Legendary Australia spinner Shane Warne recently disclosed his top 10 greatest batsmen that he has seen or shared a ground with or against. In his column for the Herald Sun, Warne gave a detailed insight and reasoning for picking these 10 great batters among so many.
The 48-year-old kept aside inarguably the greatest batsman ever, Sir Don Bradman from the discussion by stating that, “The Don stands indisputably as the measure by which all batsmen are judged. He is so far ahead of the pack that we have to put him to one side when we run a rule over those who have excelled with blade in hand.”
Elaborating about the batsmen whom he ranked a notch below than Don Bradman, Warne put West Indies’ Master Blaster Sir Vivian Richards at the pinnacle citing that he is simply the best batsman since mid-70s, followed by another West Indian batting genius Brian Lara and then the Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar. The others who make it to the list are AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, Ricky Ponting.
“The best batsmen since the mid-70s in my opinion is Viv Richards — the Master Blaster is my No.1 followed by fellow West Indian superstar Brian Lara, then the Little Master Sachin Tendulkar along with the graceful and elegant Greg Chappell. Beneath this quartet is a group of more great modern-day players in Jacques Kallis, Ricky Ponting, Graham Gooch, Allan Border and AB de Villiers.,” Warne wrote.
Among the modern day batsmen, Shane rated Steve Smith and Virat Kohli ahead of others. However, he made it clear that there is still a hole in Indian captain’s CV since he hasn’t proved his mettle in the swinging conditions of England yet while his counterpart Smith has plundered runs in all the tough conditions – be it in England, Australia or in the turning tracks of the subcontinent.
“To me Steve Smith is the best Test batsman in the world. Virat Kohli is the best across all three formats of the game, but across five days, Steve Smith is the man. The hole in Kohli’s CV on the Test match stage is in England and the pressure is on the fiery but very likeable Indian to carry over some double-ton magic from home soil to that country when his team tours next year,” wrote Warne.
“Steve Smith has made 200 in England, he’s now got a double ton at the WACA and he’s made big hundreds in India. So in the three toughest environments to perform, he’s done it and hasn’t he done it well, too. Smith is not as destructive as a Vivvy Richards — there hasn’t been anyone who is — he is more of a quiet assassin. It’s death by a thousand cuts,” he further quoted.
Furthermore, the spin king pointed out that there is no visible weakness in Steve Smith’s game whereas Virat gives the impression of being a little tentative in the off stump corridor.
“I actually think Kohli is easier to bowl to than Smith. With Virat you can plan to bowl around that off stump and he will be tempted to have a little play, but Smith will leave the ball there all day. He’ll make you bowl to him,” Warne remarked.
Shane Warne’s list of top 10 batsmen:
1. Sir Viv Richards
2. Brian Lara
3. Sachin Tendulkar
4. Greg Chappell
5. Ricky Ponting
6. Allan Border
7. Jacques Kallis
8. Graham Gooch
9. AB de Villiers
10. Steve Smith/Virat Kohli