Former Australia skipper Michael Clarke was known for his outstanding batting and excellent captaincy. Under his leadership, the Australian team won the 2015 ODI World Cup. Apart from his brilliance on the cricket ground, Clarke is also quite famous for placing his opinions off the field.
Recently, the veteran Aussie revealed the list of ‘top 7 batsmen’ he has played with or against during his active days in international cricket. Clarke, who debuted in 2003, had played in the time when many greatest batsmen in the history of the game were active.
Speaking on Big Sports Breakfast show, Clarke named only one batsman from Australia, while two each from India and South Africa. He went with one batsman from West Indies and one from Sri Lanka.
Here’s the list of seven best batsmen Michael Clarke has played with or against:
The only West Indies batsman made into Clarke’s list was none other than the legendary Brian Charles Lara. The left-hand genius scored 11,953 runs in Test cricket and 10,405 runs in ODI format.
“Probably my favourite batsman through my career,” said Clarke.
“You look at statistics, and his average is probably not as high as other names on this list, but it was the way he played. Whether it was against fast bowlers or spinners, it was the success he had against Australia.”
The first Indian on Clarke’s list was India’s iconic player Sachin Tendulkar. The Mumbai-born cricketer is the highest run-scorer in international cricket, having clubbed as many as 34,357 runs.
For choosing Tendulkar in his list, Clarke said: “Probably technically the best batsman I ever saw.”
“The hardest batsman to get out. I think Sachin, technically, didn’t have a weakness. Part of you hoped that he made a mistake.”
Another Indian batsman that Clarke went for is the current Indian team captain Virat Kohli. Clarke rated Kohli as the best batsman of current time irrespective of the formats.
“I think right now the best batsman across all three formats,” Clarke said.
“His one day and twenty-twenty records are phenomenal, and he’s also found a way to dominate Test cricket. What Kohli and Tendulkar have in common is they love making big hundreds.”
AB de Villiers
Another talented batsman in Clarke’s list was South Africa’s AB de Villiers. The dextrous South African has been a phenomenal name in modern-day cricket. Though he has retired from international cricket there has been news regarding his return to the national side, especially for the T20 World Cup later this year.
Clarke was also of the opinion that De Villiers should make a comeback in the Africa side. He said: “I’m hoping he comes back and plays for South Africa again.”
“Superstar. Can bat anywhere in the order. Dominates T20 cricket. He can score runs anywhere around the ground,” added Clarke.
Another Proteas batsman that Clarke went for is Jacques Kallis. There is no doubt that Kallis is one of the best all-rounders of all-time.
No wonder Clarke heaped praise on Kallis and said: “The greatest all-rounder that I played against. The impact he had against Australia; the way he was able to score runs against our attack was extraordinary.”
The only Australian featured in Clarke’s list was one of the greatest captains of all-time and his former teammate Ricky Ponting. With 27,483 runs, Ponting is the third-highest run-scorer in the history of international cricket.
“He’s probably the best Australian batsman I played with,” said Clarke.
“I was lucky enough to play with some great batsman — Matthew Hayden, Steve Smith, David Warner, Adam Gilchrist, Damien Martyn, who was a genius. What separates Ricky is the era that he played. Just about every attack had two or three top-line, world-class bowlers and he was able to dominate them,” he added.
Another quality batsman in the list of Clarke was one of the most elegant wicket-keeper batsmen ever, Kumar Sangakkara. The veteran Sri Lankan is the second-highest run-scorer in international cricket. The left-handed batsman has 29,016 runs to his name.
“He seems to be forgotten regularly,” the Liverpool-born said.
“Phenomenal. Batted at number three, which I think is the toughest position. I think he scored three hundreds in a row in a World Cup. Sangakkara was a force and an absolute gentleman of the game.”
Clarke is regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of his generation. He is the fourth Aussie to score maximum runs for his nation in both Tests and One-Day Internationals (ODIs). In 115 Tests, Clarke has accumulated 8643 runs while in 245 ODIs he has clubbed 7981 runs.