For the much of cricket’s history, India were unable to compete at the top. They lacked the fast-bowling firepower, their batsmen were skilled, but often overmatched against the best England or Australia had to offer.
By far the most populous cricket nation on the planet, India’s standing in the sport has changed. They are now a perennial online betting favourite in all formats.
Top 10 Greatest Indian Cricketers:
Compiling this group of Indian cricket legends was not easy – there are so many wonderful candidates that missed out.
One of these players is still featuring in cricket betting, many of the others have retired in the last decade. Famous Indian cricketers are loved in a way that would seem alien to their counterparts in the other major cricketing countries.
10 - Bishan Bedi
The outspoken, often controversial, Bishan Bedi played in a difficult time for Indian cricket. They were finding their feet as a Test nation during the 1960s and 70s, far from the world force they are today.
Bedi was a star of the time. He finished his Test career with 266 wickets at under 29 apiece, his masterful control of his left-arm spin getting batsmen stuck one end.
Bedi is second all-time in maidens bowled per Test, although not a massive spinner of the ball, his elegant altering of his flight kept batsmen off balance.
9 - Javagal Srinath
Javagal Srinath is one of the most underrated Indian cricketers. When spin was the name of the game in the 1990s, Srinath charged in on unhelpful pitches, an aggressive and high-effort fast bowler.
Srinath could crank it up into the mid-nineties when required. Like so many subcontinental quicks, he could get it reversing, making him an effective bowler at any time in the innings.
At the time of his retirement in 2002, only one Indian fast bowler (Kapil Dev) had more Test wickets than Srinath’s 236.
8 - MS Dhoni
A World Cup winner, and one of the greatest wicketkeeper batsmen in the history of the sport, MS Dhoni is an icon of the modern game, a true three-format phenomenon.
Dhoni is best known as a white-ball sensation, and rightly so with an ODI average above 50 and countless heroic run chases, but he was every bit an elite Test player, too. Three times he was named to the ICC Test XI, and a career average of 38 is impressive.
The wicketkeeping skill shouldn’t be overlooked either. Dhoni could whip the bails off quicker than most could even think about it. The man who brought us the helicopter shot was a lock for this top 10.
7 - Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag wasn’t a textbook opener. His technique didn’t come from the coaching manual, but he was as entertaining as any Test batsman ever, and arguably the most destructive opener the sport has witnessed.
Sehwag scored a triple century at over a run a ball. He scored double hundreds at a similar rate. Bowling attacks were decimated within an hour of Sehwag’s crash-bang-wallop – his relentless boundary hitting was thrilling and effective.
6 - Rahul Dravid
Where Sehwag was explosive, Rahul Dravid was the dream of a Test cricket traditionalist. A high elbow, a straight bat face and well-timed foot movement, The Wall is the fourth-highest Test run scorer of all-time.
Although thought of as a Test specialist, Dravid developed his game throughout his career to become an effective white-ball batsman. He was the fifth Indian cricketer to be inducted to the ICC Hall of Fame.
5 - Anil Kumble
It’s just the 619 Test wickets for Anil Kumble. The grit, the determination, the clever variations, made Kumble build a career far beyond his natural talent.
The lanky leg-break bowler was not a big spinner of the ball, but he varied his pace well, bowling the majority of his delivers faster than normal leggies. Lateral movement was never vast, yet it did enough to get batsmen in a muddle.
There have been more gifted Indian spinners than Kumble, but none can match his application.
4 - Virat Kohli
Playing in the IPL era, the age of celebrity, makes Virat Kohli net worth an unimaginable figure for cricketers of previous decades.
Kohli is still at his peak, but he’s already cemented himself among the greatest ever Indian cricketers. Some would suggest fourth is generous, though Kohli’s impact as a batsman and a captain has been huge. India are the strongest they have ever been.
Already historically brilliant across all three formats, Kohli could finish his career as the best batsman of the 21st century.
3 - Sachin Tendulkar
The Sachin Tendulkar net worth figure is thought to be north of $100 million, making him the richest sports person in India. The Little Master is mobbed on every public appearance, adored more than anyone else in the country.
Tendulkar was technical perfection. His checked straight drive belongs alongside Viv Richards crushing the ball off his pads and Ricky Ponting’s pull.
He holds an obscene number of records in both Tests and ODIs. Tendulkar might have to settle for third on this list, but there’s no doubt he’s number one in the eyes of the Indian public.
2 - Sunil Gavaskar
Not only a prolific run-getter and arguably the best opener ever, Sunil Gavaskar was a standard-setter for Indian cricketer, taking the team to new levels of professionalism and introducing a work ethic previously unseen.
Gavaskar led from the front in more ways than one. He was an elegant shot maker when required and possessed an immense defensive technique, which when paired with his steely mindset, made him an incredibly difficult man to dismiss.
1 - Kapil Dev
Kapil Dev played over 130 Tests for India and for periods during his long career, he was regarded as the best cricketer in the world.
Dev owns a healthy list of records, including being the only player to score 4,000 Test runs and take 400 Test wickets.
Alongside Ian Botham, Ben Stokes, Richard Hadlee and Jacques Kallis, Dev is firmly in the conversation as the second-best Test all-rounder ever (behind Garfield Sobers).
A great captain, a talented batsman and skilful bowler, Dev just pips Gavaskar and Tendulkar to top spot.
*Credit for the main photo belongs to Aman Sharma / AP Photo*
FIRST PUBLISHED: 12th November 2020