Rahul Dravid, despite not sharing the explosiveness of a very explosive group of batting stars coming out of India from the mid-1990s until the end of his career in 2012, could be seen as the most important batsman the country produced at the time.

At the time of Dravid’s arrival in Test cricket, India were a team, dominant at home on slow, turning pitches but found playing away on faster, bouncier ones a bridge too far.

Dravid was not considered a natural athlete and worked hard to forge a technique that was almost impervious to all the different types of bowling. So solid was his defence, that his well-known nickname was ‘The Wall’. His strike rate of 42.51 may have been a little low for those who liked the flash of Sachin Tendulkar or Virender Sehwag, but the results were undeniable. Dravid’s almost 14 hours of batting won India their first Test in Australia for a generation, and then his 12-hour-long stint for 270 gave India their first series win in Pakistan. Performances like that would become a regular feature of Dravid’s batting, the most famous of them coming when he partnered VVS Laxman to overhaul a 270-run lead against Australia and turn it into a 171-run victory. India, batting a second time against Australia at Eden Gardens after faltering to 175 all-out, chasing 445, racked up 657-7 declared on the back of Dravid’s 180 and Laxman’s 281, the two partnering in a record 376-run fifth-wicket partnership.   

Career Statistics

Full name: Rahul Sharad Dravid

Born: January 11, 1973, Indore, Madhya Pradesh

Major teams: India, Scotland, Asia XI, Canterbury, ICC World XI, Karnataka, Kent, Marylebone Cricket Club, Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore

Playing role: Top-order batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm offbreak

Fielding position: Occasional wicketkeeper

 

Test Career:   India (1996-2012)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs       HS     Ave      BF          SR      100s    50s

164      286     32     13288      270    52.31    31258    42.51      36     63

        

Career Highlights

  • 4th all-time for most runs scored in Tests (13, 288)
  • 2nd most runs scored by a number three in Tests (10, 524)
  • Most number of balls faced in Test history (31, 258)
  • Longest time spent at the crease in Tests (44, 152 minutes)
  • First player to score centuries in all Test-playing nations

Sachin Tendulkar’s heavenly gifts redefined cricketing statistics: the only batsman to score 100 international centuries, the only player to play 200 Tests, the only batsman to score 30,000 international runs, and the owner of the highest number of runs and hundreds in both Tests and ODIs.

He was a nightmare for captains setting the field as his range and repertoire of strokes had multiple answers to questions posed by bowlers. If there was one stroke from his wide cornucopia which left onlookers spellbound it was the batsman’s’-back drive - often just a defensive half-push - that blazed through the straightest part of the ground.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar

Born: April 24, 1973 (age 47)

Place of birth: Bombay (now Mumbai), Maharashtra, India

Height: 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)

Batting style: Right-handed

Bowling style: Right-arm medium, leg break, off break

Role: Batsman

 

Test Career: India (1989-2013)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS      Ave     100s    50s         

200    329    33     15921      248*   53.78      51     68             

 

Career highlights

  • Regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time
  • Leading run scorer in Tests (15,921)
  • Most centuries in Tests (51)
  • Named ESPNCricinfo’s Cricketer of the Generation (2014)
  • Inducted into ICC Hall of Fame (2019)
  • Laureus World Sports Award for Best Sporting Moment (2000-2020)
  • Given several awards in India including highest for sports (1997-98)

Australia batsman Travis Head has backed proposals to stage the entire upcoming Test series against India at the Adelaide Oval.

Last month, the South Australian Cricket Association put forward its venue as a solution to make the four-match rubber between the number one and three Test nations viable during the coronavirus pandemic.

A 138-room hotel at the Adelaide Oval is due to be completed in September and the proposal would see Virat Kohli's team stay and train at the venue for the duration of the series, with interstate travel in Australia still problematic amid lockdown restrictions.

Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts said at the time that the organisation was "not ruling anything out" as it looks to establish a biosecurity plan to host India.

For Australia vice-captain Head, who is also South Australia skipper, there would be an obvious benefit.

"It'd be nice to stay at home for the whole summer," he told reporters.

"Adelaide Oval is such a good ground. It's unique. If it comes down to that, I know that it will definitely be able to cope and withstand back-to-back Test matches.

"We've had instances where there'll be A-League games, rugby league or concerts going on. Houghy (Adelaide groundsman Damian Hough) has been able to prepare a Shield wicket and drop it in the middle of the square, day of the game or two days out of the game.

"And you wouldn't even notice as a player."

