Who is the Goat of Cricket?

Know the player names in the “Who is the goat of Cricket” debate. Also, know the reason why Virat Kohli is called a goat in cricket.

Who is the Goat of Cricket?
Subhayan Dutta

Written by: Subhayan Dutta

(Sports Writer)

Fact checked by: Dillip Mohanty

(Sports Editor)

Last updated: 2023-12-25

5 minutes read

There is no correct or singular answer to the popularly asked question - “Who is the Goat of cricket”. The game of cricket has evolved over the decades with numerous amendments made ranging from the introduction of protective gears for batsmen and modern technologies for accurate decision-making to well-maintained turf and fielding restrictions.

All of these factors have heavily influenced the performances of the batsmen from each era, which makes it virtually impossible to settle the debate of “who is the goat in cricket”. However, we can list the contenders from the past few eras who could hold this moniker very deservedly.

What is GOAT in Cricket?

G.O.A.T or the Greatest of All Time is a term from the urban dictionary that took social media by storm, especially in the footballing context having a mammoth division of fanbases of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Concluding the GOAT in cricket debate won’t be as simple as football, where the number of goals is the fundamental parameter. While Don Bradman played on the least maintained cricket pitches, Sir Vivian Richards played against the most brutal of bowlers on fast, bouncy turfs. Sachin Tendulkar was a one-man team for almost a decade carrying the expectations of an entire nation on his shoulders. At the same time, Virat Kohli played in an era of commercialised cricket where he remained the absolute best across all the three formats playing relentlessly.

Who is the Goat in cricket?

Don Bradman

Inarguably the best batsman of the 20th century, given the pitch and cricketing conditions in the decades of the 1930s and 1940s belonged to Australia’s Sir Don Bradman whose batting was so flawless that every other batsman of the era fell pale in comparison.

Don Bradman demonstrates a batting point to Colin McCool as Keith Miller prepares to bowl.jpegAustralia and England were the major sides to play international cricket, barring county cricket, and the domineering English side was famously tamed by Bradman in Headingley when he scored 309 runs on one single day of Test cricket. The only way England could beat Australia was by injuring them, a resort that was taken by captain Douglas Jardine during the 1932-33 Ashes, famously called the bodyline series.

In 80 innings, Don Bradman scored an unbelievable 29 Test centuries and needed just four runs in his last-ever innings to retire with an average of 100. Unfortunately, he was out for a duck and remained etched in our memories as he retired with 99.94. 

Don Bradman

Cricket Career

FORMATMatchesRunsBestAverage100s / 50
Tests52699633499.9429 / 13
First Class23428067452*95.14117 / 69
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Sir Vivian Richards

The first superstar of cricket, for whom people waited with bated breath in the stands, sometimes even wishing for the opening batsman to get out, Vivian Richards is quite possibly the best batsman West Indies ever produced. At his peak, Richards had no visible weaknesses. He was strong as a bear compounded by infallible technique, which made it almost impossible for bowlers to get him out.

Though only 5 '10”, Richards’ reach was phenomenal as his extended foot could take a chance of LBW out of the equation. Richards would hit very hard and score runs at a brilliant pace, which made him as much an entertainer as a great batsman.

Sir Vivian Richards.jpeg

 

The Caribbean giant retired with 24 Test centuries and 45 ODI centuries and is widely considered the GOAT of cricket.

Viv Richards

Cricket Career

FormatMatchesRunsBestAverage100s/ 50s
Tests121854029150.2324 / 45
ODIs1876721189*4711 / 45
FIRST-CLASS5073621232249.4114 / 162
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Sachin Tendulkar

The best batsman India ever produced by a mile, Sachin Tendulkar is one of a kind. While he started his career too early to make a mark in the T20Is, he was India’s best bet for more than two decades with the bat in Tests and ODIs. A batsman who banked on sheer cricketing principles and mastered techniques like balance, impeccable movement and unrivalled strokeplay, Tendulkar’s batting is an institution in itself.  

After he managed to score a century on the fast pitch of W.A.C.A. As a 17-year-old, Don Bradman was said to have confided to his wife that the Indian reminded him of himself. Tendulkar already had 16 Test centuries before he was 25 and eventually went on to become the first-ever batsman to score 50 international centuries in 2000.

Sachin Tendulkar ODI Celebration.jpeg

 

The first batsman to score a double century in ODIs and that too as a 36-year-old, Tendulkar played as many as six World Cups and won one, ending as the tournament’s highest scorer. He eventually retired with 100 centuries in world cricket, a feat that is seemingly unattainable anytime in the future.

Sachin Tendulkar

Cricket Career

FormatMatchesRunsBestAverage100s / 50s
Tests20015921248*53.7851 / 68
ODIs46318426200*44.8349 / 96
T20Is11010100
First-Class31025396248*57.8481 / 116
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Why is Virat Kohli called GOAT?

While there is no doubt that Virat Kohli has been the best batsman in cricket for over a decade now, Virat Kohli is primarily called a G.O.A.T. because he gained popularity in the age of rampant relevance of social media, where building a trend is very easy.

This takes nothing away from Kohli’s ability with the bat. Inarguably the best ODI batsman to ever play the game, Kohli is also known as the Chase Master for his otherworldly form while chasing a target. A World Cup and ICC Champions Trophy winner, Kohli has the most number of centuries in ODIs, even more than Tendulkar.

Virat Kohli

Cricket Career

FormatMatchesRunsBestAverage100s / 50s
Tests1118676254*49.2929 / 29
ODIs2921384818358.6750 / 72
T20Is1154008122*52.731 / 37
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Also known as the king of cricket, Kohli is the highest run-getter in T20I cricket and has just one century less than Tendulkar in World Cups, despite playing two editions less than him. His career is littered with records that are unlikely to be breached anytime soon. However, more than his records, Kohli has successfully inspired a generation of fans and aspiring cricketers to adopt a brand of cricket that has no mercy for opponents whatsoever. 

Virat Kohli Celebration in 2023 World Cup.jpegThe ICC Men’s Player of the Decade, Kohli has been the most successful Test captain for India based on win percentage. During his captaincy, India stayed as the number one Test team in the ICC rankings for 42 months.

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Subhayan Dutta

Subhayan Dutta

An M.A. in English Literature, Subhayan is an experienced journalist and sports writer. Having worked as a journalist at Hindustan Times, Subhayan covered diverse beats including sports, education, and health, showcasing his versatility and in-depth understanding of various subjects.

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