In football, it’s been said before that ‘22 people kick a ball around and if it goes to penalties, the Germans always win’. In cricket, there’s something quite similar, only it ends in the Aussies winning the Ashes, World Cups, Test series, you name it.
The talent and skill that they have been blessed with has seen Australia at the top of the world in all formats of the game at different times but, with so many incredible players to choose from, who are their five greatest ever players?
- Ricky Ponting
Ricky Pointing was one of the great batsmen to play the game and played an incredible 168 Tests, and 375 ODI’s, scoring 13,378 runs and 13,704 runs in Tests and ODI’s respectively. One of the hardest batsmen to displace and beautifully fluent when he had played himself in, Ponting’s 41 Test centuries and 30 ODI hundreds see him standing alongside the very best in the two longer formats of the game.
An all-time highest score of 257 came against India at the MCG in 2003, and it was performances like this that saw Ponting awarded the Allan Border medal a record four times in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009, with the former-captain one of the great batsmen in the game.
He is now one of the leading commentators, an IPL coach and lives up to his nickname punter with a love for betting on greyhound racing for which the Rob Water House promo code is among the best places to bet.
- Glenn McGrath
While James Anderson of England may go down as the most successful pace bowlers in Test cricket, Glenn McGrath’s contribution to the all-conquering Australian side of the mid-1990s to the late 2000s should see him spoken about in exactly the same reverence as the Englishman.
McGrath was an incredible exponent of the ball, making it talk like few others could. Just in Tests, McGrath knocked over 563 batsmen at just 21.64 and boasts three 10 wicket matches and 29 five wicket hauls.
While Shane Warne may be remembered as Australia’s best bowler, whenever the greatest Australian XIs are put together, McGrath will always be a mainstay of these lists.
- Adam Gilchrist
Adam Gilchrist scored 17 Test centuries at 47.60 and 16 ODI hundreds at 35.89 but they only tell half the story of a consistent wicket-keeper-batsman that is still regarded as one of the most creative and brutal players in the history of the game.
Without the bat, Gilchrist was a menace behind the stumps. His 379 Test catches and 37 stumpings alongside 417 catches and 55 stumpings in ODI cricket displayed just how good he was with the gloves, with it hard to count how many times Gilchrist was pictured at full-stretch snaffling a chance or catching out the batsman with a lightning-fast stumping.
While there have been some truly incredible wicketkeepers in the history of cricket, if ever there is an all-time XI, Gilchrist would be our choice with the gloves.
- Don Bradman
Is Don Bradman the greatest batsman of all time? Probably. Is he the greatest Australian batsman ever? Definitely. An almost fictional average of 99.94 with the bat after 52 Test saw Bradman score 6996 and, with 29 hundreds and 13 half-centuries in 80 innings, Bradman’s consistent brilliance was mesmerising.
Although he only ever played in England and Australia, we defy any batsman to get anywhere near Bradman’s brilliance wherever in the world they play. Honestly, it’s unlikely there will ever be a batsman like Bradman, and we are okay with that.
- Shane Warne
Is this a controversial one? Maybe. Bradman could have definitely filled this spot but, the sheer will to take wickets sees Shane Warne occupying the number one spot for us.
His 708 Test wickets, 293 ODI wickets and 70 T20 wickets means Warne snared 1071 wickets for Australia, and he was quite simply unplayable on his day, with his right-arm leg break bowling a nightmare for any batsman.
Such was the control that Warne bowled with is that whether he was bowling at a batsman on their first ball or their 200th, you always felt like the spinner had the beating of them. Alongside all of stats and everything else that made Warne so difficult to play, we implore you to search ‘Shane Warne ball of the century’ if you haven’t already. You can thank us later.