The playing surface at Adelaide has drawn widespread praise from players since the adoption of drop-in wickets at the venue, while it also has also hosted four day/night Tests since 2015, with Australia winning on each occasion.

"The bowlers and batters would probably be happy with [a whole series in Adelaide], it's probably been the best cricket wicket the last four or five years," Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood said in April.

"It gives a bit to both batting and bowling, I wouldn't mind it.

"It's not ideal though. We want to get around to all parts of Australia and challenge ourselves on all those different wickets."

India were victorious on their previous trip to Australia in 2018-19, winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2-1 as the hosts were depleted by the suspension of Steve Smith and David Warner for ball tampering.

Like many ardent fans of the gentleman’s game I confess to being blown away by the awesome ferocity and near unrivalled destructiveness of Matthew Hayden, however, his opening pairing with Sunil Gavaskar at the expense of the grittier but slightly more consistent Graeme Smith is a delivery just outside off stump.  

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is very little hairs to split between the two.  A look at the most obvious metrics shows Smith has scored 9265 runs at an average of 48.25 and has a top score of 277, with Hayden scoring 8625 at an average of 50.73 and a remarkable 380 as his high score.  In terms of 100s, Smith compiled a respectable 27 with 38 half-centuries, while Hayden has scored 30 hundreds and 29 fifties.   

As previously stated, its remarkably close, but let’s begin this discussion by pointing to an often-overlooked consideration, Smith made his mark, while also shouldering the responsibility of being a captain. After taking the role at the tender age of 22 years old, Smith was often tasked with leading from the front with his bat and rarely failed to do so, despite the additional responsibility. For a great many players, the task of both has led to either one thing or the other suffering.

Smith was never technically as gifted as Hayden, but what he lacked in ability, he certainly made up for in sheer determination and toughness.  No one should ever forget his brutal double ton against England in 2008 or the way he battled away in poor light to score 154, a total that led the Proteas to a first series victory in England since their reinstatement. Smith also led South Africa in a chase of 418 in Australia where he scored a memorably aggressive ton and was the first captain to beat Australia, in Australia, in 16 years.

His mental fortitude was such that he averaged more away from home than within the confines of his country. The batsman averaged a healthy 54.99 away from home as opposed to 41.52 in South Africa.  By contrast, Hayden averaged 57.89 at home and 42.69 on his travels.

In making the selection we should also consider the argument that can be made for Smith being a marginally more consistent scorer. In revisiting the stats, we can recall that Hayden has scored 30 centuries compared to Smith’s 27, and his highest total of 380, compiled against Zimbabwe, is second only to Brian Lara’s world record 400. Smith’s best of 277 came against England in 2003. 

A closer look at the numbers, however, makes for interesting reading. 

Smith has scored a double hundred on five occasions compared to Hayden’s two.  In terms of daddy hundreds (scores of above 140), it is again Smith who leads the statistics with 11 compared to Hayden’s five, which shows that he got to bigger totals more often.

 

Anil Kumble was the spearhead of the Indian bowling attack for more than a decade and half. The 6 foot 1 inch tall, lean and calm cricketer had scintillating charisma in his fingers.

Kumble traded the leg spinner's proverbial yo-yo for the spear, as his ball rushed through the air rather than hanging in it and comes with a kick rather than a kink as it hits the pitch.

It was during this 1992 India tour of South Africa that he established himself as a quality and magical spinner when he finished his tour as the highest wicket-taker for the Indian side which included his 6/53 figures in the second Test in Johannesburg, a ground known to favour fast bowlers.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Anil Kumble

Born: 17 October 1970 (age 49)

Place of birth: Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)

Batting style: Right-handed

Bowling style: Legbreak googly

Role: Bowler

 

Test Career: India (1990-2008)

  Mat         Inns         Balls        Runs        Wkts        BBI          BBM        Ave          Econ         SR            4w           5w           10w

132            236          40850      18355         619         10/74      14/149     29.65         2.69         65.9           31            35             8

 

Career Highlights

  • 3rd most wickets in Tests (619)
  • 4th most 10-wicket hauls in a match (8)
  • 4th most 5-wicket hauls in an innings (35)
  • 1 of 2 bowlers to take 10 wickets in an innings

Graceful, artistic and pure, Bedi has a rightful claim to being India’s greatest ever left-arm spinner.

His relaxed action, combined with impeccable control were his biggest allies and this went a long way in him getting selected for the senior team.

Bedi made his Test debut against the then mighty West Indies in 1966 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. He didn’t have an eye-catching entry to the big stage but was persisted with because of his control and because he brought variety to the Indian spin attack.

