Is Sachin Tendulkar the Best Batsman Ever?

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Can We Declare Sachin the Best Batsman Ever and Place Him in Higher Esteem than Don Bradman?

We can certainly consider it…

“Better than Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting, the other two great players of my era. Better than Sir Viv Richards, Sunil Gavaskar and Allan Border. And I would even say better than Sir Don Bradman himself.”

Nasser Hussain

Four days on and the main subject of discussion amongst cricket commentators, bloggers and fans alike is Sachin Tendulkar’s momentous feat of scoring a double hundred in a one day international. The Little Master’s 93rd international hundred has reignited debate as to his position in the batting pantheon with the inevitable question being whether he is greater than The Don himself. Passions are certainly running high and opinion seems to be fairly evenly split.

Bradman, Tendulkar and Warne

Last summer, like many other cricket lovers before me, I wrote an article naming who in my opinion were the top 20 batsman of all time (see greatest batsman of all time positions 11-20 and the greatest batsmen of all time positions 10-1 here). As an amateur historian, I combined the knowledge gained from 30 years as a cricket follower, plus research encompassing both primary and secondary sources before arriving at my choice. I added several caveats explaining that it is extremely difficult to compare batsmen from different eras and that the game had changed and evolved throughout its wonderful history. I also based my choices primarily on test cricket given that the first ODI was in 1971 and that tests always have been the best barometer of a batsman’s true quality.

Bradman came top of my list with Tendulkar 11th, which naturally provoked a lot of criticism and ire from those that read it both in and outside India; especially as I had ranked both Ponting and Lara higher than the Little Master. Whilst I believe I was right in most of the choices within my top 20, I believe I may have erred somewhat in placing Tendulkar outside the top 10. Let me explain…

However, this post is not about revising my previous choice, but a contrary one that suggests that comparing the two is perhaps unnecessary. Is it not better to merely argue that as Bradman was the greatest in his era, Sachin is the greatest in his? 93 international centuries spread over a 20 year career suggests he is and I belatedly concur that he shades Ponting and Lara for this accolade.

Comparisons with Bradman are difficult. Bradman played on sticky dogs but had more latitude with the LBW laws prior to 1934 and only faced one other team (England, against whom The Don still averaged 89.78) that was really competitive against Australia. But at the same time, Bradman played at the same time as a number of other all-time batting greats like Hobbs, Hammond, Sutcliffe, Headley, Ponsford and McCabe and averaged at least 40 runs more than any of them. Like Sachin, every time he went to the crease he had the additional pressure of a nation’s expectations sitting on his shoulder, albeit far less than the billion souls perched along Tendulkar’s collarbone.

Maybe it is simply better to celebrate the many similarities between the two. Both have faced down and bettered the best bowlers of their time, whether it be pace (Ambrose, Wasim and McGrath versus Larwood and Bedser) or spin (Warne and Murali against Verity). Furthermore, both have achieved milestones in the game that will never be equalled. No other batsman will ever get close to Bradman’s immortal 99.94, but at the same time no other batsman is likely to score 100 international hundreds, which the Indian Master will probably achieve in the next 18 months; maybe fittingly in the 2011 World Cup Final?

I’ve come to the conclusion that debates as to who is the greater between Bradman and Tendulkar are irrelevant and basically a waste of time. It is time for cricket followers to just celebrate that two such legends have played this wonderful game of ours. A place on the Mount Olympus cricket field is there for both of them. Bradman believed that Tendulkar reminded him of himself and that is maybe a good place to leave this particular argument.

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  1. says

    I was amaze by the ignorance of one great player of this era. who would be surpass as best allrounder soon. Jack Kallis. What about no. of runs score (in odi & test) average. Centuries etc. Great player inspire other too also be great. sachin inspire shewag, Dravid, Ganguly. Where lara stand in this regards? If u compare technique, adaptability, come out from weakneses, improving the method, changing the gear (from defence to attaching or vice versa),Changing the technique according to demand, environment & situation. There is no compare to tendulkar in this era. If runs is the criteria than tendulkar would be ahead than ricky and lara. Mr David. How u compare and analyse these player ricky,lara & tendulkar please send me list.

  2. says

    if u compare vivian vs shewag u find shewag is more devastating than vivian, I seen both playing.test match avg. 53 strike rate 89 vivian test match avg 50 shewage odi strike rate 103 vivian odi strike rate 90. He was underestimated becouse of other great in the same team. tendulkar, dravid. Only the big difference is Vivian was fearless while shewage is wholesome entertainer.

  3. sachin rattu says

    sachin tendulkar is the best batsment to have ever lived…he plays with the pressure of all the indian fans who with no doubt are the best supports of world cricket. The people in india see Sachin ( the little master) as the next thing to God..He plays with honesty like no other batsment…he will walk if hes out…in the field he is amazing, he has kept fit for over 20years and the way he plays is just amazing. nobody will ever fill in Sachin Tendulkars Boots!!! NEVER…And i say that with the biggest smile on my face!! Sachin Tendulkar…My Idol…You Little Genius!!! CASE CLOSED.

  4. Sohel says

    No doubt about that Sachin Tendulkar is the greatest batsman in the world.

    He holds maximum number of world records and as day progresses he will reach untouchable stage.

    If you can try to break that.

    If anyone can he will be the greatest batsman in the world.

  5. Sreejith says

    For you to think average shows how good a player is den bradman averages 0 in ODI’s since he never played so does that mean he is not good.bradman dint face reverse swing the doosra..two best spinners in wartne and murali..and u call him d best…

  6. Sreejith says

    clearly u dont know your game..being express fast doesnt mean its scary…try to face a swinging delivery or an accurate yorker from lasith would have been interesting to see if vivian richards could smash those..andsmashins the faster bowlers alone doesnt do justice the spinners are der not just to fill in the spots..

