The game of cricket has seen a ton of great players. Today, we do the impossible and pick the top 10 cricketers in India of all time!
With more than 130 crores of natives at present, India imbibes cricket as no less than a religion. We see our players as God who can dig out a win from any situation. For us, this game is more than a willow bat or a leather ball.
This sport is our pride. As Sourav Ganguly, our former captain says, “No one can snatch Cricket from the pedestal of this nation.”
But cricket wasn’t always a popular sport in this country. It made its mark only after Kapil Dev helped India lift its first cricket World Cup in 1983.
It inspired many to take the game as a profession. Even Sachin Tendulkar says that he took up this game after the 1983 World Cup win. India has been so rich in producing quality cricketers from its beginning.
It is said to be the factory of batsmen but it has also seen some of the finest bowlers. So here are our picks for the top 10 cricketers in India of all time.
Top 10 Cricketers in India of all Time!
Here’s our list of the top 10 cricketers in India of all time:
|1.||Mahendra Singh Dhoni||2004-2019|
|3.||Virat Kohli||2008 –|
10. HARBHAJAN SINGH
Kicking off our list of the top 10 cricketers in India of all time is Harbhajan Singh. Harbhajan was one of those passionate kids whose face and body language was full of confidence and belief. His off-spin bowling had so much skill in it that one can’t look away from him when he used to throw the ball.
He debuted against Australia in the 1998 Test series. His beginning was an ordinary one but his captain Sourav Ganguly knew what he had within him.
He backed him for so many matches and later, Bhajji proved that it was not a wasteful thing to do. In the 2001 Test series, he rattled the mighty Australians in every way possible.
The giant, skilled Kangaroos would have never thought that a funky-looking Sardar would make them bow down, that too, with the spin bowling. He took a total of 32 wickets including a first-ever hat trick in Tests in that series, that later fetched him the famous nickname “Turbanator”.
He had a rough time with controversies in the 2008 “Monkeygate scandal” that also involved Andrew Symonds. Around that time, he had some issues with his on-field behaviour when he slapped a fellow cricketer.
But all these things didn’t make him fall. He kept improving. In the 2011 World Cup, Bhajji was a lethal weapon in India’s successful winning campaign. Down the order, he was a handy batsman too. He had 2 centuries in Tests under his belt.
He took a paltry 417 Test wickets which were second best after Anil Kumble for India. In ODIs, he took 269 wickets in 236 matches.
Later, he was sidelined due to some irregular performances that made him announce his retirement in 2016. Nevertheless, he was one of the most impactful cricketers for India.
|Wickets in ODI||269|
|Wickets in Tests||417|
|Wickets in T20||25|
9. ZAHEER KHAN
Zaheer khan, lovingly called “Zak”, was definitely, the most successful fast bowler for India. As a left-hander, his ability to swing the bowl both ways proved to be too good for the opposition batsmen. He was a disciplined, calm, and equally passionate bloke.
He made his debut against Kenya in 2000 in an ODI. In his very first match, he caught everyone’s eye by bowling two beautiful yorkers to dismiss Kenyan batsmen. He was an ever-improving cricketer. His dominance over left-handed batsmen was commendable.
Zaheer was a nightmare for the then South African captain Graeme Smith. He dismissed Smith 13 times in 25 faceoffs. His rough time came in the 2003 World Cup final where he was thrashed by Australians like no other. But that’s what makes you strong, the hardships.
Later, in the 2011 World Cup final, he performed for his lifetime. He bowled his opening 3 overs maiden on the trot. He became the leading wicket-taker with 21 wickets in India’s World Cup-winning campaign. He was India’s mainstay for almost 14 years.
He was also a useful batsman down the order. No one can forget that blistering straight six he hit off Brett Lee’s fiery ball in 2007.
Zaheer took a total of 311 Test wickets and 282 ODi wickets. A career that lasted 15 years gave us so many reasons to celebrate and admire Indian cricket. Zaheer will always remain as a legend in our sight.
|Wickets in ODI||282|
|Wickets in Tests||311|
|Wickets in T20||17|
8. ROHIT SHARMA
Rohit Sharma is one of the most classical, aggressive yet so calm personalities in Cricket. Cricket Pundits often say that he has some extra time to react to the ball. It is so delightful to watch his glossy timing. His pull shot feels like heaven, no one plays it better than him.
At the beginning of his career, he had a worrisome habit of throwing his well-furnished start in almost every other match. He made his debut in 2007 in limited-overs. He played an important role in the 2007 T20 World Cup.
He made 30 unbeaten runs off 16 balls in the final which led the Indian team to win the inaugural T20 WC. But soon after that, he lost the plot. He wasn’t even considered for the 2011 ODI World Cup.
Rohit kept improving. Later in 2013, when MS Dhoni decided to try him at the opening slot, he excelled profoundly with 83 runs in that match. From there onwards he started performing consistently. He made some important runs in the 2013 Champions Trophy which India won.
