Friday, January 30, 2009

ICC Cricket Hall of Fame - the Fast men

There is nothing like seeing a fast bowler in full flight, and ten of them have been elected to the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. Here is how they performed in the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings over the course of their careers.

Sydney Barnes
Tests: Highest Rating 932 (1914), Highest Ranking 1st (1910-1914). 22 matches at number 1
Nearly a hundred years on, no-one has managed to surpass Barnes’s career peak Rating, achieved in his final Test after taking 49 wickets in four Tests against the hapless South Africans at the age of forty. Dominating the bowling Ratings in the years immediately before the First World War, he ended with exactly seven wickets per match from his medium-pace cutters, having been selected purely on the virtue of his performances in league cricket.

Alec Bedser
Tests: Highest Rating 903 (1953), Highest Ranking 1st (1947-1954). 13 matches at number 1
His rise was meteoric, taking just eight Tests to reach the number one spot. In fact, he may be unique among all Test bowlers playing a reasonable number of matches in that he spent his entire career in the world’s top five. This culminated in a return to the top spot after taking 39 wickets during the memorable Ashes summer of 1953 at the age of 35. He is the last man alive who managed to dismiss Don Bradman in a Test Match.

Michael Holding
Tests: Highest Rating 860 (1982), Highest Ranking 1st (1982). 12 matches at number 1
ODIs: Highest Rating 875 (1985), Highest Ranking 2nd (1983).
He burst upon the scene in the summer of 1976 when his pace was as scorching as the English weather, as he tore through England’s batting to the tune of fourteen wickets at the Oval to move up to third in the world. His Test peak came later in his career and he spent the first half of 1982 on top of the world after taking 24 wickets in three Tests in Australia. He was unlucky in the shorter form of the game as Richard Hadlee prevented him reaching the top spot, and his peak Rating of 875 is the highest of anyone who never made it to number one.

Harold Larwood
Tests: Highest Rating 720 (1933), Highest Ranking 3rd (1933).
He will forever be remembered as the spearhead of the ‘Bodyline’ attack of 1932/33 but Larwood was a good enough bowler to reach third in the world at the end of that infamous series having dismissed Bradman four times. However, that was as good as it got, and he was never selected for England again. He had his moments with the bat too – some early successes took him into the world’s top thirty and his career ended with an innings of 98 as night-watchman at Sydney.

Dennis Lillee
Tests: Highest Rating 884 (1977), Highest Ranking 1st (1975-1982). 56 matches at number 1
ODIs: Highest Rating 891 (1982), Highest Ranking 1st (1980-1983). 89 matches at number 1
He dominated the world fast-bowling scene for a decade and first reached top spot during the 1975 Ashes tour of England on which he took 21 wickets in four matches. His eleven wickets in the Centenary Test at Melbourne in March 1977 sent him to his career-best Rating and he was back on top in the early 1980s after a thirty-month break for World Series Cricket. He was similarly successful in One Dayers, spending all of 1981 and 1982 on top of the tree.

Ray Lindwall
Tests: Highest Rating 897 (1954), Highest Ranking 1st (1948-1955). 72 matches at number 1
Unquestionably the world’s premier fast bowler in the years following the Second World War, he spent more than half of the next decade ranked as the number one Test bowler. He reached number one after his ninth Test and was still in the world’s top ten when he retired in 1960. He could also wield the willow to some effect, peaking at number 23 and he spent the vast majority of his career ranked second to team-mate Keith Miller in the all-rounder table.

Malcolm Marshall
Tests: Highest Rating 910 (1988), Highest Ranking 1st (1984-1991). 80 matches at number 1
ODIs: Highest Rating 891 (1985), Highest Ranking 1st (1987-1989). 58 matches at number 1
He was the spearhead of the all-conquering West Indian team of the late 1980s and even in an era of great fast bowlers, he still spent a great deal of time at the number one spot in both forms of the game. He was a dangerous lower-order batsman too and ended his career as the number 3 ranked Test all-rounder. He retired from Test cricket at the top of the world Rankings and his final wicket was fellow Hall-of-Famer Graham Gooch.

