Who are the greatest batsmen from India ever?
The Indian Cricket Team has produced fantastic batters over the years. In fact, the art of batting is exactly what the Nation is known for, along with their spin-bowling prowess. It is only recently that fast bowling has been made a big thing in India. Such has been the depth that the likes of VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly struggle to make the list, despite being two of the best Indian batsmen of all-time.
So, who makes the list?
5. MS Dhoni
Arguably India’s greatest-ever asset in limited-overs cricket. MS Dhoni the captain has been sensational for India but his batting has taken limited-overs cricket to new heights. For that alone, he is deserving of a place on this list. A smart but superb finisher for almost a decade, no game was over until Dhoni was out. He re-defined the art of finishing, building on the platforms laid by Michael Bevan and Lance Kluesener.
Dhoni’s mantra was to take the game as deep as possible, even if it meant that the asking rate would sore up. At times it went to 9 or 10 runs an over needed in ODI’s and 14 or 15 runs an over needed in T20Is. But, it didn’t matter to Dhoni because he realised that in a game of small margins, one or two lusty blows would put the pressure back on the bowling side.
A match-winning innings during the 2011 Cricket World Cup final was the pinnacle of his batting prowess. He would go on to produce another decade of brilliance, before finally calling it quits in 2020. In Test cricket, he wasn’t at his best but would often rescue the Indian batting order, especially when they had collapsed abroad. Over 10,000 runs at a batting average of 50 in ODI, though, remains his finest achievement.
MS Dhoni is number five on our list of “Top 5 best Indian batsmen of all-time.”
4. Rahul Dravid
Better known perhaps for his exploits in Test cricket, Rahul Dravid was a very fine batsman for India. His iconic performance at Kolkata, during the 2001 Border-Gavaskar Series, will always be remembered. He batted for an entire day, along with VVS Laxman to give India victory from an almost impossible position. It changed both the game and the series around, against one of the best Test teams ever, in the form of Steve Waugh’s Australia.
He was a fantastic player of spin and did well abroad against swing and seam movement. The only chink in his armour was pace bowling. He averaged a healthy 42 in Australia but could never quite dominate them, especially against a fully-fit team. South Africa was a puzzle for Dravid, as he could only muster an average of 30 in the country. Nevertheless, batting averages of 52 in Tests and 39 in ODIs are pretty good numbers overall.
Rahul Dravid is number four on our list of “Top 5 best Indian batsmen of all-time.”
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3. Sunil Gavaskar
The finest player of genuine pace bowling on this list. Sunil Gavaskar’s record against the West Indies is magnificent, albeit slightly flawed. He scored 13 centuries against them but more than half of those were scored before the Island Nation managed to get their four-pronged pace attack together. Despite this, he still has 3 centuries against a lethal West Indian attack, which is no mean feat.
Technically very sound and composed, Gavaskar became the epitome of an opening batsman. He had virtually no flaws to his game, which helped him average 51 in Test Cricket. His 34 Test centuries still remains the most, by any genuine opening batsman.
Sunil Gavaskar is number three on our list of “Top 5 best Indian batsmen of all-time.”
2. Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli could end up being not only the greatest Indian batsman of all-time but also the greatest batsman in the modern era. Such are his achievements, that breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s records are not beyond him. Despite a slight lull in the last two years, he has been phenomenal in all formats of the game.
He is the only batsman in the history of the game to average above 50 in all three formats. Technique wise, he wasn’t perfect to start with, but through hard work and training has perfected his game. His 2018 tour of England is perhaps the best example, whereby he banished all demons from the 2014 series. In ODI cricket, he averages nearly 60 and is arguably the best chaser of all-time. He times his innings perfectly and can gun down totals with ease.
In the Indian Premier League and T20I cricket, he will be keen to add titles to his armoury. This is the only format in which he hasn’t achieved success yet, having won the 2011 Cricket World Cup in ODIs and multiple Test maces in the longest format of the game.
Virat Kohli is number two on our list of “Top 5 best Indian batsmen of all-time.”
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1. Sachin Tendulkar
India’s best-ever batsman, is none other than Sachin Tendulkar. Fans worshipped him as if he was god when he played and many still do. His batting would heal the needs of the Nation, when he was out at the crease. His signature shot was the straight drive back past the bowler. He dominated all bowlers during his career and was consistent throughout. In 2011, he reached the pinnacle of his career, winning the ICC Cricket World Cup. Personally, he had a great tournament too, scoring 482 runs at a batting average of 54.
Tendulkar played 200 Test matches for India, scoring nearly 16,000 runs at a batting average of 54. 51 centuries and 68 half-centuries are quite superb numbers. He averaged over 40 against every team that he played against and also in every country that he batted in. “The little master” is a modern-day genius and some believe that he is the second-best batsmen of all-time, only behind Sir Donald Bradman.
Sachin Tendulkar is number one on our list of “Top 5 best Indian batsmen of all-time.”
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