Top 10 selfless knocks in the history of cricket

Cricketers who were totally selfless in their approach.

AB de Villiers - 2012 Australia Test
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AB de Villiers – 2012 Australia Test. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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Cricket is a team sport but a cricketer’s individual performance is often assessed, which is why some cricketers play for their own records rather than the team’s.

However, there have been times when a cricketer has set his personal interests aside and played in a specific style in order to assist his team win. These gentlemen have clearly demonstrated that cricket is a gentleman’s game. In the same line, let’s take a look at-

10 of the most selfless innings in cricket history

10. Mark Taylor

It was 1998 and Australia was facing Pakistan in a Test match in Peshawar. Mark Taylor, the Australian captain, was on 334 on the second day of the Test, equaling Don Bradman’s record of 334.  So what happened next?

He chose not to go past Sir Don Bradman and rather chose to declare being the captain despite the team suggesting to bat a bit on Day 3 & even try to surpass the highest Test score of that time- 375 by Brian Lara.

He stated that he wanted to be remembered with Don Bradman in the record books, thus he made the ultimate sacrifice of not breaking Bradman’s record. This is and always will be one of the most beautiful stories of selflessness in cricket.

9. Steve Waugh

After tearing his calf midway through the third Test on August 24, 2001, many thought Steve Waugh’s Ashes were over. Despite the fact that Australia led the series 3-0, Waugh decided to play the last match because his wife “commanded” him to do so.

Against all odds, the rugged character returned for the final match at The Oval, smashing an undefeated 157 on one leg to put the final nail in England’s coffin.

Australia thrashed England 4-0 to win the Ashes for the seventh time in a row. And as his wife commanded him to do, the Australian captain was there to lead from the front & lift the urn again.

8. Sourav Ganguly

When the name Sourav Ganguly is mentioned, the first image that comes to mind is of him waving his T-shirt in the air during the NatWest Trophy final at Lord’s.

But few people recall Sourav Ganguly’s great knock in the same match, which he played with a really selfless mentality. In the final, the Indian team had to chase down a 326-run target which seemed like an impossible hurdle to cross 19 years ago.

A fast start was essential to pull off a miracle. He, along with Virender Sehwag, batted aggressively from the start, scoring 106 in 14.3 overs when Ganguly fell for a quick 60 off 43 balls.

7. Hashim Amla

One of the most underrated batsmen of the modern era, his batting stats are no less than the likes of Virat Kohli & Ab De Villiers. He has been instrumental to the success of South Africa in the last decade.

Amla scored 25 runs off 244 balls with a strike rate of just above 10. This innings came against India in 2015 when South Africa was looking to draw the test match on a spinning Delhi wicket.

He along with AB De Villiers showed immense patience in the middle. At one time, it was looking that Amla & De Villiers would keep blocking the Indian bowlers throughout the day & pull off a draw from the jaws of defeat. Eventually, India won the match by a mammoth 337 runs.

6. Yuvraj Singh

Known to be one of the cleanest strikers of the cricket ball, the story of Yuvraj Singh suffering from cancer while playing & still making it to the national team again is an inspiring one.

One such innings came in the 2011 WC against West Indies in the scorching heat of Chennai. While Yuvraj was batting, he felt uneasy & soon started vomiting as well. The umpires suggested that he go back to the dressing room, but he refused.

He ended up scoring 113 runs off 123 balls including 10 fours & 2 sixes and even had bowling figures of 2-18 in 4 overs. He was awarded the Man of the Match for his efforts. India went on to win the WC & Yuvraj was awarded the Player of the Tournament.

5. Virender Sehwag

When England set India a target of 387 runs in the last session of day 4 of the Chennai Test match in 2008, most people believed there could only be two outcomes: an England victory or a draw.

Virender Sehwag, on the other hand, batted in the fourth innings the way he does best—seeing the ball and hitting it, regardless of the format. He scored 83 runs off just 68 balls, giving the rest of his teammates enough time to effectively chase down the massive goal. On day 5, India was able to track it down.

He has displayed such selfless acts many times, when he didn’t care whether he is about to get a 100 or 200 or 300, he looks to hit a six. Once, he even refused to run a single when he was on 199 against Sri Lanka as Ishant Sharma was on the other end & it was the last wicket.

4. Graeme Smith

The most successful Test captain in the world & South Africa’s best captain ever in terms of wins, Graeme Smith is a true leader by action, and this inning is the best indicator of that.

This was in 2009 at the SCG during the 1st innings, his left hand was broken by a  brutal Mitchell Johnson delivery, and also nursing a seriously injured right elbow (also courtesy of Johnson), Smith retired hurt on 30.

With one wicket in hand and 8.2 overs left on the final day’s play, Smith walked out of the pavilion with a broken hand trying to save South Africa from a defeat. With 11 balls to go for a draw, Mitchell Johnson delivered a great in-swinger which castled the South African Captain’s stumps. Even though Australia won the match, Smith won people’s hearts and that is still considered as one of the selfless & bravest knocks in the history of cricket.

3. AB de Villiers

Known as the Messi of cricket for his immense talent to do outrageous things on the field & humility, a list of selfless innings without the name of this humble personality, is incomplete.

ABD displayed a mountain of patience as he scored 33 runs off 220 balls with a strike rate of 15. This innings came against Australia in 2012 when South Africa was looking to draw the Test match on a pacy Adelaide wicket.

Can you imagine AB de Villiers, who can play each ball at literally any part of the ground, play such an innings? But such is the talent of this Protea legend. South Africa ended up drawing the match. This innings of De Villiers is considered to be one of the best as it was one of the best draws in the history of Protea cricket.

2. Michael Clarke

Clarke was looking invincible in the match against India at the SCG way back in Jan 2012 as the Indian bowlers failed even to beat him through, let alone getting him out.

All the experts thought that he was on the way to beat the record of Matthew Hayden – the highest individual score for an Aussie in Test cricket i.e. 380 & even Brain Lara – the highest individual score in Test cricket i.e. 401.

However, he declared the innings when he was at 329 not out as he thought that Australia were already in a commanding position to win the Test match. Australia ended up scoring 659 runs and eventually won the match by an innings & 68 runs.

1. Robin Uthappa

Uthappa, the 2014 IPL orange cap winner got his place back in the Indian squad after having a fantastic IPL & even winning it.

He had the opportunity to play a few big shots and make an impact on his comeback, but he decided to rotate the strike so that Rohit Sharma could get the maximum deliveries to face.

Rohit Sharma ended up scoring 264 runs in 173 balls which is the highest individual score in ODI cricket & Uthappa scored a mere 16 runs in 16 balls. The partnership was of 128 runs in 58 balls & India ended up winning the match by 153 runs.