The outspoken cricketer came into his own during the Australia Test series in 1969-70 where he picked up 21 wickets including his best Test figures of 7/98 at Kolkata.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Bishan Singh Bedi

Born: 25 September 1946 (age 73)

Place of Birth: Amritsar, Punjab, British India

Batting style: Right-handed

Bowling style: Slow left-arm orthodox

Role: Bowler

 

Test Career: India (1967-1979)

Mat         Inns         Balls        Runs        Wkts        BBI          BBM        Ave          Econ        SR            4w           5w           10w

67            118          21364      7637        266          7/98        10/194    28.71           2.14         80.3          13            14              1

 

Career Highlights

  • Captured 266 Test wickets at 28.71
  • 2nd to Lance Gibbs with maiden overs per test (16.35)
  • Captained India in 22 matches, winning 6 and losing 11

Famously known as the Haryana Hurricane, he was a right-arm fast bowler and a right-handed batsman. He will always be remembered for his deadly outswingers, aggressive batting and for leading the Indian team to a World Cup victory in 1983.

Kapil Dev proved himself as a prominent member of the Indian cricket team when he took two five-wicket hauls against Australia in a home series in 1979.

He gained earned even more acclaim during a six-Test home series against Pakistan in 1979-80 season. He led India to victory twice in that series. Once by playing a knock of 69 at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai and second time with his daunting bowling taking 10 wickets at Chepauk, Chennai.

Career Statistics

Full name: Kapil Dev Ram Lal Nikhanj

Born: 6 January 1959 (age 61)

Place of Birth: Chandigarh, India

Batting Style: Right-handed

Bowling Style: Right-arm fast-medium

Role: All-rounder

 

 

Test Career (Batting) - India (1978–1994)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave     100s  50s   

131       184    15     5248      163    31.05       8      27    

 

Test Career (Bowling) - India (1978–1994)

Mat    Inns    Balls       Runs   Wkts  BBI        BBM      Ave     Econ    SR    4w   5w     10w

131       227    27740     12867    434    9/83     11/146    29.64    2.78    63.9   17     23      2

 

 

Career Highlights

  • 1983 – Wisden Cricketer of the Year
  • 2002 – Wisden Indian Cricketer of the Century
  • 2010 – ICC Cricket Hall of Fame
  • Only player to score 5,000 runs and take 400 wickets in Tests
  • Amassed 5248 at an average of 31.05
  • Took 434 wickets at 29.64

Sunil Gavaskar is the first in a long line of great Indian batsmen. He was the first in the history of cricket to get to 10,000 Test runs and the first to score 30 centuries. He was the lynchpin of the Indian teams of the 1970s and ‘80s, leading from ball one with near-perfect technique and immense powers of concentration. Gavaskar enjoyed success even against the great West Indies fast-bowling units of the same period. On debut in 1971, Gavaskar scored 774 runs in four Tests in the West Indies, still a record for a debutant to this day. In the last Test of that series in Port-of-Spain, Gavaskar became only the second man in Test cricket history to score a century and double century in one match when he made 124 in the first innings and 220 in the second. Gavaskar’s final innings in Test cricket at the age of xx was 96 against Pakistan and came off the back of a string of 16 Tests where he averaged more than 58.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Sunil Manohar Gavaskar

Born: July 10, 1949, Bombay (now Mumbai), Maharashtra

Major teams: India, Mumbai, Somerset

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm medium, Right-arm offbreak

Role: Opener

Height 5 ft 5 in

 

Test Career - India (1971-1987)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs      HS         Ave    100s   50s           

125      214     16     10122     236*     51.12      34    45           

 

Career Highlights

  • Was nicknamed “Little Master”
  • Scored 9607 of his 10,122 runs as an opener
  • Scored 33 of his 34 centuries as an opener
  • Has scored the most centuries by an opening batsman
  • Scored 18 of his 34 centuries away from home
  • His 45 half centuries is the 2nd most by a Test opener

Indian cricket board treasurer Arun Dhumal claims it would be "difficult" for the ICC T20 World Cup to go ahead as scheduled in Australia later this year.

The tournament is due to get under way in October, but the coronavirus pandemic has sparked doubt over whether it can take place.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is going ahead with plans to stage the competition, but Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts said "all other options" are being explored.

Dhumal, from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has suggested it may be unrealistic for the World Cup to take place given players are likely to have spent a sustained period out of action.

He told the Sydney Morning Herald: "They will have been out of cricket for a long time. Would you want to be without training for that long and straight away go and play [the] World Cup?

"That is a call every board has to take. It seems to be difficult."

