A selfless cricketer will do everything necessary for his team to win while maintaining the spirit of cricket and staying away from the limelight.
With the advancement of technology, in most cases, our view about a cricketer gets driven by stats, which is not appropriate.
Unfortunately, from every generation, we have cricketers who have managed to win games while maintaining the spirit but somehow haven’t got the limelight.
Therefore, today will talk about those most selfless cricketers who have selfless put their team ahead of themselves while maintaining the spirit of cricket.
Most selfless cricketers of all-time
1) Rahul Dravid
Every time you want to think about ‘selfless cricketers’, the first cricketer that comes to your mind is perhaps ‘The Wall’ Rahul Dravid.
Be it the legendary Eden test in 2001 or the Headingley test in 2002, Rahul Dravid set the stage for India’s victory.
From opening the innings against hostile fast bowling in Pakistan or turning wicket-keeper in the ODIs, Dravid has always put his team ahead of himself.
When cricketers like Sachin, Sourav took all the spotlight, he kept on contributing to the team.
Even after retiring from all cricket forms, he is still nurturing the younger Indian cricketers and grooming them to play cricket at the international level.
Players like Prithvi Shaw, Shubhman Gill, or a Washington Sundar, all of these international cricketers have benefitted from his mentorship.
2) Graeme Smith
Graeme Smith, the legendary cricket captain of South Africa, is undoubtedly one of the most selfless cricketers of all time.
Not only was Smith one of the most successful test captains of all time, but he was always there for the team to get them out of challenging situations.
He took South Africa’s leadership at a very young age and guided a very young team towards greatness.
To do so, he pushed young talents like ABD Villiers, Hashim Amla and brought them into the limelight while he stayed behind the curtains.
Not only that, even in the field, he was the first person to take the blows from the fast bowls at the top of the order and inspired his players.
In 2009, during the SCG Test, while chasing 376 in the last innings, with a broken left hand and right elbow, Graeme Smith, in a show of absolute bravery and selflessness, faced 17 balls and very nearly saved that Test for his side.
For all these reasons, Graeme very rightly features right on the top of our list.
3) Allan Border
Allan Border, the legendary Australian cricket captain, is one of the most selfless cricketers to play international cricket.
After Kim Hughes forcefully resigned from captaincy in 1984, and it was Border who took the responsibility of a team under transformation.
His ability to occupy the crease helped the team get out of trouble on many occasions when batters were getting out from the other end.
Not only that, he was the one who picked a bunch of rag-tag cricketers like a Steve Waugh or a Tom Moody and welded them together to form a powerful team.
Border brought the best out of a relatively young team and won in the 1987 Cricket World Cup, beating a strong English side in the finals.
Later in his career, Border picked Mark Taylor or a Shane Warne from the domestic circuit and made them a household name.
It was Border who created the conditions for Steve Waugh’s incredibly successful Test team in the late 1990s and onwards.
After his retirement, Border became a member of the selection committee and was instrumental in removing Steve Waugh from ODI captaincy.
Not once, not twice, the former Indian captain MS Dhoni has rescued his team on numerous occasions.
The ‘Captain Cool’ scored more than 16000 international runs, but today, if we remember him, it is not because of those runs.
We remember him because of the way he selflessly provided support to his fellow cricketers.
Kohli, Raina, Rohit Sharma, to young cricketers like Kuldeep Yadav or Deepak Chahar, MS has mentored everyone of them at some point in their careers to become successful at the international level.
When his team was winning, MS stayed on the sidelines and let the youngsters enjoy those moments.
But, during the pressure times, he was the first person to face criticism in front of the media, and by doing so, he saved young players from getting bashed.
5) Anil Kumble
India’s biggest match-winner with the ball, Anil Kumble, is undoubtedly one of the best cricketers to play international cricket.
Kumble was a captain’s delight to have as a bowler as he gave his absolute best whenever he went on to the field for his country.
It’s not the 619 test wickets or the 337 wickets in the ODIs; it’s the desire to compete, keeping the country first above everything else that made him so special.
In Antigua, even with a broken jaw, the immense courage with which he came out to bowl against the West Indies is a perfect example of his selflessness and commitment to the game.
Not only that, as a captain, how he supported Harbhajan Singh during the infamous monkey gate incident’ perfectly sums up how good a team man he was
After retirement, he continues to mentor cricketers worldwide and undoubtedly gets a place on our list.
6) Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj Singh, one of India’s best all-rounder in the limited-overs format, is one of the most selfless cricketers of all time.
Even though he had a career with lots of ups and downs, he gave his 100% every time got an opportunity with both bat and ball.
Be it the Natwest final in 2002 or the 2007 T20 World Cup; it was Yuvraj who helped India win those crucial knockout matches.
While braving cancer, he played the 2011 World Cup, and there were times he was unable to breathe and bleed from the nose.
But, he fought those adversities with extreme courage and helped India win that edition of the World Cup.
7) Adam Gilchrist
The greatest wicket-keeper batsman in both shorter and longer cricket format, Adam Gilchrist is one of the most selfless cricketers to play international cricket.
Unlike any typical Aussie cricketer, he was someone who always let his performance did the talking more than anything else.
A thorough gentleman, Gilchrist would walk off if he thought he was out without waiting for the umpire’s decision.
It was his team that came first for him, and even when he was asked to open in ODIs for the first time against a fiery Proteas attack, he didn’t hesitate.
A wicket-keeper batsman with a batting average above 45 in tests, he never got the opportunity at the top.
But still, he gladly accepted his role at No.7 and won numerous matches batting in that position.
Moreover, he probably had the safest pair of hands behind the stumps with 796 catches and 92 stumpings to his name.
After retirement, he has deeply involved himself in charity works and selflessly providing for society.
8) Shaun Pollock
One of the greatest fast bowling-allrounder with more than 800 international wickets and 7000 international runs, Pollock is regarded as one of the legends of the game.
But more than that, he played a crucial role in bringing back respect in South African cricket when some of their players caught guilty of match-fixing
Players like Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini, early on in their career, it was Pollock who encouraged them to take the new ball and mentored them to achieve perfection.
Even with a young captain like Graeme Smith, especially in his early days, he always provided him the mental support both on and off the field and hence, rightly gets a mention in our list.
9) Wasim Akram
The greatest left-arm fast bowler of all time, Wasim Akram, is loved by fans worldwide.
Despite his record 916 international wickets, for me, one thing that sets him apart is his ability to pass on the knowledge to the youngsters.
Even though the names Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis are taken simultaneously, but it’s the former who was more successful in grooming new players
Not only did he groomed his fellow teammates, someone like Shoaib Akhtar but someone like Irfan Pathan, Mohammed Shami, also received his guidance in the early part of their career.
Even today, with Karachi Kings, we still see him advise many young Pakistani fast bowlers throughout PSL.
10) Lasith Malinga
Probably the best Sri-Lankan fast bowler from the white-ball format, Lasith Malinga has won the heart of fans from all over the world.
When we talk about Malinga, we talk about his control over line and length; we tend to remember his authority on the field.
But, we often miss his contribution off the field as he was the one who selflessly taught Jasprit Bumrah how to keep your cool in challenging match situations.
Now, you see Bumrah smiling after getting hit for a boundary and then returning with a magical delivery, that credit somewhere goes to Malinga.
He led Sri Lanka in the 2014 T20 World Cup and, even with a weak bowling line-up, helped it grab the World Cup in 2014.
Even after winning, he let a retiring Sangakarra and Jayawardene take the limelight, which again shows his selflessness.