A Swedish newspaper recently decided to publish a list of the greatest sportspeople of the country of all time. Bjorn Borg came out at the top of the list.

It made Zlatan angry. zlatanquote8 ibra-boss  zlatan-ibrahimovic-quotes_o_833374


Zlatan claims Zlatan should be no 1,2,3,4 and 5 on the list. Well, Zlatan can do this


So am not going to argue with him. He will kick me in the head

Instead I thought I would try and make a list of Indian sportspeople.


Now the first problem I faced was in cricket and hockey – they are more or less the 2 sports where we have historically not sucked big time.

In fact, barring kabaddi, hockey has been our most profitable (medal/trophy wise) and successful game.  India have produced great hockey players for decade after decade starting from Dhyanchand all the way to Sardar Singh and it would take a mind much greater than me to take all of them into account and rank them.

So I won’t even try.

So this list would be made of Greatest of All Time non-hockey sportspeople.


After much research, scientific analysis, shots of vodka and a complete and total disregard for any and all opinions apart from my own, I came up with the list.


1. – Sushil Kumar (wrestling)

Getting one Olympic medal is hard, getting two (India has won a grand total of 26 throughout its history) is nigh on impossible. This man made the impossible possible in 2008 and 2012.

He has also won a Commonwealth Gold in 2014 and became the 1st Indian to win the Gold medal at the World Championships in 2010.

And he did all this by being a complete gentleman and role model. He refused INR 5 million to appear in an ad for a liquor brand [“I didn’t want to be associated with a liquor brand in any form as it would send a wrong signal to the youth. The sporting tradition that I have been raised in values discipline way above money.” ]



2. – Leander Paes (tennis)

The grand old man of tennis, the winner of numerous grand slams plus an Olympic medal. He is the one who brought glory to India via tennis. Without him there would be no Bhupathi, no Mirza.


3. – Mary Kom (boxing)

To be a woman athlete in India is problematic enough; to be a woman from the North East is doubly so given our in-built racism; to be an athlete in a sports which gets fuck all help from the government and is mired in corruption is even more problematic.

Fighting through all these problems and becoming successful (world championships and Olympics medal) is frankly astonishing.

Here is a role model for us all.


4. Kapil Dev (cricket)

If there is one cricketer in Indian history whom you can unhesitatingly say has never wittingly done anything against the team or country, then it will be him. He is India’s greatest ever bowler and was a damn good batsman and fielder as well – without a shadow of a doubt India’s greatest ever allrounder.

And he won the World Cup.


5. Vishwanathan Anand (chess)

When you become the best in the world at your sports for years, you can be considered one of the greatest. Apart from numerous other trophies, Mr. Anand was the world champion for a number of years.


6. Major Rathode/Abhinav Bindra (shooting – tied)

One on the first Olympic medal in shooting ,the other the first Olympic gold medal in shooting for the country. They are the pioneers and have influenced many many others to take up the sports seriously. Barring wrestling, shooting has now become the only sports where we are one of the top countries in the world.


7. Milkha Singh (athletics) 

4 Asian Games gold, 1 Commonwealth gold, that race in Rome.

Not only an exemplary athlete, he is a model human being as well.

Singh sold the movie rights for INR1 but inserted a clause stating that a share of the profits would be given to the Milkha Singh Charitable Trust. The Trust was founded in 2003 with the aim of assisting poor and needy sportspeople. In 1999, they (he and his wife) adopted the seven-year old son of Havildar Bikram Singh, who had died in the Battle of Tiger Hill.


8. Anil Kumble

10 wickets in a single innings; bowling with a broken jaw; century


9. Prakash Padukone (badminton)

The man was the no 1 in his sports and was the first Indian to win the All England championship. he is the one who paved the way for Gopichand who, in turn, paved the way for Nehwal/Srikanth/Sindhu.


10. Joginder Singh Bedi (athletics)

None of you, or rather most of you haven’t heard about him but this man won 3 Olympics medal in 1984. Why does hardly anyone know him then? Because he was physically handicapped and won the medals in the paralympics.



11. Virender Sehwag (cricket)

There have been many batsmen who have scored lots of runs – Gavaskar, Tendulkar, Vengsarkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Vishwanath. There have been players who have had potentially more impact on the game like Ganguly and MSD (undoubtedly India’s best ever ODI player)

But there is only 1 man who has entertained us more than all the others put together.

He made cricket fun, joyous and beautiful with the simplest of philosophy and technique. More than 8k runs in tests at a strike rate of more than 80, more than 8k runs in ODIs with a strike rate of more than 100 have easily captured our hearts.

This being India, there has always been cliques and fanbases of some players who hate other players etc [Kapil Dev vs Gavaskar/Ganguly vs Dravid/MSD vs Gambhir/Yuvraj….and Paes vs Bhupathi/Saina Nehwal vs Jwala Gutta {possessor of the fattest arse I have ever seen on an athlete (Ranatunga and Inzy were never athletes)}.

Hell even politics there have been cliques – Nehru vs Patel/Gandhiji vs Bose/Indira Gandhi vs Morarji Desai/Lalu vs Nitish/Naidu vs KCR/Allagiri vs Stalin/Raj Thackeray vs Uddhav Thackeray/ Modi vs Advani.

No other single individual, in any sphere, has unified the nation as much as Virender Sehwag has.


Notables/Hon mentions

Malleshwari, PT Usha, Bhupathi, Gagang Narang, Yogeshwar Dutta, Saina Nehwal, Vikas Gowda, Gopichand, Pankaj Advani, P Kashyap


So there you go, the top sportspeople in Indian history.


Any comments? Whats your views?


6 thoughts on “GOAT

  1. It would be errant to no acknowledge everyone of our sportsmen and women. Lists such as Fatunclecheapo’s are elitist and arbitrary…Must have been the Vodka opining. Anyway my inner feminist feels that Mary Kom should top the list.


    1. The greatest of all time post can be technically and literally be about just one person…at a stretch people make a list of 10….you cannot mention all sposrtspeople….and no performance matters, so everyone should not be mentioned…..finally feminism cannot be a criteria for sporting achievement


  2. Why not Tendulkar? You may think he was selfish, record oriented. But he actually united the nation like no one else. People bought TV to watch him play and cried when he got out.


    1. why tendulkar and not gavaskar or dravid? loads of people have scored loads of runs, how many will be there? to become top 10, you need to do something truly unique…like Kumble’s 10 wickets…Kapil Dev comes in because he is the only genuine allrounder that we have ever had….plus tendulkar’s awfully pathetic captaincy period counts against him


  3. Why not the greatest goalkeeper of all time, Bishwak.
    Of course, you will be blamed for boasting and being snobbish… but, you only said, you don’t give a fuck about anybody’s opinions anyway!
    Veeru over Sachin & Dravid? Com’on man… we all watch cricket. AND – if Kumble can come in the list, so can Kambli & Hirowani (whatever)!
    But, then, it’s your blog… and I can keep my opinion out. :-/


    1. Who is the greatest keeper of all time??? Especially in India??
      I have given my reasonings for Kumble…just which of his achievements do you disagree with? And comparing him with Kambli and Hirwani is just disrespecting the best bowler in Indian history.
      So you will include Sachin and Dravid but not Gavaskar? Or will you include all of them?Then who are you going to leave out?


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