Dhumal says India would expect to be quarantined if they do travel to Australia.

"There is no choice - everyone will have to do that. You would want to resume the cricket." he added.

"Two weeks is not that long a lockdown. That would be ideal for any sportsman because when you are in quarantine for such a long period, then going to another country and having a two-week lockdown it would be a good thing to do.

"We'll have to see what the norms are post this lockdown."

Exceptionally talented and audacious, Virendra Sehwag is a devastating right-handed batsman, gifted with brilliant hand-eye co-ordination, fabulous timing, and a cool head in any situation or against any opponent. His idol being Sachin Tendulkar, Virender plays the straight drive, backfoot punch and whip off the hips in identical fashion to the little master’s. His appetite for runs and batting for long periods is also obvious from his two 300+ scores and his three 290+ scores in Test cricket. Those innings put him in the rarified air of the greatest batsmen to ever live. Sehwag is also an effective right-arm off-spin bowler and an agile slip-fielder.

 

Career Statistics 

Full name: Virender Sehwag

Born: October 20, 1978, Delhi

Major teams: India, Asia XI, Delhi, Delhi Daredevils, ICC World XI, India Blue, Kings XI Punjab, Leicestershire, Marylebone Cricket Club, Rajasthan Cricket Association President's XI

Role: Top-order batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm offbreak

 

Test Career - India (1999–2013)

Mat    Inns    NO  Runs   HS     Ave    BF          SR       100s      50s   

104    180    6    8586  319  49.34  10441    82.23    23         32   

 

Career Highlights

  • Only batsman in the history to have scored 7,500-plus runs in both Tests & ODIs as an opener
  • Fastest Test triple century for which he took 278 balls
  • Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World 2008, 2009
  • ICC Test Player of the Year 2010
  • Most triple centuries in Tests: 2 (joint record holder along with Don Bradman, Brian Lara & Chris Gayle)
  • Most 290+ scores in Tests: 3 (joint record holder along with Don Bradman)

Steve Smith and Virat Kohli are talismanic figures who set the tone for their respective international sides, according to David Warner.

Australia's Smith and India's Kohli are two of the finest batsmen of their generation, occupying first and second spot respectively in the current Test rankings.

The duo are set to meet if India's tour of Australia – scheduled to begin in October – goes ahead, although significant doubt remains as the coronavirus pandemic continues to pose a threat.

If it should go ahead, Warner expects to see great things from the two leading men, who he says act as figureheads for their sides.

"When it comes to cricket, they both have got the mental strength, the mental capacity to score runs," Warner told Cricbuzz.

"They stabilise, they boost morale – if they score runs, everyone else's morale is up. If they are out cheaply, you almost sense that on the field that everyone is … [down on morale and thinking] now we all have to step up. It's a very bizarre situation.

"They both love spending time in the middle. Virat's passion and drive to score runs is different to what Steve's would be.

"Steve is going out there for a hit in the middle, that's how he sees things. He's hitting them out in the middle, he's having fun, he's enjoying himself, just does not want to get out.

"Virat, obviously, doesn't want to get out, but he knows if he spends a certain amount of time out there, he's going to score plenty of runs at a rapid rate.

"He's going to get on top of you. That allows the guys coming in [to play their own game], especially in the Indian team you've got a lot of players who can be flamboyant as well."

The late great Malcolm Marshall was a terrifying pace bowler and many have argued that he was the best there has ever been.

Smart, deceptively quick, and brutal, Marshall had all the attributes to make him a nightmare for any batsman, no matter how much class he possessed.

But on a day in 1983, in India no less, Marshall showed something new, well it was at least new to them.

Marshall had scored four centuries in his career outside of Test cricket, three for New Hampshire, and one when he was an under-19 cricketer, playing against Zimbabwe but his Test cricket average of 10, hadn’t shrouded him in glory. He would eventually push that average up to 18 by the time his career ended in 1991. But still, there was not much expected of him.

On a surprisingly slow wicket in Kanpur, the West Indies went to bat on the first day and soon got in trouble with Desmond Haynes, 6, Viv Richards, 24, Larry Gomes, 21, skipper Clive Lloyd, 23, and Gus Logie, 0, all back in the pavilion.

In step Phillip Jeffrey Dujon to join the unusually sedate Gordon Greenidge and the two set to rebuilding the innings, but at 255-5 on the first day and despite a recovery from 157-5, the game was still in the balance.

Greenidge would resume on the second day on his overnight 130 and go on to bat for just over nine hours on his way to scoring 194 from 368 deliveries.

