Who is the GOAT of Cricket: Cricket's Greatest Players

With sports being an integral part of every person’s life, it is very obvious that we have someone who we truly admire, who we very wholeheartedly love watching when they play, and even if that player has a bad day on the field, we still extend all our support for that player. For every person, their favourite player is their greatest player of the sport. 

A Collage of Cristiano Ronaldo doing his trademark celebration and Lionel Messi kicking a ball

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The term GOAT stands for – GREATEST OF ALL TIME and is widely used in the world of sports. Not only in cricket, people love discussing who the greatest player of all time in every sport, which results in a never-ending debate and a split between fanbases. Be it the Messi vs Ronaldo debate for the football goat, the LeBron vs MJ debate in basketball or the debate of the greatest tennis player between Nadal, Federer and Djokovic. 

We too, as cricket fans always keep discussing who the better player is. Is Kohli better than Tendulkar, is Dhoni a better captain than Ricky Ponting, who’s better between Muralitharan and Warne……………. These are all discussion that have no ends. 

But ZAP is here today to explain with stats and rational arguments, who the Goat of Cricket really is?

Though the question about the greatest player of any sport is subjective and everyone may have a different opinion, but there are some criteria that really help us get the best picture about the question and help us get a rational answer. These criteria are the performances, the consistency, their impact on the team and longevity.  

All these criteria can together be measured by looking at the stats of each player. Why stats you may ask, well though stats are not the only way to measure the impact of a player in a team’s success, they certainly can tell us a lot about the impact different players have had on the game, and they can also quantify players' contributions. 

Also, it is not fair to mix categories, a batsman cannot win a match alone, he needs the support of his bowlers and fielders to win a match. So, we’ll be looking for the Goat of Cricket in all departments – Batting, Bowling, All-rounder, wicketkeeping. 

Greatest Batsman of all time:

A Collage of Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli both celebrating their centuries

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Cricket has seen some of the most brilliant batters that have defined generations with their style and technique they play. 

In the early years, it had to be Sir Don Bradman, the first legend to grace the sport. For those who don’t know Sir Don Bradman, he was a legendary test batsman to score and his test batting average was a massive 99.94. 

Later came the era of Sunil Gavaskar and Sir Vivian Richards. Sunil Gavaskar was the first player to cross the 10,000 run mark in tests. While Sir Vivian Richards, was a menace on the field, a stylish batter, known for his aggressive approach, he was the first Superstar on the field. 

Then came the 1990s era, the time of batsmen like Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid, Brian Lara. All these were brilliant, and extremely capable batsmen, with each being central in their team’s success. Ricky Ponting could easily be considered as the best batsman in Australian cricket history. He has the most number of hundreds ever by an Australian and is Australia’s leading run scorer. Rahul Dravid’s dependability earned him the nickname The Wall, and he was one of India’s best batsman during the 2000s and has amassed about  in his career throughout all formats. Brian Lara could arguably be considered the Greatest West Indian batsman ever, with multiple batting records to his name. Lara holds the record for the highest score in a Test match in a single innings with his 400 against England. 

But nobody in this era could compare to Sachin Tendulkar. He alone carried the Indian Batting lineup on his back for more than two decades. His contribution to cricket was so influential, that he is even Considered the God of Cricket in India. And when there’s a question about the Goat of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar has to be included in the list. He remains on top of the list of player with the most runs in all format and most centuries across all format

The next is the modern generation, the people we see bat day in day out. There are so many batters in this decade that have kept fans captivated across all the three cricket formats – Tests. ODIs and T20s. 

Kumar Sangakkara, AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Rohit Sharma, Alastair Cook all have played a major role in their team’s success, but there’s no bigger name than the King of Cricket himself, Virat Kohli. There has not been a single batsman who’s done better in the modern era across the three formats than Virat Kohli. He’s the one with the second most international centuries after only Sachin, has a century in all three formats of the game, and has been the game winner for India in every match. 

So the Comparison for the best batsman of all time falls down to two people: Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli. Let us compare their stats and decide upon the best batsman of all time.


