Cricket is undeniably the most loved sport in India. From children to adults, everyone in the country enjoy cricket matches played between Indian and other teams from all corners of the globe on the TV, stream online on YouTube and other social media and OTT platforms, at stadiums or even listening to cricket broadcasts on the radio. There are also daily newspapers that publish headlines about cricket matches and other sports for people to read.
Cricket Lives in Indians!
The sport of cricket has been played in India since the 19th century, i.e., during its pre-independence, when the game was introduced by the British officials in the country. As time passed by, various advancements have been made to this outdoor sport and regulations laid in determining how cricket is played, umpire for decision-making, players in the game, coach for training players, sports kits for players, tournaments, prizes etc.
The Board of Cricket Council of India (BCCI) is the governing body of cricket in India. The International Cricket Council (ICC) is the international governing body. Cricket tournaments and test matches are held every year, while ODI matches are held every four years. Teams of players compete in the Ranji Trophy etc., at the domestic level and the U-19 World Cup, Asia Cup and World Cup in the international level.
There are many iconic Indian cricket players, for instance, Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble, Ravi Shastri, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sunil Gavaskar, Sourav Ganguly, Harbhajan Singh, M.S. Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Virendra Sehwag and many more legendary cricketers of India.
Today, India has both men’s and women’s cricket teams that play tournaments on domestic and international level. Going forth, let us take a quick look at a few cricketers of India who have established themselves as one of the best cricket players among their fans.
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20 Famous Cricketers of India
Listed below (sorted in alphabetical order) are twenty top cricketers of India that are legends for their skills and popularity in the sport.
1. Anil Kumble
Skill: Bowler (Spinner)
Anil Kumble, often referred to as Jumbo, is a former Indian cricketer and a legendary spin bowler who left an indelible mark on the sport. Born on October 17, 1970, in Bangalore, India, Kumble’s career spanned over a decade and a half, making him one of the greatest cricketers to have represented India.
Kumble was renowned for his unique style of bowling, which combined accuracy, variation, and relentless determination. His unorthodox action and ability to extract turn from any surface often perplexed batsmen around the world. Throughout his career, he claimed a remarkable 619 wickets in Test cricket, becoming India’s highest wicket-taker and the third highest overall at the time of his retirement.
In 1999, in a match against Pakistan, Kumble dismissed all ten batsmen in a Test match innings. He was nicknamed “Jumbo”. Kumble was regarded as the Cricketer of the Year in 1993 Indian Cricket.
2. Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir, born on October 14, 1981, is a former Indian cricketer who left an indelible mark on the sport. Known for his aggressive batting style and impeccable technique, Gambhir was a key player in the Indian cricket team during his career. He was a left-handed opening batsman, and his ability to dominate the bowlers earned him immense respect and success.
Gautam Gambhir’s career was studded with numerous achievements, including helping India win the ICC T20 World Cup in 2007 and the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011. His match-winning performance in the finals of both these prestigious tournaments played a significant role in India’s victories. Gambhir’s resilience, determination, and consistency were exemplary, and he was recognized as one of the finest openers in Indian cricket history.
Gautam captained the Indian team in six ODIs with India winning all six matches . He received the Padma Shri from the Government of India in 2019.
3. Harbhajan Singh
Skill: Bowler (Spinner)
Harbhajan Singh, also known as the “Turbanator,” is a legendary Indian cricketer who has made a remarkable impact in the world of cricket. Born on July 3, 1980, in Jalandhar, Punjab, Singh is an off-spinner known for his exceptional spin-bowling skills.
Singh made his international debut in 1998 and quickly established himself as one of the most effective spinners in the game. He became the first Indian to take a hat-trick in Test cricket in 2001 against Australia. Throughout his career, Singh has been a key player in many important victories for the Indian cricket team.
His aggressive and never-give-up attitude on the field has earned him immense respect from both teammates and opponents. Singh has been a part of many memorable moments in cricket history, including India’s historic win in the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup.
In the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches Harbhajan Singh played for Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders franchises. He is considered to be one of the best spinners in cricket of his era.
4. Irfan Pathan
Irfan Pathan is a former Indian cricketer who made a significant impact on the game during his career. He was born on October 27, 1984, in Baroda, Gujarat, India. Primarily known for his left-arm swing bowling, Irfan was also a handy middle-order batsman.
Pathan burst onto the international cricket scene in 2003, and his talent and skills quickly caught the attention of cricket enthusiasts worldwide. He became the second-youngest player to take a Test five-wicket haul during his debut series against Australia. Irfan’s ability to swing the ball both ways made him a potent threat to any batting line-up.
