Australia cricket legends: A string of superstars from Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting to David Warner

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With the Cricket World Cup 2019 about to get underway, we take a trip down memory lane and look at some of the iconic players to have defined their eras and earned the title of legends in their country.

As we build up to the tournament, we celebrate the legends of past and take a look at the current flag-bearers.

Here, we have picked four players from Australia who have left their mark in the history books.

Click here for England, Pakistan, India and West Indies.

Allan Border [1978-1994]

Allan Border will always be known as the legend who rebuilt Australian cricket from the debris in the aftermath of the 1983 World Cup. Following the horror show in which they were eliminated in the group stages, then captain Kim Hughes stepped down to make way for Border.

Hailing from New South Wales, Border took up the mantle and led Australia to their maiden World Cup win in 1987. Statistically, the all-rounder had an average tournament as a player, but his role as captain and leader of the team proved most crucial in the end.

Rather than his ODI numbers, Border is known for his impeccable Test record and was at one point in the ’80s the best player in the world.

Test Match stats

Batting

Matches: 158

Innings: 265

Runs: 11174

Average: 50.56

50s/100s/200s: 63/27/2

Bowling

Matches: 158

Innings: 98

Wickets: 39

Iconic World Cup innings: 2/38 v England (Final, 1983)

Border recorded figures of 2-38 against England in the 1983 final to help Australia successfully defend a total of 254. Most importantly, he got the crucial wicket of opposing skipper Mike Gatting, who had at one point looked as if he would go on to win the match for England. The fact that Australia won the game by just seven runs underlies the importance of dismissing Gatting for 41.

Shane Warne [1992-2007]

Australia have always been blessed with legendary bowlers, but Shane Warne is arguably the best of all. His slow walk-up to the crease followed by the sudden contortion of the wrist is truly one of the most iconic bowling actions ever.

The leg-spinner is known for his tremendous accuracy and ability to generate spin under any conditions. He played a major role in Australia’s 1999 World Cup campaign, the foundation for an era of domination that followed.

The best big-game player Australia could ever ask for, Warne also dragged Australia to the 1996 final where they lost to Sri Lanka. But the 1999 tournament – where Warne finished as the leading wicket-taker – was arguably the best phase of his illustrious career,  having been forced to miss 2003 because of a drugs ban.

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1999 World Cup stats

Matches: 10

Wickets: 20

Economy: 3.82

Best: 4-29

Iconic World Cup innings: 4-29 v South Africa (Semi-final, 1999)

Warne stole the show in what is still considered the greatest match in World Cup history.

Australia were tasked to defend a total of 213 and the spinner’s four-wicket haul, that included the wickets of Herschelle Gibbs and the in-form Jacques Kallis, helped the eventual champions restrict a gutsy South African team to 213 in a nail-biting semi-final tie. Australia qualified for the finals by virtue of a better record in the Super Six stage.

Ricky Ponting [1995-2012]

Having led them to two World Cup titles, Ricky Ponting can boast about being the most successful captain in the history of Australian cricket.

Controversies, born purely out of his desire – or rather desperation – to win at any cost have followed him throughout his career. But this has never stopped him from being his aggressive, fierce self in times of need.

With the bat, Ponting was formidable, toying with the best bowling attacks and asserting dominance for over a decade, while his nous as a captain was unparalleled.

Making it to the top three leading run scorers in two World Cups is an impressive feat and Ponting comfortably achieved it in the 2003 and 2017 editions.

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2003 World Cup stats

Matches: 11

Innings: 10

Runs: 415

Average: 51.87

Highest: 140*

50s/100s: 1/2

Iconic World Cup innings: 140* against India (Final, 2003)

The captain stepped up in the most important game of Australia’s 2003 World Cup campaign to dismantle India’s bowling attack and claim victory for his side.

Ponting scored 140 runs from 121 balls to take Australia’s total to 359, smashing the Indian bowlers all across the park in an innings that saw four fours and eight sixes.

The Aussies retained their crown, with India failing to get anywhere near their gigantic innings. This performance can be considered as one of the best with the bat in a World Cup final.

David Warner (2009-present)

Known for his aggressive style with the bat, David Warner could prove the difference-maker for Australia in this year’s World Cup.

The southpaw is coming into the tournament off the back of yet another orange cap campaign in the Indian Premier League. The one-year ban imposed by Cricket Australia due to the ball tampering controversy last year has seemingly not affected his form in any way.

Warner had an above-average 2015 World Cup campaign but didn’t exactly stand out. Given his form heading into this edition, a lot more will be expected of him.

Keep an eye out for explosive starts when Australia take to the crease, with Warner determined to prove a point upon his return to England.

2015 World Cup stats

Matches: 8

Innings: 8

Runs: 345

Average: 49.28

50s/100s: 0/1

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Iconic World Cup innings: 178 v Afghanistan (2015)

Warner’s 178 from just 133 balls against Afghanistan in the group stages helped Australia register 417, the highest ever in a World Cup game. The entertaining display featured 19 fours and five sixes. Warner and Steve Smith put 260 runs on the board for the second wicket to help Australia put one into the record books.

