Brian Lara. Don Bradman. Sachin Tendulkar. This article is not about cricketers like these. While Lara, Bradman, and Tendulkar – among many, many others – are legends in their fields, we want to celebrate the undersung cricketers today. These are players who perform consistently well, scoring many runs against low ball counts if they’re batspeople and consistently catching their opposite numbers out if they’re field players. Here, without further ado, are the people we consider to be the 10 most underrated cricketers of all time.
1. Belinda Clark
If you perform a quick Google search for who scored the first double-century in ODI cricket, you’ll often find Sachin Tendulkar’s name listed. That’s incorrect, though; women’s cricket legend Belinda Clark was the first one to achieve this feat, but her name is consistently glossed over in favour of Tendulkar’s. Clark deserves her place in the spotlight for her achievements, but she just isn’t talked about on the same level as some of the icons of men’s cricket, and we think that’s criminally unfair.
2. Liam Livingstone
Liam Livingstone received a Test call-up in 2018, but he’s being criminally underutilised by the England squad right now. Livingstone is a heroic batsman who hammers every single ball that comes his way, but the team is passing him over in favour of more glamorous options. As legend Kevin Pietersen said to Betway, “there aren’t many better batters” than Liam Livingstone in England right now, so it’s about time the team recognised his talent and gave him another chance.
3. Sarah Coyte
You might have heard Sarah Coyte’s name if you follow Australian women’s cricket, where she currently bowls for the Adelaide Strikers. Coyte’s bowling prowess is second to none; she’s got a wicked technique that consistently sees her being handed the ball during pivotal match moments, and she’s not a bad batswoman either, especially considering her consummate skill as a fielder. Coyte’s name should be one you’re watching if you’re into good cricket.
4. Marcus Trescothick
Here, we pay homage to a legend who’s long since retired. Marcus Trescothick helped to turn England’s international cricket reputation around; the team was known for its defensive play, but Trescothick’s aggressive batting style scared opponents into taking England seriously. Unfortunately, Trescothick wouldn’t have a very long international career thanks to an illness that stopped him from playing at a high level, but he would continue to play on and off for the local Somerset team until 2019.
5. Jhulan Goswami
If you ask anybody who knows women’s cricket about Jhulan Goswami’s name, they’ll instantly be able to tell you she’s a legend. However, to the wider sporting world, and even to those who follow men’s cricket, Goswami is criminally underrated. Still going strong at 39, Goswami is a legendary bowler who holds the record for the highest wicket number in the history of ODI cricket. Her technique must be seen to be believed; she’s fast, technical, and incredibly skilled.
6. Shivnarine Chanderpaul
Playing for the West Indies, Shivnarine Chanderpaul is one of the most undersung batsmen in cricket. His record across his 164 Test match appearances is almost unmatched; he managed to achieve almost 11,900 runs, which is very impressive indeed. Chanderpaul’s name is perhaps most commonly associated with his unique signature stance, which is an unconventional play method in cricket but which has nonetheless given him immense success.
7. Meghann Lanning
Some might say that Meghann Lanning could hardly be called “underrated”; after all, she’s currently the captain of the Australian national women’s cricket team, and given Australia’s reputation in the sport, that’s no mean feat. That’s the point, though; women’s cricket is criminally underrated, and so is Lanning. She holds the record for being Australia’s youngest ever centurion (someone who achieves a century), being just 18 years old when she managed to hit this goal.
8. Jean-Paul Duminy
You might know Duminy better as JP, but whatever you call him, he’s one of the most underrated assets the South African cricket team has ever seen. Duminy’s style wasn’t showboating or controversial; he was a calm, collected, and focused individual who put all of his energy into his off-spin technique and his finishing batting. Those who know Duminy’s name respect and revere him for being a cricketer who simply gets things done without any fuss.
9. Sarah Jane Taylor
Sarah Jane Taylor is a good case study if we want to look at the ways in which international sport can affect people’s mental health. An incredibly skilled and celebrated player, Taylor retired from international cricket in 2019 due to anxiety. She’s since hinted that she may make a return to cricket on an international level, and if she does, she’ll be welcomed back with open arms, because she’s one of the most promising players the English side has ever seen.
10. Damien Martyn
Cricket is full of legends, and Damien Martyn laboured under many Australian icons’ shadow for many years. Martyn himself was a consummate professional and an excellent player in his own right, but he happened to share the cricket stage with other, more glamorous players, and so he was consistently overlooked. It’s a shame, because he was a player with grace and style, and his cover drives were unmatched, even by the showier and more demonstrative of his colleagues.
We could go on forever about cricket’s most underrated players, but these are the 10 we think deserve the most recognition. Is there anybody we missed? Who would be in your “underrated XI”?