As a batsman, Pathan showcased his talent by scoring crucial runs in various matches. He played a pivotal role in India’s historic win against Pakistan in the 2004 Test series where he scored a blistering century.
He played a crucial role in India’s victory during the 2007 ICC World Twenty20 tournament and was also a part of the Indian squad for the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 held in Sri Lanka.
5. Kapil Dev
Kapil Dev, born on January 6, 1959, is a legendary former Indian cricketer and captain. He is hailed as one of India’s greatest all-rounders and a key figure in the country’s cricket history. Dev’s impact on Indian cricket is immense, specifically for his leadership during the 1983 World Cup.
Dev was known for his aggressive and fearless approach to the game. He possessed a fierce bowling action and was equally proficient with the bat. One of his most memorable feats came during the 1983 World Cup when he led the Indian team to a historic victory, defeating the mighty West Indies. His remarkable innings of 175 against Zimbabwe in that tournament remains one of the best in cricket history.
Over the course of his career, Dev set numerous records and achieved remarkable milestones. He retired from international cricket in 1994 as the highest wicket-taker for India in Tests and ODIs. Dev’s contribution to Indian cricket was duly recognized when he received India’s highest sporting honour, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, in 2008.
6. Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Skill: Batsman and Wicket-keeper
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, affectionately known as Captain Cool, is a legendary Indian cricketer who has left an indelible mark on the world of cricket. Born on July 7, 1981, in Ranchi, Jharkhand, Dhoni is a wicketkeeper-batsman who played a pivotal role in leading the Indian cricket team to numerous victories.
Dhoni’s cricketing journey has been nothing short of remarkable. His calm and composed demeanor on the field earned him the reputation of being one of the finest captains of the game. Under his leadership, India achieved numerous milestones, including winning the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, the 2010 and 2016 Asia Cups, and most notably, the historic 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup.
Besides his captaincy prowess, Dhoni is also known for his exceptional batting and lightning-fast wicketkeeping skills. His ability to finish matches and his helicopter shot became synonymous with his style of play. Dhoni’s contributions to Indian cricket were recognized when he received the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, Padma Shri, and Padma Bhushan.
He captains Chennai Super Kings. M. S. Dhoni is the most successful captain in terms of matches won in IPL.
7. Rahul Dravid
Rahul Dravid, widely known as “The Wall,” is a former Indian cricketer and one of the most respected players in the sport’s history. Born on January 11, 1973, in Indore, India, Dravid’s illustrious career spanned over 16 years.
Dravid made his mark in international cricket as a dependable and technically sound batsman. His impeccable technique, patience, and ability to anchor the innings earned him immense admiration from fans and fellow cricketers alike. Dravid’s contribution to Indian cricket is often regarded as one of the pillars of its success during the early 2000s.
Throughout his career, Dravid amassed an impressive record, scoring over 13,000 runs in Test matches and 10,000 runs in One Day Internationals (ODIs). He became renowned for his ability to bat for long hours, frustrating opposition bowlers with his defensive resilience. Currently, he is the head coach of the Indian cricket team.
8. Ravi Shastri
Skill: Bowler (Spinner) and All-rounder
Ravi Shastri, born on May 27, 1962, is a former Indian cricketer and the formal head coach of the Indian national cricket team. Known for his aggressive batting style and useful right-arm spin bowling, Shastri played for the Indian team from 1981 to 1992. He was an integral part of the team that won the 1983 Cricket World Cup.
Shastri’s career highlights include his impactful all-round performances in both Test matches and One Day Internationals. He was known for his fearless approach to the game, often leading the team’s fightbacks with his dashing batting and crucial wickets. After retiring from cricket, Shastri transitioned into commentary and became a familiar voice in the cricketing world.
In 2014, Shastri was appointed as the director of the Indian cricket team and later, in 2017, he took over as the head coach. Under his leadership, Team India achieved significant successes, including victorious campaigns in major Test series and limited-overs tournaments.
9. Ravichandran Ashwin
Skill: Bowler (Spinner)
Ravichandran Ashwin is an Indian cricketer known for his spin bowling prowess and all-round skills. Born on September 17, 1986, in Chennai, Ashwin has represented the Indian national cricket team since 2010. He is considered one of the greatest off-spinners in the history of the game. Ashwin’s remarkable ability to deceive batsmen with his variations and control of line and length has earned him numerous accolades.
Besides his bowling, Ashwin has proved his mettle as a proficient batsman, scoring valuable runs in crucial situations. With his impressive skills and match-winning performances, Ashwin has left an indelible mark in the world of cricket.
In the 2022 IPL, Ashwin was bought by Rajasthan Royals for INR 5 crores and he also played for Pune, Chennai Super Kings, and Kings XI Punjab teams.
10. Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma, born on April 30, 1987, is an Indian cricketer hailed as one of the most talented batsmen of his generation. He is known for his elegant stroke play, exceptional timing, and ability to dominate bowlers in limited-overs cricket. He is the current captain of team India.
Sharma made his international debut in 2007 and soon became a prominent member of the Indian cricket team. Initially, he struggled to cement his place in the side, but his breakthrough came when he was promoted to open the batting in One Day Internationals (ODIs) in 2013. Since then, he has never looked back.
Fondly referred to as the “Hitman,” Sharma holds multiple records in limited-overs cricket. He is the only player in history to score three double centuries in ODIs, including the highest individual score of 264 runs. Additionally, he boasts numerous records in the Indian Premier League (IPL), where he captains the Mumbai Indians franchise.
11. Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar is an Indian cricket legend who needs no introduction. Born on April 24, 1973, in Mumbai, Tendulkar is widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen in the history of the sport. With a career spanning 24 years, he amassed numerous records and achievements that have cemented his legacy.
Tendulkar’s technique, precision, and unwavering dedication to the game made him a force to be reckoned with. He holds the most number of runs in Tests and One Day Internationals (ODIs), scoring a staggering 15,921 and 18,426 runs, respectively. His consistency is reflected in his incredible 100 international centuries, which no other player has achieved.
Throughout his career, Tendulkar achieved numerous accolades, including the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, and Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1997. He was also part of the Indian team that clinched the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, fulfilling a lifelong dream.
12. Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan, born on December 5, 1985, is a talented Indian cricketer known for his explosive batting skills and stylish left-handed strokes. Hailing from Delhi, Dhawan made his international debut in 2010 and has since carved a niche for himself in the cricketing world.
Dhawan’s journey in international cricket has been nothing short of phenomenal. He has been a prolific run-scorer in limited-overs formats, particularly in One Day Internationals (ODIs). Known for his aggressive approach and ability to dominate bowlers, Dhawan has consistently delivered match-winning performances. His ability to adapt to different conditions and handle pressure situations makes him a valuable asset to the Indian cricket team.
One of Dhawan’s notable achievements came in the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy, where he emerged as the leading run-scorer and played a crucial role in helping India lift the trophy. He has also been a consistent performer in the Indian Premier League (IPL), showcasing his skills while representing the Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
13. Sourav Ganguly
Sourav Ganguly, popularly known as Dada, is one of the most iconic figures in the history of Indian cricket. Born on July 8, 1972, Ganguly made a significant impact on the cricketing world as a batsman, captain, and leader. He also served as a BCCI president.
Known for his aggressive and fearless style of play, Ganguly was an elegant left-handed batsman with a solid technique. He played a vital role in reshaping the Indian cricket team during his tenure as captain from 2000 to 2005. Under his captaincy, the team witnessed several remarkable victories, both at home and abroad.
Ganguly played crucial innings across formats and is often remembered for his fierce on-field battles with opponents. He had a remarkable ability to dominate spinners and played some memorable knocks against quality bowling attacks.
14. Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar, widely regarded as one of the greatest opening batsmen in the history of cricket, was born on July 10, 1949, in Mumbai, India. Gavaskar made his international debut in 1971 and went on to have a long and successful career representing India.
Known for his impeccable technique and remarkable concentration, Gavaskar was a dominant force at the crease. He amassed over 10,000 runs in Test cricket, including 34 centuries, at an average of 51.12. He was the first player to breach the 10,000-run milestone, setting numerous records along the way.
Gavaskar’s ability to tackle some of the finest pace bowling attacks earned him immense respect. He was known for his exceptional footwork and precise shot-making, which helped him succeed on both fast and turning pitches. His masterful innings in the 1975-76 series against the West Indies, facing a fiery barrage of short-pitched bowling, brought him widespread acclaim.
15. Suresh Raina
Skill: Batsman and Fielding
Suresh Raina, born on November 27, 1986, is a former Indian cricketer who left an indelible mark on the world of cricket. Hailing from Uttar Pradesh, Raina made his international debut for India in a One-Day International (ODI) against Sri Lanka in 2005. Known for his explosive batting style, Raina was a left-handed middle-order batsman who was equally adept at playing spin and pace bowling.
Raina played a pivotal role in India’s success in limited-overs cricket. He was known for his agility on the field along with his powerful and innovative batting. In his career, Raina contributed significantly to India’s triumphs in the 2011 World Cup and the 2013 Champions Trophy. He was known for his ability to accelerate the team’s run rate and was often entrusted with the task of finishing matches.