But his biggest and grand moment came 3 months later when he hit 209 in the series decider against Australia. Soon after a year, he hit the highest score of any limited-overs international cricket with his knock of 264 against Sri Lanka.
Rohit also became the only batsman to hit two 200s in ODIs. His third double century came in 2017 against Sri Lanka that made him inevitable and a great. He has 4 100s in T20is. He has been outstanding in white-ball cricket.
With 29 centuries in ODIs, 7 in Tests and 4 100s in T20is, Rohit Sharma is probably the best and most consistent player right now in world cricket. He is currently 34 and left a lot of cricket in him. Indian cricket is so blessed to have him.
|Runs in ODI||9205|
|Runs in Tests||2831|
|Runs in T20||2864|
|Strike Rate (Tests/Odi/T20i)||57.2/88.9/138.96|
7. SUNIL GAVASKAR
Sunil Gavaskar is the first and foremost cricketing superstar in the Indian subcontinent. Nicknamed ” Little Master” had all those artistic yet classical shots in his armour. He used to play without a helmet on his head, that too, against all those big, giant West Indian bowlers.
He played his first match against the West Indies in 1971. In his debut match, he made half-centuries in both innings that helped India win by 7 wickets.
In his 2nd match, he made his maiden 100 in 1st innings and again a city in 2nd innings. In the third match of the same series, he hit another stunning hundred in the 2nd innings of the match. These marvellous beginnings were later followed by some great knocks.
In his 16 years of career, he made 34 Test centuries including 4 double hundreds. He was the first Indian to enter the club of ten thousand runs in tests. Gavaskar retired in 1987 but before that he was able to inspire his countrymen.
|Runs in ODI||3092|
|Runs in Tests||10122|
|Runs in T20||–|
|Strike Rate (Tests/Odi/T20i)||66.04/62.26/-|
6. YUVRAJ SINGH
If I were to make a synonym for courage, it would be Yuvraj Singh. He was the man who resurfaced the meaning of the game. He took this sport and pride of his nation ahead of his own life and death, both.
The fact that he played and won the man of the tournament in the 2011 World Cup still gives us goosebumps.
In his debut innings versus Australia in 2000, Yuvi played a fine knock of 84 in just 80 deliveries which helped India register a win by 20 runs. He was a classy left-handed batsman and an outstanding fielder.
He was a useful asset with the ball in hand. His dream moment came in the 2007 T20 World Cup when he hit 6 sixes in an over against England leading him to the fastest fifty ever in just 12 balls. He became the man of the match in the tournament.
4 years later, in the 2011 ODI WC, Yuvraj made 362 runs with an amazing average of 90.52 including a 100 against WI that he made while vomiting of a serious illness. He also took 15 wickets leading his team to the ultimate victory.
Later, he was diagnosed with Cancer. But he was able to fight off the illness and made his comeback after one and a half years.
He became one of the greatest all-rounders to ever play this game. He put his life at stake to make India win its 1st World Cup after 28 years. It wouldn’t have been possible without a player like him. He redefined the meaning of courage and patriotism.
|Runs in ODI||8701|
|Runs in Tests||1900|
|Runs in T20||1177|
|Strike Rate (Tests/Odi/T20i)||57.98/87.68/136.38|
|Wickets in ODI||111|
|Wickets in Tests||9|
|Wickets in T20||28|
5. RAHUL DRAVID
Rahul Dravid was “The Wall” of Indian batting throughout his career. His defensive technique was no less than a hard vault for bowlers to break in. He was one of the most disciplined cricketers yet has aggression in his character.
He had a rare ability to channelise his inner fire into a calm presence. A monk would be a better word to define him.
Dravid made his debut in 1995 at Lords where he played a fine knock of 95 runs along with another fellow debutant Sourav Ganguly who hit a 100 in the match. He gradually rose through the ranks. He was a perfect team man.
Through the years, Dravid made over 10000 runs in both the format, ODIs and Tests. He made 36 Test hundreds including 5 double centuries. He faced the most number of balls in Test cricket by seeing 31,258 deliveries.
He made his retirement in 2012 amassing 3 centuries in his last Test series against England. Over the years, he developed his persona such that it earned him the respect of everyone. Currently, Dravid is busy nurturing the younger generation of Indian cricket.
|Runs in ODI||10889|
|Runs in Tests||13288|
|Runs in T20||31|
|Strike Rate (Tests/Odi/T20i)||42.51/71.24/147.62|
4. KAPIL DEV
Next up on our list of the top 10 cricketers in India of all time is Kapil Dev. Kapil Dev was one of the fittest cricketers to play for India. He was an aggressive batsman and equally good with the bowl. He was a spearhead in the Indian bowling unit throughout his career.
He made his debut against Pakistan in both ODIs and Tests in 1978. 5 years later he captained the Indian side to the first-ever victory in World Cups. That was a breakthrough moment in Indian cricket that bolstered the young generation in the country to take cricket as a profession.
