CRICKET has developed from an emerging game of the 19th century in which players often held up their trousers with a tie to the turbo-charged extravaganza of today.
But true greatness spans the generations.
A player outstanding in an earlier era would surely be outstanding now with modern training, diet and equipment.
So which players are the best?
SunSport has chosen an all-time top ten greatest cricketers and put them in order…
1. Sir Donald Bradman
Usually No1 in these types of lists…
Bradman was a ruthless, insatiable run machine who, legend insists, developed hand-eye co-ordination as a child by throwing a golf ball against a water tank and hitting the rebound with a stump.
His Test average was 99.94 – the next highest is current Aussie No3 Marnus Labuschagne with 63.43.
Has anybody in any sport been statistically so far ahead of the field?
2. WG Grace
In the final 30 years of the 19th century, Grace was probably one the three most famous people in the UK – alongside Queen Victoria and William Gladstone, who served four terms as Prime Minister.
With his huge beard, Grace remains perhaps the most instantly recognisable cricketer more than 100 years after his death.
He was a great all-rounder, a qualified doctor and a hugely competitive player who, in many ways, invented the game of cricket.
3. Sir Garfield Sobers
Sobers could do the lot.
He was a dashing, stylish and prolific batsman and could bowl fast, swing, finger spin and wrist spin.
He was a brilliant close catcher and even kept wicket at times.
In 93 Tests, the extraordinary all-rounder from Barbados scored 8,032 runs (average 57.78) and took 235 wickets (average 34.03) as well as holding 109 catches.
And he was the personification of sportsmanship and generosity.
4. Shane Warne
Warne became a superstar the moment he sent down the Ball of the Century at Old Trafford in 1993 and dismissed Mike Gatting with his first Ashes delivery.
He ripped the ball huge distances and his charisma, showmanship and sense of theatre added to the drama.
Warne finished with 708 Test wickets and many will nominate him as the greatest bowler of all.
Had plenty of fun off the field, too.
5. Sir Viv Richards
There has been no more intimidating batsman than Viv Richards, who had the physique of a middleweight boxer.
His swagger to the crease, chewing gum and thumping the end of his bat handle, terrorised many bowlers.
He had the talent and power to back it up.
Richards played some of the all-time great innings and just imagine how he would perform – and how much money he’d earn – in the Twenty20 era.
6. Sir Jack Hobbs
Known as the Master, Jack Hobbs was the world’s best batsman either side of the First World War.
His aggregates of 61,760 runs and 199 centuries are both first-class records which will never be beaten and he made a Test century at the age of 46.
Hobbs was a dignified and modest man who was known to get out deliberately soon after reaching three figures.
A lunch in his honour – the Master’s Lunch – is still held annually even though he died in 1963.
7. Brian Lara
Who was the better – Lara or Tendulkar?
That debate has raged for two decades and I always plump for Lara because he played more match-winning and remarkable innings.
With his raised-bat stance, Lara scudded the ball to the boundary with perfect placement and timing.
He holds the world Test and first-class records with innings of 400 not out and 501 not out and, when truly switched on, could toy with the best attacks.
8. Malcolm Marshall
If you want to know who was the best of the West Indies fast bowlers who dominated cricket in the 1980s, speak to the players. They nearly all say Marshall.
Although less than 6ft tall, Marshall generated extreme speed from a whippy action and, added to control, aggression and movement, was a devastating prospect for batsmen.
He took 376 Test wickets at 20.94 apiece. Malcolm Marshall died of cancer in 1999, aged just 41.
9. Sachin Tendulkar
No cricketer has been revered by so many for so long as Sachin Tendulkar.
A sizeable chunk of the 1.2 billion inhabitants of the cricket-crazy country of India worshipped Tendulkar from his debut aged 16 to his retirement 24 years later. They still do.
Tendulkar is the only man who scored 100 international centuries (51 in Tests, 49 in one-dayers) and his balance, poise and timing were fantastic.
He could defend or attack and always conducted himself impeccably.
10. Muttiah Muralitharan
The greatest international wicket-taker of all time – 800 in Tests and 534 in one-dayers – Murali divided opinion because many thought his action was illegal.
But he had a birth defect which meant his right arm was permanently bent.
The Sri Lankan returned a scarcely-believable 67 five-fors in Tests as well as 22 ten-wickets-in-a-match hauls.
He zipped and fizzed the ball both ways, bamboozling batsmen with a smile rarely far from his face.