Total Matches Played

Total Runs Scored

Test Runs

ODI Runs

T20I Runs



S Tendulkar








Virat Kohli*








As you can see, The King, Virat Kohli has a long way to go. He still has 25 centuries and about 10k runs to score more to go past The God, Sachin Tendulkar. Though Virat Kohli has been ahead of all Modern batsmen with the way he plays, Sachin Tendulkar was a different breed dominating bowlers all around the world. This does not mean Kohli is any less in cricketing ability, he just hasn’t gotten the batting stats as Sachin. But with the fitness he has and the level of commitment in his game, he surely is going to play until he’s 41-42 years old, and by that, there’s a huge chance Virat Kohli will surpass Sachin.

But for now, there only has to be one GOAT, and that is Sachin Tendulkar.

Want to become a batsman just as good as Sachin, Read the expertly created Cricket Batting Tips and Techniques guide and master the game with the cricket bat in hand. 

Greatest Bowlers of all time:

There have been some amazing bowlers throughout history; spinners that have made batsman dance to their bowling and pacers who have made batsman fear for their lives. Bowling is an art, it is a skill to make use of the leather ball as per you will. It is a relentless activity and bowlers are some of the most passionate players in the team and they strive for success, they strive for the victories. They do all the hard work, bowl tirelessly, and put their heart and soul into every delivery. They are the ones who create pressure, break partnerships, and change the course of the game. They are the ones who deserve respect, admiration and applause.

Some player like Glenn McGrath, Mitchell Johnson, Dale Steyn, Ravichandran Ashwin, Wasim Akram, Stuart Broad and historical figures like Curtly Ambrose, Michael Holding, Jeff Thompson have been some of the greatest bowlers of all time. But who is the greatest bowler in cricket of all time?

A collage of Muttiah Muralitharan on the left celebrating a wicket, Shane Warne bowling a delivery in the centre and James Anderson Celebrating a wicket on the right

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Player's Name


Test Wicket

ODI Wickets

T20 Wicket

Muttiah Muralitharan (SL)





Shane Warne (AUS)





James Anderson (ENG)





As the bowler who has taken the most wickets in both Tests and ODIs, Muralitharan is known for his distinctive bowling action and incredible spin. Leg spin bowling was revolutionised by Shane Warne, the master of deception and variation, who also contributed to Australia's dominance for more than a decade. Another player in the debate is English fast bowler James Anderson, who has terrorised batsmen with his pace and swing and still does so today. He continues to rank in the top 5 of the ICC rankings regularly as a fast bowler even at the age of 40. There are countless aspiring cricket players all over the world who have been inspired by these three legendary players, who have irrevocably changed the game. 

It is very difficult to choose one these three, but for the impact he’s had on the success of Sri Lanka cricket team, with more than 1300 wickets in Tests and ODIs, Muttiah Muralitharan, the greatest Test and ODI bowler of all time, has to be the GOAT.

Best all rounders in Cricket history:

Cricket is an all round game, it requires you to be versatile and be able to do everything, bat, bowl and field all with excellence. Some player can do one better but all rounders are adept in more than area. All rounders are players that excel at all aspect of the game, be it batting, bowling or fielding. They can play a very important role in a team’s success because they can contribute to all three aspects. They can score runs when the team is in trouble and take wickets when the opposition is in charge. They can bat or bowl in a variety of situations, which can offer the captain variety and options. An all-rounder in cricket has the ability to alter the course of a match and become a legend.

Through history, there have been some great all rounders who have given it their all for the game. Sir Garfield Sober, Kapil Dev in the 80s era, Imran Khan in the 90s era, Sanath Jayasuriya and Andrew Flintoff in the early 2000s. But now, in the modern era, with the growth of T20s it has become extremely important for players to achieve mastery in all the three aspects, which has produced some extremely talented all rounders. Players like Ben Stokes, Shane Watson, Keiron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Glenn Maxwell have been extremely important to their team, be it in the international tournaments or franchise cricket. 

But who is the Goat of cricket in all rounders?

A Collage of Jacques Kallis celebrating a century on the left, celebrating a wicket in the centre and taking a catch on the right

Credit: ICC, MyKhel, NDTV

When talking about the best all rounder in cricket history, there’s one person you can never look past, and there’s no one who’s going to debate this. The greatest is the South African legend, Jacques Kallis. 