Andy Roberts
Tests: Highest Rating 891 (1976), Highest Ranking 1st (1976-1977). 16 matches at number 1
ODIs: Highest Rating 848 (1983), Highest Ranking 1st (1979-1980). 14 matches at number 1
The first of the West Indian pace quartet to reach the top spot, it was the summer of 1976 which propelled him to his peak Rating after he took 28 wickets in England. He first reached top spot in One Day Internationals soon after helping the West Indies retain the World Cup in 1979, but arguably his most memorable performance in the shorter form of the game came with the bat as his unbeaten 24 helped overcome Pakistan by one wicket in the 1975 tournament.

Brian Statham
Tests: Highest Rating 810 (1960), Highest Ranking 3rd (1955).
Despite ending his career with 252 Test wickets, he could be considered one of the finest bowlers never to reach the top spot in the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings. Overshadowed by his colleagues Frank Tyson and then fellow Hall-of-Famer Fred Trueman for the vast majority of his Test career, he bowled tirelessly into the wind and was scarcely out of the World’s top ten for a decade. He gave away only 2.33 runs per over using the mantra “if they miss, I hit”.

Fred Trueman
Tests: Highest Rating 898 (1963), Highest Ranking 1st (1963-1964). 6 matches at number 1
He started with a bang when he helped to remove the first four Indians before a run had been scored in their second innings on his debut at Headingley in 1952. And despite only playing in 67 of the 120 Tests England played over the course of his Test career he still became the first man to reach the magical 300-wicket landmark. Surprisingly he was only top for a brief period in 1963 and 1964 towards the end of his career after he took 34 wickets against the West Indian tourists.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

ICC Cricket Hall of Fame - the All-rounders

Having tackled the openers and the middle-order kings, here are the terrific ten who most definitely ‘can bat, can bowl’ – the Hall of Fame all-rounders.

Richie Benaud
Tests: Highest Rating 532 (1959), Highest Ranking 1st (1957-1960). 53 matches at number 1
He may best be known as the doyen of television commentators, but in his time he was a fantastic captain, not to mention a superb all-rounder. His bowling was good enough to give him the Australian Test record for wickets when he retired, as well as a brief week-long stay on top of the bowling tree in 1959. With the bat in his hand he smashed a 78-minute Test century at Kingston in 1955 and peaked at number 13 four years later.

Ian Botham
Tests: Highest Rating 646 (1980), Highest Ranking 1st (1978-1984). 120 matches at number 1
ODIs: Highest Rating 469 (1983), Highest Ranking 1st (1980). 4 matches at number 1
For a five-year period from 1978 to 1983 he truly dominated the world game, spending a large proportion of that time on top of the Bowling charts as well as the all-rounder list. His batting wasn’t bad either, peaking at 811 batting points after his double-century against India at the Oval in 1982, which put him third behind only Viv Richards and Allan Border. He was less effective in One-day cricket, but still managed to muscle Greg Chappell out of top spot for a six-month period in 1980.

Kapil Dev
Tests: Highest Rating 433 (1981), Highest Ranking 1st (1992-1994). 73 matches at number 1
ODIs: Highest Rating 632 (1985), Highest Ranking 1st (1983-1994). 655 matches at number 1
No-one has come close to Kapil’s 655 matches on top of the ODI all-rounder list – his nearest challenger is Jacques Kallis some two hundred matches behind him. In addition, his 632 points has never been bettered – indeed no-one else has reached higher than 569. He was the leading Test wicket-taker on his retirement and managed a lengthy spell on top in the longer form of the game late in his career, despite his home pitches rarely giving him the same help they gave his spinning colleagues.

