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Ex-Oz pacer Rodney Hogg reveals his ten best batting greats

December 23, 2011 - Melbourne

Former Australian fast bowler Rodney Hogg still rates West Indian batting great Vivian Richards as the best batter he has confronted at the international level.

In an article for the Herald Sun, Hogg who played for Australia in the late 1970s and early 1980s, recalled being pummeled by Richards for 59 in ten overs after hitting him on his cheekbone at the MCG in 1979.

"I kept staring at him, hoping to see the imprint of the ball in his skin before he writhed around on the pitch. Problem was he didn't move, just kept glaring back at me while chewing gum and leaning on that Stuart Surridge Jumbo while I picked up the ball and wandered back," recalls Hogg.

"Naturally enough, I gave him another short one, which went 10 rows back behind square leg. At the end of my six-over spell I limped from the ground with 0-59 and didn't play another Test for a year," he adds.

"So you can see why I rate Richards the best batsman I have played against or watched in 40 years of first-class cricket," says Hogg.

When asked to name the best 10 batsmen in order over four decades, Hogg named them as follows:. Sir Vivian Richards, West Indies

He was the only player I ever bowled to who I genuinely felt I couldn't get out. It was a matter of hoping he didn't score too much. It was the cricketing equivalent of playing full-back on Tony Lockett or Gary Ablett Sr.

2. Sir Garfield Sobers, West Indies

I saw his 254 off 326 balls for the Rest of the World in 1972 at the MCG and can't imagine anyone batting with more natural attacking instincts. He had a backswing and follow-through like a golfer.

3. Greg Chappell, Australia

He could stare down bowlers as well as anyone who played the game. Had great balance and grace. During WSC made 594 runs at 94 in seven innings against Joel Garner, Michael Holding , Andy Roberts and Colin Croft in the West Indies.

4. Sunil Gavaskar, India

His pads looked as big as him and his bat as wide, but for sheer courage he belongs. Like Greg Chappell, he made serious runs in the West Indies on two tours because of his guts and technique.

5. Sachin Tendulkar, India

Some will say it's lunacy to have him at five. I'm sure if I played against him he would be above Gavaskar. But he has made a lot of runs on the sub-continent against Test attacks that lacked the strike bowlers of the 1970s and 1980s.

6. Graeme Pollock, South Africa

Bowled against him on two rebel tours of South Africa when he was in his 40s. Like a vulture who could smell blood against certain bowlers. I have never seen a player better at hitting the ball into the gaps.

7. Ricky Ponting, Australia

His cat-like ability to swivel on a short ball and put it over the mid-wicket fence remains one of my favourite signature strokes in world cricket.

8. Brian Lara, West Indies

Like Sobers, he swung his bat like a golf club. His footwork to spinners was better than any of those above him on this list. I would readily pay to watch Lara bat (and I don't like paying).

9. Javed Miandad, Pakistan

If I wanted anyone batting for my life it would be Javed ahead of Ian Chappell and Allan Border. He was just so hard to get out. Despite lacking the grace of Zaheer Abbas, he had enormous courage and a non-stop sledging ability.

10. Adam Gilchrist, Australia

You can query having a bloke in this group who batted at seven, but for sheer excitement I can't leave him out. Changed the game with his ability to top score at a strike-rate of 82.


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