There’s bad news for die-hard Sachin Tendulkar fans. According to a 38-member panel comprising current and former players, the maestro has lost the race for the top player of the last decade to Australia skipper Ricky Ponting by some distance.
While there could be little argument over Ponting getting the ‘ESPN Cricinfo Player of the Decade for the 2000s’, what would leave Indian fans shocked is the absence of Tendulkar in the top five. He has been placed a lowly sixth, behind Jacques Kallis at number two, followed by Adam Gilchrist, Muttiah Muralitharan and Glenn McGrath in that order.
Virender Sehwag, who smashed two triple hundreds in this span, too doesn’t find a place in the top-ten. As expected, former India cricketers are perplexed. While they aren’t contesting the numero uno position awarded to Ponting, Tendulkar not finding a place among the top-five confounds them.
“Ponting is undoubtedly a great cricketer, but I fail to understand how Tendulkar could be placed so down the order,” said former India all-rounder Madan Lal.
Former India skipper Bishen Singh Bedi, though, sees little sense in drawing up these ‘lists’. “Sachin and Ponting are both great cricketers. I don’t want to get into all this, it is utter rubbish,” he said.
Nevertheless, what seems to have made Ponting the overwhelming choice is the number of runs he has scored in Tests and ODIs in this time span. He amassed over 9000 runs in both formats to go with 55 international centuries, 13 clear of Tendulkar.
Ponting is understandably ecstatic. “I have played in an era where there’s been a lot of great players. When you stack that up, to be recognised as the leading player in the decade against some of those other guys makes it a little bit more special,” he added.
The panel comprised names like Ian Chappell, Daniel Vettori, Tony Greig, Graham Gooch, Javagal Srinath, Geoff Boycott et al.
Top 10: R Ponting 60 points, J Kallis 37, A Gilchrist 29, M Muralitharan 27, G McGrath 24, S Tendulkar 23.5, S Warne 20.5, B Lara 3, R Dravid 2, S Chanderpaul 1;
Procedure- A 38-member strong panel, comprising former and current players, picked up their top three players. The first vote had three points, second two and third carried one point. The players were then ranked on the total points they received.