WG Grace
Tests: Highest Rating 207 (1890), Highest Ranking 3rd (1892)
He was a true colossus of the game, and is so even now nearly a century after his death. The scorer of England’s first Test century spent two matches on top of the batting world way back in 1880, and for most of his career he was one of the most recognisable faces in the country. However, his bowling was little-used in his Test career and he ended with only nine wickets in his twenty-two Tests. His career record of 54,896 runs and 2,876 first-class wickets over the course of 44 seasons has stood the test of time and the combination of both have not been threatened by any all-rounder since his day,

Richard Hadlee
Tests: Highest Rating 483 (1987), Highest Ranking 1st (1984-1989). 133 matches at number 1
ODIs: Highest Rating 471 (1986), Highest Ranking 1st (1983). 10 matches at number 1
Hadlee’s career ended in such a peak of form that in his last 39 Tests, his bowling Rating never dropped below 862. Without the presence of Malcolm Marshall at exactly the same time, he surely would have spent more than his 127 matches as the top Test bowler. His bowling was his stronger suit but he did manage to reach the top ten in the ODI batting charts early in his career, before reaching the top spot in the bowling table in 1983 and not moving far from there until his retirement seven years later.

Imran Khan
Tests: Highest Rating 518 (1983), Highest Ranking 1st (1983-1992). 104 matches at number 1
ODIs: Highest Rating 480 (1983), Highest Ranking 1st (1990). 1 match at number 1
Only two men have ever reached higher Test bowling Ratings than Imran’s 922 which he achieved after his forty wickets in the 1982/83 series with deadly rivals India. Having debuted in 1971 his bowling peaked once he had matured, but his highest Batting Rating was achieved the month before his retirement. Arguably most famous for captaining Pakistan to their World Cup win, his brief stay as the number one all-rounder in One Day Internationals lasted just two days.

Keith Miller
Tests: Highest Rating 573 (1952), Highest Ranking 1st (1947-1956). 134 matches at number 1
Having been taught maths at school by former Australian captain Bill Woodfull, he was surely destined for greatness. Only two men have spent more matches rated as the number one Test all-rounder than Miller, and his all-round skills dominated the decade following the Second World War. His powerful hitting enabled him to reach the world’s top ten batsmen in 1952, and he actually topped the bowling chart for the two matches which immediately preceded ‘Laker’s match’ in the summer of 1956.

Wilfred Rhodes
Tests: Highest Rating 309 (1913), Highest Ranking 2nd (1905).
His slow left-arm spin took him to the top of the bowling pack early in his career after he took fifteen Australian wickets at Melbourne in early 1904. From then on it was his batting which took over and he shares England’s first-wicket Ashes record partnership with Jack Hobbs – also set at Melbourne. That innings helped him to reach number four in the world just before the outbreak of the First World War. He had a record 31-year Test career and his 4187 first-class wickets will never be beaten.

Garry Sobers
Tests: Highest Rating 669 (1966), Highest Ranking 1st (1962-1974). 213 matches at number 1
Once he took over from Alan Davidson in 1962 no-one managed to dislodge him from the number one spot for all-rounders until his final Test twelve years later. He spent a further 189 matches at the top of the batting tree and for the last decade of his career, he only spent one match outside the top ten bowlers. It is easy to understand why he was the dominant force in world cricket for so long and his peak all-rounder Rating of 669 is the best-ever.

Frank Woolley
Tests: Highest Rating 349 (1913), Highest Ranking 1st (1930). 6 matches at number 1
Only Jack Hobbs scored more first-class runs than Woolley, but the Kent left-hander also managed to take more than two thousand wickets and over a thousand catches. Both his batting and bowling were good enough on their own to take him into the top three for each skill at various points of his career. However, he finally reached the top spot for all-rounders at the age of 42 after taking nine wickets at Wellington during England’s tour of New Zealand in 1930.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sustained Excellence

The top ten of the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings are a excellent measure of which players are in the greatest current run of form. However, a true test of sustained excellence can be estimated from the number of matches each player has spent at the top of the tree.

It could be argued that this might favour current players as there are more international matches played nowadays than there were in the past. But – on the other hand – there are more countries and more players competing for the top spot nowadays. For example, there are currently 186 players in the Test Rankings and an incredible 394 in the ODI Rankings. So it could be argued that it is more difficult to reach number one now than ever before. As a comparison, when Test cricket stopped in 1939 due to the outbreak of the Second World War there were only 61 players in the Test Ranking tables.

So – who are the batsmen who have dominated over extended periods of time in both formats of the game? Here they are – with the number of matches they have spent at the top of each respective table. In each case, one match represents a match played by any team, so the totals will add up to 1905 for Test Matches and 2793 for ODIs as those are the total number of matches played to date in each format of the game.

