Tendulkar tops Warne's greatest cricketers list

Published: Saturday, September 1, 2007, 0:00 [IST]
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London: India batsman Sachin Tendulkar has topped leg-spin great Shane Warne's list of the best 10 cricketers he has played with or against.

Tendulkar just edged out now retired West Indies batting star Brian Lara.

Warne, writing in Britain's Times newspaper, said: "You have to watch India in India truly to appreciate the pressure that Sachin Tendulkar is under every time he bats...This is cricket as Sachin has known it since the age of 16.

"I place him very slightly ahead of Lara because I found him slightly tougher mentally.

"It is such a close call, but here is an example of what I mean: in Australia in 2003-04 he was worried about getting out cover driving so he decided to cut out the shot. I saw the wagon wheel for his next innings: he scored 248 without a single cover drive.

"I have seen him run down the pitch and hit Glenn McGrath over the top for six, and I have seen him hit me for six against the spin going around the wicket," Warne added.

"I have been lucky to get to know him off the field as well. He is quiet and humble. A great player and a great man."

Also included in Warne's list, in seventh place, was Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, just nine short of overhauling the Australian's world record of 708 Test wickets.

Murali could break Warne's mark in Australia, where his controversial action has seen him no-balled for throwing, when Sri Lanka tour there in November for two Tests.

"No matter what anybody thinks about his action, he is wonderful to bat against for the experience of facing a ball that turns so much," Warne said."

Australia's dominance of both Test and one-day cricket for much of Warne's career was reflected in the fact that five of his compatriots - Allan Border, McGrath, current captain Ricky Ponting, Mark Taylor and Ian Healy - made it into his top ten although none were in the leading trio with Curtly Ambrose, the former West Indies fast bowler, in third place.

Tendulkar, Test cricket's leading century-maker, is currently with the India team in England and is expected to open the innings in Sunday's fifth one-day international at Headingley, the home of Yorkshire where he became the county's first overseas player, on Sunday.

Warne retired from international cricket following Australia's 5-0 Ashes whitewash of England in January.

However, he is still captaining English county Hampshire although a rib injury sustained last month could see him miss the rest of the season and dent the team's chances of winning their first Championship title since 1973.

1) Sachin Tendulkar (Ind) 2) Brian Lara (WI) 3) Curtly Ambrose (WI) 4) Allan Border (Aus) 5) Glenn McGrath (Aus)
6) Wasim Akram (Pak) 7) Muttiah Muralitharan (SL) 8) Ricky Ponting (Aus) 9) Mark Taylor (Aus) 10) Ian Healy (Aus)
11) Courtney Walsh (WI) 12) Mark Waugh (Aus) 13) Anil Kumble (Ind) 14) Rahul Dravid (Ind) 15) Graham Gooch (Eng)
16) Andrew Flintoff (Eng) 17) Matthew Hayden (Aus) 18) Merv Hughes (Aus) 19) Aravinda de Silva (SL) 20) Adam Gilchrist (Aus)
21) David Boon (Aus) 22) Martin Crowe (NZ) 23) Stephen Fleming (NZ) 24) Brett Lee (Aus) 25) Darren Lehmann (Aus)
26) Steve Waugh (Aus) 27) Jacques Kallis/Shaun Pollock (SA) 28) Saeed Anwar/Mohammad Yousuf (Pak) 29) Shoaib Akhtar (Pak)/Craig McDermott (Aus) 30) Kevin Pietersen (Eng)
31) Tim May (Aus) 2) Robin Smith (Eng) 33) Allan Donald (SA) 34) Bruce Reid (Aus) 35) Michael Vaughan (Eng)
36) Andy Flower (Zim) 37) Stephen Harmison (Eng) 38) Sanath Jayasuriya (SL) 39) Stuart MacGill (Aus) 40) Kapil Dev (Ind)
41) Justin Langer (Aus) 42) Ravi Shastr (Ind) 43) Michael Atherton (Eng) 44) Alec Stewart (Eng) 45) Waqar Younis (Pak)
46) Dilip Vengsarkar (Ind) 47) Chris Cairns (NZ) 48) Brian McMillan (SA) 49) Darren Berry (Aus) 50) Jamie Siddons (Aus)

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