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Windies legends: The passing of the torch from Sir Viv Richards through to Andre Russell

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All-rounder Andre Russell

With the Cricket World Cup 2019 about to get underway, we take a trip down memory lane and look at some of the iconic players to have defined their eras and earned the title of legends in their country.

As we build up to the tournament, we celebrate the legends of past and take a look at the current flag-bearers.

Here, we have picked four players from the West Indies who have left their mark in the history books.

Click here for Australia, Pakistan, India and England.

1905 cricket nations windies (1)

Sir Viv Richards [1974-1991]

One of the five players to be named among the Wisden Cricketers of the century, Sir Viv Richards won two World Cups with the Windies in 1975 and 1979.

Known for the unique and stylish way he wielded the bat and thwarted the fiercest of bowling attacks, Richards holds a special place in cricketing history.

The aggressive batsman would take stance at the crease, wearing no helmet and dispatch the best of bowlers to everywhere from square leg to extra-cover.

Richard is seldom appreciated for his impeccable record as Windies captain between 1984 and 1991 when his team didn’t lose a single Test series.

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ODI stats

Batting

Matches: 187

Innings: 167

Runs: 6721

Average: 47.0

Highest: 189

50s/100s: 45/11

Bowling

Matches: 187

Innings: 131

Wickets: 118

Iconic World Cup innings: 138 v England (Final, 1979)

After the Windies were left reeling at 55/3, Richards displayed utmost composure to carve out one of the finest innings in a World Cup finals. He scored 138 runs from 157 balls in a lethal, yet composed innings that saw 11 fours and three sixes.

Windies defended the crown, with England failing to get anywhere close to the target.

Brian Lara [1990-2007]

A legend, a normaliser of big individual scores and one of the biggest entertainers of the game – Brian Lara’s legacy is up there in the top-most echelons of cricketing history.

For most parts of the 90s and early 2000s, the world would look forward to a charismatic southpaw take the crease and punish spinners and fast bowlers alike.

Lara is often remembered for his composed and calculated Test innings. His unbeaten 400 against England is still untouched as the highest individual score in a test innings.

However, the Windies star’s heroic performances in the World Cup are usually overlooked. At a time when Windies cricket were far from their peak, Lara was the sole burning flame.

It’s rather unfortunate that the left-handed batsman’s peak was not in sync with that of his team and he was unable to win a single World Cup. But his 1992 World Cup campaign will be remembered as one of the best in Windies history.

of West Indies of England during the ICC Cricket World Cup Super Eights match between West Indies and England at the Kensington Oval on April 21, 2007 in Bridgetown, Barbados.

1992 World Cup stats

Matches: 8

Innings: 8

Runs: 333

Average: 47.57

Highest: 88*

50s: 4

Iconic World Cup innings: 116 v South Africa (2003)

Although Lara stood out as the saving grace for Windies in the 1992 World Cup, his most iconic performance arrived 11 years later in the opener of the 2003 World Cup against hosts South Africa.

In an innings that featured 12 fours and two sixes, the veteran took over during a top-order collapse to power Windies to 278 runs, directly contributing 116 on his own. Windies won that game by three runs, providing us with one of the most entertaining openers ever.

Chris Gayle [1999-Present]

‘Chris Gayle’ is synonymous with destruction in T20 terms. The burly left-handed batsman is known for his ability to send the ball out of the park in the shortest version of the game, more so in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

But it was his prowess with the bat in the longer formats that earned him the spotlight on the international stage.

Yet again, the team never peaked during the better part of his career and thus Gayle never got anywhere near the most prestigious trophy in world cricket. A quarter-final finish in the 2011 and 2015 remain their best finish since his debut.

Gayle will be looking to lead his team to glory as he takes the field for one last time in the World Cup.

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2015 World Cup stats

Matches: 6

Innings: 6

Runs: 340

Average: 56.67

Highest: 215

50s/100s/200s: 1/0/1

Iconic World Cup innings: 215 and 2-35 against Zimbabwe (2015)

Gayle holds the record for the fastest 200 in a World Cup game, which he achieved in 138 balls against Zimbabwe in the 2015 World Cup.

In a dominating show, the Windies start amassed 215 runs during a 372-run partnership with Marlon Samuels. One of the most entertaining individual performances ever consisted of 10 fours and 16 sixes, surely a display that can be considered iconic.

With the ball, Gayle scalped twice, removing the dangerous Craig Ervine in the process.

Andre Russell (2011-present)

Fierce with the bat, match-winner with the ball – Andre Russell is a player any coach would love to have in his team.

The all-rounder is blessed with tons of virtues, as displayed in the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) season.

He debuted in the 2011 World Cup, showed promise but failed to really assert himself.

In the 2015 World Cup, he was the second highest wicket-taker for the Windies, but had a poor tournament with the bat.

