One Day Internationals (ODIs) took firm shape in the inaugural Cricket World Cup (1975). Since then the game has seen many revolutions. It was initially played with a red ball and each innings lasted for 60 overs. The game underwent a major change with the introduction of white-ball in ODI’s. It was reduced to 50-overs per side. Teams started wearing coloured clothing since the 1992 World Cup. The introduction of rules like powerplay, two new balls have revolutionised ODI cricket. There have been many pioneers who have powered the game over the years. Here are the top 5 Greatest ODI players of all Time
StumpsandBails looks at 5 of the greatest ODI players of all time:
#5 AB de Villiers
Greatest ODI Players of All Time. Abraham Benjamin de Villiers reinvented modern-day ODI batting. His skill set with the bat is sensational. Villiers holds the ODI records of scoring the fastest fifty (16 balls), fastest hundred (31 balls), and fastest 150 (64 balls). He married consistency with stroke play and proved to be a force in white-ball cricket. ABD as he is popularly called notched up 25 centuries and 53 half-centuries. He smashed 204 sixes and 840 boundaries (a total of 4584 runs in boundaries). His career strike rate stood at a staggering 101.1. Despite such a high strike rate, he averaged an outstanding 53.5. It was here where he piped Mahendra Singh Dhoni to the fifth spot. As Dhoni’s average (50.6) and strike rate (87.6) were comparatively lower than ABD.
#4 Viv Richards
Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards is widely regarded as the greatest batsman of all time across formats. He was a batting pioneer. Richards made batting look ridiculously easy. He was a standout aggressive batsman in the era where conservative batsmanship was the norm. Richards defied conventions. He singlehandedly won the West Indies the World Cup final in 1979. His domination was there for everyone to see. Richards much like ABD was both consistent and yet scored at a rapid pace. He averaged a fine 47 in 167 innings. Sir Viv struck at 90.2 in the 70s and 80s. These numbers are purely insane for someone playing in that era. Hence it comes as no surprise that he is ranked as high as number 4 in the list.
#3 Wasim Akram
Wasim Akram is undoubtedly the best ODI bowler of all time. The sultan of swing made the ball talk irrespective of the conditions, the pitch, and the opposition. Akram was lethal and simply unplayable in ODIs. The fact that he swung even the white ball prodigiously is a testament to his skill. He combined forces with Waqar Younis and brought the art of reverse swing even in ODI cricket. The pitches in the subcontinent usually favour the batsmen but Akram flourished even under these challenging conditions. He picked up 502 wickets in 351 innings at an average of 23.5. His strike rate of 36.2 is impressive too. Akram sent down a whopping 18186 deliveries in his ODI career and that in itself deserves appreciation. Two of those deliveries in one single over changed one game and helped Pakistan win their only World Cup (1992) to date.
#2 Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli is unarguably the best ODI batsman of this generation. He is mired ahead of any active ODI cricketer currently. His match-winning abilities are unparalleled. It has remained the same for over a decade now. Rohit Sharma is the only one who comes close to Kohli in ODI’s and that too only since he became an opener in 2013. Kohli holds the record for scoring the fastest ODI century for India (52 balls). There has not been a consistent force of nature in ODI cricket other than Kohli. His average of 59.1 speaks volumes about his consistency. Kohli has scored 12169 runs at a strike rate of 93.2.
He is a master chaser and his stats while chasing a score is unprecedented. The game hasn’t seen a better chaser than Kohli. His stats demonstrate this fact. He averages a whopping 68.33 while chasing as compared to 49.77 batting first (which is quite superb in itself). Kohli’s 26 centuries out of the 43 have come while chasing down a target. India are blessed to have two of their finest ODI batters playing together!
#1 Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar wins the battle of being crowned the greatest ODI player of all time. He changed the way ODI cricket is played. His single-minded approach to excel inspired a generation of cricketers. Tendulkar played 6 ODI World Cups to achieve his ultimate dream of winning one World Cup. He eventually won the World Cup in 2011 and that turned out to be his last ODI World Cup.
Tendulkar’s greatness is amplified since he had to battle against some of the world’s greatest bowlers. He had to counter the likes of Wasim and Waqar, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, Shaun Pollock, and Allan Donald. Tendulkar in the 90s went on a rampage in ODIs when he got a chance to open the innings. He redefined the role of an ODI opener. His 49 ODI centuries is a testament to this fact. His duels against Brett Lee, Dale Steyn, Muttiah Muralitharan are all stuff of legends.
Tendulkar’s iconic knock against Pakistan in World Cup 2003 and desert storm knock in Sharjah are two of the best ODI innings of all time. Tendulkar played a whopping 452 innings scoring 18426 runs at an average of 44.83 and a strike rate of 86.2. He has 145 half fifty-plus scores to his name. Numbers don’t tell you the complete story, Tendulkar kickstarted the era of Indian dominance in white-ball cricket. His impact is beyond the knocks that he played and the runs that he scored. For this reason alone, he stands mighty tall among the other greats of the ODI game.