After AB de Villiers smashed a world record 31-ball hundred at Johannesburg earlier this year, former England captain Bob Willis had said that according to him, Viv Richards is the best batsman of all time but de Villiers’ brilliance has forced him to “reassess”.
By the end of the World Cup, the South African ODI captain has achieved something that was unique to Richards till now.
De Villiers, the No. 1 ODI batsman currently, reached a career-best rating of 902 points during the course of his unbeaten 65 in the semi-final match against New Zealand. In doing so, he has broken into the top 10 of ICC ODI Batsmen Ratings of all-time – a ranking system based on the highest rating point of a cricketer’s career. Players make the all-time list by enduring their excellent form over a prolonged period.
De Villiers, currently in 8th position in the ODI list, is also present at No. 10 in the Test Batsmen Ratings with a career best of 935 points (achieved during the Australia series in February, 2014). This makes him only the second batsman, after Sir Viv Richards, in the history of cricket to be in the Top 10 in both the formats.
Richards leads the all-time ODI Ratings list for batsmen with a career best of 935 points, which he attained in 1985. Zaheer Abbas (931), Greg Chappell (921), David Gower (919), Dean Jones (918), Javed Miandad (910) and Brian Lara (908) are between Richards and de Villiers in this list.
In the corresponding Test Ratings, Viv’s career best of 938 points puts him at No. 6, a position he shares with countrymen Sir Clyde Walcott and Sir Garry Sobers and modern-day batting genius Kumar Sangakkara. Sir Don Bradman leads the Test Ratings with an incredible 961 rating points. Sir Len Hutton (945), Sir Jack Hobbs, Ricky Ponting (both 942) and Peter May (941) are all ahead of Richards in the list.
Of the modern-day batsmen, Hashim Amla is the only batsman likely to join the Richards and de Villiers. The South African Test skipper is at 9 in ODI (901 points) and 26 in Test (907).
In the Bowlers Ratings, Glenn McGrath, Muttiah Muralitharan, Malcolm Marshall and Curtly Ambrose are present in the Top 10 in both Test and ODI Ratings while Sir Richard Hadlee (No. 2 in ODIs and No. 11 in Tests) and Shaun Pollock (No. 3 in ODIs and No. 11 in Tests) miss out narrowly.
Of the current bowlers, the South African duo Vernon Philander (at No. 6; 912 points) and Dale Steyn (at No. 11; 909) are the highest ranked players in the Test Ratings while Pakistani spinner Saeed Ajmal is the highest ranked bowler in the ODI Ratings at 21. However, they are a long way adrift in the other format.