This article was revised on June 6, 2019.
Cricket, they say is a “batsmen’s game”. The fans cheer and get enthralled by the perfect footwork, drives, hooks/pulls, and myriad masterful strokes all around. The best batsmen in the world not only rake up runs for themselves but also help their respective teams win. We have handpicked the best batsmen in the world of cricket across the generations, based on their performance, their consistency, average runs scored, and many other factors.
Top 10 Batsmen in the World of Cricket
Don Bradman, also called the Great Don, is the all-time greatest batsman of world cricket. His 99.94 run average has become an all-time sports record. This legendary and charismatic right-hand Australian batsman led the team almost single-handedly against the mighty English and bravely faced the infamous bodyline Ashes series. Sir Donald George Bradman scored 6,996 runs by playing 52 Test matches. He hit 29 centuries during his cricketing career (1928-1948) and his highest score was 334 runs. His impeccable statistics have made him a cricketing superhuman of all time.
Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar is a sensation by himself. He bore the burden of expectation of over 100 billion Indians throughout his international cricketing career that spanned from 1989 to 2013 including six ICC World Cups. Despite being criticized for failing under pressure, the Master Blaster has the Test batting average of 53.78 (scored 15,921 runs in 200 Tests) with 51 centuries under his belt. His highest test score is an unbeaten 248.
Tendulkar’s ODI success is equally impressive. He had played 463 matches and scored 18,426 runs at an average of 44.83 and strike rate of 86.23. His highest score in the ODIs is 200 runs. Sachin is the only cricketer in the history of world cricket to have scored more than 30,000 runs (Tests and ODIs combined).
Sachin Tendulkar’s contribution to Indian cricket (which spanned for around two decades) can be summarized in the words of current Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli: “He has carried the burden of the nation for 21 years; it’s time we carried him on our shoulders”.
Also Read: Sachin Tendulkar International Centuries
Sir Jack Hobbs
Hobbs is the first cricketer to be knighted by the Queen of England and is the first ever batsman to have an average score of over 50 in Test crickets. This pioneering English cricketer (career spanning from 1908 to 1930) is known as the original ‘Master’ of cricket, who remains an inspiration for the modern-era batsmen. Sir Jack Hobbs played 61 test matches and scored 5,410 runs at an average of 56.94. He scored 15 centuries and his highest score was 211.
Sir Walter Hammond
Sir Walter Reginald Hammond (popularly called Wally Hammond) is yet another phenomenon in the world of cricket, especially during the pre-war era. The greatness of this cricket genius was compared with that of Don Bradman. Hammond’s cricketing career spanned over two decades (1927-47). This Englishman’s riveting rivalry with the mighty Don was well-known. He went on to break Bradman’s highest score of 334 to become the highest Test scorer of that time by scoring 336 not out. Sir Walter Hammond played 85 test matches, scored 7,249 runs at an average of 58.45, and hit 22 centuries.
Brian Lara, the stylish and elegant batsman of West Indies, was the true successor of the all-time batting geniuses such as Sobers, George Headley, and Viv Richards. His cricketing career spanned from 1990 to 2007. Brain Lara played 131 test matches, scored 11,953 runs with an average of 52.28, hit 34 centuries, and went on to hit the highest score of unbeaten 400. He played 299 ODIs, scored 10,405 runs at an average of 40.48, and hit 19 centuries.
Sir Garfield Sobers
Sir Garfield Sobers (whose Test career spanned from 1954 to 1974) had an envious batting technique and is still regarded as the greatest all-rounder of all time. The stylish West Indian cricketer played 93 test matches, scored 8,032 runs with an average of 57.78, and hit 26 centuries. Sobers hit his highest test score of 365 not out at just 21 years of age. This left-handed batsman took 235 test wickets and was undoubtedly a brilliant fielder. He was the first batsman in the history of international cricket to hit six 6s in a single over.
Jacques Kallis, the right-handed South African batsman, played 166 tests, 328 ODIs, and 25 T20s. He was a dependable all-rounder who had a batting average of 55.37 in Tests and 44.36 in ODIs. His highest scores were 224 in Test and 139 in ODIs. Cricketing career of Jacques Kallis spanned from 1995 to 2014 and he is the recipient of most number of Man of the Match awards in the history of international cricket.
Sir Vivian Richards
His inane tendency of thwarting bowlers all over the stadium made Sir Vivian Richards one of the most destructive batsmen of all time. He played 121 test matches and made runs at an average of 50.23 and 187 ODIs with a run average of 47.00 during his cricketing career from 1974-1991. This right-handed West Indian batsman was the first cricketer in the history of cricket to be awarded with twenty Man of the Match awards.
Sunil Gavaskar was known for his impeccable and flawless technique of batting. He was the first batsman to score 10,000 runs in test cricket. This right-handed Indian batsman (whose cricket career spanned from 1971 to 1987) played 125 Tests and 108 ODIs with the run average of 51.12 and 35.13 respectively.
Greg Chappell was a fiercely competitive Australian cricketer who played 87 Tests and 74 ODIs with the run averages of 53.86 and 40.18 respectively during his career from 1970 to 1984. He hit 24 test centuries. Interestingly, he scored a century each in his first as well as the final Test matches.
This list could also have included George Headley of West Indies and Graeme Pollock of South Africa (both of whom had average of over 60) but they didn’t play 50 Test matches, the minimum criteria for considering the top most batsmen.