The first international cricket match was played in 1844 at the St George’s Cricket Club in New York between the United States and Canada. However, Test cricket arrived on the scene in 1877, when Australia faced off against England in the game’s longest format. Cricket’s status has expanded by leaps and bounds since then, and it is currently the second-most popular sport after football.
There have been many outstanding players in the beautiful history of cricket who have taken the stage and left the world in awe. There have been numerous iconic cricketers, from Sir Donald Bradman to Sir Vivian Richards through Shane Warne. On that point, here is the finest playing XI among former cricketers:
The following is the best retiring XI.
Number 1. Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar is regarded as one of the greatest cricketers of all time. He made the world of cricket his hunting field, becoming the most prolific run-getter of all time. Sachin was an excellent fielder who gave India with vital breakthroughs.
The Mumbai native has played in 200 Tests, scoring 15921 runs at an average of 53.78. On the field, he took 46 wickets at an economy of 3.52. Sachin scored 18426 runs in 463 ODIs at an average of 44.83 and took 154 wickets at an economy of 5.10.
The renowned cricketer both broke and set several records. Sachin retired from international cricket in November 2013, capping off a 24-year brilliant career.
Number 2. Matthew Hayden
Matthew Hayden was a powerful cricket ball striker who was noted for dismantling bowling attacks with his daring stroke play. Hayden played 103 matches in the longest version of the game, scoring 8625 runs at an average of 50.73, including 30 centuries.
He scored 6133 runs in 161 ODIs at an average of 43.80, including 10 tonnes. The former Australian cricketer has made nine shortest-format appearances for Australia, scoring 308 runs at a strike rate of 143.92.
When it came to playing courageous cricket, Hayden was well ahead of his time. He attacked the opponents from the outset and gave his team with quick beginnings. In January 2009, the former Australian opener announced his retirement from international cricket.
Number 3. Ricky Ponting
In the international circuit, Ricky Ponting was a run-machine. He was rock-solid at the top of the order and gave the batting order steadiness. Former Australian cricketer played 168 Tests and scored 13378 runs at an average of 51.85, including 41 hundreds.
In 375 One-Day Internationals, Ponting scored 13,704 runs at an average of 42.03, including 30 tonnes. He has played 17 times for Australia in the shortest format, scoring 401 runs with a strike rate of 132.78.
Aside from his batting brilliance, Ponting was an experienced game strategist who shown his leadership abilities on several occasions on the international arena. He captained Australia in Test cricket from 2004 to 2011 and in ODIs from 2002 to 2011, and under his leadership, Australia became world-beaters. The seasoned hitter also led his squad to two One-Day International World Cup triumphs. Ponting last played for Australia in December 2012.
Number 4. Brian Lara
Brian Lara was a mainstay of the West Indies batting line-up, scoring a tonne of runs across many forms. He helped to steady the ship when the squad was in difficulties and also brought top-tier bowling lineups to task with his marauding bat.
Lara played 131 Tests, scoring 11,953 runs at an average of 52.88, including 34 hundreds. When the West Indies faced England in the last game of the four-match Test series in April 2004, he was in top form, scoring 400* runs off 582 balls, which remains the best individual total in the game’s longest format.
The former West Indies cricketer was very productive in the 50-over format, scoring 10,405 runs at an average of 40.48 in 299 ODIs, including 19 hundreds. Lara announced his retirement from international cricket in April 2007.
Number 5. Jacques Kallis
Jacques Kallis is widely regarded as the greatest all-rounder in history. The Cape Town native was a run-banker recognised for his tenacity and commitment on the cricket field. He was a cunning client who offered timely breakthroughs to the side.
Kallis appeared in 166 Tests, amassing 13,289 points at an average of 55.37. He took 292 wickets at an average of 32.65 while bowling. He was also outstanding in the 50-over format, scoring 11,579 runs in 328 matches at an average of 44.36 and taking 273 wickets for his team.
In July 2014, Kallis announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket. It’s been almost eight years since the former South African all-rounder retired, but he remains the only player to have scored over 10,000 runs and taken over 250 wickets in both ODIs and Tests.