Test Matches



Garry Sobers


Viv Richards


Brian Lara


Sachin Tendulkar


Steve Waugh


Don Bradman


Ricky Ponting


Graham Gooch


Jack Hobbs


Len Hutton


One Day Internationals



Brian Lara


Michael Bevan


Viv Richards


Dean Jones


Ricky Ponting


Adam Gilchrist


Mike Hussey


Sachin Tendulkar


Matthew Hayden


Sanath Jayasuriya


These tables certainly do resemble somewhat of a who’s who of batting greatness. However, spare a thought for players such as George Headley, Walter Hammond and Gordon Greenidge who were unfortunate to play practically their entire careers at the same time as one of the above players, therefore spending precious little time of their own on top of the world.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

ICC Cricket Hall of Fame - the Middle-order Maestros

Having tackled the openers last time out, now let’s examine the middle-order hall-of-famers:

Allan Border
Tests: Highest Rating 877 (1981), Highest Ranking 1st (1984-1987). 37 matches at number 1
ODIs: Highest Rating 794 (1985), Highest Ranking 5th (1982).
The man who first moulded Australia into the number one Test team spent practically the entire decade of the 1980s in the world’s top five. He even managed to muscle his way ahead of the two West Indian greats of the time - Viv Richards and Gordon Greenidge to the top spot - and his average Rating over the 1980s was 788. He never suffered a prolonged loss of form in his Test career and retired holding the record for most Tests and runs and still secure of a place in the world’s top twenty.

Donald Bradman
Tests: Highest Rating 961 (1948), Highest Ranking 1st (1931-1948). 93 matches at number 1
Once he reached number one for the third time, during the 1932/33 Bodyline series which was in part designed to limit his run-scoring, he was there to stay. He played five of the seven highest Rated innings by any Australian batsman, and the worst-ever ten-match stretch in his career still brought him 997 runs at 71.21. Even with his famous final zero at The Oval in 1948 he still spent his last twenty Tests at a higher Rating than anyone else has ever achieved in their entire careers.

Greg Chappell
Tests: Highest Rating 883 (1977), Highest Ranking 1st (1976). 12 matches at number 1
ODIs: Highest Rating 921 (1981), Highest Ranking 1st (1977-1982). 71 matches at number 1
One of the select band of Test cricketers who have marked both their debut and their final matches with a century, there was also plenty to shout about in between as his unbeaten 182 against the West Indies at Sydney in January 1976 saw him rise to the top of the tree. His ODI career-high of 921 has only been bettered twice in the history of the shorter format of the game, and he also spent 128 matches as the top rated all-rounder in ODI cricket over a period ranging from 1972 to 1983.

Ian Chappell
Tests: Highest Rating 811 (1975), Highest Ranking 1st (1973). 2 matches at number 1
ODIs: Highest Rating 676 (1979), Highest Ranking 1st (1972-1975). 7 matches at number 1
Like his brother, Ian Chappell made it to the top on both formats of the game, a unique achieve achievement for a pair of brothers. However, his stays were both short-lived, taking advantage of a Garry Sobers drop in form to reach number one in the Test arena, and his decision to play World Series Cricket prevented him adding significantly to his fantastic record of eight fifties in sixteen One Day Internationals.

Denis Compton
Tests: Highest Rating 917 (1948), Highest Ranking 1st (1948-1949). 13 matches at number 1
Denis Compton will forever be the answer to the quiz question: “Who took over as the number one batsman in the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings after the retirement of Donald Bradman?” Two great innings against the 1948 invincible Australians enabled him to reach his career-best in that series. He made 184 in the first Test at Trent Bridge and an unbeaten 145 in the third at Old Trafford, having been forced to retire hurt early in his innings after edging a delivery from Ray Lindwall into his head.

Colin Cowdrey
Tests: Highest Rating 874 (1958), Highest Ranking 2nd (1958).
ODIs: Highest Rating 11 (1971), Highest Ranking 19th (1971).
His England team-mate Peter May prevented Cowdrey reaching the top spot early in his career, and from then onwards it was Garry Sobers who stayed at the top throughout most of the rest of his career. Nonetheless, this didn’t prevent him retiring with an England-record 114 caps, 7624 runs and 120 catches in the field, the latter of which is still unsurpassed. He emulated Sobers by playing just one ODI, but managed to outscore the West Indian legend – making one run to Sobers’s none.

