This has taken some serious thought. So be kind -
When I first started watching cricket, in about 1990, this guy was like a god to me. The moustache alone was worthy of deity-like status, but the visibly enormous powers of concentration, aura, and the way he could wield his bat when he cut loose. I’d love to see him as he was in his late 30s in today’s England team. I don’t doubt for a second he’d be the number 1 batsman in the world. Certainly the best opener.
A bit of a cheat, because obviously he’s more of a number 3. But I’d love to see him open with Gooch. Both married concentration and shot playing ability brilliantly. They’d be almost impossible to dislodge for any team. I rate Dravid as the 4th best batsman of his generation. Behind the next 3 guys. Elegant and tough in equal measure, and in all conditions. He was a brilliant, brilliant player.
In his prime this guy was off the charts. He combined grit with shot-making capacity in a way I scarcely thought possible. Just a top-notch batsman. As an Englishman, I was terrified of him getting his eye in. Hence the joy at the Garry Pratt incident.
In his prime, SRT systemised attacking batsmanship in the way that Atherton systemised defensive batsmanship. I’ve never known anyone play attacking shots all over the wicket in such a controlled, risk-free manner. In his pomp, this guy essentially conquered cricket in the same way that Neo conquered the Matrix
Not much you can say really. His combination of power and placement implied he was in league with some kind of higher power. In his prime he was practically a different species. And I loved the way he moved his feet to the spinners. I actually liked the human side of him too, in his acknowledgment of the times he struggled. It reminds me of the alleged David Gower quote – it’s tough making it look this easy.
A close call between him and Gilchrist. But whilst Gilchrist descended rapidly in the end, Sanga has aged like wine. 33 centuries at 57 is just unbelievable. A beautiful batsman, and excellent sledger apparently.
Good enough to get in as a batsman alone, and I also like having a 4th seamer option. His classical technique is a joy to watch when he actually applies himself to playing his shots. I rank him just below Dravid as the 5th best batsman of the last 20 years. He may yet finish with 50 centuries and 300+ wickets – which is almost beyond belief.
Just for his sheer mastery and the fun he seemed to have with it. At his best he looked like a Playstation player in the way he seemed to manipulate the ball post-release. I don’t think I’ve seen more skill from a seamer.
I have no real basis for splitting Warne and Murali. I vary between the two from week-to-week.
I am of the opinion however, than in neutral conditions Warne could give a fraction more. Whereas in favourable conditions, Murali was more likely to return obscenely destructive figures. Although, I’m willing to acknowledge this may be perception more than reality.
Warne was a better batsman and fielder, so that tips the balance.
Terrifying and metronomic in equal measure. A great average, and would contrast and compliment Akram beautifully.
In a way, like Ambrose, but without quite the extra gear the former’s athleticism allowed. But there is something almost supernatural about McGrath. In the most difficult era ever for test bowlers, he averaged just over 20. He just had the ****; the x-factor; the va-va-voom. He seemed to exist permanently in the head of every batsman he faced. The bigger the challenge and the more you think he might struggle, the more likely he would be to actually succeed. And he’d do so with a confidence and an arrogance like it was never in any doubt. You gotta admire that!
Opinions, comments and insults all welcome!