Who is the Best Cricketer in the World?

Know who is the best cricketer in the world and why is called so. Learn about his Test, ODI, T20I and IPL career stats and how he fared in the World Cups.

Subhayan Dutta
Subhayan Dutta

Last Updated: 2023-11-10

Dillip Mohanty

Former Indian cricketer and World Cup winner Sachin Tendulkar is undoubtedly the best cricketer in the world. Not only did Tendulkar retire with over 34000 international runs and 100 centuries across all the formats, but his longevity and commitment to the game have also surpassed the realms of the best of cricketers.

Sachin Tendulkar's maiden Test century at Old Trafford.jpegMaking his debut way back on November 15, 1989, Tendulkar retired from Test cricket in November 2013, thus contributing an unbelievable 24 years to international cricket. From facing the likes of Imran Khan and Abdul Qadir to Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels, the Master Blaster has played against almost three generations of players.

Sachin Tendulkar

International Cricket Career

FormatMatchesRunsBestAvgSR100s200s50s4s/ 6s
Test2001592124853.7954.08516682058/ 69
ODI4631842620044.8386.24491962016/ 195
T20I110101083.330002/ 0
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Sachin Tendulkar in Tests

Making his Test debut in 1989 in Pakistan, Tendulkar had a decent outing as a mere 16-year-old and continued to be a part of the playing eleven henceforth. His first century would, however, come against Australia in Sydney in 1994, when Tendulkar’s unbeaten 148 helped India draw the match against a strong side. Once that mental block, centuries flew in for Tendulkar as he quickly scored two more on the South African tour in 1992.

Tendulkar would eventually retire with a whopping 51 centuries in the longest format, the most by any batsman in the history of the game. His highest Test score came against Bangladesh in their backyard as his unbeaten 248 helped India win by an innings and 140 runs.

Sachin Tendulkar Ceelbration Test Cricket.jpeg

Tendulkar’s favourite opponent was Australia, against whom tallied a mindboggling 3630 runs in 39 Tests with an average of 55. Out of Tendulkar’s 51 Test tons, 11 came against Australia, who were closely followed by England. From Graham Gooch and Nasser Husain to Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook, Tendulkar dominated them in various decades.

During one of his exploits in Australia’s Sydney, one placard had read, “Commit all your crimes when Sachin is batting. They will go unnoticed because even the Lord is watching.”

Sachin Tendulkar

Test Records by Opponents

v Australia393630241*5511/16
v Bangladesh7820248*136.665/0
v England32253519351.737/13
v New Zealand24159521746.914/8
v Pakistan181057194*42.282/7
v South Africa25174116942.467/5
v Sri Lanka25199520360.459/6
v West Indies21163017954.333/10
v Zimbabwe9918201*76.53/3
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“I have seen God, he bats at no. 4 for India.”

Matthew Hayden on Tendulkar

Tendulkar’s 15921 is the most runs any batsman has scored in Test cricket history. His tally of 51 centuries and 119 fifties remains unmatched by any batsman. Fondly known as the “Little Master” for his below-average height, Tendulkar remains the fastest to reach 13000, 14000 and 15000 Test runs despite retiring from cricket a decade back.

Former Australian opener Matthew Hayden famously said, “I have seen God, he bats at no. 4 for India.”

Sachin Tendulkar in ODIs

While Tendulkar dreamt of becoming a Test legend, he also ended up being the most celebrated ODI cricketer of all time. His ODI career trajectory remained similar, as he debuted against Pakistan in 1989 and became the team’s mainstay thereafter. Like his first Test ton, Tendulkar’s maiden ODI century also came in 1994 against the same opponent. It was the Singer World Series and Tendulkar’s 110 had helped India put up a total of 246 runs as Australia eventually fell short by 31 runs.

Tendulkar would score two more centuries in 1994, against New Zealand and West Indies, before getting just one ton the following year. However, it was the calm before the storm as he would return with six centuries in 1996. Tendulkar was fast becoming India’s most consistent performer and he would reach his peak in 1998 when he ended with an unbelievable nine centuries. His knock of 143 against Australia in Sharjah in 1998 was famously labelled as the “Desert Storm” for Tendulkar’s lone fight against the likes of Damien Fleming, Shane Warne, Tom Moody and Michael Kasprowicz.

Sachin Tendulkar ODI Celebration after scoring Double Hundred.jpegWhile Australia suffered the most against Tendulkar, in ODIs it was Sri Lanka. Tendulkar would tally a mammoth 3113 runs against the Lankans in 84 matches, who are followed by Australia (3077) and Pakistan (2526).

Tendulkar retired from ODI cricket in 2012 and his tally of 18426 runs is yet to be reached by any batsman. His tally of 1894 runs in 1998, is still the most number of runs in a calendar year, and the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma haven’t yet come close to matching it. Tendulkar’s ODI century tally of 49 is yet another landmark that no batsman has achieved. 

Sachin Tendulkar

ODI Records by Opponents

v Australia71307717544.599/15
v Bangladesh1249611449.61/2
v Bermuda15757*-0/2
v England37145512044.092/10
v Ireland24238210/0
v Kenya10647146107.834/1
v Namibia11521521521/0
v Netherlands2795239.50/1
v New Zealand421750186*46.055/8
v Pakistan69252614140.095/16
v South Africa572001200*35.735/8
v Sri Lanka84311313843.848/17
v U.A.E.2816340.50/1
v West Indies391573141*52.434/11
v Zimbabwe34137714649.175/5
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Such big was Sachin Tendulkar’s impact that Barrack Obama, former President of America, a nation that doesn’t even play cricket, had said, “I don’t know cricket, I don’t know how Sachin plays. But I still try to watch him playing because I want to know why my country’s economy goes down 0.5% when he’s batting.” 

Sachin Tendulkar in the World Cup

Having played for 24 long years. Tendulkar was able to participate in as many as six ODI World Cups, which is the most by any player. He aggregated 2278 runs with 15 fifties and six centuries to his name. However, it took him six World Cups to lift the trophy for the first and last time during the 2011 edition of the elite tournament.

While Sachin Tendulkar played just one T20I in his entire career, he established himself as one of the great T20 players through the Indian Premier League. Playing for the Mumbai Indians throughout his IPL career, Tendulkar tallied 2334 runs in 78 T20s, which included one century and 13 fifties.

Sachin Tendulkar in IPL.jpeg

Tendulkar’s final IPL season was in 2013 when he tallied 287 runs across 14 matches as his franchise went on to win the tournament as well as the Champion League T20 Trophy.

While a lot of cricketing legends said a lot of great things about the player, the best definition of Tendulkar was presented by BBC Sports, which read, “Beneath the helmet, under that unruly curly hair, inside the cranium, there is something we don't know, something beyond scientific measure. Something that allows him to soar, to roam a territory of sport that, forget us, even those who are gifted enough to play alongside him cannot even fathom. When he goes out to bat, people switch on their television sets and switch off their lives.”

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Subhayan Dutta
Subhayan DuttaSports Writer

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.