Ranking the 20 best men cricket players in the world of all time

Ranking the 20 best men cricket players in the world of all time

Ciku Njuguna
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:12 PM

Cricket is one of the most popular sports in the world, and just like any other sport, some of its players have distinguished themselves as the greatest cricketers ever. Join us as we shine a light on the best men's cricket players of all time.

Best men cricket players in the world
Photo: canva.com (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Who are the greatest cricketers of all time? This article will highlight some of the greatest ODI and Test batters and bowlers throughout the sport's history.

Who are the top 20 men cricket players in the world?

Since the 16th century, cricket has become one of the most beloved sports in the world. We have used the latest publications from BBC, ICC cricket, and Wisden's greatest cricketers of all time.

20. MS Dhoni

What is the highest record of MS Dhoni?
India's mentor, MS Dhoni, in bowling action ahead of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup match against Afghanistan at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in November 2021. Photo by Gareth Copley-ICC/ICC.
Source: Getty Images

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Mahendra Singh Dhoni is one of the most famous cricketers in India. During his 15-year career (2004-2019), he played for and later captained the Indian national team leading them to victory in the 50-over World Cup in 2011 and the World T20 in 2007.

19. Rohit Sharma

The former national Indian cricket team captain is one of the top men's cricket players right now. Popularly known as the hitman, Rohit has led India to four title wins and holds the record for the most ODI run innings by batting position.

18. Chris Gayle

Chris Gayle's international career began in 1999. The West Indies all-rounder who has the fourth longest career ODI and Twenty-20 international career is the only cricketer with a record of a triple century in Tests, a double century in ODIs, and a century in Twenty-20Is.

17. Sir Alastair Cook

Why is Alastair Cook called sir?
Sir Alastair Cook of Essex plays football during the Specsavers County Championship match against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl in April 2019. Photo by Harry Trump.
Source: Getty Images

According to his Cricbuzz profile, Alastair Cook's captaincy of the English national team led to a 4 out of 5 ODI centuries win and runner-up position in the 2013 Champions Trophy. In addition, the Chef's national and international cricket records earned him a knighthood before playing his final Test game at the Oval in London.

16. Kumar Sangakkara

Former professional cricketer and commentator Kumar Sangakkara cemented his position as one of the best wicketkeepers in the world after his induction into the ICC-Cricket hall of fame in 2021. In addition, he also scooped the Cricketer of the Year, the Test Player of the Year, and the People's Choice awards during the 2012 ICC Awards.

15. AB de Villiers

Retired South African wicketkeeper Abraham Benjamin de Villiers is undoubtedly one of the best batsmen of all time. AB is the only batsman who has scored the fastest 50, 100, and 150 in ODI matches.

14. Muttiah Muralitharan

ICC Cricket Hall of Fame member Muttiah Muralitharan holds the record for the most Test wickets stumped (47) and the most Test wickets on a single ground (166). Because of his performance, it is not a surprise that the retired Sri Lankan coach still holds the record for the most Player of the Series awards in Test matches.

13. Virat Kohli

Since 2008, Virat Kohli has played for one of the best men's cricket teams. Regarded as the best batsman in the world, the former captain of the Indian national team is the most successful captain after leading the team to a series of Test match wins and a 63.38 win percentage.

Can Virat Kohli make 100 centuries?
India's Virat Kohli poses during a portrait session at the Hyatt Hotel on July 9, 2022, in Birmingham, England. Photo by Pat Elmont - ECB/ECB.
Source: Getty Images

12. Ricky Ponting

Ponting's record as the team's ODI and Test skipper makes him one of the best cricket players of all time. Before retiring in 2012, he led the Australian team to a 76.14% win in ODI matches and 62.33% in Test matches.

11. Jacques Kallis

Kallis is a South African all-rounder who holds the record for the second fastest to 13,000 Test match runs (269) after India's Sachin Tendulkar. In addition, the all-rounder who received the most Player of the Match awards became the fourth South African to be inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame in 2020.

10. Shane Warne

Who is the king of spin in cricket? Shane's bowling style during his 15-year career earned him the legacy of the best spinner of all time. Even after his demise, the icon who was named one of the greatest cricketers of the 20th century is still widely celebrated.

How many Ashes did Shane Warne win?
Shane Warne poses for a photo during the 1993 tour of England, circa May 1993. Photo by Patrick Eagar/Popperfoto.
Source: Getty Images

9. Brian Lara

In 1994, Lara set a world record for the highest individual score in a first-class after scoring 400 runs. The Trinidadian batter also holds the record for the fastest 10,000 runs in Test matches (195).

