Six of the most dangerous batsmen in the history of cricket
With the evolution of the sport into shorter and shorter versions to please the impatient senses of the new generation, cricket is now widely regarded as a batsman’s game. It is no longer about enduring resilience at the crease and now bowlers with an economy of even seven per over are deemed respectable!
Here we look at six of the most dangerous batsmen in the history of the game. Men who were not simply geniuses but such hard-hitters of the ball that bowlers would always give a second thought before bowling to them in any format of the game.
Sir Vivian Richards
Hailing all the way from St. John’s, Antigua, Sir Viv Richards was the youngest child of his family. After being inspired by his elder siblings to take up the game, he joined Rising Sun Cricket Club where he kept on playing until the call to the Promised Land of fame arrived.
Under the coaching of Len Creed, Richards started playing for Lansdown CC in Bath. In order to allow him some financial leeway, Richards was allowed to play as the assistant to the head groundsman, John Heyward. He also shared his flat with Ian Botham and Dennis Breakwell before making his debut for Somerset CCC.
In a very short span of time after arriving on the international scene, he went on to score an unbeaten 192 against India in New Delhi which made the West Indian cricket board believe that he was a strong contender for opening in the longer formats of the game.
He then propelled West Indies to a World Cup triumph in the very first edition of the 50 over game. Not just playing the role of a phenomenal batsman, but demonstrating his fielding flair when getting all three of Alan Turner, Ian Chappell and Greg Chapell run out in the 1975 World Cup.
In the year that followed, Richards wreaked havoc as he went on to smash 7 tons out of the 11 tests that he played, averaging an astonishing 90.00 throughout. He totted up a total of 1710 runs in that very year.
Owing to his scintillating batting prowess, he was handed the captaincy in 1984. With such a towering presence, he always led his squad from the front. Not only was he an adept opener, but he was also a destructive finisher. He single-handedly could steer matches away from the jaws of defeat.
Such was the magnitude of his greatness that in protest of him being removed from Somerset, World Cup-winning English captain, Ian Botham stepped down from the club and joined Worcestershire. Like Botham, Sir Viv is now a pundit as well and having been one of the most dangerous batsmen in cricketing history, punditry is like a cakewalk for him.
Known as Haydos amongst his teammates, the Australian southpaw has been a destructor -in-chief for any team and any format that he has ever played. The first batsman to use the newly introduced Mongoose bat in the Indian Premier League, he went on to smash everything that was thrown at him.
Averaging at 54 in domestic cricket, he plundered 8831 runs for Queensland in Sheffield Shield. His legacy continued throughout a spell at Hampshire and then on to the captaincy at Northamptonshire.
When he finally retired from the county championship scene, he did so with astonishing figures of 24,603 runs at an average of 52.
After blasting 549 runs against India in a Test series, an Australian record, he became an automatic pick for Baggy Greens.
From 2001 to 2005, he scored more than 1000 runs each and every year, a rare feat in cricket.
Hayden was one of the three Australian batsmen to surpass Sir Don Bradman’s 29-centuries mark, while the other two were Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh.
Hayden was a perfect blend of swagger and destruction when it came to batting. With the most successful opening partnership in one-day internationals alongside Adam Gilchrist, he was a rock in the Australian batting. Before hanging up his boots, he racked up 6133 runs from 161 matches at an average of 45.
His blistering knocks for Chennai Super Kings made him one of the most dangerous batsmen in Indian Premier League alongside the tag of one of the most dangerous batsman in the world.
And to top it all off, before calling it a day in T-20s he made it to the Cricinfo World T20 XI. Not a bad way to sign off eh?
When Glenn McGrath calls you the toughest batsman in the world, you know you’re a bit special. And that was the description the Aussie fast bowler gave to Sri Lanka batsman Santa Jayasuriya.
We are talking about the Sri Lankan captain who took the onus of leading a revolution in one day cricket by changing the entire approach of the game.
In cricket, it was a tradition to let the momentum grow gradually, while Jayasuriya started resorting to the aerial routes with maximum fielders limited to the circle in the first fifteen overs of ODI cricket and the outcome was fantastic.
Jayasuriya held the record of the highest individual test knock scored by any Sri Lankan. He smashed 340 in a record partnership of 576 runs with Roshan Mahanama against India.
Such was the scale of his carnage and havoc, that he went on to smash the fastest half-century which only took him 17 deliveries, the fastest century by a Sri Lankan which took him 48 deliveries and the fastest 150 which took him 95 deliveries. His fastest 50’s record was beaten by AB de Villiers.