Number 6. AB de Villiers
Every time AB de Villers came onto the cricket pitch, supporters were on the edge of their seats. With his 360-degree stroke play, he toyed with bowling attacks and established his dominance on the game again and again.
De Villers is the first former cricketer to have an ODI and Test average of more than 50. He appeared in 114 matches in the game’s longest format, scoring 8765 runs at an average of 50.66. In 228 One-Day Internationals, the former South African batsman scored 9577 runs with a strike rate of 101.09.
In the shortest format, he scored 1672 runs with a strike rate of 135.16 in 78 T20Is. It seemed as though de Villers was carved from a different cloth, since there aren’t enough superlatives to characterise the man’s expertise. In May 2018, he announced his retirement from international cricket.
Number 7. Andrew Flintoff
Andrew Flintoff was an all-rounder who turned heads every time he went onto the cricket pitch. He annihilated bowling assaults with his power-hitting prowess and awed the globe with his all-out bowling exploits.
Flintoff played 79 Tests, scoring 3845 runs at an average of 31.77. He took 226 wickets at an average of 32.88 while bowling. In one-day internationals, the Lancashire-born batsman scored 3394 runs at a strike rate of 88.82 and took 169 wickets at an economy rate of 4.39.
Flintoff’s all-round heroics swept The Ashes in 2005. With the ball, he spearheaded England’s attack, taking 24 wickets at an average of 21.27. With the bat, the former England batsman made 402 runs at an average of 40.20 in five matches. He left Test cricket following the 2009 Ashes series and various forms in 2010.
Number 8. Wasim Akram
There have been many match-winners in Pakistan, but few of the level of Wasim Akram. He was regarded as the greatest left-arm seamer of all time, moving the ball both ways and dismantling batting lineups for amusement.
Akram played 104 Tests and took 414 wickets at an average of 23.62. In one-day internationals, the former Pakistan cricketer is the only bowler to have taken 500 wickets, with 502 scalps in 356 matches at an economy of 3.89.
Aside from his bowling prowess, Akram contributed significantly with the bat, amassing three international hundreds. In May 2003, the ‘Sultan of Swing’ retired from international cricket, after an 18-year brilliant career.
Number 9. (Late) Shane Warne
In the international arena, late Shane Warne was a game changer. The Australian great was a cunning client who dazzled hitters with his inventiveness. He even woke up docile surfaces and played havoc with the ball.
Warne’s best fit was Test cricket, where he collected 708 wickets in 145 appearances at an average of 25.41. He was the first cricketer to take 700 Test wickets. He also shown his talent in the 50-over game, taking 293 scalps in 194 matches for Australia at an economy of 4.25.
Warne was outstanding anytime the urn was on the line. He got 195 wickets at an economy of 23.25 in 36 Ashes matches. The champion bowler last played for Australia in a Test against the Three Lions at the SCG in January 2007.
Number 10. Glenn McGrath
Glenn McGrath is Australia’s most talented fast bowler. His strongest strength was the longest version of the game, when he dismantled batting lineups with ease and amassed an incredible 563 wickets in 124 matches at an average of 21.64.
McGrath was also outstanding in one-day internationals, taking 381 wickets in 250 matches at an economy rate of 3.88. The former Australian seamer also represented his country in the shortest format twice, taking five wickets.
In World Cups, McGrath came into his own. In the main tournament, he appeared in 39 matches and took 71 wickets with an economy of 3.96. After Australia’s World Cup victory in 2007, the famous cricketer retired from all forms of international cricket.
Number 11. Muttiah Muralitharan
Muttiah Muralitharan was a legend in global cricket. He has engraved his name in the record books by taking the most wickets in both ODIs and Tests. Muralitharan played in 133 matches in the longest format of the game, taking 800 wickets at an average of 22.72.
In the 50-over format, Muralitharan made 350 appearances for his country, taking 534 wickets at an economy rate of 3.93. When Sri Lanka needed wickets, he was their go-to guy, and he delivered on the majority of occasions.
Muralitharan used his magic on both twisting and flat courses, changing the flow of the game in his favour. The spin wizard last played for Sri Lanka in the 2011 World Cup Finals.