Playing all three formats of the game requires a player to have top-quality skills, temperament, and a knack to stand up to occasions. Those who possess these attributes go on to rule the gentleman’s game.
Such once-in-a-generation players rise quickly in the ICC rankings and boss the No. 1 spot in style. There have been a few notable cricketers who have attained the No. 1 ICC rankings across formats.
In this article, we’ll look at the players who achieved the No. 1 ICC rankings in all three formats.
1. Ricky Ponting | Australia
Ricky Ponting became the first player to sit in the top spot in the ICC rankings across all formats. What’s more special is he achieved the feat in all three formats at the same time.
The former Australian captain was in his prime in 2005 as he reached the top spot in T20Is in February. Ponting followed that with the No. 1 ranking in the ODI format in the next month. And he ended 2005 on a higher note, as he climbed to pole position in the Test format in December.
Ponting was a clever captain who led Australia to multiple World Cup triumphs. Moreover, his captaincy stint was complimented well by his destructive batting, which yielded him over 27,000 international runs.
2. Matthew Hayden | Australia
A formidable opener in his playing days, Matthew Hayden became the second Australian to reach the No. 1 spot in the global rankings across formats. Unlike Ponting’s achievement, Hayden owned the crown position on different occasions.
The Southpaw batter provided Australia with explosive starts on numerous occasions, stamping his authority with the bat. Hayden hanged his boots with over 15000 international runs in his kitty.
3. Shakib Al Hasan | Bangladesh
Bangladesh may not have had enough glorious moments on the international stage, but they have produced one of the greatest all-rounders — Shakib Al Hasan. The left-arm spin bowling all-rounder has brought many accolades with his blistering performances.
Shakib’s exploits across formats helped him gain the summit spot in Tests, ODIs, and T20Is simultaneously in 2015. With that, he became only the second cricketer to achieve the No. 1 ranking in all formats at the same time.
Shakib Al Hasan has garnered over 14000 runs and close to 700 wickets across formats. And he is an inspiration to the budding cricketers in his nation.
4. Virat Kohli | India
India’s stellar batter, Virat Kohli, doesn’t need any introduction. His numbers in international cricket speak for themselves.
Kohli is a reliable batter in any given format, with the ability to adapt according to the situation. His white-ball outings have helped him breach many records, even that of Sachin Tendulkar’s 49 ODI centuries.
His ascendance in the international arena started with the top spot in ODIs in November 2013. Kohli didn’t stop there and went on to become the No. 1 batsman in the T20I rankings in 2014. And after his standout performances in 2018, he also reached the summit spot in the Test format.
5. Jasprit Bumrah | India
The only fast bowler on this list, Jasprit Bumrah, scripted history with his thunderous bowling performances. Since his debut for India in 2016, Bumrah has played a key role in the team’s success, especially in the Test format.
Bumrah’s unconventional bowling action, coupled with his knack for picking up wickets on any surface, put him in the league of elite bowlers. He displayed his wicket-taking ability in T20Is early on in his career and got due recognition as he clinched the pole position in 2017.
Bumrah attained the top spot in the ODI format in 2018 and continued his reign well into 2020. In February 2024, he became the first Indian fast bowler to claim the No. 1 spot in Test cricket.