Kapil Dev played the innings of his life against Zimbabwe in a must-win match in which he came to bat when India was in totters at 17 runs for five wickets. He made 175 runs off just 138 balls which was way ahead of his time.
He was the first Indian to take 400 wickets in Tests. He retired in 1984 with more than 5000 test runs and 434 Test wickets. He was truly the most influencing cricket personality to ever play the game.
|Wickets in ODI||253|
|Wickets in Tests||434|
|Wickets in T20||–|
3. VIRAT KOHLI
Virat Kohli is currently the most popular and impactful cricketer in the world. He sits at the top of the list of batsmen like a king. He is said to be the best among the existing “Fab Four” including Steve Smith, Joe Root and Kane Williamson.
Virat made his debut in 2008 against Sri Lanka in an ODI. After some matches, he became the most consistent batsman in the team. He played an important role in India’s World Cup win in 2011.
But Kohli’s breakthrough period came in 2012 when he made unbeaten 133 runs in just 86 balls in a must-win bonus seeking match against Sri Lanka in the Commonwealth Bank series.
After 18 days of this heist, he made his highest score of 183 runs against Pakistan in the Asia cup. A year later he made the fastest hundred by an Indian off just 52 balls against Australia in an ODI.
After MS Dhoni transferred his Test captaincy to Virat Kohli in 2014, his performance shot up to the next level. In 2016, he made 3 200s in Tests. He became a leader in ODIs in 2017 and has performed expectedly well till now.
He has recently completed 13 years of his career that include 70 international centuries across formats. He is said to be the next batsman to break the record of 100 international tons. He is 32 and has years of cricket within him. A lot more magical innings are still left to see from Virat’s bat.
|Runs in ODI||12169|
|Runs in Tests||7609|
|Runs in T20||3159|
|Strike Rate (Tests/Odi/T20i)||56.75/93.17/139.04|
2. SACHIN TENDULKAR
There had been only one “God” of cricket and that was Sachin Tendulkar. The only cricketer to reach 100 international hundreds, Sachin was awarded the highest citizen award of the nation, Bharat Ratna for his outstanding career.
Sachin made his international debut at the age of 16 against Pakistan in 1989. He was a kid and grew up facing some of the most furious bowlers of that generation. He faced pacers like Wasim Akram, Curtly Ambrose, Glenn McGrath etc.
His technique was so profound that he never felt uncomfortable against any bowler for long. He was a lone-fighter in the India batting lineup throughout the 1990s. In his 23 years of career, there were not many instances when felt like he was out of form.
Sachin was the highest run-scorer in the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup
At the end of his career in 2013, he was the highest run-scorer in both ODIs and Test cricket. He still is. Sachin also took 201 wickets with the bowl across the formats.
His career is an inspiration for many. There are many popular cricketers in India currently, but Sachin was the one who made Cricket, the game popular in this country.
|Runs in ODI||18426|
|Runs in Tests||15921|
|Runs in T20||10|
|Strike Rate (Tests/Odi/T20i)||54.08/86.24/83.33|
1. MAHENDRA SINGH DHONI
There has been no greater gift to Indian cricket than MS Dhoni. He was a gem who was born to revive and take this game to a whole new level. His Jesus-like calm and generous persona made everyone respect him as a saviour.
He once left his government job as TTE and argued with his father to pursue cricket. After so many hardships he made his debut against Bangladesh in 2004 in which he got run out for a duck.
His quantum leap came against Sri Lanka when Ganguly tried him at no.3. He smashed 183 not out while chasing. In 2007, he was given the captaincy of the T20I team after India’s nightmare in the 2007 ODI World Cup.
Dhoni led that inexperienced and young team to the WC victory. After 4 years, he led the Indian team in the 2011 ODI WC triumph. Again in 2013, he led a young team to Champions Trophy conquest.
Mahi became the only captain to have every ICC trophy under his belt. He won India in numerous matches with his finishing prowess. His biggest asset was his keeping. Dhioni was said to be the fastest behind the stumps. He is the only keeper to have 100 plus stumping in ODIs only with 195 demolitions.
He retired quietly in 2020 having played his last match in the 2019 WC. He made outstanding 10773 runs while batting mostly at numbers 5 to 7.
India has got almost every other batsman or bowler’s replacement but MSD’s void is still there. Jersey number 7 will always remain close to our hearts. THANK YOU MS DHONI for everything.
|Runs in ODI||10773|
|Runs in Tests||4876|
|Runs in T20||4669|
|Strike Rate (Tests/Odi/T20i)||59.12/87.56/126.13|
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So this was the list of top 10 cricketers in India of all time which helped Indian cricket to run on the path of immortality. Their order of ranking might be different. Honourable mentions: Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, Ashish Nehra.
There are players like Jasprit Bumrah, R Ashwin, R Jadeja etc that are on their way to becoming great and taking Indian Cricket forward on their strong shoulders.