Welcome to our exploration of cricket‘s unsung heroes â€“ the top 10 most underrated cricketers of all time. In a sport dominated by legends and superstars, these players often operated in the shadows, but their contributions to the game were nothing short of remarkable. Let’s shine a light on these unsung stars and celebrate their remarkable cricketing journeys.
1. Colin Croft
Colin Croft, a towering fast bowler from Guyana, is often overlooked in discussions of great West Indian cricketers. Born on August 15, 1953, Croft had a relatively short international career but left an indelible mark on the game.
Standing at 6 feet 7 inches tall, Croft’s height was one of his greatest assets as a fast bowler. He made his Test debut for the West Indies in 1977 against Pakistan and went on to play 27 Tests, taking 125 wickets at an impressive average of 23.30. His menacing pace and ability to extract bounce from the most docile pitches made him a nightmare for batsmen.
Colin Croft was a vital part of the West Indies team that dominated world cricket in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He played a crucial role in the historic series win against Australia in 1978-79, where he took 33 wickets in just five Tests, including two five-wicket hauls. His partnership with fellow fast bowlers like Michael Holding, Joel Garner, and Malcolm Marshall formed one of the most feared pace attacks in
One of Croft’s standout performances came during the 1979 Cricket World Cup. He played a pivotal role in helping the West Indies lift the trophy, taking 8 wickets in the tournament, including a memorable 5-wicket haul against Pakistan in the final.
Colin Croft’s contributions to West Indies cricket extended beyond the field. He was known for his charisma and fearless attitude, always ready to take on the best batsmen in the world. In a time when West Indies cricket was at its zenith, Colin Croft’s impact often went unnoticed amid the brilliance of his contemporaries, but his skill, pace, and aggression were undeniable.
Key Points About Colin Croft:
- Known for his imposing height, Colin Croft was a fearsome fast bowler for the West Indies.
- He played 27 Tests and took 125 wickets at an average of 23.30.
- Part of the iconic West Indies pace quartet that dominated world cricket in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
- Played a crucial role in the West Indies’ 1979 Cricket World Cup triumph.
- His fearless attitude and aggression set him apart as a cricketer.
2. Mike Hussey
Mike Hussey, affectionately known as “Mr. Cricket,” is a name that often doesn’t receive the recognition it deserves in the pantheon of Australian cricket legends. Born on May 27, 1975, in Western Australia, Hussey had a remarkable international cricket career that spanned from 2004 to 2013.
What set Hussey apart was his incredible consistency and adaptability in all formats of the game. He was a left-handed batsman known for his elegant stroke play, unflappable temperament, and the ability to rescue his team from precarious situations.
Mike Hussey made his Test debut for Australia in 2005 at the age of 30, a relatively late start for an international cricketer. However, he quickly established himself as a mainstay in the Australian middle order. Over the course of his 79 Test matches, Hussey scored 6,235 runs at an impressive average of 51.52. He formed crucial partnerships with the likes of Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke, playing pivotal roles in many Australian victories.
In One-Day Internationals (ODIs), Hussey was equally prolific. He scored 5,442 runs in 185 matches at an average of 48.15. His ability to finish innings with a flourish made him a valuable asset for Australia in limited-overs cricket. He was an essential part of the team that won the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2007.
One of Hussey’s standout qualities was his adaptability. He could anchor the innings in Test matches, play explosive cameos in ODIs, and was a sought-after player in T20 leagues around the world. His versatility made him a prized asset in the era when cricket was evolving rapidly across formats.
Off the field, Mike Hussey was known for his humility and sportsmanship. He was a role model for young cricketers and earned the respect of teammates and opponents alike.
Key Points About Mike Hussey:
- Mike Hussey, “Mr. Cricket,” was known for his consistency and adaptability.
- In Test cricket, he scored 6,235 runs at an average of 51.52 in 79 matches.
- He was a crucial part of Australia’s middle order, forming partnerships with greats like Ponting and Clarke.
