Warne named among players of 20th Century

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The Independent Online

Australian leg spinner Shane Warne is the only present day player named in Wisden's list of the top five cricketers of the 20th century.

The respected cricket almanac commissioned a poll of 100 cricketers and journalists, with Aussie master batsman Don Bradman edging West Indian all rounder Gary Sobers by 10 votes for the top position.

Bradman, who once scored 974 runs in a five test series, hit 29 centuries and had a test average of 99.94 - still easily a world record - when he retired in 1948. In first class cricket, the Australian run-gatherer amassed 28,067 at an average of 95.14, his top score being 452 not out for New South Wales.

The left-handed Sobers hit 8,032 runs, took 235 wickets and 109 catches in tests and owned the world record innings score of 365 for 36 years until it was beaten by countryman Brian Lara in 1994.

Jack Hobbs, a stalwart of the 1920s who scored 61,237 first class runs in a 29-year career, placed third and is the only Englishman in the top five.

Warne, who recently overtook Dennis Lillee's Australian record of 355 test wickets, placed fourth ahead of West Indian batting star Viv Richards, who still holds the record of the most test runs in a year, 1,710 at an average of 90.00 per innings.

"It's a huge honor to be included while I'm still playing and it's hard for me to wrap my head around it," Warne said in a statement. "I'm very shocked because I didn't know about it. Even if I had known about it I wouldn't have expected to be chosen."

Wisden editor Matthew Engel, who is stepping down this year after seven years in the job because he says he's frustrated at having to continually write about England's failures, also named his five best players of 1999 and there isn't a single Englishman among them.

The five are: New Zealand's Chris Cairns, who starred in New Zealand's test series win over England; India's Rahul Dravid; South Africa's Lance Klusener and Australia's Tom Moody for standout performances at the World Cup; and Pakistan spin bowler Saqlain Mushtaq.