David Gower
Tests: Highest Rating 822 (1986), Highest Ranking 1st (1984-1986). 17 matches at number 1
ODIs: Highest Rating 919 (1983), Highest Ranking 2nd (1983)
This most stylish of left-handers established himself at the top of the Batting world after his 732 runs in the 1985 Ashes triumph. However, there was nothing like a mid-80s tour to the Caribbean to send the Rating shooting downwards, and so it proved for Gower. His ODI career-best of 919 is the fourth-highest ever, but despite that he never managed to make it to the top thanks to his peak coinciding with similar run-gluts from Viv Richards and Zaheer Abbas.

Tom Graveney
Tests: Highest Rating 672 (1957), Highest Ranking 10th (1957).
It is perhaps surprising that a man who scored 122 first-class centuries and ended with nearly five thousand Test runs at an average of 44.38 never made it higher than tenth place in the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings. However, he was more of a consistent player rather than one of great peaks and troughs. From his sixth Test until his 79th and final Test his Rating only fluctuated between 512 and 672 points, an incredible testament to his regular contributions to England’s middle-order over his career.

Walter Hammond
Tests: Highest Rating 897 (1933), Highest Ranking 2nd (1929)
England’s supremo in the immediate pre-war years had the misfortune to have his career coincide with the greatest run-machine the world has ever known. He can console himself that he did manage to make it to within two points of Bradman in December 1936, but with 7249 Test runs at an average of 58.45 he is possibly the greatest batsman never to have made it to the number one spot.

Neil Harvey
Tests: Highest Rating 921 (1953), Highest Ranking 1st (1953-1955). 15 matches at number 1
This left-handed flamboyant strokemaker became the youngest Australian to score a Test century – reaching it with an all-run five, and once he entered the world’s top ten in January 1950 he stayed there until his retirement thirteen years later. Harvey entered the 1953 Ashes series on top of the world and his was the wicket England valued the most, but he disappointed despite passing 2000 runs for the tour.

George Headley
Tests: Highest Rating 915 (1948), Highest Ranking 2nd (1935).
Born in Panama and the first truly great batsman to represent the West Indies, Headley was another batsman who suffered from the ‘Bradman factor’. His career coincided almost perfectly with that of the Australian legend, but he managed to close within 22 points of the top spot soon after his unbeaten innings of 270 against England at Kingston in 1935. Despite losing six years to the Second World War, he still managed to score ten centuries in 22 Tests.

Rohan Kanhai
Tests: Highest Rating 875 (1963), Highest Ranking 1st (1966). 1 match at number 1
ODIs: Highest Rating 390 (1975), Highest Ranking 9th (1973).
One of the select band of three men (Australian Percy McDonnell and South African Herbie Taylor being the others) who have only topped the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen for just one match. His fifteen minutes of fame came when he sneaked into the Ken Barrington / Garry Sobers domination of the 1960s in January 1966 after Barrington failed in Sydney. He also has a pub named after him in Steve Harmison’s home town of Ashington!

Clive Lloyd
Tests: Highest Rating 818 (1983), Highest Ranking 1st (1983-1984). 13 matches at number 1
ODIs: Highest Rating 805 (1985), Highest Ranking 3rd (1979).
The man who helped the West Indies become the dominant cricketing nation in the late 1970s had his moments of greatness with the bat too. Having briefly reached the Test top three in 1976 it took his unbeaten 161 against India at Kolkata in late 1983 to send him to the top spot. Despite his memorable century in the first World Cup final in 1975, his peak also came late in his career, but there have been few more feared players either with a bat in their hand or in the field in any format of the game.

Peter May
Tests: Highest Rating 941 (1956), Highest Ranking 1st (1956-1960). 53 matches at number 1
Despite playing his final Test Match at the prematurely early age of just 31, he had already spent the best part of four years at the top of the batting tree. His peak of 941 points was achieved after captaining England to Ashes success in 1956 and it has only been surpassed by four other Test batsmen. In all, he spent 22 of his 66 Test at a Rating of 900 points or more – a ratio of 33 percent which has only been bettered by Bradman.

