I’ve previously taken a look at some of the tallest players in the game, and now it’s time to consider the other end of the height scale. Here are the shortest cricketers of all time.
Who is the Shortest Cricketer in the World?
The shortest cricketer of all time was Kruger Van Wyk. Born in South Africa, Van Wyk would move to New Zealand, for whom he played nine test matches in 2012.
He stood just 4 feet 9 inches tall which converts to 1.45 metres..
15 Shortest Cricketers in the World
Kruger Van Wyk
You won’t see many tall wicket keepers in cricket. It helps for a player to be able to get low to the ground if they are going to do this specialist job effectively. As we move through this list, we’ll see a number of stumpers, but Kruger Van Wyk was the shortest of them all.
In fact, he is the shortest player on here by some considerable margin.
An unfamiliar name to some, Walter Cornford played in four test matches for England, all of which came against New Zealand in 1930. He didn’t make too much of an impression at international level, but he was another exceptional wicket keeper and useful batsman.
It’s reported that Cornford’s height just reached five feet.
The clue is in the name here. Kent and England cricketer Alfred Percy Freeman was given the nickname ‘Tich’ due to his diminutive stature. Even to this day, he is known as being one of the best slow bowlers of all time.
He was only five feet two inches tall (1.57m) and is therefore England’s shortest established international cricketer. He possessed great stamina and would enjoy bowling long spells. He played just 12 test matches between 1924 and 1929, but claimed an impressive 66 wickets with best figures of 7/71.
Measuring in at a fraction under 5 foot 3 (1.6 metres) is the Bangladesh wicket keeper and former skipper Mushfiqur Rahim. While he’s coming to the end of his career, Mushfiqur has been the team’s most consistent player and he can score heavily in all formats.
He’s now played well over 400 international games and has good returns in both red ball and white ball cricket. Mushfiqur has scored over 5,000 test runs with a highest score of 219.
We come to another wicket keeper in the short shape of Parthiv Patel. He was one of India’s most effective stumpers in his day and he could also hit useful runs. Parthiv played in 65 international matches across the three formats in a long Indian career that lasted from 2002 to 2018.
His height was confirmed at five foot three inches (1.60 metres), but there was a lot of power in that small frame and Parthiv Patel played for no fewer than six franchises in the IPL.
An Indian great with a much longer career at international level, Gundappa Vishwanath was a regular in the national teams from 1974 through to 1982. Vishwanath was a stylish batsman and his 14 test centuries came with a highest score of 222, and he finished with an impressive average of 41.93.
He stood out on the field because of his short stature. Gundappa Vishwanath measured five feet three inches (1.60 metres).
Harry Pilling didn’t play cricket internationally and, perhaps this is one of those rare occasions when his height was seen as an issue for the England selectors. He scored 25 first class centuries and returned a best of 149 not out for Lancashire.
‘Little’ Harry Pilling measured 5 foot 3 (1.60m) and maybe the fast bowlers of Australia and West Indies could have caused him problems had he stepped up to the England side.
One of Australia’s best ever batsmen slots in at a height of 5 foot 3 inches (1.6 metres). David Boon was known for his aggressive batting and a stocky physique that infamously helped him set a new beer drinking record on a flight from Australia to England.
Boon was also an exceptional short leg fielder and his lack of height may have helped him in this respect.
One of Bangladesh’s most explosive batters in all formats, Mominul Haque can also take useful wickets with his left arm spin. He has 11 test hundreds to his name with a respectable average and a highest score of 181.
Mominul measured 5 foot 3 inches – (1.61 metres)
The West Indies’ David Williams is another player to have used his smaller stature to good effect while playing as a wicket keeper. Measuring five feet four inches (1.63 metres), he played in 11 tests and 36 ODIs between 1988 and 1998.
His keeping was exceptional but, unfortunately, Williams wasn’t the best batsman around and that probably restricted his appearances.
West Indian left hander Alvin Kallicharan was an exceptional player of the hook and pull shot. Maybe his shorter stature helped him to judge the height of the ball better than others.
Kallicharan is another player to measure in at a height of five foot four inches (1.63 metres). Height was certainly no barrier to a brilliant test career as the Guyanese batsman scored 4399 test runs with 12 centuries and a highest score of 187.
A short stature was no barrier to Kedar Jadhav who played 82 limited overs internationals for India between 2014 and 2020. His figures were impressive and he scored two ODI hundreds while taking some useful wickets.
Jadhav’s height was confirmed at 5 foot 4 inches (1.63 metres).
We now come to another wicket keeper who used his lack of height to great effect. Tatenda Taibu was his country’s first choice behind the stumps for a number of years, and he’s one of just a handful of Zimbabwe players to have featured in the IPL.
He measured a fraction over 5 foot 4 inches, converting to 1.65 metres. Taibu was an exceptional wicket keeper and he was also an effective batsman, scoring centuries for Zimbabwe in both tests and ODIs.
Sachin Tendulkar’s 100 international centuries tell us that he was arguably the greatest batter of all time. He enjoyed such a prolific career and his height of five feet five inches was no barrier to that.
He had all the shots and was equally strong off both the front and the back foot, with no weakness against the shorter ball. His statistics in international cricket are worth repeating one more time.
In 200 tests and 463 ODIs, Sachin scored over 34,000 runs. He made exactly 100 international centuries and his highest score was 248. A perceived lack of height was never going to get in the way of a player of his supreme ability.
Checking in at just five foot four inches (1.63m) is former England batsman James Taylor. He’d already made an impression in ODI cricket and seemed set for a productive test career before a heart defect sadly put an end to his playing days.
Taylor’s stature also helped him become a fine short leg fielder. If you can find video footage on the usual sharing platforms, check out his catches from England’s tour of South Africa.
While these lists are a bit of fun, they also prove that height is no barrier to having a brilliant career as a cricketer. Sachin Tendulkar is on here and he was the most successful international batsmen of all time in terms of the amount of runs he scored.
Having said that, it’s not really a coincidence that there are no fast bowlers here. Height does help with generating bounce, but a lack of height can actually assist a batter. As we discussed earlier, it can also be a bonus for wicket keepers and short leg fielders.
Aside from Tendulkar, most of the players here enjoyed international careers and their height never prevented them from hitting the top of their game.
Lastly, it’s possible that there may have been some other players who could have been included on this list. I had at least two more in mind, but was unable to confirm their height, so feel free to add any more information that you might have.