Gilly, Skull And Junior Name Their Top Five Aussie Batsmen Of The Modern Era

Unanimous number one

Gilly, Skull And Junior Name Their Top Five Aussie Batsmen Of The Modern Era Image: Getty

Steve Smith’s brilliant run of recent form has ignited discussion about his place in the pantheon of Australian batting greats.

Smith has scored 21 centuries since August 2013 at an average of 71, putting him ninth on the list of Australian ton scorers, while his average of 61.51 in Tests is the third highest of all time.

The discussion led to a new segment in the Triple M commentary box named ’The Best Of The Best’, where Mark Howard got Adam Gilchrist, Kerry O’Keeffe and Mark Waugh to name their top five Aussie batsmen.

The only stipulation was that they could only include players they’d seen bat — meaning no Don Bradman.

Listen to the segment here:

 

The only one that managed to squeeze Smith into the top five was Kerry O’Keeffe, who had him second.

“He’s the bloke I’d have least wanted to bowl to,” Skull said.

“He could play spin with a flute on these sort of decks… If he stood it in linseed oil, he could go out there and get a hundred against me batting with a flute!”

Skull also found space for Gilly in his list — something the ex-keeper was thrilled with.

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“He’s the only in my top five averaging under 50,” Skull said of Gilly.

“But I went on technique, temperament, all-pitch skill… I love the two hands gripped around the top of the bat, I loved it.

“Intimidating opposition, breaking games up, imposed himself on the opposition and made the dressing room feel good.”

Matthew Hayden, Greg Chappell and Ricky Ponting all featured in all three top fives, with Ponting the unanimous choice for number one.

“I saw him (Ponting) for the first time when he was 15 down at the cricket academy, I had the pleasure of captaining an Australian Institute of Sport Cricket Academy team in South Africa,” Gilly said.

“Punter was on the plane. He looked like he was about 10, not 15… he was the standout batsman of that tour, we had some decent cricketers on that trip, and then just flourished into, fulfilled that potential everyone thought he had at that age.”

Skull did find a flaw in Ponting’s game, despite picking him as number one:

“I know early on in his career he trouble with the bouncer… But that was at King’s Cross!” Skull said to huge laughter.

“He hooked everybody else but he didn’t get a swing at that guy!”

 

THE BOYS’ TOP FIVE:

Adam Gilchrist

5. Steve Waugh
4. Matthew Hayden
3. Alan Border
2. Greg Chappell
1. Ricky Ponting

 

Mark Waugh

5. Mike Hussey
4. Matthew Hayden
3. Alan Border
2. Greg Chappell
1. Ricky Ponting

 

Kerry O’Keeffe

5. Adam Gilchrist
4. Matthew Hayden
3. Greg Chappell
2. Steve Smith
1. Ricky Ponting

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