8. Sachin Tendulkar

Among other records, Sachin Tendulkar has the highest total runs in international matches (15,921). He is a notable Indian cricket player who led India to victory in the 2011 World Cup.

7. Imran Khan

Imran Khan's influence and legacy are still growing, from leading Pakistan national team to the 1992 World Cup victory and becoming the country's first prime minister. The former all-rounder holds the record for the fourth-most Player of the Series awards and the second-best figures in an innings by a captain.

6. Sir Jack Hobbs

Sir Jack Berry Hobbs is a legendary player who scored the most first-class centuries in the sport's history. He has had one of the longest careers (22 years) and still holds the record for the second fastest to 5000 runs in Test matches.

Who has the most first class centuries in cricket?
Sir Jack Hobbs demonstrates the correct way to throw-in a ball circa 1925. Photo by Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive.
Source: Getty Images

5. Ian Botham

The eccentric Ian Botham is one of the best men cricketers of all time who had a successful yet controversial career between 1976 and 1992. The former England skipper held the record for the highest bowling speed at 90mph, making him one of the world's fastest bowlers.

4. Viv Richards

Would you like to know who the best all-rounder in cricket history is? Sir Viv Richards, the best all-rounder in the world, is the only player to play in the World Cricket Series and football World Cup. The Quetta Gladiators coach has the most ODI runs in an innings by batting position (189) and the highest percentage in completed ODI innings (69.48%).

Which player played both cricket and football World Cup?
Viv Richards batted for the West Indies at the World Cup Final against England at Lord's Cricket Ground in London on 23rd June 1979. Photo by Phil Sheldon/Popperfoto.
Source: Getty Images

3. Sir Richard Hadlee

Although the bowling all-rounder announced his retirement early in his career because of injuries, he quickly returned to the sport. He set records, including being the first keeper to make 1000 runs and 100 wickets. Here are some of his honours throughout his career.

  • 1979, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987 - New Zealand Almanack Player of the Year
  • 1982 - Wisden Cricketer of the Year
  • 2002 - Wisden Test bowler of all time
  • 2009 - ICC Hall of Fame Inductee

2. Sir Garfield Sobers

As the fifth oldest living ODI player, he still holds the record for the second fastest to 6000 runs in test matches (111) and the third most runs in an innings by batting position (365*). Here are some of Sobers' most notable awards.

  • 1958 - West Indies Player of the Year
  • 1964 - Wisden Player of the Year
  • 2000 - Wisden Cricketer of the Century
  • 2007 - Wisden Leading Cricket player in the World for every year dating back to 1900

1. Sir Donald Bradman

To millions of fans, Don Bradman is the god of cricket. 'The Don', as he is popularly known, played for the Australian national team for about 20 years (1928-1948). Here are some of the awards he acquired throughout his career.

  • 1949 - Knighthood
  • 1996 - Australian Cricket Hall of Fame
  • 1988 - Australian Sport's greatest male athlete of the past 200 years
  • 1999 - Sport Australia Hall of Fame male athlete of the century
  • 2000 - Wisden Almanack greatest cricketer of the 20th century
Why was Sir Donald Bradman knighted?
The most prolific run-maker ever and captain of the Australian test team, ready to bat. Photo by Keystone.
Source: Getty Images

Top 10 best cricket players of all time

Best men batters of all-time

Best men bowlers of all-time

Best men all-rounders of all-time


Don Bradman

Sydney Barnes

Garry Sobers


Steve Smith

George Lohmann

Ian Botham


Len Hutton

Imran Khan

Jacques Kallis


Jack Hobbs

Muttiah Muralidaran

Keith Miller


Ricky Ponting

Pat Cummins

Richie Benaud


Peter May

Glen McGrath

Imran Khan


Garry Sobers

Vernon Philander

Tony Greig


Kumar Sangakkara

Curtly Ambrose

Andrew Flintoff


Clyde Walcott

Tony Lock

Aubrey Faulkner


Viv Richards

Ian Botham

Chris Cairns

The top 20 best players are only a few of the greatest athletes in the sport. However, most of the best men's cricket players of all time have continued to play an active role in the sport's growth over the years.

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Ciku Njuguna photo
Ciku Njuguna
Ciku Njuguna is a journalist with 3 year’s experience in content creation based in Kenya. She currently covers sports personnel as well as team biographies.