- In ODIs, he scored 5,442 runs at an average of 48.15 and was part of the 2007 World Cup-winning team.
- Hussey’s adaptability allowed him to excel in all formats of the game, making him a sought-after player in T20 leagues.
3. Anil Kumble
Anil Kumble, one of India’s greatest cricketing legends, often stands underrated compared to some of his contemporaries, but his contributions to the sport are nothing short of legendary. Born on October 17, 1970, in Bangalore, India, Kumble is renowned for his exceptional skills as a leg-spin bowler and his unyielding commitment to the game.
Kumble made his Test debut for India in 1990 against England and went on to become the highest wicket-taker for the Indian cricket team in Test matches. His remarkable career spanned over 18 years, during which he played 132 Test matches, taking a staggering 619 wickets. He is only the second bowler in cricket history to achieve the remarkable feat of taking all ten wickets in a Test innings, a feat he accomplished against Pakistan in 1999.
One of Kumble’s most defining moments came during the 2008 Test series against Pakistan when he played with a broken jaw, showcasing his unparalleled determination and commitment to the team’s cause. This remarkable display of resilience earned him immense respect not only in India but across the cricketing world.
In One-Day Internationals (ODIs), Kumble took 337 wickets in 271 matches, making him one of India’s leading wicket-takers in the format. He was known for his ability to control the game in the middle overs with his accurate leg-spin and subtle variations. Kumble played a vital role in India’s ODI successes during his career.
Off the field, Kumble’s leadership qualities shone through as he captained the Indian cricket team. Under his captaincy, India achieved notable successes, including a Test series win against Pakistan in 2007-08 and a Test series win in England in 2007.
Post-retirement, Anil Kumble continued to contribute to the sport as a coach and administrator. He served as the head coach of the Indian cricket team and played a significant role in nurturing young talents.
Key Points About Anil Kumble:
- Anil Kumble, a legendary leg-spin bowler, is one of India’s greatest cricketers.
- He took 619 wickets in 132 Test matches, making him India’s highest wicket-taker in Tests.
- Kumble is one of only two bowlers to take all ten wickets in a Test innings.
- He played with a broken jaw in a Test match, showcasing his incredible commitment.
- In ODIs, he took 337 wickets in 271 matches, making him a vital asset in limited-overs cricket.
- Kumble’s leadership extended to captaincy, where he achieved notable successes.
4. Hashim Amla
Hashim Amla, the South African cricketing maestro, is often overlooked when discussing the modern greats of the game. Born on March 31, 1983, in Durban, South Africa, Amla’s remarkable batting prowess and unassuming demeanor have left an indelible mark on the world of cricket.
One of Hashim Amla’s most remarkable qualities as a batsman was his ability to accumulate runs consistently across all formats of the game. He made his Test debut for South Africa in 2004 and went on to play 124 Test matches, amassing 9,282 runs at an impressive average of 46.41. Amla’s elegant stroke play and unwavering patience made him a mainstay in the South African Test batting lineup.
In One-Day Internationals (ODIs), Amla’s record is equally impressive. He scored 8,113 runs in 181 matches at an average of 49.46. His ability to anchor the innings and build partnerships made him a key player for South Africa in ODIs. Amla was part of the South African team that reached the semi-finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2015.
One of his standout achievements was becoming the fastest player to reach 2,000, 3,000, 4,000, 5,000, and 6,000 runs in ODIs, a testament to his consistency and ability to score runs at a brisk pace. His technique, characterized by a high backlift and precise footwork, made him a tough batsman to dismiss.
Hashim Amla’s contribution to T20 cricket should not be underestimated. Although he wasn’t known for power-hitting, he adapted his game to excel in the shortest format. He was a vital part of the IPL team Kings XI Punjab and played a pivotal role in their batting lineup.
Off the field, Amla was known for his humility and sportsmanship. He was a role model for young cricketers and carried himself with grace both in victory and defeat.
Key Points About Hashim Amla:
- Hashim Amla is a highly consistent South African batsman known for his elegant stroke play.
