Wednesday, November 26

Best of Cricket

Sachin Tendulkar

Profile of Sachin Tendulkar
Full Name: Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar
Born: April 24, 1973 in Mumbai, India
Batting Style : Right-hand Batsman
Bowling Style : Right-arm Off Break and Leg Break Bowler
Test Debut : Pakistan v India at Karachi – Nov. 15-20, 1989
ODI Debut : Pakistan v India at Gujranwala – Dec. 18, 1989

Often referred to as a living cricketing legend, Sachin Tendulkar is one the best cricketers the world has even seen. Sachin is regarded as the greatest batsman in the world today, holding several batting records to his name. Till date he has scored 35 Test and 40 ODI centuries, surpassing even the Test records of legendary cricketers like Sir Don Bradman, Sunil Gavaskar and Allan Border. Sachin Tendulkar was just 15 years and 232 days when he made his Test debut against Pakistan on 15 November 1989 at the National Stadium at Karachi. Though Sachin could score only 15 runs in first inning, he impressed the cricketing world with his strong determination and desire to dominate the opposition.
Sachin Tendulkar is an stylish right-hand batsman and right-hand bowler, and when his bat is on song the whole cricketing world comes to his feet. He is renowned for his flawless batting techniques and has enthralled his fans with many a great innings in the 17 years that he has played cricket. He was also chosen to lead the Indian cricket team twice without much success, and so preferred to concentrate on his batting. At 33 ½, Sachin Tendulkar is still going strong and is a regular member of Indian Test and ODI squad. In all probabilities, Sachin Tendulkar will be part of Indian squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 in West Indies.
Sachin's Cricket Records
Batting Records
Runs Scored
Batting Averages
Highest Score
Bowling Records
Balls Overs Bowled
Bowling Average
Best Bowling

Andrew Flintoff

Profile of Andrew Flintoff
Full Name: Andrew Flintoff
Born: December 6, 1977 in Lancashire, England
Batting Style Right-handed batsman
Bowling Style Right-arm fast
Test Debut South Africa vs. England at Nottingham – July 23-27, 1998
ODI Debut Pakistan vs. England at Nairobi – April 7, 1999

Freddie, as Andrew Flintoff is better known as, is cricket’s most incisive all-rounder at present. Touted to be in the league of the inimitable Ian Botham, Flintoff has more than lived up expectations.
In the 2005 Ashes series against Australia, Andrew Flintoff scored 402 runs and claimed 24 wickets to take England to the greatest Ashes victory in history. His all-round performance was so bedazzling that the soccer-fanatic England is said to have given up on Premiership matches to watch cricket on their television sets!
Despite being in the team for quite some time, eternal glory always eluded Andrew Flintoff. However, things seemed to have changed of late. He is now regarded as the key player in England team, especially from the World Cup point of view.
Tall and powerful, Flintoff exudes might – both, through his game and personality. Standing tall at six feet four inches, he generates bowling speeds of 90mph, stunning the classiest of batsmen with his reverse swinging deliveries. His accuracy and extraordinary talent as a seamer have made him a fearful bowler in the England World Cup squad.
Despite having been through a number of injuries, Andrew Flintoff has been self-motivated; always coming back with a bang. England’s selection committee has headed to Freddie whenever the chips have been down, and he has responded brilliantly.
Apart from his flair and efficiency, there is a peculiar charisma about Andrew Flintoff. Add to it the dash of glamour he arouses by virtue of his handsomeness and aggression on field, and you get one of the most loved pin-up boys of modern day cricket.
Playing in 127 ODIs, Andrew Flintoff has scored about 3,090 runs and claimed 146 wickets. His powerful strokeplay in the middle order have made him one of the most dreaded batsmen in the world. Flintoff has also captained England for a while, and has impressed with credible results in his short stint at the helm.

Brett Lee

Profile of Brett Lee
Full Name: Brett Lee
Born: November 8, 1976 in New South Wales, Australia
Batting Style Right-handed batsman
Bowling Style Right-arm fast
Test Debut India vs. Australia at Melbourne – December 26-30, 1999
ODI Debut Pakistan vs. Australia at Brisbane – January 9, 2000

The fastest bowler in international cricket, Brett Lee has carried forward Australia’s glorious legacy of pace bowlers. Despite being marred by several injuries and accusations with regard to his bowling style, Lee has managed to carve a niche for himself and is one of the key players in Australian team at present.
Brett Lee’s consistency has never been in the same league as that of a Glenn McGrath or Shaun Pollock; nonetheless, he has struck at the right time for his team. Lee boasts of having a wide array of deliveries that are all capable of stunning the world’s leading batsmen. Many a times, he has made the classiest of strokemakers seem like lesser mortals. Truly speaking, his bowling is rhythmic and awe-inspiring.
Brett Lee has often been described as the most suave and stylish cricketers of recent times. Lead guitarist of a pop band known as ‘Six and Out’, Lee brings with him a euphoria that stays on with you long after he has conquered impregnable terrains. The way he jumps high in the air after claiming a wicket has made picture perfect for numerous news channels and newspapers. Brett Lee has girls swooning over his hair style, his audacity and above all, his charisma.
As a bowler, Brett Lee can bowl the destructive yorker, stupefying the batsman completely. From nowhere, he can come up with a slower ball or an outswinger that leaves batsmen almost grasping for breath. Above all, his sledging, and frantic looks at batsmen have made him a dreaded seamer. As a batsman, Brett Lee can be a dangerous proposition lower down the order. His uncanny shots at the hour of need have led Australia to numerous victories
Since his ODI debut in 2000, Brett Lee has claimed 296 wickets in 168 matches. In 65 Test matches, Lee has scalped 271wickets with an economy rate of 3.48. With age on his side, he has all the opportunities of making it to the all-time greats’ list.