Kallis played 166 Tests, 328 ODIs and 25 T20Is for South Africa, scoring over 25000 runs and taking over 550 wickets. He is the only player to have scored more than 10000 runs and taken more than 250 wickets in both Tests and ODIs. He has 62 international centuries and 292 Test wickets, an unimaginable feat. He also holds the record for the most catches by a non-wicketkeeper in Tests, with 200.

Having the ability to bat in any situation, bowl with pace and swing, and field superbly, Kallis was a complete cricketer. He was a pillar of stability for South Africa and his team's match-winner. He was the epitome of constancy, endurance, and excellence. He was a true GOAT and a living legend in the sport.

Best wicket keeper in the world:

Wicketkeeping is a very dynamic activity, you need to have lightning quick hands, be good at making strategies and be able to help the captain in setting fielding positions, and top of that, need to be an exceptional batsman which holds an entire team’s batting order together.

There are 4 names that everyone has in mind when talking about the best wicketkeeper of all time. Those three names are MS Dhoni, Adam Gilchrist, Mark Boucher, and Kumar Sangakkara. 


Test Dismissals

ODI Dismissals

T20 Dismissals


MS Dhoni





Mark Boucher





Adam Gilchrist





Kumar Sangakkara





MS Dhoni:

MS Dhoni takes the bail off the stumps to stump out a batsman

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MS Dhoni is not just one of the best ever wicket keepers, but also one of the best cricketers of all time. He is Team India’s most respected, loved and successful captain in history, winning both, the ICC ODI and T20 World Cups and the Champions Trophy as the captain. His total tally in all time wicketkeeping dismissals in international matches stands at 294 in tests, 444 in ODIs and 91 in T20Is. 

Mark Boucher:

Mark Boucher walks around the ground in his wicket keeping kit

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Mark Boucher is a former South African cricketer who was considered one of the best wicketkeeper-batsman of all time. He holds the record for the most dismissals ever by a wicketkeeper (532 Catches and 23 stumpings) in Test cricket and was the first wicketkeeper in the world to reach 400 dismissals in test cricket. His outstanding career behind the stumps and ability as a batsman make him the world No.1 wicketkeeper to date.

Adam Gilchrist:

Adam Gilchrist squats to his wicket keeping position behind the stumps

Credit: BBC

Adam Gilchrist is regarded as one of the greatest batsmen and the world’s best wicketkeeper.  He has 379 catches and 37 stumpings in tests, 417 catches and 55 stumpings in ODIs, and 17 catches in T20Is.  He is one of only three players in test cricket history to hit 100 sixes. He redefined power hitting with his six hitting ability. 

Kumar Sangakkara:

Kumar Sangakkara stump outs a batsman by taking off the bails off the stump

Credit: Cricindeed

Kumar Sangakkara is one of the best wicketkeepers the Sri Lanka cricket team has ever had. He has 182 catches & 20 stumpings in Test and 402 catches & 99 stumpings in ODIs and 45 scalps in T20Is. Sangakkara is the 2nd highest scorer in ODI history and holds the most dismissals in ODI by a wicketkeeper. He led Sri Lanka to several World Cup finals making him an exceptional captain.

But who is the Goat of cricket in wicketkeeping?

Though MS Dhoni’s wicketkeeping stats are not as good as Mark Boucher’s and his total runs tally not near Sangakkara’s, there is no one that can disagree that MS Dhoni is the greatest wicketkeeper of all time. The impact he had on the Indian Cricket Team and the success he brought to the country cannot be understated. Also, Dhoni batted in the lower middle order for a major chunk of his career, so he only played the role of a finisher, so it is evident that his batting stats are not as glamorous as Sangakkara’s. 

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Picking the best batsmen, bowlers, all-rounders, and wicket-keepers in cricket is really tough of the ever evolving nature of the sport. People have different opinions on who's the greatest. Some like old-time players like Bradman and Sobers, while others prefer modern ones like Tendulkar, Warne, or Stokes. It all depends on who you like to watch. So, the debate keeps going, and that's what makes cricket fun and interesting.

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