One of English longest serving cricket writer’s, Scyld Berry, has named West Indies master blaster Viv Richards as the best player he’s witnessed in the past 40 years. This English summer will mark four decades covering cricket for The Telegraph for Berry, so to commemorate his ruby jubilee, the veteran compiled a list of the best 40 players during his tenure. This is the top 10 1. Viv Richards 2. Imran Khan 3. Shane Warne 4. Malcom Marshall 5. Ian Botham 6. Sachin Tendulkar 7. Adam Gilchrist 8. Jacques Kallis 9. Brian Lara 10. Wasim Akram Since it is about Test cricket, I agree with most of the selection/order. To me unfair that Sir Richard Hadlee was excluded from Berry's top 10..No bowler let alone paceman so single.handedly bore the brunt of such s weak bowling attack or team .Statistically to take 330 scalps in 60 tests he was even better in than Marshall or Imran from 1978-88.He also had more 5 and 10 wicket hauls than any paceman. At his best he was a more than competent batsmen having a test hundred against the mighty West Indies.In test cricket Hadley should rate marginally ahead of Wasim Akram as a cricketer and overall arguably by a few inches ahead of Botham. and McGrath in test cricket.Major omission.See how high Imran rated Hadlee. To me what gave Imran the cutting edge was His greatness as a leader.The other one was his performances against the best team of his time,West Indies.In his peak to me Botham was 2nd to only Sobers and arguably by a whisker a greater match-winner at his best. No all rounder ever equalled Bothams superlative effort in 1981 Ashes and 1980 Jubilee test.Imran was not at his best both with bat and ball but still overshadowed Botham in series in England in 1982 and 1987.After taking 5 wickets Botham was more likely to score a hundred or fifty than any allrounder, bar Sobers ,Kallis or Miller, At his best Botham as a pure cricketer was the equal of a Tendulkar or Viv Richards. Still one factor that may go against him is that he was at his best when many great players went to work play in WSC Supertests and Botham faced 2nd string Pakistani and Australian teams.Still as a pure allrounder by a while sketch Botham was ahead of Imran in conditions of England and Australia. Almost impossible to separate the likes of Imran,Viv,Warne,Tendulkar who may not be separated even in a photo finish. Viv could intimidate opposition or change the complexion of a game more than anyone, Imran shaped a nation's destiny to reach it's highest pinnacle of glory more than any cricketer ,in the manner of a great military general,Warne was the ultimate match-winner and Tendulkar simply took cricketing achievements to their greatest height,defining the modern game more than any player. Tendulkar missed out as a match-winner but in terms of longevity was the ultimate giant.Most experts give Sachin the edge over Viv and Imran because he virtually defined the modern game and faced more pressure than any cricketer ever,If it was only test cricket then I would personally place Lara above Tendulkar and Viv who could single handedly turn games for a weak batting side like no batsmen since the war. Lara took creative genius to it' s ultimate height and could register mammoth scores with more frequency than any batsmen ever.I rate home a better match. Winner than Tendulkar at his best.Viv had the advantage of playing for a champion team.Combining ODIs Wasim may rate above Lara ,Botham and Marshall . in test cricket as a cricketer Marshall is just inches below Warne, Viv, Sachin and Imran. Of Sycld Berry's selection my tentative re-shuffled order is below,one for test cricket and one for test and O.D.I. combined.I assert it is tentative and I will work on a more detailed analysis.I feel it may be unfair to only consider test cricket.I am critical of Berry placing Botham ahead of Tendulkar in a test rating ,excluding Lillee and Hadlee and also ranking Lara so low.Applaud his choice of Viv though.Botham was close to the best ever cricketer in his peak but lacked the element of overall conistency and was not at his best against the best team of his day,the West Indies. Botham from 1977-81 could have been almost at no in only test cricket but never forget he had an advantage of playing against weaker teams in the Kerry Packer era like Pakistan and Australia. Below is my reshuffled list of Berry's selection Only test cricket. 