Javed Miandad
Tests: Highest Rating 885 (1989), Highest Ranking 1st (1983-1990). 38 matches at number 1
ODIs: Highest Rating 910 (1987), Highest Ranking 1st (1988-1989). 44 matches at number 1
Arguably Pakistan’s greatest batsman, he maintained a Test average of more than fifty from his debut century until his retirement nearly twenty years later. He first reached the Test top spot after scoring a mountain of runs against India in 1983 and returned there five years later after making 271 at Auckland. A record run of nine consecutive scores of fifty or more helped propel him to the top of the ODI batting tree in late 1988.

Graeme Pollock
Tests: Highest Rating 927 (1970), Highest Ranking 1st (1970). 2 matches at number 1
Like his team-mate Barry Richards, it is a case of ‘what might have been’ for this middle-order maestro. His highest Rating of 927 came in his penultimate Test – in the South African 4-0 demolition of Australia in early 1970 at the age of twenty-six. However, after that series, he had to be content with a final Test average of 60.97 and playing in sixteen unofficial ‘Tests’ against unofficial touring teams from England, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Australia.

Viv Richards
Tests: Highest Rating 938 (1981), Highest Ranking 1st (1976-1988). 179 matches at number 1
ODIs: Highest Rating 935 (1985), Highest Ranking 1st (1979-1989). 364 matches at number 1
The dominant batting force in World cricket for more than a decade, Richards spent an incredible total of 543 matches at number one in both formats of the game, a total only surpassed by Brian Lara in an era of many more international matches. He normally reserved his best for England – his 114 on his home ground of Antigua in 1981 sent him to the joint-highest Rating by a West Indian, and in the shorter form of the game, nearly 25 years on, his unbeaten 189 at Edgbaston is still rated the greatest ODI innings of all time.

Clyde Walcott
Tests: Highest Rating 938 (1955), Highest Ranking 1st (1955-1956). 20 matches at number 1
Walcott’s career peak Rating of 938 means that he shares with Viv Richards the honour of the highest-ever Test Rating achieved by a West Indian. This came after he scored two centuries in a match for the second time in the series against Australia in 1955, which made him the only batsman to score five centuries in a single Test series. One of the three W’s who thrilled crowds around the world throughout the 1950s, it is easy to forget that this 6 foot 2 inch giant of the game started his career as a wicket-keeper!

Everton Weekes
Tests: Highest Rating 927 (1956), Highest Ranking 1st (1955-1957). 10 matches at number 1
He had served notice of his impending greatness by reaching the world’s top ten in the Batting ratings after just seven Tests thanks to a record five consecutive Test centuries. Before being usurped by his fellow ‘W’ Clyde Walcott, Weekes had entered the 1955 series with Australia in the number one spot. However, he did have the last laugh as he took over from Walcott a year later thanks to a match-winning innings of 156 against New Zealand at Wellington.

Frank Worrell
Tests: Highest Rating 828 (1954), Highest Ranking 3rd (1952).
There was a time in 1954 and 1955 when all three Ws featured in the top five of the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen. Worrell may have been the only one of the triumvirate not to reach the top spot, but he was one of the most popular captains in the history of the sport. In addition, thanks to his left-arm medium pace bowling, he regularly featured in the leading all-rounder standings, peaking at number three in January 1952 only behind the Australian duo of Keith Miller and Ray Lindwall.

Friday, January 2, 2009

ICC Cricket Hall of Fame - the Openers

With the announcement of the founder class of the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame, it gives us an opportunity to examine how the inductees fared in the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings over the course of their careers. Rather than studying all 55 at once, let’s tackle the openers first:

Geoff Boycott
Tests: Highest Rating 764 (1971), Highest Ranking 3rd (1971)
ODIs: Highest Rating 752 (1981), Highest Ranking 4th (1980)
It is perhaps surprising that one of England’s premier openers and a man who scored more than 150 first-class centuries never reached the number one spot in either of the batting charts. However, he was incredibly consistent – he was hardly out of the top ten throughout the 1970s and his career ended when he was as high as sixth. Only Alec Stewart has scored more than Boycott’s 8114 Test runs without ever reaching number one.