Chaminda Vaas

Profile of Chaminda Vaas
Full Name: Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushantha Joseph Chaminda Vaas
Born: January 27, 1974 in Mattumagala, Sri Lanka
Batting Style : Left-handed batsman
Bowling Style :Left-arm fast-medium
Test Debut : Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka at Kandy – August 26-28, 1994 
ODI Debut : India vs. Sri Lanka at Rajkot – February 15, 1994

Chaminda Vaas can easily be the most inconspicuous players in the Sri Lankan cricket team. But, when it comes to new-ball bowling, he is counted amongst the best in the world. Incisive and out of the ordinary, Vaas has scripted numerous victories for his side
Despite being subjected to flat pitches in the subcontinent, Chaminda Vaas has mastered the art of wicket-taking. As a pace bowler, he has been remarkably consistent and rarely out of the national team. During the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 in West Indies, he will be instrumental in shaping Lankans’ fortunes
Chaminda Vaas boasts of having a wide array of bowling styles in his repertoire. His off-cutters, reverse-swings, and late in-dippers have deceived the best of batsmen, making him highly credible as the spearhead of Sri Lanka’s bowling attack. After spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan, he is the country’s most successful bowler.
Chaminda Vaas is a sincere batsman, chipping in with well-timed 20s at the hour of need. It is this sincerity that makes him one of the key players in Sri Lankan team for World Cup 2007.
Featuring in 290 one-dayers, Chaminda Vaas has taken 370 wickets at an economy rate of 4.20. His credentials in longer version of the game are equally laudable – 313 wickets in 96 Test matches. As a seamer, Vaas is virtually irreplaceable. His contribution and form will stand Sri Lanka in good stead at the ninth edition of World Cup.

Mark Boucher

Profile of Mark Boucher
Full Name: Mark Verdon Boucher
Born: December 3, 1976 in Cape Province, South Africa
Batting Style Right-handed wicketkeeper batsman
Bowling Style Right-arm medium
Test Debut Pakistan vs. South Africa at Sheikhupura – October 17-21, 1997
ODI Debut New Zealand vs. South Africa at Perth – January 16, 1998

South Africa’s rise in international cricket is unthinkable without the presence of the inimitable Mark Boucher. A wicketkeeper-batsman par excellence, Boucher has shot to fame within no time, because of his matchless skills and zest for the game of cricket.
After Dave Richardson’s retirement from international cricket, Mark Boucher was included in the national side as his replacement. The shoes he had to fit in were too big for him. But, Boucher did not disappoint the selectors. He proved his mettle as a ‘keeper and batsman from the word Go. Over the years, he has become an indispensable part of the South African team.
A middle order batsman, who usually comes in at Number Five or Six, Mark Boucher is adept at clever strokeplay and is capable of stunning the best of bowling attacks. Apart from a few exceptions, consistency has been Boucher’s forte. He has taken to situations like fish to water. He has displayed exemplary pinch hitting in case of urgencies, and has also played consolidated innings when asked to. It is this adaptability that makes him an asset and a key player in South African team.
Mark Boucher has been selected in the South African World Cup squad to tour West Indies for the ninth edition of this world championship. Being one of the senior members in the team, he will have to play the role of a motivator and lead by example. His chirpiness and encouragement from behind the wickets will prompt South African bowlers into giving their best.
Mark Boucher’s career statistics make an interesting case study. In 263 ODIs, he has scored more than 4,098 runs at a strike-rate of 84. He has taken 368 catches and 18 stumpings. In 111 Tests, Mark Boucher has made more than 4,098 runs and taken 406 catches behind the wickets and 19 stumpings.

Muttiah Muralitharan

Profile of Muttiah Muralitharan
Full Name: Muttiah Muralitharan
Born: April 17, 1972 in Kandy, Sri Lanka
Batting Style Right-handed batsman
Bowling Style Right-arm off-break
Test Debut Australia vs. Sri Lanka at Colombo: August 28 – September 2, 1992
ODI Debut : India vs. Sri Lanka at Colombo -- August 12, 1993