  7. Sreejith says

    hey you missed out that he was the first person to smash mendis the so called mystery bowler..and also you missed dale stey probably the best bowler around and he has also countered the sling action of malinga…

  8. Ajinkya says

    ohh….wat hell abt avrg after playing 20yrs
    Hav a luk at 99* centuries,
    U making a joke out of ur self by replying such non sense words

  9. Ajinkya says

    grt obsrvation
    U play d game to win a match for ur team….. Dat requires a bit sense
    Sachin plays less risky shots, dats bcoz he wanna make sure his team reaches d score target rathr dan to murder some 1 on d field.
    Play d game to win d game

  10. Ajinkya says

    mind u…
    Der will b no other sachin EVER
    not only saying in respect to record(whch r untouchable) but also in respect to a fair play game (unlike ponting) n humbelness in behaviour n importantly

  11. Ajinkya says

    just ans me one question
    Who else is d batsman leving sachin
    That world xpects a 100 every single match he cums out to bat.?

    A citizen of india only knows wat pressure we all put wen he holds dat bat, prepares his crease, grounds dat bat n redy to face any any fast, medium, spin bowlr.

    Leav it or cement it dat
    No one is ever close to wat sachin has to fulfill for his country, team n if sumthng remains den for himself

  12. David Siddall says

    Thanks for the top 5 Rishi. I’m sure Sobers and Richards are worthy too…

  13. says

    i have been a left arm fast bowler,left hand opener and top order batsmen in my club.i have a record of 179 runs and 82 wickets in my one has got this record but i have never seen a batsman like sachin ramesh tendulkar and sunil gavaskar.the 2 are my favourite batsmen ever in my life

  14. jim says

    I liked to have seen Bradman face the bowlers and biased umpires that Tendulkar has, also Bradman played against weak teams and a poor England team.

    It is absolute 100% true Tendulkar is the greatest bat of all time, Bradman would have averaged 45 at best in the modern game.

  15. mangesh raj says

    bot r great,bcz v cnt compr tem,if v say tat sir don playd in similr condin n against only 1 n2 team,ten wat wrng vit tat,bcz condin ter for bating r 2dificlt in england,west indias n aus,bcs of boncy n gracy pitch,n ter alwys hv benefit 2bowler nt for batsmen,as compar 2 tat asian pitch r dry n bowl cm 2 d bat vry easily,hench easy for bating,

    nt only don hv bst averag bt also strik rat he had maintan 2 gud,

    he playd less cricket as compar 2 sachin so som say tat tats y hi avr, is best bt tes peopl 1st luk d records of his first clas cricket ten u cn kno d wat kind of playr he had?

    bt our master blaster sachin tendulkar hv such records tat no playr hv tat ability 2 brk al d records of him,.,,he has no weakes,
    n 2 mch records,he is d legent of cricket,

    so bot(sir don bradmen n sachin tendulkar)
    r belongs frm difrnt generation so v cnt compar tat,bot r vry vry great.,.,.

  16. Sujith says

    Tendulkar has and will always be a legend both on and off the field. But, to say that he is the greatest ever is over the top because first of all it is futile to compare players from different eras as each geenration of players have the benefits of improved equipment, technology and facilities. In the modern era, Tendulkar is definitely right up there in the top three. But, I would rate Dravid higher when it comes to reliability and dependability. Dravid may not possess the elegance of Tendulkar but is graceful in his own way and a lot more consistent.

  17. says

    Sachin probably played his best innings in 90’s. When i was kid he was my superstar and i got no doubts he is greatest batsmen ever in the history of the game

  18. sreejith says

    yes tendulkar is the master of cricket.No doubt.from the 90s to 2008 he was he back bone of team he is the back bone ,but we have other quality players too.But no one can be like sachin.

  19. Anil Mohan says

    Nasser Hussain compared the abilities of maestro with some average players(comparing to Tendiya) like Lara and Ponting and placed him at 11 th.It could either be the display of everlasting aversion of Englishmen shown towards the Indians,who were once their slaves or he might have been drunk while preparing the article.Hussain himself a cricketer and the interesting thing is that if i am asked to compare Hussain and Tendiya i would instantly replay that such comparison is meaningless since tendiya is the best player cricket has ever produced and the other is just a below par player from some country.

  20. Graham says

    Tendulkas 100 centuries consist of 51 tests and 48 odi’s. wait a minute ODI’s were not even thought of in Bradmans day.Of his 51 tests, 10 were against Shri Lank 5 against Bangladesh and 2 against Pakastan. playing the years he has played , yes, surely the centuries will follow especially if your playing mostly against Asian and 2nd tier countries. To be called “world ” master is a gross overstatement where as his title should be(if one is needed) Asian champion. lets stick to world facts and not Asian facts. Maybe the true value of his worth would be put in proper prospective. ranking him as 11th best is a true indication of world standings and not Asian

  21. Graham says

    Lets get facts right, he is overratede as a world champion as he has only got 51 “test” centuries against Asian and 2 nd tier cricket countries taking a large portion of those 51.Call him Asian champion and Ill agree and as far as rating him 11 in the world, would be a true rating for the world and not asain

  22. says

    I am sure that Sachin is the greatest cricketer but I dont know how Don Bradman played.But I am sure that Sachin is a better cricketer than Ponting and Lara.Still I am aViru fan

  23. ravindra kumar says

    SACHIN is the best batsman ever everyone has one has better technichue than him

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