- In Tests, he scored 9,282 runs at an average of 46.41 in 124 matches.
- Amla’s ODI record includes 8,113 runs at an average of 49.46 in 181 matches.
- He holds records for being the fastest player to reach several ODI run milestones.
- Amla made significant contributions to T20 cricket, adapting his style to excel in the format.
- Off the field, he was admired for his humility and sportsmanship.
5. Chaminda Vaas
Chaminda Vaas, the legendary Sri Lankan fast bowler, often flies under the radar when discussing the greats of fast bowling in cricket history. Born on January 27, 1974, in Sri Lanka, Vaas was a master of swing and seam bowling, and his contributions to Sri Lankan cricket are noteworthy.
Chaminda Vaas made his Test debut for Sri Lanka in 1994 and went on to represent his country in 111 Test matches. He is Sri Lanka’s leading wicket-taker in Test cricket, with 355 wickets to his name. Vaas’ ability to move the ball both ways and consistently trouble batsmen in different conditions made him a vital asset for Sri Lanka’s Test team.
In One-Day Internationals (ODIs), Vaas was equally effective. He played 322 matches and took 400 wickets, becoming only the second Sri Lankan bowler to reach the 400-wicket milestone in ODIs. His outstanding performances in ODIs were a key factor in Sri Lanka’s success in limited-overs cricket during his era.
One of Vaas’ most memorable moments came during the 2003 Cricket World Cup. He achieved a rare feat by taking a hat-trick with the first three balls of the match against Bangladesh, setting the tone for an incredible tournament. He ended the tournament as the highest wicket-taker with 23 wickets.
Vaas was known for his ability to swing the ball late, making him a nightmare for top-order batsmen. His accuracy and consistency were his trademarks, and he often provided crucial breakthroughs for his team. His partnership with fellow bowlers like Muttiah Muralitharan and Lasith Malinga made Sri Lanka a formidable bowling unit.
Off the field, Chaminda Vaas was respected for his sportsmanship and dedication to the game. He was a mentor to many young fast bowlers in Sri Lanka, passing on his knowledge and experience.
Key Points About Chaminda Vaas:
- Chaminda Vaas, a master of swing and seam bowling, is one of Sri Lanka’s finest fast bowlers.
- In Tests, he took 355 wickets in 111 matches, making him Sri Lanka’s leading wicket-taker.
- He achieved the milestone of 400 ODI wickets, becoming one of the greats of limited-overs cricket.
- Vaas took a hat-trick in the 2003 World Cup and was the tournament’s highest wicket-taker.
- His late swing and consistency made him a vital asset to the Sri Lankan bowling attack.
- Off the field, he was known for his sportsmanship and mentorship of young cricketers.
6. Martin Crowe
Martin Crowe, the iconic New Zealand cricketer, is often an unsung hero in the annals of cricket history. Born on September 22, 1962, in Henderson, New Zealand, Crowe’s elegant batting and cricketing acumen left an indelible mark on the game and paved the way for modern batsmanship.
Martin Crowe made his Test debut for New Zealand in 1982 and quickly established himself as one of the finest batsmen of his era. In his 77 Test matches, he scored 5,444 runs at an impressive average of 45.36. Crowe was renowned for his classical batting technique, which combined grace with impeccable timing, and his ability to play long innings.
One of his most remarkable achievements was leading New Zealand to the semi-finals of the 1992 Cricket World Cup. He was the tournament’s highest run-scorer, amassing 456 runs at an average of 114.00. His captaincy and batting during the World Cup earned him global recognition as one of the game’s true stalwarts.
Crowe’s contribution to One-Day Internationals (ODIs) was equally significant. He scored 4,704 runs in 143 matches, including four centuries and 34 half-centuries. His ability to pace innings and anchor the batting order was pivotal for New Zealand in ODIs.
Off the field, Crowe’s cricketing insight and innovative thinking extended to his role as a cricket analyst and commentator. He was a visionary who advocated for rule changes to promote aggressive batting and played a role in the development of the modern T20 format.