Easily the best magician of spin bowling, Muttiah Muralitharan has had a life far from ordinary. Riddled by endless controversies about his style of bowling, his career has still managed to reach the summit of international cricket. Murali is undoubtedly one of the most successful cricketers in Sri Lanka.
Having made his debut in 1992, Muttiah Muralitharan has played 305 One-dayers, claiming 464 wickets at a phenomenal economy rate of 3.87. His record in Test matches is simply mind-boggling – 723 wickets in 118 Tests at an economy rate of 2.40. These statistics clearly indicate that Murali has been a key player in Sri Lankan team ever since his entry into the world of cricket
Time and again, the administrators of cricket have pounced on him with claims that his action was weird, and that he threw the ball. Muttiah Muralitharan has been subjected to numerous biomechanical tests to prove himself. Being an honest and dignified cricketer, he took all these issues in his stride and went ahead to prove his greatness through his bowling.
Many of Muttiah Muralitharan’s supporters have often criticized the International Cricket Council and its patriarchs for being prejudiced against him, because he was from the Asian community. The variety of bowling styles in Murali’s repertoire is simply incomparable to any other bowler of the world. His off-breaks, top-spinners, doosra, and flippers have zapped even the best of batsmen.

Ricky Ponting

Profile of Ricky Ponting
Full Name: Ricky Thomas Ponting
Born: December 19, 1974 in Tasmania, Australia
Batting Style Right-handed batsman
Bowling Style Right-arm medium
Test Debut Sri Lanka vs. Australia at Perth – December 8-11, 1995
ODI Debut South Africa vs. Australia at Wellington – February 15, 1995

The captain of Australian World Cup 2007 squad, Ricky Ponting is cricketing brilliance personified. A cricketer who was preferred over the likes of Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist to lead Australia after the retirement of Steve Waugh, Ponting has showed exemplary maturity in justifying his selection.
A marvelous batsman who has all shots from the book in his repertory, Ricky Ponting has proven to be one of the most successful captains of modern time. In the 2003 World Cup final against India, Ponting played a masterly 140 not out to take his team to the victory. Time and again, he has led Australia by example, coming up with brilliant performances at the hour of need.
As a captain, Ricky Ponting has been vociferous and always protective of his team. Keeping in legacy with Australian style of cricket, he has also mastered the art of sledging. The lowest point in his stint as a captain came when Australia suffered defeat at the hands of England in the Ashes 2005 series. However, Ricky Ponting did avenge this loss in the 2006 edition of the same series, by devastating England 5-0 at home.
In his 298 ODIs, Ricky Ponting has scored more than 11,026 runs at an average of 43.40. Despite being a middle order batsman, Ponting has a commendable strike-rate of about 80. Ricky Ponting’s team came into the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 in West Indies on a low note. They had suffered losses at the hands of both England and New Zealand in recent tournaments. And, for the first time in many years, they had been dethroned from the latest ICC Team Rankings. Their familiar spot at the summit of world cricket had been acceded to South Africa. During the World Cup, the onus of motivating Australia and bringing them back to winning ways was on Ricky Ponting.
His form has always been decisive for Australia’s fortunes.

Shaun Pollock

Profile of Shaun Pollock
Full Name: Shaun Maclean Pollock
Born: July 16, 1973 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Batting Style Right-handed batsman
Bowling Style Right-arm fast-medium
Test Debut England vs. South Africa at Centurion – November 16-20, 1995
ODI Debut England vs. South Africa at Cape Town – January 9, 1996

Coming from an illustrious family of cricketers, Shaun Pollock is one of the best new-ball bowlers of all time. Consistent and courageous, he has reached the summit of international cricket only because of his extraordinary talent and perseverance
The most hard working and consistent performer in South African World Cup squad, Shaun Pollock has seen both the highs and lows of a cricket career. Having stormed the world with his superb bowling performances, Pollock partnered the inimitable Allan Donald to form the most dreaded opening pair of bowlers in the game. His capability of moving the ball both ways has made him unpredictable and devastating. Another great thing about Shaun Pollock is his and stamina – he can bowl tirelessly, scaring the opposition with almost every delivery.
Shaun Pollock’s all-round skills have earned him greater respect in cricketing circles. At times of crisis, he has always managed to come up with scintillating shots that can put the best of batsmen to shame.
In the wake of the match-fixing scandal that rocked South Africa in 2000, Shaun Pollock was thrust on to captaincy, replacing the immortal Hansie Cronje. The onus of motivating a dispirited team came on to him. Although Pollock tried his best, he could not do enough to salvage lost pride.
After a humiliating performance at home during the 2003 World Cup, Shaun Pollock was sacked from captaincy, and replaced by the naive Graeme Smith. Since then, he has been doing fairly well for himself, just as a bowler. With a number of pacers joining the South African team of late, Pollock’s importance and wicket-taking ability seems to have dwindled. Nonetheless, he was a key player in South African team for World Cup 2007.
In 303 ODI matches, Shaun Pollock has claimed 393 wickets at an economy rate of 3.67. He also has about 3,519 One-day runs to his credit. In 108 Test matches, he has claimed 421 wickets and scored 3,781 runs.

