The God of Cricket is a term reserved for the best of the best ever to play the game, for the players who have become immortalised for their contribution and entertainment batting at the crease or for producing magic with the ball in their hand.
In cricket, fans from across the world revere particular players. Certain players, both retired and current, are so admired by fans and fellow professionals that they have a special place in cricketing lore. These players have produced an outstanding quality of cricket for decades, along with special moments remembered fondly by those who love the sport.
It is a widely held belief that the God of Cricket is former Indian batsman, Sachin Tendulkar. No other player has achieved the same level of consistency and greatness as Tendulkar in the history of cricket. No other player is so unanimously respected in the world of cricket for their achievements and contributions to the game.
However, other notable players from cricket history deserve to be in the discussion about the God of Cricket. While Tendulkar may be adored by many, others may have alternative beliefs about the greatest ever and the ICC has a comprehensive list of the best ever in its Cricket Hall of Fame.
Also, looking towards the future of cricket, will Tendulkar be forever known as the God of Cricket? Or could a new, special, younger player be in the making to take the title from the Little Master in years to come?
The God of Cricket: Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar represented India over two decades between 1989 and 2013 and played in nearly 700 matches for his country in ODI and test matches.
At the crease, Tendulkar was renowned for his aggressive batting style, quick footwork to move into strong batting positions and expert timing with the bat. Standing at just 5ft 5, Tendulkar was not an intimidating figure, but he was an outstanding professional and role model, who entertained and inspired many players around the world.
Sachin Tendulkar Stats
Throughout his career, Tendulkar broke numerous records in cricket, including the most appearances and runs ever scored in both test cricket and ODI history.
In addition to these huge achievements, Tendulkar also holds further batting records for both test and ODI cricket. Tendulkar’s status as the God of Cricket is well supported by his outstanding statistics for India on the international stage.
Sachin Tendulkar Records
Despite retiring from international cricket in 2013, Tendulkar still holds many ODI and test cricket records. Here are some highlight records from the Little Master’s exceptional 23-year career.
- Highest ever run-scorer.
- Most Hundreds ever.
- Most Man of the Matches (62)
- The first cricketer to pass 10,000 runs in ODI.
- Highest run-scorer in ICC World Cup history
- Most runs ever in a calendar year.
- First-ever player to score a double hundred in ODI.
- Highest ever run-scorer.
- Most hundreds ever.
- Most 4s scored ever in test cricket.
- Fastest player to reach 10,000 runs (195 matches but shared with Brian Lara).
- The only player to take 40 wickets and to score over 15,000 runs.
Notable Mentions for the God of Cricket
Tendulkar may hold the title of ‘God of Cricket’ but other legends of the game also have strong claims to challenge the Little Master. Below are some other players who deserve a special mention as some of the best ever to take to the field.
- Don Bradman (Australia): Arguably running Tendulkar the closest for the God of Cricket, Australian batsman Don Bradman, aka, ‘the Don’, was an exceptional test match player. The Don represented Australia for over 20 years between 1927 and 1949 and scored 6996 runs in 52 test matches. Bradman has the highest batting average ever with 99.94. Incredibly, the Don was bowled for a Duck in his final innings. If he scored just four runs, he would have averaged 100 runs per match but it wasn’t to be.
- Brian Lara (West Indies): A player who played in the same era as Tendulkar, Brian Lara was a supreme batsman, capable of batting for hours and days in test match cricket. However, while Tendulkar broke long-term records in ODI and test cricket, Lara holds many individual batting accolades in international and first-class cricket. Lara once scored 501 not out for Warwickshire, the highest individual score by any player in history. He also scored 400 not out against England in 2004, the highest individual test match score in history.
- Jacques Kallis (South Africa): Possibly the best all-rounder the game has ever seen, Jaques Kallis was the ultimate cricket player. The former South African great is third on the all-time test scorer list with 13,289 runs in 168 matches and is also in the world’s top-40 wicket-takers, claiming 292 wickets in his 18-year international career. Kallis is also the only player to ever score over 10,000 test runs and take over 250 wickets in both test and ODI cricket – a true all-rounder!
- Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka): In terms of bowling, no player rivals Sri Lankan spin bowler Muttiah Muralitharan. The spinner is the all-time leading wicket-taker in both Test and ODI cricket and he took over 1,300 wickets during an 18-year career. Capable of finding turn on any surface, Murali had a knack for applying pressure to the best batsmen in the world. He could bowl marathon spells in test matches of 10 to 15 overs at a time, helping him to hold a substantial lead as the all-time wicket-taker in cricket.
- Shane Warne (Australia): Another exceptional spin bowler was Australia’s Shane Warne, who is second to Murali in all-time test wickets, with 708 in 145 matches. Although he does not lead in terms of wickets, in entertainment value, there were few cricket players like Warne. The Australian leg-spin specialist could move the ball in ways that defied physics, starting it wide of the stumps and swiftly turning it back towards the batsman. Combine this with his constant, yet humorous, knack for sledging, then you have the ultimate entertainer.
Who is the Next God of Cricket?
Although Tendulkar holds the current title of the God of Cricket’, a few contenders are waiting in wings, ready to overtake the Little Master. Some of the legend’s compatriots are leading the challenge, while other exceptional international players could surpass Tendulkar’s records in the coming years.
Virat Kohli (India): Also known as the ‘King of Cricket’, Indian batsman Virat Kohli has been tipped to become the next God of Cricket. Kohli began his international career in 2008 and is still playing today. At the age of 32, he is already 6th on the all-time ODI run-scorer list with 12,040 and has the highest ever batting average in one-dayers (59.31 per game). He is also top of the T20 run charts, scoring nearly 3,000 runs in 85 matches. However, Kohli entered test cricket three years after his ODI debut and is less prominent in this format, sitting in 41st in the test cricket all-time scorer list with just over 6,000 runs.
Rohit Sharma (India): Another Indian batsman regarded as the next God of Cricket is Kohli’s teammate, Rohit Sharma. Sharma is an entertaining batsman, known for aggressive play and quick scoring. This is reflected in his excellent T20 and ODI record. Sharma is second in the T20 all-time run-scoring charts and has scored just over 9,000 runs in ODIs. He is held in high regard in the cricket community and is well-known for his consistency at the crease.
Steve Smith (Australia): A player who has been compared to the great Don Bradman in the past, former Australia captain Steve Smith is an exceptional batsman of incredible consistency. Such is his consistency that he currently averages 61 per match, the best average in test history. Although he has scored just over 7,500 runs in test cricket, half of Tendulkar’s standing record, Smith still has many years ahead of him in the international game, which could see him catch up to some of the greatest ever, if he maintains his excellent average.
Although Sachin Tendulkar holds the title of God of Cricket for his exemplary contributions to the game, many others have provided long-standing quality throughout their careers with ball and bat to stake their claim for the title of the God of Cricket.
Furthermore, this title will likely be bestowed on a new player in the future. There are many quality players involved at the top-level of the game across the world and if any of them can sustain the greatest level of professionalism and focus as Tendulkar did before them, it could be their chance to become the new God of Cricket.