The Five Greatest Teams in Cricket History

Cricket has come a long way since its origins in historic England. The game now has more than 2.5 billion fans. Cricket is now the world’s second-most popular sport, trailing only football (or soccer). 

Cricket has had many popular teams over the years, from a team that started a riot in front of more than 110,000 fans to a team that had a televised game watched by nearly 1 billion people (five times more people than ever watched a Super Bowl) to a team of legends who played a five-day game in front of more than 200,000 fans.

When it comes to selecting the best cricket team in history, fans, experts, and pros are divided. To be honest, no particular side has dominated the game over the years.

When we examine the most strong cricket team in the world’s history, we see that there have been periods when a team was unrivalled. They won all of the major awards at the time, defeating even the strongest teams.

So we went back in time, retrieved all famous teams’ histories, compared their data, and compiled a list of the five greatest cricket teams of all time.

Here are the five greatest teams in cricket history:

1. Australia

There are many records in the game’s past, but none are as noteworthy as those the Australians set in the 2000s. According to the ICC rankings, the Australian squad of 2007–08 is still the highest-rated team in history. Not only this, they have five ICC Cricket World Cup trophies with them.

It’s not without cause that many regard Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting’s men as the best to ever grace the 22-yards. This team not only produced luminaries such as Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne, and Glenn McGrath but also saw the development of elegantly ruthless batsmen such as Damien Martyn, Adam Gilchrist, and Matthew Hayden, who completely altered the view of the game.

The Australians thrived in both versions of the game, thanks to capable leaders like Waugh and, subsequently, Ponting. They won 16 consecutive Tests between October 1999 and February 2001, only to recreate the feat four years later, between December 2005 and January 2008.

In actuality, England won back the Ashes in 2005, and an Indian team under the leadership of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, and Anil Kumble bravely defeated them in 2001. However, it was the Australians who held firm and quickly avenged their defeats.

Also Read | Top Ten Ashes Tests of All Time

2. West Indies

Nobody who had ever heard the names Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner, or Michael Holding would have questioned the batsmen’s fear of the 1980s West Indian side. Batting sans helmets against these savage pacers, who afforded no relief from lethal bouncers, was like mounting a steep hill in stilettos while death beckoned from below..

The Caribbeans won 36 of the 74 matches with a win-loss ratio of 3.00 under the captaincy of Clive Lloyd, who united the islanders under a single West Indies team. This, in turn, laid the basis for Sir Vivian Richards’ team, which went on to win 40 of the 69 Tests between February 1981 and December 1989, with a mind-boggling win-loss ratio of 5.71.

Even against strong opposition such as Australia, England, Pakistan, New Zealand, and India, all of whom had a win-loss record of 0.9 or higher versus teams other than the West Indies, Lloyd averaged over 50, while Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge, and Richie Richardson were in their late 40s.

Also Read | Why is Cricket in the West Indies on the Decline? – From Stalwarts to Minnows!

3. India

What a wonderful narrative India had in the 1983 World Cup! When no one gave the Indian squad a chance, one of the world’s best cricket teams of all time defeated the most dangerous side, the West Indies, in the final.

The Indian team returned the country to prominence in 2011, winning its second World Cup and first since 1983. One of the best players of all time, India’s Sachin Tendulkar, was playing in his final World Cup, and it was the first time a team won the tournament in its own nation. 

The Super Bowl the same year, between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers, drew a record 162.9 million viewers in the United States and almost 200 million worldwide. The 2011 World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka drew approximately 997 million viewers globally.

This cricket squad has a particular position in our list of the top T20 teams, ticking all the criteria to become the finest cricket team. Furthermore, MS Dhoni’s 2007 T20 World Cup side is widely regarded as the best T20 team in cricket history.

Also Read | List: ICC ODI World Cup Winners from 1975 to 2019

4. England

This team, led primarily by Johnny Douglas, was one of the best in English history, winning 14 of 21 matches with a win-loss ratio of 3.50.

Shrimp Leveson Gower and Frederick Fane were unable to motivate their team as they lost 2-3 in South Africa, with the home team winning the fourth Test in only three days. It was then that Johnny Douglas stepped forward to take charge of the team, which included players like Jack Hobbs, Sydney Barnes, and Wilfred Rhodes, to recapture the Ashes in 1911–12.

In December 1913, the English side defeated Herbie Taylor’s South Africa in back-to-back Tests, batting only once at Durban and Old Wanderers. They finished the tour 4-0, winning the third and fifth matches and drawing the fourth.

5. South Africa

There was little prospect for revival when Peter van de Merwe took charge from Trevor Goddard following a disappointing series against England in 1965. What followed heralded the start of a new age in South African cricket, before their dreams were dashed, with the country’s whole talent pool victimized by the government’s apartheid policies.

South Africa defeated Australia 3-1 in a five-test series after winning the three-match series in England 1-0. They thrashed Bill Lawry’s Australia 4-0 two years later, thanks in large part to the brilliant Ali Bacher. South Africa won eight of the 12 matches played during the time span and only lost one.

Barry Richards and Graeme Pollock, the latter of whom received praise from none other than Bradman, continued to handle the batting while Mike Procter and Peter Pollock bolstered Bacher’s bowling attack. Eddie Barlow’s all-rounder qualities summed up the line-up that, albeit briefly, ruled the cricketing globe.

Final Thoughts

For a long time, the fascinating discussion over which team has been the most dominant in the history of cricket has captivated the attention of fans, pundits, and experts all over the world. It is still one of those topics that elicit strong opinions based on emotional reasons adorned with statistical grandeur. 

These are the teams that have reached incredible heights while maintaining their class over time. The standard of cricket they displayed was unrivalled, as they triumphed over their contemporaries with ease and grace.

Here we also want to make a special mention of New Zealand, which came close to winning it all before falling to England in the 2019 World Cup final super over in one of the greatest cricket games of all time.

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