Sourav Ganguly

Profile of Sourav Ganguly
Full Name: Sourav Chandidas Ganguly
Born: July 8, 1972 in Kolkata, India
Batting Style Left-handed batsman
Bowling Style Right-arm medium
Test Debut England vs. India at Lord’s – June 20-24, 1996
ODI Debut West Indies vs. India at Brisbane – January 11, 1992
The Prince of Kolkata, Sourav Ganguly has been considered as India’s most aggressive and successful captain. ‘Dada’ for his dear ones, Ganguly is also the country’s most controversial cricketer. Invariably, one of the greatest batsmen of all time, he was termed as the ‘God on the off-side’ by none other than his peer Rahul Dravid.
Ever since his debut in 1992, Sourav Ganguly has been in the eye of the storm on numerous occasions. His assertiveness both as a skipper and player has often earned him flak from other players and administrators.
A superb batsman, Sourav Ganguly has crafted some of the most scintillating knocks in world cricket, replete with stunning lofted sixes and admirable ground strokes. However, the only chink in his armor is the inability to play bouncers properly. Some have even cribbed about his lack of athleticism, which shows in his laxity while running between the wickets and fielding.
As a captain, Sourav Ganguly took Team India to unchartered terrains, packing long-overdue series wins in Australia and Pakistan. He has nurtured raw talents like Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, et al, taking them under his protective umbrella and fighting for them with selectors and critics. It was this resilience that won him the love of teammates.
A dispute over team selection with Coach Greg Chappell led to his sacking from captaincy, and eventually from the national team. However, Ganguly bounced back with renewed zest and passion for his favorite game. Coming after a hiatus of ten months, Ganguly has been performing commendably and in England, he was the second highest scorer in Tests. He also hit back-to-back hundreds against Pakistan at home, the second of which was a mammoth 239 in Bangalore.
Ganguly has scored 11363 runs with 22 centuries in 311 ODIs and claimed 100 wickets. In longer version of match, Ganguly has scored 6581 runs with 15 centuries in 103 Test matches.
Surprisingly, Ganguly was not included in India’s ODI squad for the CB Series in Australia.
The cricketing world is waiting with bated breath, in hope that Dada will encore the act of swinging his shirt around (like he did at the Lord’s balcony during the NatWest Series in 2004) – a scene immortalized as one of the best moments of Indian cricket.

Virender Sehwag

Profile of Virender Sehwag
Full Name: Virender Sehwag
Born: October 20, 1978 in Delhi, India
Batting Style Right-handed batsman
Bowling Style Right-arm off-break
Test Debut South Africa vs. India at Bloemfontein – November 3-6, 2001
ODI Debut Pakistan vs. India at Mohali – April 1, 1999

Virender Sehwag hails from Najafgarh, a small town on the outskirts of New Delhi, India. Ever since he was a child, Viru -- as Sehwag is lovingly known as – always dreamt of playing cricket for India. His biggest idol was the legendary Sachin Tendulkar. Thus, when Virender Sehwag got a chance to represent the Indian national cricket team, and open the innings along side his idol Tendulkar, it was more than a dream come true.
Virender Sehwag has often been compared to the inimitable Tendulkar. However, he has failed to live up to promises by gifting away his wicket on innumerable occasions. When on song, Viru can be a devastating batsman with a wide assortment of swashbuckling strokes.
The biggest weakness in Virender Sehwag’s batting is the lack of technique, because of which he fails to compile a long innings. His loopy off spinners have bailed India out of trouble in a lot of matches. He comes in from nowhere, takes that all-important wicket, and helps the team save a game. But, these blink-and-miss appearances as a batsman have often landed him in trouble with selectors, especially for inclusion in One-dayers. Viru is also a sound fielder and safe catcher in the slips.
In spite of all this, Virender Sehwag had been given a berth in the Indian World Cup 2007 squad.
In 183 ODIs, Virender Sehwag has scored more than 5,312 runs at an average of 31. He also has eight centuries to his credit. His audacity was best displayed when he hit a six to reach the score of 300 runs during a Test match against Pakistan at Multan in 2004. As a bowler, Viru has claimed 77 and 18 ODI and Test wickets respectively.


Profile of Inzamam-ul-Haq
Full Name: Inzamam-ul-Haq
Born: : on March 3, 1970 in Multan, Pakistan
Batting Style Right-handed batsman
Bowling Style Slow Left-arm orthodox
Test Debut England vs. Pakistan at Birmingham – June 4-8, 1992
ODI Debut West Indies vs. Pakistan at Lahore – November 22, 1991