The great West Indies opener would strike 23 fours and not a single six in his near-200-run innings, while Dujon, who was on 48 from the day before, was marginally more adventurous, batting for just about three hours before he was bowled by Roger Binny for 81.

Marshall walked to the wicket looking like he did not have a care in the world on the second day, probably sure in his mind that when he got the ball, the balance of the game would swing yet again.

But before that though, he might have well give his fellow pacers some more time to relax in the pavilion.

Marshall, batting with Greenidge, showed he wasn’t just good with ball in hand but hunkered down for the next three hours or so and faced 151 deliveries on his way to his highest ever Test score, 92. Forty-four of those 92 runs would come in boundaries.

He played no small part in helping Greenidge score as many as he did. When Greendidge went, Eldine Baptiste, 6, Michael Holding, 0, and  Winston Davis, 0, did not last long.

But Marshall wasn’t done yet either. He would return to make a mockery of Kapil Dev’s 4-99 with 4-19 that put the result decidedly in West Indies’ favour. The West Indies had made 454 all out on the back of Marshall, Dujon, and Greenidge’s innings but then the paceman helped route India for just 207.

The West Indies would not bat again, as for the second time in the game, Marshall grabbed four, this time going for all of 47.

Marshall’s bowling, as per usual, was tremendous, but this was the first time his batting was doing the talking as the West Indies removed Pakistan for 164 to win the game by an innings and 83 runs.

The West Indies would go on to win the 6-Test series 3-0 and Marshall had become a legend in India.

Ali Bacher has urged the cricket world to accept behind-closed-doors matches could be the salvation of the sport at international level.

Bacher, 77, went from playing for and captaining South Africa to becoming the most powerful administrator in the country by the turn of the century.

Now he believes cricket must unite behind rescue plans amid the global coronavirus crisis to avert a financial calamity, insisting safeguarding broadcast income must be the priority.

Only by putting on international matches can that be guaranteed, with Bacher urging governing bodies to be as creative and receptive to the new state of the world as needs be.

He told the Times of India: "So many of us wake up every day and hope that the virus has gone. This will not happen.

"World medical experts predict that this pandemic will last anything up to 18 months. The consequences for world cricket would be very serious, unless world cricket agrees to and allows international cricket matches to be played to empty stadiums.

"The massive global TV audience would not diminish and the income the Test-playing countries would receive from the broadcasters would allow them to survive this crisis, which is unprecedented since World War II."

Bacher has urged South Africa and India to consider switching their recently aborted ODI series to a neutral territory, such as the United Arab Emirates.

He said: "Our government medical advisers have gone public and said that the coronavirus will hit South Africa the hardest in July and August. Maybe Sourav [Ganguly, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India] and Graeme [Smith, South Africa's director of cricket] should be looking now at possible new venues like the UAE hoping that the airline industry will be functioning in August."

Usman Khawaja has revealed he is "very shocked" at the financial situation Cricket Australia (CA) finds itself in due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

CA stood down the vast majority of its staff on reduced pay from April 27 until the end of the financial year, with concerns over when international action will be able to resume.

Australia are due to stage the ICC T20 World Cup, as well as welcome India for a lucrative tour, yet their home schedule could be at risk because of the global health crisis.

Admitting it is disappointing how the situation has played out, Khawaja hopes CA and the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) can work together to come through what he feels is a cash-flow problem that could have been avoided.

"I was very shocked. I knew our projections for revenue were still very high and I think they still are, depending on what happens with the India series," he told Fox Sports.

"It's a bit confusing. I don't have all the financial information in front of me, but it seems like it's more of a cash-flow problem at the moment.

"There's obviously a little bit of mismanagement there somewhere, with the portfolio and putting a lot of money into the share market.

"To me that's Business 101. To make sure you have enough cash reserves if c**p hits the fan.

"So I'm a little bit disappointed on that front ... but what's been done is done now, so it's just our responsibility as CA and ACA to work through this."

Khawaja was absent from the list of players to be handed national contracts by CA this week, having not played a Test since being dropped during the 2019 Ashes in England.

The left-hander, who averages over 40 in the longest format, still believes he is one of the best six batsmen in the country and feels the criticism of his play against spin is unjustified.

"Without sounding arrogant, I still feel like I'm one of the top six batsmen in the country," Khawaja said.

"My playing against spin has been right up there as some of the best in the county. Bar maybe Steve Smith, who is an absolute genius.

"But the most important thing is to score runs."

Unheralded West Indies middle-order batsman Larry Gomes has rated his century against India at Queens Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago as his best.

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