Best nicknames in cricket history
Cricket is a sport synonymous for giving players their own nicknames. Fans, coaches, teammates, you name it – all of them have the ability to assemble quality nicknames out of nowhere.
Officials, umpires and commentators also get given nicknames – for e.g Steve Bucknor was known as the “Slow Death Bucknor.” Similarly, one of the greatest fast bowlers of all-time was given a nickname by a famous umpire.
Nicknames are an easy way to call players out in a sporting and affectionate way when used properly. Some are quite funny and some not so much.
So, what are the top 20 best nicknames in cricket history?
Adam Gilchrist is fondly known as “Gilly” due to his long surname, which is easily shortened. Other names he is called include Churchy as he is a disciplined Christian who goes to Church a lot.
19. The Don
Sir Donald Bradman has an imperious nickname. He is nicknamed this for his immaculate batting average of 99.94, which puts him head and shoulders above any other batsmen – hence the Don of cricket.
Shane Warne tells a story about watching Ricky Ponting bet on horses when he was younger and hence he came up with the name Punter because he liked to have a flutter or a gamble.
England’s Andrew Flintoff is known as Freddie just due to his similarity with Fred Flintstone. The nickname was given to him by his coach. He was also called Fredalo at times due to his Pedalo incident at the 2007 Cricket World Cup.
There is no exact reason as to why Shane Warne is called Warnie but it has a nice ring to it and it probably just stuck.
Gilly, The Don, Punter, Freddie and Warnie are numbers (20-16) on our list of “Best nicknames in cricket history.”
15. The Wall
Rahul Dravid is best known as the wall due to his ever-shielding presence at the top of the order. His ability to block balls and tire out bowling attacks give him this nickname.
Shikhar Dhawan is called Gabbar due to his style and his moustache. Some associate him with the film Sholay.
Sir Ian Botham was nicknamed Beefy due to his physical presence. He was both a tall and strong man.
12. Whispering Death
Michael Holding was still called whispering death because umpires couldn’t hear him approaching the crease, despite him bowling in excess of 90 miles per hour.
There is no real reason given for the name Watto. It is probably an affectionate way of calling Shane Watson.
The Wall, Gabbar, Beefy, Whispering Death and Watto are numbers (15-11) on our list of “Best Nicknames in cricket history.”
Steve Smith’s nickname of Smudge was given to him by Mike Hussey, as said in an interview that he gave a while back.
Kevin Pietersen shortened to KP. No dramas or dilemmas about this one but it has a nice ring to it.
8. Mr Cricket
Michael Hussey is fondly called Mr Cricket due to his love of the game. He is known for talking and thinking about cricket pretty much all day.
7. Boom Boom
Shahid Afridi. Boom Boom. The name resonates with his big six-hitting ability against any bowling attack on his day.
6. Steyn Gun
Perhaps nicknamed Steyn Gun due to the exceptional level of his bowling and skills. His ability to run through the side is second to none. Steyn has a lethal outswinger and can reverse swing the ball at high pace.
Smudge, KP, Mr Cricket, Boom Boom and Steyn Gun are numbers (10-6) on our list of “Best nicknames in cricket history.”
Thala derives from the word leader in Tamil. Dhoni playing his franchise career in Chennai is probably the reason for this due to the success he has brought in the IPL. Dhoni has won 3 IPL titles with the Chennai Super Kings and 2 Champions League trophies.
Rohit Sharma’s superb batting ability and six-hitting power earned him the nickname Hitman in the Indian team.
Virat Kohli was nicknamed Cheeku during his First Class career. During his Ranji Trophy days, he was not as fit as he is now. He had chubby cheeks and hence the nickname.
2. Mr 360
AB De Villiers is nicknamed “Mr 360” for his ability to hit the ball all over the ground, unlike other batsmen in the past. De Villiers’ arc is incredible against all different types of bowling.
His 16-ball half-century and 31-ball century versus the West Indies in 2015 at Johannesburg was a masterclass.
1. The Little Master
Sachin Tendulkar is called The Little Master in awe of his batting. Some believe that he is the most complete batsman since Sir Donald Bradman.
Thala, Hitman, Cheeku, MR 360 and The Little Master are numbers (5-1) on our list of “Best nicknames in cricket history.”
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