Inzamam-ul-Haq’s name is synonymous with class and subtlety. Also known as Inzy, he captained Pakistan team between 2003 and 2007. After the 2007 World Cup debacle, he announced his retirement from international cricket.
He went on to joining the unofficial Indian Cricket League (ICL). In the inaugural 2007 competition, Inzamam was captain of the Hyderabad Heroes. He scored 141 runs in 5 matches. In competition, which is due to start, Inzamam will captain the Lahore Badshahs which has only Pakistani players.
Given his powerful physique, the sublime touch that Inzamam brings to his batting is simply unbelievable. He is capable of playing all shots in the book, and that too with unmatched ease and élan.
When Inzamam-ul-Haq is on song, the opposition can do nothing but run helter-skelter in hope of stopping him. Fielders are made to run to all sides of the ground – they may get tired after a while; but not Inzy! He can go on and on, playing the best of shots from his vast repertory.
The only chink in Inzamam-ul-Haq’s batting armor has been his running between the wickets. He is known to be one of the slowest cricketers on the field. And, as a result, holds the record for highest number of run-outs!
Inzamam-ul-Haq has often been accused of being lax in the field. And, critics have often claimed that his lackadaisical approach puts off his teammates. Nonetheless, he makes up for this ‘laxity’ by his superb batting. The runs that he fails to save are more or less made up for during his stint on crease.
Inzamam-ul-Haq is easily Pakistan’s best batsman after Javed Miandad. He has mastered the art of building an innings, while coming down the order. In case of dire situations, he has often rampaged bowlers of great repute, making them look like novices.
As a captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq has shown good results. The Pakistan team has conquered uncharted territories under him, and he has always managed to motivate them, in his own unique manner.
Inzamam-ul-Haq has scored 11,739 runs in 378 One-day internationals. He has 10 centuries and 85 half-centuries to his credit – a proof of his selfless contribution to Pakistan cricket.

Adam Gilchrist

Profile of Adam Gilchrist
Full Name: Adam Craig Gilchrist
Born: November 14, 1971 in New South Wales, Australia
Batting Style Left-handed batsman
Bowling Style Right-arm offbreak
Fielding Position: Wicketkeeper
Test Debut Pakistan vs. Australia at Brisbane – November 5-9, 1999
ODI Debut South Africa vs. Australia at Faridabad – October 25, 1996

Adam Gilchrist’s name is synonymous with exhilaration and passion, as far as the game of cricket is concerned. He is invariably the best wicketkeeper. A powerful hitter of the cricket ball, Gilchrist’s philosophy as a batsman says, “Just hit the ball”.
Master at the art of sledging, Adam Gilchrist is chirpy, smart and tidy behind the wickets. His safe pair of hands have seldom missed catches or given away unnecessary runs. In fact, Gilchrist has to his credit some of the most astounding catches in the history of wicketkeeping.
As a batsman, he has opened the innings on many occasions, scoring at a reckless pace, and ravaging the best of bowlers. He has often been seen lower down the order, sent specially to get a particular situation under control. The best thing about Adam Gilchrist is that he has never failed to live up to expectations.
Despite making his ODI debut in 1996, Adam Gilchrist played in the longer version of the game only by 1999. For long, critics considered his flamboyance unsuited to Test cricket. However, he has proved everyone wrong eventually. In 90 Tests, he has an average of 49 and strike rate of 82. For a lower order batsman, these statistics are credible.
In 287 One-day international matches, Adam Gilchrist has 417 catches and 55 stumpings to his credit. His batting average stands at 36, while the strike rate is a whopping 99. He has scored 9619 runs. When he plays his shots, the opposition can do nothing but stare in bewilderment. Mere numbers can never indicate Adam Gilchrist’s contribution to Australia’s supremacy at top of international cricket. His grandness will be noticeable once he decides to hang his boots.

Anil Kumble

Profile of Anil Kumble
Full Name: Anil Kumble
Born: October 17, 1970 in Bangalore, India
Batting Style : Right-handed batsman
Bowling Style : Leg-break googly
Test Debut : England vs. India at Manchester – August 9-14, 1990
ODI Debut : Sri Lanka vs. India at Sharjah – April 25, 1990

The most hard working and determined cricketer in the Indian team, Anil Kumble is regarded amongst the world’s topmost leg spinners. Just like former Indian skipper Rahul Dravid, Kumble is a cricketing jewel from the city of Bangalore.
Resilience personified, Anil Kumble does not identify with the word ‘surrender’. His mantra is to keep going until you turn the odds in your favor. Quite unorthodox in his bowling style, Jumbo (as he is known as) can be very deceptive with his googlies. His success story on Indian soil is almost unbelievable, with the highlight being the ten-wicket haul in a Test match against Pakistan.
Since his debut in 1990, he has been a regular feature of the Indian team. However, the sorriest situation came during the 2003 World Cup– he was included in the playing 15, but did not get a chance to take the field against the world’s biggest teams.
Of late, Anil Kumble has been off and on from the ODI squad, but found himself featured in the Indian World Cup 2007 squad. In all probability, this was his last World Cup, and thus he is glad to leave a mark on international cricket.
At the age of 37, he got the chance to captain Indian Test team against Pakistan at home. He won the series, the first in 27 years. Then he went on to playing a controversial series against Australia.
Kumble has played 271 ODIs, claiming 337 wickets at an economy rate of 4.30. In 125 Tests, he has taken 604 wickets at an economy rate of 2.69. He is amongst the five leading wicket-takers in Test cricket. In the longer version of the game, Anil Kumble is renowned for his dogged persistence as a batsman, who does not buckle down under pressure.
Despite being a milestone man, Anil Kumble has always maintained a low profile. He has always let his game do the talking, even at the time of criticism and adversities. It is this docility that makes him extremely respectable as a cricketer and a person.