Martin Crowe’s impact on the game went beyond statistics. His batting artistry and strategic acumen made him a cricketing luminary. Sadly, his career was plagued by injuries, limiting his international appearances, but his influence on the sport’s evolution endures.
Key Points About Martin Crowe:
- Martin Crowe was a New Zealand cricketing legend known for his elegant batting.
- In Tests, he scored 5,444 runs at an average of 45.36 in 77 matches.
- He led New Zealand to the semi-finals of the 1992 Cricket World Cup as the tournament’s highest run-scorer.
- Crowe scored 4,704 runs in 143 ODIs and played a crucial role in anchoring the batting order.
- His cricketing insight extended to his role as an analyst and commentator, influencing the game’s evolution.
- Martin Crowe’s legacy continues to inspire modern batsmen.
7. Jonty Rhodes
Jonty Rhodes, a name synonymous with fielding excellence in cricket, is often celebrated for his athleticism but not always given due credit for his overall cricketing contributions. Born on July 27, 1969, in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, Rhodes set new standards for fielding and brought an electrifying energy to the game.
Rhodes made his Test debut for South Africa in 1992 and went on to play 52 Test matches. While his primary claim to fame is his fielding, he was also a handy lower-order batsman who scored 2,532 runs at an average of 35.17. His aggressive batting style often provided crucial runs for the team when needed the most.
However, it was in One-Day Internationals (ODIs) that Jonty Rhodes truly revolutionized the art of fielding. His acrobatic dives, lightning-quick reflexes, and fearless approach to stopping boundaries made him an iconic figure in the cricketing world. He played 245 ODIs and scored 5,935 runs at an average of 35.11 while taking 105 catches and effecting 34 run-outs, showcasing his incredible all-round skills.
Rhodes was a key member of the South African team during their reintegration into international cricket in the post-apartheid era. He played a pivotal role in the team’s resurgence and helped establish South Africa as a formidable cricketing nation.
One of his most memorable moments came during the 1992 Cricket World Cup when he ran out Inzamam-ul-Haq with a stunning direct hit. This iconic moment is etched in cricketing history and symbolizes the impact of Rhodes on fielding standards.
Off the field, Jonty Rhodes’ influence extended to coaching and mentoring. He worked with various teams and shared his fielding expertise, contributing to the development of the next generation of fielders.
Key Points About Jonty Rhodes:
- Jonty Rhodes is renowned for revolutionizing fielding in cricket with his athleticism and agility.
- In Tests, he scored 2,532 runs at an average of 35.17 and was a valuable lower-order batsman.
- He played 245 ODIs, scored 5,935 runs, and was known for taking spectacular catches and effecting run-outs.
- Rhodes was a key figure in South Africa’s resurgence in international cricket post-apartheid.
- His famous run-out of Inzamam-ul-Haq in the 1992 World Cup remains an iconic moment.
- Jonty Rhodes continues to contribute to cricket through coaching and mentoring.
8. Rahul Dravid
Rahul Dravid, often referred to as “The Wall,” is one of India’s cricketing legends whose contributions to the sport extend far beyond his exceptional batting skills. Born on January 11, 1973, in Indore, India, Dravid’s elegant and solid batting technique made him a stalwart of Indian cricket.
Dravid made his Test debut for India in 1996, and over the course of his illustrious Test career, he played 164 matches, amassing 13,288 runs at an average of 52.31. His ability to anchor the innings and play marathon innings under pressure earned him the nickname “The Wall.” He formed formidable partnerships with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, and Sourav Ganguly, ensuring India’s success in Test cricket during his era.
Notably, Rahul Dravid holds the record for the most number of catches by a fielder in Test cricket, with 210 catches to his name. His safe hands in the slip cordon made him an invaluable asset in the Indian team’s quest for victories.
