With the recent retirement of the Indian maestro Sachin Tendulkar, there was a lot of talk, especially in India where Cricket is like a religion, about how the “GOD OF CRICKET” has left the game and cricket would never be the same again. For some, it might be true. But the game is bigger than anyone and everyone. We’ve had legends earlier and we will have legends in future. Although not many come close to the tag of “God of Cricket” but here are a few picks that would have a good shout for that tag.
5. Shane Warne
Shane Warne was that chubby, ebullient and flamboyant leg-spinner from Melbourne, Australia who could easily rip apart the opposition with his magical deliveries while also tearing the fans apart confused between whether they should love him or hate him. He had that typical Australian trait of ruthless aggression coupled with the poise and magic with his bowling. Some say Muttiah Muralitharan was the best spinner, which is debatable. But a sub-continental spinner on sub-continental tracks getting wickets in one thing but matching the same by an Aussie is a whole new thing. Take nothing away from the Sri Lankan but personally in terms of spin, Shane Warne certainly was an Aussie God of Cricket.
4. Brain Lara
Recognisable by his extravagant, guillotine like backlift and a pronounced crouch in his otherwise impeccable batting stance, Lara wasn’t just a brilliant player but a pleasure to watch. A maverick among mavericks, Lara knew his game like James Bond knows females. His extraordinary backlift allowed him to strike the ball with extreme velocity, yet he possessed the deft touch of a French painter to compliment it. To score 400 runs beating his own previous record of highest test score in an innings and also holding the record for the highest individual score in first-class cricket is a mark of an all-time great. He is right up there with the best ever to play the game and certainly qualifies as a God of Cricket.
3. Sunil Gavaskar
Before Sachin Tendulkar came to the International stage it was Sunil Gavaskar who was our Little Master, similar in stature and similar in class. No opening batsman in the history of the game has been as hard to dismiss as Sunil Gavaskar. His powers of Concentration are those of a Buddhist monk in a state of meditation. To me I cannot believe that in Cricket history there has been a batsman with greater concentration levels. When batting one almost felt that here was a man sitting in meditation rather than playing Cricket. He was arguably the greatest defensive batsman ever and maybe the best batsman of his era.
2. Sir Don Bradman
Sir Donald George Bradman: 52 Tests, 6996 runs, 29 centuries with an incredible average of 99.94. Along with these astonishing statistics was his becoming a hero to hordes of people in his own country during the time of the Great Depression which took place in the 1920s. In a game that had previously been defined by English players, the Australian Bradman went on to redefine the art and meaning of batting. He brought the country together, he put a smile on faces which needed them. He was arguably the greatest batsman to ever grace this game but undoubtedly a God Of Cricket in every sense.
1. Sachin Tendulkar
The name says it all. If you try and list down the records of this genius, you’d spend the next 5 minutes just trying to keep track on exactly how many records and achievements does this man hold. To play international cricket for over 2 decades, playing 200 Tests and winning everything there is to win in every format of the game. Scoring a hundred centuries in International cricket and the list could go on and on. Arguably the greatest sportsperson India has ever produced, the greatest cricketer of all time, the greatest batsman to play the game and one of the best sportsmen in the world. People literally worship him as a “God of Cricket” and he deserves every bit appreciation that he gets.