The 100 Greatest Cricketers takes the innovative approach of listing players in nine teams — from Sir Donald Bradman’s First XI to the Ninth XI featuring Peter May and Graeme Smith — with Doug Walters as 100th Man! Of course, it is impossible for any such list to be truly definitive. This is perhaps the book’s greatest appeal — that you, the reader, are fully entitled to disagree with the author’s opinion, while at the same time appreciating the qualities of the players profiled. Steve Waugh is not the only person who has wondered if the Second XI might beat the First XI. Who is in that top team? Who is rated as cricket’s greatest all-rounder, spinner, fast bowler and wicketkeeper? Who would you leave out to put your favourite player in? Were the old cricketers really so good? Have the modern champions superseded them?
It was important in developing this Top 100 not to fall into the trap of picking players just because it has become fashionable to rate them highly. It is astonishing how some players’ reputations have grown as the memories of their playing days recede, while other more accomplished or important cricketers have been all but forgotten. For this third edition, five new players are included: India’s MS Dhoni (at No. 39), South Africa’s AB de Villiers (No. 50), Hashim Amla (No. 61) and Dale Steyn (No. 71), and India’s Anil Kumble (No. 75). Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara (No. 98 to No. 16) and South Africa’s Jacques Kallis (No. 88 to No. 29) get big promotions.
Fully revised and updated, The 100 Greatest Cricketers is a book to be savoured. Let the arguments begin!