Michael Clarke has enjoyed an amazing year with the bat, featuring four double centuries, but is he now the No.1 cricketer in the country?
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Ranking the best cricketers in the country is no easy task. How do you compare bowlers with batsmen? Test stalwarts with Twenty20 specialists? Even picking the best of Australia's impressive young pacemen is no mean feat.
But we've had a shot at it, ranking the top 50 current Australian players in order. Who is number one? Does the now-retired Ricky Ponting make the cut? Which state has the most entrants? And just who is the country's best wicket-keeper?
Here's how they rate, according to BigPond Sport's writers and editors (with each player's previous ranking in brackets).
50. James Hopes (50)
The one-time Australian one-day regular and current Queensland captain remains a more than useful player with both bat and ball.
49. Adam Voges (28)
A WA veteran closing in on 8000 first-class runs, Voges has slipped off the radar since his last ODI appearance in early 2011.
48. Marcus North (47)
It's been a quiet start to the summer for the WA left-hander but he may get the chance to bounce back into form with the Perth Scorchers.
47. Cameron White (New entry)
The hard-hitting Victoria captain remains in the mix for Australia's Twenty20 team and could be a weapon for the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League.
46. Travis Birt (40)
Last season's top-scorer in the Big Bash League, expect to see Birt battering attacks again for the Hobart Hurricanes this month.
We rate the Big Bash League contenders
45. Alex Doolan (New entry)
The 27-year-old has made a superb start to the season, blasting an unbeaten 161 against South Africa for Australia A. He boasts a better batting average than Phil Hughes and Usman Khawaja in the Sheffield Shield this summer.
44. Luke Butterworth (New entry)
The Tasmanian left-armer has claimed 25 scalps at 17 so far this summer and has two first-class centuries to his name.
43. Glenn Maxwell (New entry)
At 24, Victoria's new big-hitting, spin-bowling all-rounder could become a mainstay for Australia's limited overs sides in the next few years.
42. Ben Cutting (35)
The Queensland quick is stuck in a long queue for Test fast bowling spots, but has the distinction of ranking in the country's highest wicket-takers and run-scorers so far this summer.
41. Mitchell Marsh (24)
For some the younger Marsh has already overtaken older brother Shaun in the pecking order, with the kind of all-round game readymade for Twenty20 cricket. But a hamstring injury means he won't get to press his case this season.
40. Chris Hartley (New entry)
Popular with the purists, Queensland's 30-year-old 'keeper is unlikely to get a shot at Test level but is arguably the best gloveman in the country.
39. Josh Hazlewood (New entry)
The 21-year-old came within a whisker of winning a Test debut in Perth and has been compared with the legendary Glenn McGrath for his combination of height and accuracy.
How we ranked cricket's top 50 last time
38. Xavier Doherty (18)
Australia's incumbent one-day international spinner is a proven performer at the top level.
37. Peter Forrest (16)
Impressed in his cameo stints for Australia's one-day side at the start of the year but needs to rebound from a sluggish start to the season for Queensland.
36. Clint McKay (20)
He may have been overshadowed by state teammates James Pattinson, Peter Siddle and John Hastings, but McKay remains a vital new-ball bowler in an impressive Victorian side.
35. Chris Rogers (49)
The veteran opener is still rock solid at the top of the order for the Bushrangers, bringing up his 56th first-class ton this summer.
34. Steven Smith (39)
Originally miscast as Shane Warne's heir apparent, the blond NSW all-rounder is instead living up to his potential as a quality middle-order batsman. His bowling and fielding make him an invaluable Twenty20 player as well.
33. Rob Quiney (32)
Last season's State Player of the Year finally hit the big-time as Shane Watson's short-term replacement, but fluffed his lines with a pair in the second Test.
32. Mark Cosgrove (45)
Selectors will always be more concerned with his waistline than his batting average but Cosgrove remains one of few 20-somethings consistently performing with the bat on the domestic scene.
Why selectors should bring back the big men
31. John Hastings (New entry)
A burly medium-fast bowler and more than handy batsman, Hastings earned a Test call-up following 24 wickets this summer and a promising stint in the Aussie ODI side, but struggled on debut against the world's best team.
30. Callum Ferguson (New entry)
The South Australian again finds himself amongst the top-scorers in Shield cricket, but is apparently behind Khawaja, Hughes and Quiney in the Aussie selectors' pecking order.
29. James Faulkner (29)
One of several promising young seamers at Tasmania, having claimed 107 wickets at an average of 22 and hit half a dozen fifties at Sheffield Shield level.
28. Shaun Marsh (27)
He's fallen a long way since bursting onto the scene with a hundred on Test debut. Still a huge talent, but his chance at the top level may have come and gone.
27. Jackson Bird (New entry)
Many were dumbfounded that the Sydney-born Tasmania quick didn't make the Australian squad for the Perth Test after claiming 87 wickets from his first 17 Sheffield Shield matches at a bowling average of 19. One to watch.
26. Moises Henriques (New entry)
Was a breakout star of the Sydney Sixers' Champions League win and carried that form into the Shield, averaging 64 with the bat and 20 with the ball in the first half of the season.
What we learned from the South Africa drubbing
25. George Bailey (31)
The Tassie skipper was on a hiding to nothing with cricket fans after being given the Australian Twenty20 captaincy on debut, but led his side with aplomb at this year's World Twenty20.
24. Doug Bollinger (25)
Just about forgotten thanks to the influx of new young speedsters, but the 31-year-old left-armer remains a force for NSW and boasts terrific bowling averages in all three forms of the international game.
