There are many cricketers who make a mark but only a few of them are influential to the people following the sport. So, let’s take a look at top 5 most influential cricketers from India who have taken the game to another level:
1. Sachin Tendulkar
More than any other cricketer, Sachin Tendulkar defined all forms of cricket. He managed to score all around the globe consistently because of his ability to judge the situation quickly and adapt. One of the best things about Tendulkar was that he always tried to score more of the best bowlers of the opposition and once he did this, half the job was done. Apart from his batting also, he was also a big asset to the team think tank. His presence in the side always benefitted the players a lot. During the tour of New Zealand in 2009, when India had lost both their T20s at the start of the tour, Dhoni mentioned that when Sachin came back for the ODIs, he changed the atmosphere of the dressing room very easily and players started to feel a lot more confident about their abilities. I think just because of this only India defeated New Zealand in the tests and the ODIs.
2. Kapil Dev
Easily, he is of the India’s greatest, without doubt one of the finest all-rounder ever to have played the game. Often referred to as the ‘Haryana Hurricane’, he took the opposition batsmen to the cleaners with his deadly bowling. He was also very swashbuckling whenever he came out to bat. The most promising part of Kapil Dev was his agility and firmness, which was an uncommon trait in Indian cricketers those days. What made Kapil Dev exemplary was the fact that he was born in a country that rarely produced fit fast bowlers. He could bowl 50-60 overs in nets everyday and managed to stay fit most of the time.
3. Sourav Ganguly
When Ganguly took the captaincy after the match-fixing scandals in 2000, he quickly proved to be a tough and an intuitive leader. Under his leadership, India started to win test matches abroad. His talent-finding capability was very immense. From a small state like Punjab, he found two of the best cricketers of the Indian Cricket; Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh. He put the team together from the very first go and took them all the way to the World Cup final in 2003. It was under his leadership that cricket never really went into a downward slide in India.
4. MS Dhoni
In cricket, when the match gets tight, the players who are at the crease at that time try to finish the match early because taking it to the last over would put an extra pressure on them. But this is not the case with MS Dhoni. First of all, he has that knack of taking the match to the last over and then even if 10-15 runs are required in the last over, he does the job with extreme calmness. The best example is when India toured West Indies in 2013 for the tri-series with Sri Lanka and West Indies. With India needing 15 runs of the last over, Dhoni smashed Shaminda Eranga for two sixes and one four to help India win the tri-series. Dhoni is also universally acknowledged to be India’s best captain ever. He just doesn’t lead the team, he also teaches them how to win.
5. Virender Sehwag
Traditionally, test openers are expected to see off the new ball and then change gears. But with the arrival of Virender Sehwag, the definition of this role changed. He was very much prepared to take his chances against the new ball and set up tests for his country. The best example is of India vs England Chennai test in 2008. Chasing 387 in the second innings, Virender Sehwag ripped the English bowling apart from the first over itself which helped Tendulkar and Yuvraj take India to victory on the final day of the match. Now more openers like David Warner and Tamim Iqbal are following his footsteps which makes test matches even more interesting to watch.