Sportskeeda's Top 50 Indian Test cricketers of all-time (10-1)
After honing in on numerous top-class players during the course of the last month or so, we have moved on to the final segment of our exclusive weekend feature. Close on the heels of ranks 20-11 last week, the attention has now shifted to those in the upper-most pantheon of Indian cricket legends.
Let us take a close look at ten of the greatest cricketers to represent India in Tests. This illustrious set of icons contains the most exalted heroes who managed to leave a deep imprint on the cricket crazy populace as well as the annals of the game's ultimate format.
Here are the key factors which have been taken into consideration in order to enumerate these distinguished cricketers.
a) Overall career consistency.
b) Performances in matches won.
c) Performances in Tests outside India.
d) Game-changing efforts in big matches against quality opponents on Indian soil.
e) Stature in world cricket; opinions of peers and various experts.
f) Establishing new trends by breaking previously existing stereotypes.
g) Minimum cut-off of 1000 runs for batsmen/100 wickets for bowlers/50 dismissals for wicket-keepers in order to formulate a meaningful sample size.
h) Statistics have not been assumed to be the be-all and end-all of a player’s value. A general consensus has been arrived after factoring in every aspect of each cricketer’s career.
#10 Harbhajan Singh
Upon foraying into international cricket as a precocious teenager during the 1998 Bangalore Test against Australia, Harbhajan Singh could not initially cope with the transition from the domestic arena to the highest level of the game. Despite having been written off by various pundits, he rose from the ashes to make one of the astonishing comebacks in history. Having labelled India as 'The Final Frontier', the all-conquering team led by Steve Waugh could only dance to the tunes of the wily off-spinner.
With an astonishing tally of 32 wickets at a strike-rate of 33.4, Harbhajan played an instrumental role in India pulling off their most memorable Test series triumph against one of the greatest ever teams assembled in the sport. From then on, he never looked back. The 'Turbanator' quickly established himself as skipper Sourav Ganguly's key weapon and even went on to briefly keep the much more accomplished Anil Kumble out of the playing eleven whenever the team travelled abroad.
Following Kumble's retirement, Harbhajan took on the role of India's lead spinner and chipped in with crucial contributions in the team's ascent to the top of the Test rankings. However, at the peak of his powers, he gradually began to lose form. Due to the emergence of much younger alternatives in Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, the stalwart lost his place in the side. Nevertheless, he continues to remain the third highest wicket-taker in Indian Test history.
*Career Span: 1998-present
Statistics: 417 wickets from 103 matches at an average of 32.46 and strike-rate of 68.5 with 25 five-wicket hauls and 5 ten-wicket hauls
(*Note: Harbhajan Singh has not officially announced his retirement from Test cricket)