Cricket is the most popular sports in Australia. They have the most successful team in the world and they have won the World Cup 4 times. Naturally they have produced some outstanding players and some of them are really outstanding. Here, I have made a list of top ten Australian players of all time. I hope that you would agree to at least 50% of the players that I have included here. You are most welcome to let me know your opinions in the comment section.
Sir Donald Bradman:
The Australian batting legend, Sir Donald Bradman, should be included first in the list of best Australian cricketers of all time and there is no doubt about his position. If we consider him great among the Australian cricketers then it should be wrong because he is the greatest batsman of the world who ever lived as well as the greatest cricketer of the 20th century.
What helped him get such prestigious position is his career Test batting average of 99.94 which has been marked as the greatest achievement in any major sports. In his two decades of cricket career, he played just 52 Tests where he scored 6996 runs with 29 centuries and 13 half-centuries.
He is perhaps the only player who has more than double Test centuries than half centuries. Apart from his batting average record, he also holds the record for the most double centuries (12) and triple centuries (2). With scoring 974 runs, he became the most run scorer in one-series.
Had he been a player of today and played with today’s bat and pitch then he would get more runs, money and popularity.
There is no need to give any explanation about this veteran bowler. If we look at his bowling records in both Test and ODI cricket format then we can easily understand why he is called as one of the greatest bowlers in the history of cricket game. This right-arm leg-spinner showed how much a ball can turn. With his prodigious turn, he deceived many veteran players like Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar of his time.
Shane Warne also kept a very important role in the victory against competitive teams like Pakistan, South Africa and England. However, Shane Warne did not do well in India and it might give him pain.
Since making his debut in Test cricket in 1992, he has played 145 Tests and taken 708 wickets which was the record for the most wickets taken by any bowler in Test cricket until it was broken by Muttiah Muralitharan.
Playing 194 ODI games, he got 293 wickets but he will be remembered for his performances in the 1996 and 1999 world cup semi-finals. His 5-wicket spell in the 1996 world cup and in the 1999 world cup helped his team to get impossible victory.
History of Australian cricket will be incomplete without Steve Waugh. He was a great allrounder and perhaps the greatest captain of all time. Under his captaincy, Australia won 15 consecutive matches and it is a record that speaks for itself. He scored 10,927 playing in 168 test matches. He achieved a lot but he failed to get a series win in Indian soil. Of course, it is a very difficult thing to achieve for any touring side.
The former Australian wicketkeeper has got huge recognition for his aggressive batting. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest entertainers in the ODI format of cricket game. He entertained the cricket fans with the bat. Making his international debut in 1996, he has played 96 Tests and 287 ODI matches and scored respectively 5570 and 9619 at an average of 47.60 and 35.89.
Adam Gilchrist is regarded as the greatest wicketkeeper-batsman of all time. As like his batting, he was more effective behind the wicket. In ODI, he has 417 catches and 55 stamping while in Test, he took 379 catches with 37 stamping.
It is really hard to get any player like him and still no one could void his place in the Australian cricket team.
Glenn McGrath was not the fastest bowler on the pitch when he played but he surely was the most successful fast bowler and his record of 641 wickets in test cricket is yet to be surpassed by any fast bowler. Of course, ahead of McGrath, there are 3 bowlers with more test wickets but all 3 of them are spinners not pacers. It was his accuracy that killed the opponents. He played in 124 test matches- a rare achievement for a fast bowler. He played an important role in the World Cup tournaments of 1999, 2003 and 2007 and you know that Australia won all 3 of them.
What an eventful career Ricky Ponting had? He won World Cup in 1999 as a player and then in 2003 and 2007 as a captain. So, he played crucial roles in these 3 successive championships for Australia in World Cup Cricket. Well, not only Ricky Ponting was a great captain but he was also a great individual player. He got 12,913 runs in 160 test matches and 13,686 runs in 370 ODIs. So, you see that Ponting was equally successful in both ODI and Test Cricket. He took 188 and 157 catches respectively in Test and ODI.
Allan Border started playing for Australian cricket team at a time when a number of their top players were almost out of their prime. So, he had to become captain at a difficult time but this was the best thing happened to the team and for himself as well. Under his captaincy, the greatest moment for Australian cricket came in 1987 world cup as they become the champion for the first time. Under his captaincy, Australia won many things in many places but not a series win in the West Indies. Who cares for that? Border scored 11174 in 156 test matches and it was a world record that time. He is first great captain for Australia and his captaincy laid the foundation of Aussie supremacy in cricket for years to come.
The people of this generation may know much about Dennis Lillee but he was a fearsome fast bowler and any batsmen in front of him was afraid to face him. It was a nerve wrecking experience for any batsman in the world facing this great Australian bowler. In just 70 test matches, he captured 355 wickets and it was a world record that time. On 23 occasions, he got 5 or more wickets in an innings. In first class cricket, he captured 882 wickets. We have to remember the matter that Denis Lillee played at a time when West Indies fast bowlers dominated but Lillee just never ever knew to give up on becoming the best.
I often feel that Mark Waugh got somewhat overshadowed by his twin brother Steve Waugh. After all, he scored 8029 in 128 test matches and 8500 in 244 ODIs. By the way, he was a prolific run scorer in first class matches too with 26855 from 368 FC matches and he was a decent par time bowler too. He together with his brother Steve helped to take Australia to the number one team for years during the 1990s. Oh, I forgot to say that Mark Waugh was perhaps one of the top 3 slip fielders of all time. If you don’t agree with me then what you will say about his 181 test catches? It is not a small feat my friend.
To be honest, I wanted to include Mark Taylor in this top ten list and I am sure that his fans won’t be happy for omitting him. However, I felt that I simply cannot just leave Richie Benaud alone. He was a good batsman and spin bowler, he was a better captain but he was one of the greatest figures in cricket. In fact, he has devoted his life to cricket and he is one of the greatest commentators of the game.