Sunil Gavaskar
Tests: Highest Rating 916 (1979), Highest Ranking 1st (1978-1980)
46 matches at number 1
ODIs: Highest Rating 744 (1987), Highest Ranking 10th (1986)
After bursting on the scene with 774 runs in his first Test series, Gavaskar became the leading Test run-scorer and century-maker by the time he retired, spending eighteen months at the top of the batting tree. Arguably most famous in the shorter form of the game for his 174-ball unbeaten 36 at Lord’s in 1975, his ODI Rating steadily increased over his career. However, in stark contrast to the longer form of the game, it took him 107 matches to finally make it to three figures.

Graham Gooch
Tests: Highest Rating 873 (1992), Highest Ranking 1st (1991-1994)
81 matches at number 1
ODIs: Highest Rating 863 (1987), Highest Ranking 2nd (1989)
Greatness came late in his career to Gooch. He was peerless from the moment he struck his unbeaten 154 at Headingley against the West Indies in 1991 for the next three years, and carried the English batting on his back for much of the latter portion of his career in both forms of the game. Ending his career as England’s leading Test run-scorer with 8900, it was a far cry from his debut ‘pair’ against Australia at Edgbaston back in 1975.

Gordon Greenidge
Tests: Highest Rating 844 (1984), Highest Ranking 1st (1984-1987)
20 matches at number 1
ODIs: Highest Rating 895 (1983), Highest Ranking 1st (1980)
8 matches at number 1
It was said that the opposition should start to worry when he started to limp during an innings. His incredible unbeaten 214 at Lord’s in 1984 propelled him to the top of the batting charts and another double-century – this time against New Zealand – saw him back there three years later. He is one of only three openers (Matthew Hayden and Glenn Turner being the others) to top both the Test and ODI Batting tables, and his opening partnership with Desmond Haynes was the most prolific in Test history, adding 6482 runs in total.

Jack Hobbs
Tests: Highest Rating 942 (1912), Highest Ranking 1st (1910-1928)
61 matches at number 1
‘The Master’ was only toppled from his lofty perch at the top of the Batting Ratings for one match in the entire period from 1912 to 1928 (by South African Herbie Taylor in 1923). His opening partnership with Herbert Sutcliffe was legendary and he spent more than a quarter of his Test career with a Rating of over 900 points. His career records of 61760 first-class runs with 199 centuries will never be beaten and no-one else has ever scored a Test century at the age of 46.

Len Hutton
Tests: Highest Rating 945 (1954), Highest Ranking 1st (1949-1954)
60 matches at number 1
Only Bradman has surpassed Hutton’s career peak of 945 points, achieved after his double-hundred at Kingston. From the moment he scored his monumental 364 at The Oval in 1938 he was destined for greatness, although the war years (and a certain Australian) delayed his ascent to the top until 1949. His extraordinary 62 not out on a Brisbane sticky wicket in 1950 was rated by the computer as being worth 185. He was also instrumental in England’s Ashes triumphs of 1953 and 1954/55.

Hanif Mohammad
Tests: Highest Rating 819 (1960), Highest Ranking 2nd (1960)
He may have lost his record for both the highest and longest first-class innings, but Hanif Mohammad was the first truly great batsman produced by Pakistan. His penchant for keeping the ball on the ground meant that he only hit two sixes in his 55-match Test career. Not only was he also capable of bowling with either hand, he is also credited as being the first batsman to play the reverse sweep, which featured in his 16-hour innings of 337 against the West Indies in 1958.

Barry Richards
Tests: Highest Rating 586 (1970), Highest Ranking 19th (1970)
It is very much a case of what might have been for Barry Richards. Only seven players have scored more than Richards’s 508 runs in his first four Tests in 1970, but South Africa’s subsequent sporting isolation meant that was the extent of his Test career. He had to make do with churning out runs by the bucketload for Hampshire, Natal and South Australia – more than 28 thousand of them, including a century before lunch on nine occasions.