1.Shane Warne 2.Brian Lara 3.Sachin Tendulkar 4.Viv Richards 5.Imran Khan 6.Malcolm Marshall 7.Ian Botham 8.Jacques Kallis 9.Wasim Akram 10.Adam Gilchrist Test and O.D.I 1.Viv Richards 2.Sachin Tendulkar 3.Shane Warne 4.Wasim Akram 5.Adam Gilchrist 6.Imran Khan 7.Jacques Kallis 8.Brian Lara 9.Ian Botham 10.Malcolm Marshall If I had to add players of my own in the test section Richard Hadlee would be either at 8th place and Dennis Lillee in 7th position.That would eliminate Adam Gilchrist and Wasim Akram.I would place Hadlee at 9th place instead of Ian Botham in combined test and O.D.I. and replace Marshall with Glen Mcgrath.Sunil Gavaskar came within a whisker of joining likes of Tendulkar in best test match 10 while it was the same case with Javed Miandad in combined test and O.D.I. My shuffled order with my own additions of players belonging to the same era. Only test cricket. 1.Shane Warne 2.Brian Lara 3.Sachin Tendulkar 4.Viv Richards 5.Imran Khan 6.Malcolm Marshall 7.Dennis Lillee 8.Ian Botham 9.Jacques Kallis 10.Richard Hadlee Test and O.D.I 1.Viv Richards 2.Sachin Tendulkar 3.Shane Warne 4.Wasim Akram 5.Adam Gilchrist 6.Glen Mcgrath 7.Imran Khan 8.Jacques Kallis 9.Brian Lara 10.Richard Hadlee I would apologize if there is element of bias in terms of separating Tendulkar,Imran ,Warne and Viv in test and Warne,Wasim,Tendulkar and Lara in combined.cricket .With critical analysis one may understand why Lara is arguably the king amongst batsmen in test cricket in the sum total of his scores evaluating strength of opposition,situation in which innings scored,playing conditions and impact on match. No batsmen scored more mammoth totals like Lara or had as high an average percentage score out of the team's total.Viv Richards never had to carry the brunt of such weak side's batting as Brian and in contrast played for a team of world -beaters.Just look at Lara's 5 best innings in test cricket which throws light on his greatness. In terms of pure bowling artistry or creative genius no paceman was ever the equal of Wasim Akram who was the equivalent of a magician. Wasim was the ultimate champion amongst O.D.I. bowlers.In his peak Wasim could overpower every great bowler even in test cricket.The greatest batsmen like Lara found him the hardest to face.Dennis Lillee was the epitome of agression and perfect skill,Wasim and Lara the ultimate geniuses and Adam Gilchrist in his era was like the Viv Richards of his time making the impact of a bulldozer.No cricketer could at his best turn a game or intimidate opposition like Viv Richards who revealed the aura of a great emperor. Viv was the king amongst batsmen in O.D.I.cricket turning games more than Tendulkar or Lara.In peak era even in only test cricket Viv was the best of the last 50 years.He fell out only on consistency.Shane Warne did more to shape arguably the best team ever than any cricketer and won more matches than Imran or Viv.In terms of pure cricketing art by a whisker he was the king of them al.Imran was the greatest leader of them all who defined nation's cricket or shaped it's fortunes to reach the top of the pedestal more than anyone.In many ways Hadlee was the equivalent to his country what Lara was to his team spearheading a relatively weak attack of a weaker team. Statistaically Kallis was the king as an all-rounder but lacked the x factor and did not turn the complexion or shape games like Imran, Viv, Warne and Sachin.On pure stats he could well have been at no 1.At his best Botham was close to the greatest ever and could turn game more than any cricketer.Sadly his form declined after 1982 .In the 1980 Jubliee tset and 1981 Ashse Botham even overshadowed Gary Sobers and from 1977 was on par with Viv Richards and Dennis Lillee as a cricketer. No paceman amongst right arm bowlers were as complete as Lillee and Marshal, the former classically complete,the latter a genius.Lillee took cricketing agression to its highest zenith and was the epitome of fast bowling perfection while Marshall took innovation or creative art in pace bowling to a degree no right arm paceman ever achieved.