Brian Lara

Profile of Brian Lara
Full Name: Brian Charles Lara
Born: May 2, 1969 in Trinidad, West Indies
Batting Style Left-handed batsman
Bowling Style Legbreak googly
Test Debut Pakistan vs. West Indies at Lahore – December 6-11, 1990
ODI Debut Pakistan vs. West Indies at Karachi – November 9, 1990

A timeless craftsman, Brian Lara is master at the art of crafting runs by the bulk. One of the legends of cricket, he is truly the pride of West Indies. A team that went into oblivion after reining supreme for the 70s and 80s was revived by the spark called Brian Charles Lara.
Despite his extraordinary talent and superb batsmanship, Brian Lara has not been a consistent player. His career has been marred by a number of injuries that have made him vulnerable and subdued. As a captain, Lara has not been successful. He has failed to pass his charisma on to his teammates. Eventually, the burden of captaincy took its toll on Lara, the batsman, evident from the drop in his averages during that phase.
Lara forbade captaincy for some time and tried to regain lost form. However, lack of an inspirational leader at the helm prompted him to get back to the task within no time. He captained the West Indies squad for World Cup
Brian Lara has to his name some of the most awe-inspiring batting records. His 400 not out against England at St. John’s, West Indies, is the highest individual Test score. In first-class matches, Lara has a record score of 501 not out. Overall, in 299 ODIs, Brian Lara has scored more than 10,405 runs at an average of 41. His Test record stands at 11,953 runs in 131 matches.

Kumar Sangakkara

Profile of Kumar Sangakkara
Full Name: Kumar Chokshananda Sangakkara
Born: October 27, 1977 in Matale, Sri Lanka
Batting Style : Left-handed batsman
Bowling Style : Right-arm offbreak
Fielding Position: Wicketkeeper
Test Debut :South Africa vs. Sri Lanka at Galle – July 20-23, 2000
ODI Debut : Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka at Galle – July 5, 2000
A part of the new-wave generation of cricketers who thrive on aggressiveness and a no-compromise attitude, Kumar Sangakkara broke into the Sri Lanka national team at the age of 22. He came into the cricketing scene when Sri Lanka were going through a low patch, and were marred by controversies.
In due course, Sangakkara helped his side in getting back on track, influencing one and all with his remarkable strokeplay. Though his wicketkeeping was a bit lax in the beginning, he gradually became crafty and credible in this department of the game. Known for his histrionics as a sledger, Kumar Sangakkara has changed the way people perceive Sri Lankan cricketers. His sharp eye for details and adeptness at strategy-making has made him a frontrunner for the post of captaincy.
A key player in Sri Lankan team for World Cup 2007, Kumar Sangakkara had been consistent and had made superb comebacks after being down in the dumps. As a batsman, he has been over-reactive at times, gifting his wicket away on silly deliveries. This weakness has often landed him in trouble, even with the selectors.
In 216 One-day internationals, Sangakkara has made 6,343 runs, including seven centuries. His Test average stands at 56.37, wherein he has made 6,032 runs in 64 matches.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Profile of Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Full Name: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Born: July 7, 1981 in Ranchi, India
Batting Style : Right-handed batsman
Bowling Style : Right-arm medium
Fielding Position: Wicketkeeper
Test Debut : Sri Lanka vs. India at Chennai – December 2-6, 2005
ODI Debut : Bangladesh vs. India at Chittagong – December 23, 2004

Affectionately called ‘Mahi’, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is one of the avant-garde cricketers to have rocked the Indian cricket scenario. Noticeable for his shoulder length hair, Dhoni has become a popular youth icon in India. He has made a big impact in and outside the cricketing world. His power-packed performances, on-field agility, panache for bikes, et al have had fans, especially girls, swooning all over.
Hailing from the state of Jharkhand, Mahendra Singh Dhoni made his debut in the end of 2004 and has now become the skipper of the Team India. An aggressive batsman and secure wicketkeeper, Dhoni has changed the perception of ‘gentleman’s game’. He, along with a few other new-age cricketers, has shown how to give an eye for an eye.
Having played 106 One-day internationals, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has an impressive average of 45.50 and a swashbuckling strike rate of 92. Dhoni has ravaged the reputations of the world’s best bowling attacks with his powerful and daredevil hits. This is the only way he knows of playing cricket
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s moment of reckoning came in a match against Pakistan, where he scored a dazzling 148 runs. He then went on to crack a superb 183 not out against Sri Lanka at Jaipur. These knocks are simply unforgettable for all those who witnessed them. His wicketkeeping has won him accolades of late. Dhoni has displayed exemplary skills when keeping wickets to world-class bowlers.

