India’s Sachin Tendulkar and Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan were named as Star Sports’ Greatest of All Time batsmen and bowler respectively in Tests of the 21st century. A 50-member jury gathered by Star Sports made the decision ahead of the ICC World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand.
Tendulkar is the highesrt run scorer in international cricket with 15,921 runs at an average of 53.78, including 100 centuries across formats. Muralitharan, meanwhile, has an incredible 800 Test wickets, the most in Tests.
Former India batsman VVS Laxman said on Star Sports:
“I’ve played alongside him for so long. Sachin played under different captains. I think in 2000 he decided that he is not going to captain anymore. And such a senior player, such a legend of the game. But to adjust & contribute to the progress of Indian cricket under different captains, and to help them flourish as captains, is something only a role model and inspiration like Sachin can do – which he did really good. The legacy that he left back, is not only scoring hundreds, double hundreds, 100 hundreds, but also the way he inspired the younger generation of Indian cricketers and the world cricketers. I still remember, Kane Williamson in his debut Test match in Ahmedabad; chatting with Sachin, understanding the game. As recently as the IPL, which just finished, we had a long chat with Sachin; talking about his tennis elbow injury. So, not only the Indian cricketers got inspiration from Sachin, but all the cricketers from all over the world got inspiration from him and that’s why he is the greatest.”
He added that he saw fear in eyes of batsmen facing Muttiah Muralitharan.
“I was privileged to be against all these greats of the game. Steyn, for someone who could swing the ball, not only the conventional swing but also the reverse swing, used to suffocate you and get you out. The presence of Shane Warne had on the cricket field was just unbelievable. But for me, it has been Muttiah Muralitharan – the greatest of all time bowler of the 21st century – because he is one spinner who troubled all the batsmen around the world, not only in Sri Lanka, not only in the subcontinent conditions but apart from Australia, everywhere in the world. He has been the greatest of all time. It is not only about statistics, and also not just the number of wickets. He has got 800 Test wickets is a big achievement, the way he bamboozled batsmen. I could see the fear in the eyes of the batsmen when facing Muralitharan.”
Former England captain Nasser Hussain, on Star Sports, spoke about Tendulkar:
“There are some great candidates and any of these (GOAT nominees) would be worthy winners. I mean, it’s not just the stats between those hundreds you get. I think it’s sometimes too driven by stats. This occasion has shown it – here today in the final – it’s about how you handle pressure; how you cope with pressure. Also, an ambassador for the game, Sachin, was a great ambassador for cricket from India. When he speaks, people listen.”
Bangar, meanwhile, said Anil Kumble would feature in his list too.
“I thought Anil Kumble would feature in the list because he’s somebody who’s won a lot of matches for India, 619 test wickets. And doing that without the ability of a Shane Warne or without variation and guile of somebody like a Muralitharan, it was a phenomenal achievement for Anil and for India. But I will have to give it to Muttiah Muralitharan purely for the reason that he didn’t have the luxury of some pressure being applied from the other end except for somebody like Chaminda Vas, he had to do it all alone. I think for that particular reason, for having the record alone for having shouldered the responsibility of an international attack, it has to be Muralitharan.”