23. Andrew McDonald (48)
The rangy redhead is still one of the country's best all-rounders, but seems destined to remain a nearly-man on the international scene.
22. Aaron Finch (22)
His four-day form continues to disappoint, but Finch can be almost unstoppable in the shorter forms of the game. Two big hundreds in the domestic one-day comp already this season.
21. Usman Khawaja (33)
Is he the man to fill Ponting's boots? A switch from NSW to Queensland has worked nicely for the classy left-hander, who could find himself a Test regular in the not-too-distant future.
20. Dan Christian (12)
At his best in one-day cricket, we rate the hard-hitting Christian the second-best all-rounder in the country. Temperament needs work.
19. David Hussey (10)
The last of a generation of terrific Australian batsmen who somehow missed Test selection, the junior Hussey is still one of the classiest run-scorers in the business particularly in the short forms of the game.
18. Mitchell Johnson (26)
He may be unpredictable but Johnson is still a wicket-taker, and he surprised a few critics with a reasonably strong showing in the third Test against South Africa. His ability to bowl the odd unplayable ball and his undoubted talent with the bat and in the field could yet take him to the Ashes in 2013.
17. Phil Hughes (36)
He's got his detractors but the most-talented young opener in the country has worked on his technique and has piled on the runs after being adopted by the Croweaters. Just 24 and loaded with talent, he is destined to return to the Test side sooner rather than later.
Are cricket fans too hard on Phil Hughes?
16. Matthew Wade (11)
At the start of the summer it seemed Wade had already wrapped up the Test wicket-keeper role for good, but his poor form in the second Test has raised an eyebrow or two. Still a solid gloveman and strong lower-order batsman, the Victorian now has a couple of rivals breathing down his neck.
15. Brad Haddin (19)
Haddin is still going strong at 35 and has been in great touch with the bat for NSW, averaging 67 so far this summer. Now arguably the best back-up Test 'keeper in world cricket.
14. Tim Paine (23)
Paine's career has been dogged by injury but he is a real talent and once kept Test keeper Wade out of the Tasmanian XI. Showing signs he is moving toward a reintroduction to the top level.
13. Ed Cowan (13)
An opener from another era, who enjoys taking the shine off the new ball as much as David Warner enjoys blasting boundaries. Now with a Test ton to his name, Cowan's odd-couple partnership with Warner looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.
12. Mitchell Starc (17)
He's not the finished product but the NSW left-armer looks to have a big future ahead of him, particularly if injuries continue to wreak havoc with the rest of the Australian fast-bowling fraternity.
11. Pat Cummins (15)
Will he ever stay fit long enough to live up to the hype? His dazzling 6/79 on Test debut has Aussie fans dreaming of the next Lillee, but the 19-year-old is out for another season and has only played four first-class games for his state to date. Regardless, he could be Australia's secret weapon come next year's Ashes.
10. Nathan Lyon (14)
The fact Nathan Lyon's new mystery ball has been given the unassuming nickname "Jeff" sums up the no-frills attraction of the current Test spinner. He hardly brings to mind the excitement of Shane Warne or even Stuart MacGill, but Lyon's yet to disappoint since getting the national call-up last August.
9. Ryan Harris (9)
An excellent Test bowler who's international career is on the ropes due to chronic injuries. The man to make the breakthrough when times are tough, Rhino would probably be the country's front-line bowler if fully fit.
8. Ben Hilfenhaus (8)
Australia's premier swing bowler is the country's leading Test wicket-taker in 2012, with 36 wickets at 21 runs apiece, but his low-key style means he's battling to hold his spot against the more eye-catching young quicks coming through the ranks.
7. Ricky Ponting (7)
Despite a strong start to the domestic season, Ponting timed his international retirement just right. Australia's best batsman since Bradman still commands a spot in our top 10, and will be a very handy acquisition for the Hobart Hurricanes and Tasmania for the remainder of the season. Legend.
6. Peter Siddle (5)
Regarded by most as an honest toiler not too long ago, Siddle is now seen as the leader of the pack. The controversy surrounding his absence in the third Test shows just how much Siddle's stocks have risen.
5. David Warner (3)
He may be the most aggressive Aussie Test opener in recent memory (and possibly all time) but Warner is much more than a talented slogger. He's technically sound with the bat, despite a tendency to swing at everything, and brilliant in the field. He'll always cause frustration for his ability to throw his wicket away in Tests, but is the country's most dangerous batsman in one-dayers and Twenty20s.
4. James Pattinson (4)
The next Australian pace spearhead, Pattinson has started his Test career with a bang making his recent injury all the more unfortunate. Aussie cricket fans can only dream of a time when both he and Pat Cummins are fit and firing.
3. Michael Hussey (6)
Still going strong at 37 years young. In the absence of Ponting, Hussey's experience and reliability will be all the more crucial in the next 12 months. When you're called Mr Cricket you must be good.
2. Shane Watson (1)
Yes he's injury prone and rarely converts his fifties to hundreds, but Watson remains one of the most valuable cricketers on the planet. A quality top-order batsman in Tests and in limited overs matches, a very safe slips catcher and a canny wicket-taking bowler in all forms of the game.
1. Michael Clarke (2)
The Australian captain has now convinced all but the harshest critics that he's up to the job, and after becoming the first man to score four Test double-hundreds in a single calendar year he's earned top spot on our list.
Our list includes four wicket-keepers, 10 all-rounders, 15 bowlers and 21 batsmen. For the record, the current Victoria and Tasmania squads provide the most players in our top 50, with a dozen each, edging out New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia.
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