Rahul Dravid

Profile of Rahul Dravid
Full Name: Rahul Sharad Dravid
Born: January 11, 1973 in Indore, India
Batting Style Right-handed batsman
Bowling Style Right-arm off-break
Test Debut England vs. India at Lord’s – June 20-24, 1996
ODI Debut Sri Lanka vs. India at Singapore – April 3, 1996

The ‘Wall’ of Indian cricket, Rahul Dravid is one of the most technically sound batsmen in the world today. Professional to the core, Dravid is known to be a simple-hearted and compassionate human being. He stunned the cricketing world with an impressive Test debut against England, scoring 96 brilliant runs in a choc-a-block situation. Rahul Dravid’s dogged determination and diligence have made him a highly respected cricketer over the years.
Rahul Dravid was initially considered as a misfit for the One-day format of the game. However, he proved critics wrong by bouncing back with renewed vigor. And he went to captain Team India’s World Cup 2007 squad!
Rahul Dravid is also an extremely accommodating cricketer. When doubts were raised on his ODI skills, he doubled up as a wicketkeeper and made the selectors sit up and take notice. He has also batted at almost all positions in the top and middle order, in accordance with situations.
As a captain, he has earned the respect of his teammates. Rahul Dravid’s strategies on and off the field have reaped rich benefits for Team India.
Rahul Dravid has played 333 ODIs and 119 Test matches, and has batting averages of 40 and 55 respectively. He has to his credit 36 centuries. He has scored 10,585 runs in One-dayers. His overseas average is 60 – more than any other Indian – and he is the only cricketer to have scored centuries in and against all Test-playing nations.
Rahul Dravid’s name will undoubtedly be counted amongst the legends of cricket. His milestones and feats are exceptional, and will be unsurpassable for a long time to come.

Shahid Afridi

Profile of Shahid Afridi
Full Name: Sahibzada Mohammad Shahid Khan Afridi
Born: March 1, 1980 in Khyber Agency, Pakistan
Batting Style Right-handed batsman
Bowling Style Right-arm medium, Legbreak googly
Test Debut Australia vs. Pakistan at Karachi – October 22-26, 1998
ODI Debut Kenya vs. Pakistan at Nairobi – October 2, 1996

Flamboyance and Shahid Khan Afridi go hand in hand. One of the most aggressive and exuberant cricketer to have graced Pakistan cricket, Shahid Afridi has changed the definition of batsmanship. For him, batting means to entertain audiences. And, he has duly lived up to his definition by delighting spectators with his incredulous shot-making.
From a player who scored the fastest century on debut, Shahid Afridi has not changed much. He surprised cricketing fraternity by scoring his maiden ton in just 37 balls, at the age of 16. His strokeplay and shot selection might not be in accordance with cricket manuals; nonetheless, he enraptures crowds like none other.
Unfortunately, Shahid Afridi’s flamboyance soon became his undoing. Due to his erratic batting, he was long considered unfit for Test cricket. In due course, this trait, and his obduracy at not changing it, even cost him his place in the Pakistan national side. However, after a brief hiatus, Shahid Afridi bounced back with a bang. This time, he displayed maturity and self-control, prompting the selectors to consider him in both versions of the game.
His leg-spin bowling has been an asset for the Pakistan team. He has surprised many of the world’s topmost batsmen with his legbreak googlies.
Apart from his on-field histrionics, Shahid Afridi has been surrounded by controversies off it as well. Sex scandal, misbehavior, match fixing, et al… he has always been in the limelight. Despite all this, Shahid Afridi continues to be loved as a cricketer. He is a favorite with girls, mainly because of his attractive hairstyle, handsomeness and belligerence.
For the record, Shahid Afridi has scored about 5,369 runs in 253 One-day matches. He has also claimed 217 wickets at an average of 36. His strike rate of 110.95 is the best in international cricket.

Shoaib Akhtar

Profile of Shoaib Akhtar
Full Name: Shoaib Akhtar
Born: August 13, 1975 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan
Batting Style Right-handed batsman
Bowling Style Right-arm fast
Test Debut West Indies vs. Pakistan at Rawalpindi – Nov 29-Dec 3, 1997
ODI Debut Zimbabwe vs. Pakistan at Harare – March 28, 1998

Shoaib Akhtar has been nicknamed as the ‘Rawalpindi Express’ because of his speed and hurling run-up. He burst on to the international scene as a promising pace bowler who had the capacity of crossing the 100mph barrier. However, he has time and again failed to live up to promises. In fact, speed seems to be the only thing that matters to him, even if it comes at the cost of consistency.
Invariably, the ‘bad boy’ of Pakistan cricket, Shoaib Akhtar has unfortunately, always been on the wrong side of the fence. Accused of doping, faulty bowling actions, unsportsmanlike spirit, and riddled by several injuries, Akhtar has not managed to reach the summit he had aimed. He surely could have been a much better bowler had luck been on his side.
On the positive side, Shoaib Akhtar is simply uncanny when it comes to bowling the devilish slower balls, lethal bouncers and surprising yorkers. The way he looks a batsman into the eye is enough to send a chill down the spine, especially for newcomers. However, the classiest of batsmen, having discovered the chink in his armor, have slaughtered him terribly. His temperament also took him away from his team. After coming back from a self-imposed hiatus, Akhtar looks a tad better prepared to face the challenges of international cricket.
In 138 ODIs and 46 Test matches, Shoaib Akhtar has claimed 219 and 178 wickets respectively. He has been avidly supported by fans and selectors, with the latter giving him countless chances despite his poor show. Now, as part of Pakistan’s World Cup squad, Shoaib Akhtar will be keen to repay this love and support by showing his bowling prowess to the cricketing fraternity.

