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Warne lists Sachin on top, Lara 2nd

The top five are Tendulkar, Lara, Ambrose, Border and McGrath.

Warne lists Sachin on top, Lara 2nd

New Delhi: Shane Warne has finally stamped his approval on what many have been saying for the past one decade.

The Australian leg-spin legend has put Sachin Tendulkar at the top of his list of 50 greatest cricketers ahead of another batting legend and former West Indies skipper Brian Lara.

The list is of players with who played during the same time that Warne played.

Justifying his decision to rank Tendulkar at the top, Warne wrote, "You have to watch India in India truly to appreciate the pressure that Sachin Tendulkar is under every time he bats. Outside grounds, people wait until he goes in before paying to enter. They seem to want a wicket to fall even though it is their own side that will suffer. This is cricket as Sachin has known it since the age of 16. He grew up under incredible weight of expectation and never buckled once - not under poor umpiring decisions or anything else. 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. Like Lara, he has scored runs all over the world. 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. 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," Warne wrote in praise of the Indian batting legend.

In 1998 after touring India where his bowling figures were destroyed by Tendulkar, Warne admitted to having nightmares about the Little Master.

"I'll be going to bed having nightmares of Sachin just running down the wicket and belting me back over the head for six,'' Warne had said.

Warne even compared Tendulkar to perhaps the best batting talent ever to have walked the earth - Sir Donald Bradman.

"He was unstoppable. I don't think anyone, apart from Sir Don Bradman, is in the same class as Sachin Tendulkar," Warne said.

While Warne ranking Tendulkar as the best player of his generation may not come as a surprise to many, what would certainly startle them is that there is no Australian in the top three with the West Indies pacer Curtly Ambrose occupying the third spot.

Former Australian skipper Allan Border, who is credited with turning the Baggy Greens into a ruthless winning machine, is at the fourth spot followed by the fast bowler Glenn McGrath.

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Pakistan, too, have a representative in the top 10 with left-arm pacer Wasim Akram sixth while Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who is just nine short of overtaking Warne's world record of 708 Test wickets, occupying seventh place.

"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. He has helped to turn Sri Lanka into a formidable side at home. It is also worth remembering the work he did in the aftermath of the tsunami when he gave so much hope to people in despair. And we all love that smile," Warne writes about Muralitharan, who has often been accused of chucking though the International Cricket Council has cleared him of the charge.

Current Australian skipper Ricky Ponting is at the eighth spot with Mark Taylor and Ian Healy rounding off the top 10.

The complete list:

1 Sachin Tendulkar, 2 Brian Lara, 3 Curtly Ambrose, 4 Allan Border, 5 Glenn McGrath, 6 Wasim Akram, 7 Muttiah Muralitharan, 8 Ricky Ponting, 9 Mark Taylor, 10 Ian healy, 11 Courtney Walsh, 12 Mark Waugh, 13 Anil Kumble, 14 Rahul Dravid, 15 Graham Gooch, 16 Andrew Flintoff, 17 Matthew Hayden, 18 Merv Hughes, 19 Aravinda de Silva, 20 Adam Gilchrist, 21 David Boon, 22 Martin Crowe, 23 Stephen Fleming, 24 Brett Lee, 25 Darren Lehmann, 26 Steve Waugh, 27 Jacques Kallis / Shaun Pollock, 28 Saeed Anwar / Mohammad Yousuf, 29 Shoaib Akhtar / Craig McDermott, 30 Kevin Pietersen, 31 Tim May, 32 Robin Smith, 33 Allan Donald, 34 Bruce Reid, 35 Michael Vaughan, 36 Andy Flower, 37 Stephen Harmison, 38 Sanath Jayasuriya, 39 Stuart MacGill, 40 Kapil Dev, 41 Justin Langer, 42 Ravi Shastri, 43 Michael Atherton, 44 Alec Stewart, 45 Waqar Younis, 46 Dilip Vengsarkar, 47 Chris Cairns, 48 Brian McMillan, 49 Darren Berry, 50 Jamie Siddons.



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RankTeamPointsRating
1 New Zealand 3198 118
2 Australia 3028 116
3 India 3085 114
4 England 4326 106
5 South Africa 2499 96
FULL Ranking
RankTeamPointsRating
1 England 5405 123
2 India 6102 117
3 New Zealand 3716 116
4 Australia 4344 111
5 South Africa 3345 108
FULL Ranking
RankTeamPointsRating
1 England 6877 275
2 Australia 6800 272
3 India 10186 268
4 Pakistan 7516 259
5 South Africa 5047 252
FULL Ranking