How many formats of cricket can you take? Tests, ODIs, T20, T10, Sixes, The Hundred, 90-Ninety…
Cricket fans are truly spoilt for choice but most would agree the 50-over format remains the ideal combination of skills and thrills – short enough to keep the tempo high and long enough to ensure only those with proper cricketing skills succeed.
It should therefore come as no surprise that the All-Time ODI team that we have compiled has players who were champions of Test cricket as well. Also, all barring one have a World Cup title under their belt.
Adam Gilchrist (wk)
The Aussie changed the role of wicket-keepers forever. Before him, it was gloveman first and batsman second. But Gilchrist’s devastating batting at the top of the order set the benchmark for keepers in the 21st century. Two fifties and a hundred in three successive World Cup triumphs in 1999, 2003 and 2007 respectively make Gilly the greatest ODI keeper.
The most prolific batsman in history. More than 18,000 ODI runs and 49 tons in 463 matches… these numbers are considerably greater than almost every batsman in history.
Sachin was the first batsman to score a double ton in ODIs in 2010, the next year he capped it with a World Cup crown. Just for the sheer weight of his numbers, the legendary opener walks into any ODI Dream Team.
Ricky Ponting (captain)
Punter has clinched the World Cup as a player and captain. Part of an Australian team that many consider the greatest to play the sport – even ahead of the mighty Windies – Ponting was a leader in the field and with the bat. The third highest run-getter in the format, Ponting’s brutal 140 not out in the 2003 World Cup will never be forgotten by Indian fans.
Not only is the 230 matches captained by Ponting the most in ODIs, his winning percentage of 76 (165 wins) make him the best ODI captain ever. Also, one of the finest fielders in cricket.
Sachin scored 49 tons in 463 ODIs. Kohli has 43 in 239. The current India captain is scoring runs at a rate never seen before. He is averaging more than 60 in ODIs, which is at least 16 more than those above him in the 10,000-run club.
There is no doubt Kohli will break almost every record in the book and he won’t even need to play as many matches as his predecessors did. The undisputed king of chases, Kohli is arguably the best ODI batsman of all time.
The original king. There have been many great ODI players but there can only be one Viv. While the Windies icon only made 6,721 ODI runs, he scored them with a fearlessness and style never seen before or since. The intimidation factor that he brought to the crease alone accounted for a few wins.
He won the first two World Cups for the Windies on his own – three run outs in the 1975 final and a ton in the 1979 title clash.
The only player on the list not to have won a World Cup. And it’s a shame because his numbers make him the most successful all-rounder in cricket. More than 11,000 runs in ODIs, to go with 273 scalps and 131 catches.
A world class one-down batsman and top quality first change seam bowler, Kallis was technical perfection personified. Had the Proteas not choked in the 1999 World Cup semi-final against Australia, history would have viewed Kallis differently.
The 2019 World Cup final is never going to be forgotten. And it was Stokes who engineered the greatest ODI spectacle, hitting a masterful 84 that saw England tie the game and then win the title after that super over against the Kiwis.
The England all-rounder is the biggest match-winner of the current crop and makes it to the list for his ability to deliver when it matters and for being a once-in-a-generation talent.
The Aussie quick provides the extra pace you need on placid ODI wickets. An excellent record of 380 wickets from just 221 matches at an economy of 4.7 shows he was hardly ever taken apart in his career.
The World Cup winner was also a handy lower-order batsman who chipped in with useful runs. Plus, one of the most athletic fielders throughout his career. The perfect out-and-out fast bowler.
You simply can’t get any more skillful than Akram. The left-arm swing king was the greatest exponent of conventional and reverse swing, finishing with 502 ODI scalps.
Bursting onto the scene during Pakistan’s stunning 1992 World Cup win, Akram forged one of the finest fast bowling careers that inspired a generation of quick bowlers in the subcontinent. For many, the greatest left-arm bowler of any kind.
Featuring in three successive World Cup title wins is no mean feat for a fast bowler. ‘Pigeon’ was the epitome of line and length bowling who never, under any circumstance, lost his accuracy.
A total of 381 ODI wickets from 250 matches at an economy of 3.88 is scarcely believable in this day and age. It’s his immaculate accuracy that make him indispensable in the ODI format.
The most successful bowler in ODI history. That alone ensures Murali’s inclusion in any All-Time list. What makes his numbers even more impressive is the fact he carried the Sri Lankan attack on his shoulders for decades, with just seamer Chaminda Vaas for consistent company.
The 1996 World Cup win was a watershed moment in Sri Lankan history. And Murali was an integral member of it.
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