In One-Day Internationals (ODIs), Dravid was equally dependable. He scored 10,889 runs in 344 matches, often playing the role of a sheet anchor in the batting order. His versatility allowed him to adapt to various formats and batting positions, showcasing his cricketing intelligence and adaptability.
Rahul Dravid’s captaincy tenure for India saw several notable achievements, including series wins against Pakistan and England. His calm and composed leadership style earned him the respect of his teammates and opponents alike.
Off the field, Dravid’s impact on Indian cricket continued as he took on the role of a mentor and coach. He nurtured young talents and played a pivotal role in shaping the future of Indian cricket. His guidance was instrumental in the development of the next generation of Indian cricketers.
Key Points About Rahul Dravid:
- Rahul Dravid, “The Wall,” is known for his elegant and solid batting technique.
- In Tests, he scored 13,288 runs at an average of 52.31 in 164 matches.
- Dravid holds the record for the most Test catches by a fielder, with 210 catches.
- In ODIs, he scored 10,889 runs in 344 matches, known for his adaptability.
- Dravid’s calm leadership led to several notable series wins as India’s captain.
- He continues to contribute to Indian cricket as a mentor and coach, shaping future talent.
9. Lance Klusener
Lance Klusener, the South African all-rounder, is often remembered for his explosive batting and finishing abilities, particularly in limited-overs cricket. Born on September 4, 1971, in Durban, South Africa, Klusener played a significant role in the success of the South African cricket team during the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Klusener made his Test debut for South Africa in 1996 and went on to play 49 Test matches. While he was primarily known for his contributions in limited-overs cricket, he scored 1,906 runs in Tests and took 80 wickets with his medium-fast bowling. His gritty performances in Tests, particularly in challenging situations, demonstrated his all-round capabilities.
However, it was in One-Day Internationals (ODIs) that Lance Klusener became a household name. He played 171 ODIs for South Africa, amassing 3,578 runs at a strike rate of 89.91. Klusener’s ability to finish matches with his aggressive batting made him a match-winner. He often batted with the tail-enders and earned a reputation for turning seemingly lost matches into victories.
One of his most famous moments came during the 1999 Cricket World Cup. Klusener was the Player of the Tournament, scoring 281 runs and taking 12 wickets. His fearless batting and cool temperament under pressure earned him the nickname “Zulu” and showcased his ability to thrive in crunch situations.
Off the field, Lance Klusener’s impact extended to coaching and mentoring. He worked with various teams and passed on his knowledge of the game. His coaching stints included roles in international and domestic cricket, where he continued to influence the next generation of cricketers.
Key Points About Lance Klusener:
- Lance Klusener, a dynamic all-rounder, is known for his explosive batting and finishing skills.
- In Tests, he scored 1,906 runs and took 80 wickets in 49 matches.
- Klusener played 171 ODIs, scoring 3,578 runs with a remarkable strike rate.
- He was the Player of the Tournament in the 1999 Cricket World Cup.
- Klusener’s fearless batting under pressure earned him the nickname “Zulu.”
- He continued to contribute to cricket as a coach and mentor, shaping future talent.
10. Moin Khan
Moin Khan, the former Pakistani wicket-keeper and all-rounder, is often recognized for his contributions both behind the stumps and with the bat in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Born on September 23, 1971, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Moin Khan played a vital role in Pakistan’s cricketing history.
Moin Khan made his Test debut for Pakistan in 1990 and went on to represent his country in 69 Test matches. As a wicket-keeper, he was known for his safe hands and ability to stand up to the stumps against fast bowlers. With the bat, he scored 2,546 runs at an average of 28.51, often contributing crucial lower-order runs when Pakistan needed them the most.
In One-Day Internationals (ODIs), Moin Khan was a key figure behind the stumps and with the bat. He played 219 ODIs and scored 3,266 runs at an average of 23.00. His aggressive style of batting in the latter stages of the innings made him a valuable asset for Pakistan in limited-overs cricket.