Jayasuriya also held the record for the highest number of sixes until Shahid Afridi took over the mantle in the Asian Cup 2010.
Another name that needs little introduction. Most batsman grow increasingly cautious as they approach a century. The so-called “nervous nineties” reducing some of the greatest to quivering wrecks. Not so Virender Sehway. On most occasions, he loved nothing more than launching the bowler into the stands to reach the Promised Land.
After breaking his tooth while playing cricket as a kid, the career of India’s most dangerous batsman was on the stake as his dad imposed a ban on his cricket. However, a mother’s love is God’s personal gift to every child and Sehwag was back to the game.
Sehwag’s heydays started in the domestic circuit itself when he went on to smash the highest individual score of 274 in an innings in Duleep Trophy, a record which still stands today.
His career soared to the sky for Delhi and with noteworthy consistency and some deadly batting that wreaked havoc in the bowling community of India, the selectors decided to sneak a peek.
Scoring a 60-ball century, he bettered his own fastest century and his 22-ball half-century is the second-fastest in the course of One Day cricket.
His ICC tournament exploits are even more remarkable than the other frays. In the ICC Champions Trophy 2002, he went on to smash 271 runs at an average of 90 which included a huge century against England to set up a comprehensive victory.
Despite glaring inconsistencies, Sehwag’s pyrotechnics always kept him lined up in the national side. With a moderate average, Sehwag’s scoring rate is 103, which is the second-best in World Cricket until now. Afridi holds the ace but with a far poorer average.
With the magnitude of destruction, Sehwag had up his sleeves, he was the most obvious pick for one-dayers and T-20s, however, he turned into a beast in the longest incarnation of the game. With two triple-centuries next to his name, he racked up 8586 runs in Test Cricket at a staggering average of 49.
His record of five consecutive half-centuries in IPL is still untouched.
Abraham Benjamin de Villiers
An established hockey player, a wonderful musician, and most notably one of the most destructive batsman of the past decade, AB de Villiers is a man of serious talent.
Think of almost any batting record and AB will put it down in front of you. With his dexterity to smash the ball around in any given direction, irrespective of his right-hand stance, won him the name Mr 360 and his stellar fielding abilities made him the Superman in cricket.
His meteoric rise to stardom began in 2008 when he started smashing big knocks which included an imperious double-century against India, a brilliant 174 against England followed by a decorated 94 in the next test.
His sails caught wind when his match-winning century helped South Africa chase a mammoth total of 414 and win it with six wickets to spare. Post this he never seemed to relent and continued with his brutal assault against the bowlers at free will.
After a rise through the rungs of the ladder, de Villiers won over the captaincy of the One Day team as Gary Kirsten deemed it fit for the destructor to continue with his carnage but as a leader.
In 2015, the world bore witness to the obliteration of the bowlers in broad daylight as he went on to smash the quickest half-century which only took him 16 deliveries and also the fastest century in One Day cricket scoring it off just 31 deliveries and finally coming to an end at 159 off just 44 deliveries. This entire tempest happened in a matter of only 59.5 minutes.
The following World Cup saw the most destructive apparition of AB as he went on to score 482 runs at an average of 96 and with a strike rate of 144.
His heroics in the tournament won him the pole position in ICC ODI Batting rankings and the third position in the ICC Test batting rankings.
As they say that you must hang your boots at your prime as there is no better time to say goodbye, de Villiers stunned the world by doing just that. On 23rd may, AB decided to bring a close to his prolific career with 22 test centuries and 25 one day centuries to his name.
Christopher Henry Gayle instilled fear in the hearts of the best bowlers of the game. With relentless aggression, the West Indian dispatched the ball into all corners of the park.
From an early age, Gayle showed all the signs of the marauding destructor he would become, however he regularly came unstuck and was ailing in the batting ranks of West Indies. It was not until a series against India during which he hit three blistering centuries, that he truly announced his arrival on the international stage.
His triple-century against South Africa made him the first batsman to ever achieve the feat and his tally remained the highest score against the Proteas in an individual innings until it was surpassed by Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene.
With 42 centuries to his name, Gayle managed to bag 10,480 runs through his ODI career and 7215 runs in his Test career at an average of 37.83 and 42.19 respectively. But it is undoubtedly in the shortest format of the game that he has excelled the most. In T20 competition, he has the ability to single handedly take the match away from any opponent.