Russell now enters the 2019 World Cup at the peak of his abilities, hoping to drag the disorganised side as far as possible in the biggest cricketing event.

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2015 World Cup stats

Matches: 7

Wickets: 11

Economy rate: 6.19

Best: 3-33

Iconic World Cup innings

Russell is yet to display a World Cup innings that can be considered iconic. In all probability, we are very close to witnessing this, given he is in the form of his life.

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Pakistan cricket legends: Born leader Imran Khan, sublime Wasim Akram and more

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Babar Azam

With the World Cup about to start, we have decided to look back at some of the most iconic players to have played the game.

Every era is has at least one truly great player and as we build up to the World Cup 2019, we celebrate these legends and take a look at the current flag-bearers of greatness.

Here, we have picked four players from Pakistan who have left their mark in the history books.

Click here for Australia, England, India and West Indies.

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Imran Khan [1971-1992]

Imran Khan can lay claim to being one of the best all-rounders of all time, certainly the best cricketer in Pakistan’s history and above all, a natural leader. He remains the only captain to have led them to a World Cup title.

Dashing with the bat and a fast bowler par excellence, Khan was remarkably effective and consistent.

After a dismal show in the 1987 World Cup semi-final, the all-rounder announced his retirement from cricket. But the then president of Pakistan Zia-ul-Haq persuaded him to make a comeback.

Just five years later, a 39-year old Khan led Pakistan to its first and only World Cup title. The veteran led a team of fighters to the summit, overcoming an in-form England in the final.

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1992 World Cup

Matches: 8

Innings: 6

Runs: 185

Average: 30.83

Highest: 72

Iconic World Cup innings: 72 v England (Final, 1992)

Aamer Sohail and Rameez Raja – who were in great form – fell prey to Derek Pringle to hand England an early advantage in the final of the 1992 World Cup. Khan decided to take matters into his own hands and made 72 runs en route to a 139-run partnership with Javed Miandad. This captain’s knock helped Pakistan seal the title by 22 runs.

Wasim Akram [1984-2003]

The “Sultan of Swing” is considered by many as the best swing bowler in history. Known for his lethal swerve at pace, Akram formed a formidable duo with Waqar Younis and terrorised the best of batting line-ups at their peak.

Akram was a crucial part of Pakistan’s World Cup win in 1992 and went on to sustain his peak for quite some time. He was the leading wicket-taker in the tournament.

Akram took the reins and led Pakistan to the final of the 1999 World Cup but an overpowering Aussie side prevented them from reclaiming the trophy.

In the 2003 World Cup, the all-rounder became the first player in the world to reach 500 wickets in the 50-over format. He became the leading Test and ODI wicket-taker for Pakistan by the end of his career.

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1992 World Cup

Matches: 10

Innings: 10

Wickets: 18

Economy rate: 3.76

Best: 4/32

Iconic World Cup effort: 4/32 against New Zealand (1992)

Pakistan faced a do-or-die match against New Zealand in the round-robin stage. A defeat and Australia’s potential win over West Indies would have sent them packing.

Akram rose to the occasion to power his team to a dominating win with a brilliant game with the ball. He registered fine figures of 4-32, removing Kiwi captain Martin Crowe and the dangerous Andrew Jones in the process.

Shahid Afridi [1996-2017]

An absolute destroyer with the bat and a decisive spinner with the ball, Shahid Afridi emerged during Pakistan’s golden era of world class all-rounders.

Although he was initially selected for his leg-spin, Afridi smashed the fastest century in ODI history in only his second game. This record stood for 17 years until New Zealand’s Corey Anderson broke it in 2014.

For all his memorable years with the Pakistan, he failed to make it count on the biggest stage until the twilight year of his career.

Afridi was the leading wicket-taker of the 2011 World Cup, although 10 of his 21 wickets came against Kenya and Canada.

Regardless of his poor record in the World Cup, Afridi has been one of the most beloved Pakistani cricketers and a true icon of the sport.

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2011 World Cup

Matches: 8

Innings: 8

Wickets: 21

Economy rate: 3.62

Best: 5-16

Iconic World Cup effort: 5/16 against Kenya (2011)

As established, Afridi has been average in World Cups. He has no iconic performance to boast about but the 5-16 against Kenya could be considered as something close.

Babar Azam (2015-present)

The young Babar Azam is far from being a legend yet, but the promise he has shown tips him to be the torch-bearer of Pakistan’s World Cup campaign.

In 2017, the then 22-year-old completed his fifth ton in just 25 innings to become the quickest to achieve the feat after Quinton De Kock.

Azam has displayed immense maturity and composure for someone so younh and is currently Pakistan’s batting mainstay.

The right-hander is yet to feature in a World Cup game, given he made his debut right after the 2015 World Cup. Anyhow, he will carry Pakistan’s hopes on his shoulders.

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ODI STATS

Matches: 65

Innings: 62

Runs: 2739

Average: 51.68

Highest: 125

50s/100s: 12/9

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