Stephen Fleming

Profile of Stephen Fleming
Full Name: Stephen Paul Fleming
Born: April 1, 1973 in Canterbury, New Zealand
Batting Style Left-handed batsman
Test Debut India vs. New Zealand at Hamilton – March 19-23, 1994
ODI Debut India vs. New Zealand at Napier – March 25, 1994

The longest serving skipper in Test cricket’s history, Stephen Fleming is truly the pride of New Zealand. Mature and unassuming, he is a cricketer par excellence. Consistent in the middle order and a shrewd strategist, Stephen Fleming has shaped the success story of New Zealand’s cricket team.
When he made his debut against India in 1994, Stephen Fleming was considered to be naive and was not the one for a long run. However, he proved critics wrong. And, despite his not-so-great batting record, he has been able to guide and motivate New Zealand into becoming one of the world’s strongest cricket teams.
Stephen Fleming’s moment of glory as a batsman came when he scored a career-highest 274 not out in a Test match against Sri Lanka in 2003. He also batted splendidly in the 2003 World Cup to guide his team to victory against South Africa. But, his inability at converting fifties into hundreds has raised many questions over his career. He has hit nine centuries and 44 half centuries. In 280 ODIs, he has scored 8037 runs. However, over the years, he has shown exemplary maturity and defensive techniques as a batsman.
The best quality about Stephen Fleming, the captain, is his ability to take the right decisions in dire situations. He has believed in his players and has persisted with the good ones through their bad patches. Stephen Fleming has not been unnecessarily vociferous, speaking aloud only when it is really needed to. It is this subtlety and calmness that have made him New Zealand’s most successful Test captain.

Sanath Jayasuriya

Profile of Sanath Jayasuriya
Full Name: Sanath Teran Jayasuriya
Born: June 30, 1969 in Matara, Sri Lanka
Batting Style Left-handed batsman
Bowling Style Slow left-arm orthodox
Test Debut New Zealand vs. Sri Lanka at Hamilton – February 22-26, 1991
ODI Debut Australia vs. Sri Lanka at Melbourne – December 26, 1989

The star of Sri Lanka’s victory in 1996 World Cup, Sanath Jayasuriya is undoubtedly one of the world’s best all-rounders of all time. An aggressive batsman who can be dangerous on sub-continental pitches, Jayasuriya is Sri Lanka’s highest Test run-getter.
Uncompromising in his strokeplay, Sanath Jayasuriya plays his shots unabashedly, least bothered about a bowler’s reputation. It is this attitude that makes him a delight to watch on the cricket field. Despite being short in stature, Sanath is extremely powerful, as exemplified in his shots all over the ground. However, in due course, the chinks in his batting armor have been exposed; so much so that it has become quite easy to contain him.
Sanath Jayasuriya has lost his Midas touch over the years and is now easily fallible. This is one of the main reasons for his relegation from an opener to a middle order batsman. However, Jayasuriya’s delightful left-arm spin bowling has helped Sri Lanka on many occasions. He has bowled that magic delivery in dire situations, taking Lankans to the threshold of victory.
Sanath Jayasuriya was given the task of captaining Sri Lanka after the sacking of Arjuna Ranatunga. He did not disappoint the selectors, motivating his team to commendable wins, and leading by example. But, he could not sustain the pressures of captaincy for long, and eventually stepped down in April 2003.
Sanath Jayasuriya’s subsequent loss of form made him the most debatable topic in Sri Lankan cricketing circles. He silenced one and all by scoring heavily in 2004, the best of his career.
In 411 one-dayers and 110 Test matches, Sanath Jayasuriya has averages of 32.90 and 40.42 respectively. He also has 39 hundreds to his credit, and is the fourth batsman to join the elite club of batsmen with 10,000-plus runs in ODIs.

Jacques Kallis

Profile of Jacques Kallis
Full Name: Jacques Henry Kallis
Born: October 16, 1975 in Cape Town, South Africa
Batting Style Right-handed batsman
Bowling Style : Right-arm fast-medium
Test Debut England vs. South Africa at Durban – December 14-18, 1995
ODI Debut England vs. South Africa at Cape Town – January 9, 1996

Jacques Kallis is the best all-rounder. A player who falls in the league of extraordinary cricketers, Kallis has brought sedateness back into the game. In an age of flamboyance and fast cricket, he stands out because of his ability of occupying the crease for long durations and still scoring runs heavily.
Jacques Kallis is best known for his rock-solid defense and consistency as a batsman. Coming in at Number Three, Kallis does the job of consolidating the innings with perfection. He can play all shots in the book, and one can rarely see him getting out in a silly fashion. In fact, it takes lot of guts to dislodge Jacques Kallis from the crease. A strong man with powerful shoulders, he has the ability of hitting the ball extremely hard, making the opposition toil extra hard on the field.
As a bowler, Kallis bowls medium pace that can be extremely devastating. In the middle of an innings, he comes from nowhere and surprises the opposition with two quick wickets, becoming their nemesis. And, to add to it all, he is one of the finest fielders in the slip position. These talents make him one of the key players in South African team.
In 274 one-day matches, Jacques Kallis has 9541 runs and 239 wickets to his credit. In Tests, he has scored 9,477 runs and claimed 229 wickets in 116 matches.