Mumbai: Sachin Tendulkar is among the three greats to have emerged as the leading contenders for ESPNcricinfo's Cricketer of the Generation award, even as the Indian's longtime fierce rival from the West Indies Brian Lara missed out on a place in the final three.
Australian spin legend Shane Warne and the recently-retired South African great Jacques Kallis are the other two cricketers to feature in the final list. The award, to be presented here tomorrow, will honour the most outstanding cricketer between the years 1993 and 2013.
The occasion will also mark the 20th anniversary celebrations for the cricket website. While Tendulkar has been the most successful batsman of his generation, having set innumerable records in both Tests and ODIs, no other bowler mesmerised world cricket the way Warne did, besides playing a role in reviving the art of legspin bowling.
As far as allrounders are concerned, Kallis, for his exploits over the past two decades, often drew comparison with the greatest of them all, Gary Sobers. Lara, who still holds the record for the best individual score in Test cricket, and Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan, the highest wicket-taker in the traditional format, received nominations from a 50-member jury, comprising leading players, cricket writers and commentators, but didn't make the cut for a place in the final three.
Tendulkar ended his glorious 24-year international career last November, signing off with an elegant 74 against the West Indies in his final Test innings. He rewrote some of the most coveted batting records, including those for most Test runs and Test hundreds, and for most ODI runs and ODI hundreds.
The Mumbaikar is the only cricketer to score hundred international centuries. Adored by fans across the cricketing world, the flamboyant Warne was the first bowler to 700 Test wickets. Kallis was without doubt the best allrounder of his generation, having amassed over 10,000 runs each in Tests and ODIs. In addition, he took 577 international wickets with his pace bowling.