One of his most memorable moments came during the 1992 Cricket World Cup when he played a vital role in Pakistan’s triumph. His fiery batting, particularly in the semi-final against New Zealand, helped Pakistan secure a place in the final, where they went on to win the World Cup under Imran Khan’s leadership.
Off the field, Moin Khan’s influence extended to coaching and mentoring. He worked with various teams and shared his knowledge of the game. His coaching stints included roles in international and domestic cricket, where he continued to contribute to the development of cricket talent.
Key Points About Moin Khan:
- Moin Khan is a former Pakistani wicket-keeper and all-rounder known for his contributions with the bat and behind the stumps.
- In Tests, he played 69 matches, scoring 2,546 runs and displaying exceptional wicket-keeping skills.
- Moin Khan played 219 ODIs, contributing 3,266 runs and maintaining a prominent presence behind the stumps.
- He played a pivotal role in Pakistan’s 1992 Cricket World Cup triumph.
- Moin Khan’s aggressive batting in limited-overs cricket made him a valuable asset for Pakistan.
- He continued to contribute to cricket as a coach and mentor, nurturing young talents.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q1: Who decides the list of underrated cricketers?
A1: The list of underrated cricketers is often a subject of debate among cricket enthusiasts, experts, and historians. It is not an official ranking but a collective perception based on a player’s achievements, impact on the game, and recognition received during their playing career.
Q2: Are these cricketers still active in international cricket?
A2: No, most of the cricketers mentioned in this list have retired from international cricket. They played in different eras and contributed significantly to their respective teams during their active years. Some of them are now involved in coaching, commentary, or other aspects of the game.
Q3: What are some memorable performances by these underrated cricketers?
A3: Here are a few memorable performances by some of these underrated cricketers:
- Rahul Dravid’s iconic partnership with VVS Laxman in the 2001 Kolkata Test against Australia, where he scored 180 runs.
- Anil Kumble’s 10-wicket haul in a single innings against Pakistan in 1999, a rare feat in international cricket.
- Mithali Raj’s record-breaking 214 against England in a Test match in 2002, showcasing her exceptional batting skills.
Q4: How can I learn more about these cricketers?
A4: You can find detailed information about these cricketers, including their biographies, career stats, and notable achievements, on reliable cricket websites, sports databases, and official cricket boards’ websites. Additionally, there are several books and documentaries available that delve into the lives and careers of these underrated cricketing gems.
Q5: Are there any awards named after these cricketers?
A5: While there might not be specific awards named after these cricketers, their contributions have been acknowledged in various ways. Some stadiums, tournaments, or cricketing events might have stands, trophies, or awards named in honor of these players to recognize their significant impact on the sport.
Q6: Can you provide a summary of the achievements of these cricketers?
A6: Certainly! Here is a summary of the achievements of these underrated cricketers:
|Rahul Dravid||One of India’s leading run-scorers in Tests and ODIs, known for his exceptional technique and resilience.|
|Anil Kumble||India’s highest wicket-taker in Test matches, known for his impeccable leg-spin and match-winning performances.|
|Mithali Raj||Leading run-scorer in women’s international cricket, captain of the Indian women’s team, and a trailblazer for women’s cricket in India.|
Exploring the lives and achievements of these underrated cricketers sheds light on the vast pool of talent that often goes unnoticed in the grand narrative of cricket history. From Rahul Dravid’s steadfastness to Mithali Raj’s groundbreaking contributions to women’s cricket, these players have left an indelible mark on the sport. Anil Kumble’s subtle brilliance, Michael Holding’s lethal pace, and Hashim Amla’s graceful batting have added diverse colors to the cricketing canvas.
As we celebrate the legacy of these players, it’s a reminder that cricket is not just about the towering sixes and spectacular centuries; it’s also about the quiet determination, exceptional skills, and unwavering spirit displayed by these underrated gems. They might not have always hogged the limelight, but their impact on the game is undeniable. It’s crucial for fans and enthusiasts alike to acknowledge and appreciate the contributions of these cricketers, for they are the unsung heroes who have enriched the sport we all love.