People born in the 80s and 90s have been privileged to witness cricket where the legends graced the field. Cricket back then and even in the 2000s had its own charm and significance. There weren’t these T20 leagues and T20Is. All that mattered was Test cricket that boasted of the best players in the world. And then there was ODI cricket that gained significance with time.
What made cricket the sport that we all fell in love was the quality of the game. Technology like today wasn’t there and there were some hostile rivalries when players took to the cricket field. Over time, things have changed. Today’s cricket do not have many superstars and its become too frequent with the presence of T20s. But cricket lovers who have grown up watching classics, will feel that the previous generations was better.
We fell in love with the game because of several stars that erupted and who served a long lasting legacy for the time to come. There have been many legends who have graced the game during our lifetime. We pick these seven cricketers.
The greatest player after Sir Donald Bradman; Sachin was like religion for all of us. His heroics in both Tests and ODIs made him a class above the others. Bowlers feared him and he enjoyed the rivalry against some of the greatest. Sachin will forever be more than his stunning numbers. He gave an all-new identification to the game. The Master Blaster had a long career and he made it worth for all of us who wanted to become like him. He scored 15,921 Test runs and 18,426 ODI runs that made him the record-holder. He also smashed 100 centuries in total.
Punter was Australia’s best in the previous generation. He was a batting maestro whose stroke-play and shot-making was of different level. He unsettled bowlers very easily. Ponting’s success as a batsman helped him in his captaincy as well. He has been of the greatest skippers ever. He led Australia to two World Cup trophies. In total, he won three World Cups. His records in the game are outstanding. Ponting was a big match player and his aggression was spellbound. He scored 13,378 Test runs that included 41 tons. Punter bagged 13,704 ODI runs with 30 hundreds.
He is perhaps the greatest all-rounder ever to have played the sport. Kallis took South Africa to new heights and played a huge role in their success in both formats. Kallis had all the time in the world and he hardly made things easy for the opposition. Be it his batting, pace bowling and fielding at the slip cordon, Kallis mastered it all. One can refer to him as the Jack of All Trades. He scored 13,289 Test runs, besides 11,579 ODI runs. He hit 62 tons in total. With the ball, Kallis picked up 292 Test wickets and a further 272 in ODIs.
His pedigree as a pacer will always be remembered. McGrath was a different breed and his accuracy defined his success. He held some stunning records against the world’s best batsmen and was a constant menace. McGrath was difficult to play against and he came out strong in the most important occasions. Australia’s domination in the cricket fraternity will be known forever and McGrath played a huge role. He took 563 Test wickets and 381 ODI wickets to become the most successful pacer. He won two World Cups as well.
He is the only batsman or player from today’s generation to feature in this list. Kohli took off from Sachin left. His eyes for runs and consistency with the bat makes him one of the greatest. Kohli’s tryst with records have been amazing. His plethora of runs and ability to score everywhere makes him a class above everyone. He has 6613 Test runs and 10,533 ODI runs under his belt. He also has 2,167 T20I runs. The 30-year-old has a staggering 64 tons and has the potential to break Sachin’s record.
Cricket without Shane Warne would have been incomplete. From bowling the ‘Ball of the Century’ to mesmerizing everyone with his craft, Warne was Australia’s hero. He is definitely the best leg-spinner the world has ever seen. Warne was all about glory and performances. He contributed immensely to Australia’s success in the golden generation days. He took 708 Test scalps and 293 ODI wickets.
Many compared him to Sachin and debates were the order of the day as in who was better. But it didn’t matter to us as we got to witness both legends together. Lara’s batting was art. His craftsmanship and capability to bat on and on, made him stand out. He was West Indies’ best player back in his day and the team always relied on him. Several world class bowlers termed him the most difficult to bowl against. Such was his impact. He scored 11,953 Test runs and amassed 10,405 ODI runs as well.