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.
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.
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.
1992 World Cup stats
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.
2015 World Cup stats
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.
2015 World Cup stats
Economy rate: 6.19
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.
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.
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.
1992 World Cup
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.
1992 World Cup
Economy rate: 3.76
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.
2011 World Cup
Economy rate: 3.62
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.
With the 2019 World Cup about to start, we take a trip down memory lane and look at some of the iconic players to have defined eras and earned the title of legends.
From Kapil Dev to Virat Kohli, Sir Viv Richards to Andre Russell and Allan Border to David Warner, the cricketing world has seen some special players create history, raise the bar and then pass the torch to the next superstar.
As we build up to the World Cup, we celebrate those flag-bearers of greatness. Here, we have picked four players from India who have left their mark.
Kapil Dev [1978-1994]
The greatest and most decorated all-rounder in Indian history, Kapil Dev holds a special place in the hearts of all Indian fans. The all-rounder led India to its first World Cup title in 1983, playing a crucial role in the process.
He was the leading run-getter for India and fifth overall. The carnage with the bat accompanied some fierce bowling, as he managed to pick up 12 wickets in the tournament.
Known for his lethal out-swinging deliveries and gutsy cameos with the bat in the lower middle-order, Kapil gave the entire subcontinent belief at the world stage. In 1994, he retired as Test cricket’s highest wicket-taker.
1983 World Cup
Economy rate: 2.91
Iconic World Cup innings: 175* v Zimbabwe (1983)
In a must-win game in the 1983 World Cup, India were reeling at 17-5, having lost openers Sunil Gavaskar and K Srikkanth for ducks. Dev stepped in to hit one of the best innings in a World Cup game, smashing 175 runs from just 138 balls. This helped India register a total of 266, which they defended, thanks to a solid bowling performance by Madan Lal and Roger Binny.
Sachin Tendulkar [1989-2013]
“Master Blaster” Sachin Tendulkar is one of the greatest cricketers of all time, if not the best ever. Until 2011, a World Cup was the only missing feather in his glorious cap.
India came close in the 2003 World Cup, with Tendulkar playing a key role with the bat. But Ricky Ponting’s iconic Australian side brushed India aside in the final to defend their title. The Mumbaikar was the Man of the Tournament but the trophy he yearned was beyond his reach.
In 2011, Tendulkar was once again the leading run-getter for India and this time his team ensured the master finally got to lift the coveted trophy.
2003 World Cup
Iconic World Cup innings: 98 v Pakistan (2003)
The stage was set at Centurion for one of the biggest encounters in world cricket – India locking horns with Pakistan in a World Cup tie. Tasked to chase 274, India got off to a solid start and a tremendous innings from Tendulkar ensured that they got the better of their rivals in the group stage game. The opener fell just short of a deserved century but with 12 fours and one six en route to his 98, he led India’s run-chase in style.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni [2004-present]
“Captain Cool” will go down as one of the best captains in India’s history. The ever calm and composed wicket-keeper batsman led India to World Cup glory in 2011 at home, thus ending a 28-year wait for the biggest trophy in cricket.
Known for his composed approach in the face of adversity, lightning quick gloves and power-packed hitting, Dhoni is among the World Cup’s elites.
In the 2019 World Cup, Dhoni will play under captain Virat Kohli, symbolising the passing of the torch as he continues to pull strings from behind the stumps.
2011 World Cup
Iconic World Cup innings: 91* against Sri Lanka (final, 2011)
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. India did not get to the best of starts while chasing Sri Lanka’s total of 274. Openers Virender Sehwag and Tendulkar were sent packing as India found themselves at 31-2. Dhoni promoted himself up the order, ahead of the in-form Yuvraj Singh in what later turned out to be a masterstroke. The skipper got to the crease at 114-3 and guided India to the summit with a captain’s knock of 91 runs from 79 balls.
Virat Kohli (2008-present)
On February 19, 2011, Kohli became the first Indian player to score a century on World Cup debut. This majestic performance against Bangladesh was followed by rather underwhelming ones, before he concluded with a crucial 35 (49) against Sri Lanka in the final, forming a steady partnership with Gautam Gambhir.
The aggressive top-order batsman has since established himself as the best of this generation. His 2015 World Cup campaign contained promise, but lacked content after he failed to top his century against Pakistan in the opener.
Kohli will now play his third World Cup and will have the weight of a billion expectations on his shoulders.
2011 & 2015 World Cup
Iconic World Cup innings: 107 v Pakistan (2015)
Yet again, India got the better of their rivals in a World Cup game thanks to a dominating performance from Kohli.
Kohli scored 107 runs from 126 balls to help his team reach a commanding total of 300 runs, which they had no problems defending.