Raina’s impressive stats include being the first Indian player to score centuries in all three formats of international cricket. He also holds the distinction of being the first and only Indian to have played in 300 ODIs. Raina’s contribution to Indian cricket earned him a reputation as one of the finest limited-overs cricketers of his generation.
16. VVS Laxman
Vangipurapu Venkata Sai Laxman, commonly known as VVS Laxman, is a former Indian cricketer who captivated the world with his impeccable batting technique and elegant strokeplay. Born on November 1, 1974, in Hyderabad, India, Laxman is widely regarded as one of the finest batsmen that the country has ever produced.
Laxman’s career spanned over 16 years, during which he represented India in 134 Test matches and 86 One-Day Internationals. However, it was in the Test arena where he truly flourished. Laxman was renowned for his ability to perform in pressure situations and rescue his team from precarious positions. He often stepped up in challenging circumstances and played a pivotal role in some of India’s most memorable Test victories.
Notably, Laxman’s remarkable innings of 281 against Australia in the 2001 Kolkata Test is considered a masterpiece. It not only turned the match around but also instilled a belief in the Indian cricket team that they could conquer any opposition. Laxman’s superb wristwork, impeccable timing, and vast array of shots made him a joy to watch for cricket enthusiasts.
17. Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli, born on November 5, 1988, is an Indian cricketer widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen in the world. Known for his aggressive playing style and unwavering determination, Kohli has left an indelible mark on the sport. He was the former captain of the India national team and also plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches.
Kohli made his international debut in 2008 and quickly rose through the ranks, showcasing his exceptional talent and skill. He is known for his impeccable batting technique, remarkable consistency, and ability to perform under pressure. His aggressive approach combined with his ability to adapt to different formats of the game has earned him numerous accolades.
As of his contribution, he has achieved several records, including the fastest cricketer to score 8,000, 9,000, 10,000, and 11,000 runs in One Day Internationals (ODIs). He has also secured multiple ICC awards, including the esteemed Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Cricketer of the Year.
18. Virendra Sehwag
Virendra Sehwag, widely known as the “Nawab of Najafgarh,” is a former Indian cricketer and one of the most explosive opening batsmen the world has ever seen. Born on October 20, 1978, in Delhi, Sehwag revolutionized the way the game was played with his aggressive and fearless style.
With a unique combination of incredible hand-eye coordination, immense power, and exceptional timing, Sehwag had an unmatched ability to dominate bowlers from the very beginning of the innings. He was known for his fearless stroke-play, often taking on the opposition’s best bowlers with audacious shots.
Sehwag’s list of records is extensive. He was the first Indian to score a triple century in Test cricket, achieving this feat twice during his illustrious career. With a strike rate of over 80 in Test matches, he was a nightmare for bowlers around the world.
19. Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj Singh, born on December 12, 1981, is a former Indian cricketer who has left an indelible mark on the game. Hailing from Punjab, Yuvraj made his debut for the Indian cricket team in 2000 and went on to become one of the most influential players of his time.
Known for his explosive batting skills and exceptional fielding abilities, Yuvraj proved himself to be a match-winner on numerous occasions. He played a pivotal role in India’s success in the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup. Yuvraj’s breathtaking six sixes in an over during the 2007 T20 World Cup remains one of the most iconic moments in cricket history.
Yuvraj Singh’s career spanned over 17 years, and he amassed over 10,000 runs across all formats, making him one of the most accomplished all-rounders in Indian cricket. With his swashbuckling style and ability to deliver under pressure, Yuvraj remains a beloved figure in the hearts of cricket fans worldwide. His contribution to the sport will always be remembered as one of the great chapters in Indian cricket history.
20. Zaheer Khan
Skill: Bowler (Fast Pace)
Zaheer Khan is a former Indian international cricketer who is widely regarded as one of the finest left-arm pacers in the history of Indian cricket. Born on October 7, 1978, in Maharashtra, India, Khan made his debut for the Indian cricket team in 2000 and had an illustrious career that spanned over a decade.
Known for his swing, accuracy, and ability to generate pace, Zaheer Khan played a crucial role in many of India’s victories during his career. He was particularly effective with the new ball and had excellent control over his bowling, making him a valuable asset to the team. Khan was also known for his ability to outsmart batsmen with his variations and astute cricketing intelligence.
Throughout his career, Zaheer Khan achieved numerous milestones, including being India’s second-highest wicket-taker in Test matches at the time of his retirement with 311 wickets. He played a significant role in India’s historic Test series win in England in 2007, where he emerged as the leading wicket-taker for India. He was the second-best Indian pace bowler in Test cricket after Kapil Dev.
These top cricketers of India have won the hearts of many fans throughout the country with their skill at play against other teams from different countries.