under him, India also won the inaugural ICC T-20 World Cup beating Pakistan in the finals. It was under MSD that India was the number one ranked Test side and he led India to whitewash Australia in a Test series 4-0 at home which was never achieved before. He was ICC ODI player of the year both in 2008 and 2009 and was listed as the one of the 100 most influential player in the World by Time magazine. Also in 2009, he was awarded the Padma Shree. India, under him also won away series in New Zealand. He is also instrumental in his franchise Chennai Super Kings winning the IPL title on more than one occasion. Dhoni played 90 tests scoring 4876 runs at 38.09 with 6 hundred and 33 fifties. He has so far played 311 ODI’s with 9898 runs at an average of 51.55 with 10 hundred and 67 fifties. He effected 38 stumping’s and took 256 catches in Tests and 104 stumping’s and 291 catches in ODI’s.