All-time Indian ODI cricket XI
The definitive ranking of India's 11 best ODI players of all time, by position.
Test cricket has it own charm and T20s have their share of fans, but there is really no substitute for One Day Internationals. The 50-over format strikes a wonderful balance between the 5-day wars of Test cricket and the 4 hour battles of T20s.
With that in mind, Sportskeeda decided to make its own greatest Indian ODI XI of all time to honour the greats of Indian cricket who have cemented their names in the annals of the sport’s history.
The Selected All-Time ODI XI
(Stats up-to-date till 22 August 2013)
How the players were selected
How do you select 11 players out of the countless legends that the country has produced in its history? We handed that job to a list of select cricket experts, who after great deliberation came up with their own Indian all-time ODI XIs. After accumulating the votes that we received, our own ‘greatest all-time Indian ODI XI’ was formed.
List of panelists and their selected XIs (in surname-wise alphabetical order)
Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Mohammad Azharuddin, Kapil Dev, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (captain), Harbhajan Singh, Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan
Rohit Brijnath (Senior Correspondent, The Straits Times) -
Sourav Ganguly (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Mohammad Azharuddin, Kapil Dev, Ravi Shastri, Mohinder Amarnath, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan
Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Rahul Dravid, Kapil Dev, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (captain), Anil Kumble, Ravichandran Ashwin, Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan
Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly (captain), Mohammad Azharuddin, Yuvraj Singh, Ajay Jadeja, MS Dhoni, Ravi Shastri, Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan, Javagal Srinath
Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Ajay Jadeja, MS Dhoni (captain), Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma
Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virat Kohli, Mohammad Azharuddin, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (captain), Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan
Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Mohammad Azharuddin, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Kapil Dev (captain), Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan
Ramaswamy Mohan (Resident Editor, Deccan Chronicle) -
Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly, Mohammad Azharuddin, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (captain), Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble, Roger Binny, Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan
Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (captain), Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan
Sourav Ganguly (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Mohammad Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja, MS Dhoni, Kapil Dev, Ajit Agarkar, Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad
Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Virat Kohli, Rahul Dravid (captain), Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble, Dilip Doshi, Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan
Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (captain), Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble, Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Roger Binny
Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (captain), Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan
Total votes received
Sachin Tendulkar (14), Sourav Ganguly (11), Virender Sehwag (6), Sunil Gavaskar (1)
Virat Kohli (11), Mohammad Azharuddin (7), Rahul Dravid (7), Ajay Jadeja (3), Suresh Raina (1)
Kapil Dev (14), Yuvraj Singh (13), Ravi Shastri (2), Ravindra Jadeja (1), Ajit Agarkar (1), Mohinder Amarnath (1)
MS Dhoni (14)
Anil Kumble (13), Harbhajan Singh (4), Ravichandran Ashwin (3), Dilip Doshi (1)
Zaheer Khan (13), Javagal Srinath (9), Roger Binny (2), Venkatesh Prasad (1), Ishant Sharma (1)
MS Dhoni (9), Sourav Ganguly (3), Kapil Dev (1), Rahul Dravid (1)
Most ODIs played, most ODI runs scored, one double century, 49 centuries and 96 half-centuries at an average of 44.83 and a staggering strike rate of 86.23 – the statistics say it all. Nobody knows more about ODI cricket than Sachin Tendulkar. One of the most explosive yet technically sound openers in cricket, Tendulkar’s exploits with the bat led India to countless wins in the 50-over format.
The “God of off-side” certainly brought a new dimension to the Indian ODI setup, one of aggressive and counterattacking batting. Equally comfortable against pace and spin, Ganguly teamed up with Tendulkar to form one of the most devastating opening partnerships in ODI cricket. Under his captaincy, India reached the final of the 2003 World Cup for the first time in 20 years.
It’s easy to see why Rahul Dravid was the top choice for the number three slot in this team. Armed with stupendous technique and bags of confidence, Rahul Dravid made batting look ridiculously easy and always ensured that the team had a solid platform to build on. “The Wall”, as he is known, was the ultimate team-player, even keeping wickets when his team needed to accomodate an extra batsman.
One of India’s most gifted batsmen, Virat Kohli’s ODI career has already given glimpses of the limitless potential he possesses. The fastest Indian batsman to 4500 runs and 15 centuries, Kohli’s success on the international stage was recently rewarded with the vice captaincy, a sign of the faith that the higher-ups have in him.
There was a time when the Indian middle order revolved around Mohammad Azharuddin, one of the best captains and batsmen in Indian cricket. Azharuddin’s nonchalant flicks and wristy play inspired many youngsters, and he was one of the best athletes in the side as well. Azharuddin also held the records for most runs and fastest hundred in ODIs at one time, and his 156 catches in ODIs give a glimpse of the excellent fielder that he was.
From a sensational match-winning debut in the ICC Champions Trophy 2000 to a Man of the Tournament performance in the ICC World Cup 2011, Yuvraj Singh was an ever-present figure in the Indian ODI squad. An exciting batsman, a more-than-handy left-arm slow bowler and a brilliant fielder – it was no coindence that Yuvraj Singh’s rise to stardom coincided with India’s best spell in ODI cricket.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain)
Indian cricket has enjoyed immense success under the leadership of MS Dhoni, including winning the CB Series of 2007–08, the 2010 Asia Cup, the 2011 ICC World Cup and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy. One of the best finishers the game has ever seen, Dhoni, with a batting average to rival the best batsmen and most dismissals by an Indian wicketkeeper, takes his place in this team as captain and wicket-keeper.
Who can forget Kapil Dev’s heroics in the successful 1983 World Cup, where his leadership and persona brought together an unfancied side that went on to create history. Whether it was his gutsy knock of 175* after his side was down to 17/5 against Zimbabwe or his brilliant catch to dismiss Sir Viv Richards in the final, Kapil Dev’s contribution in India’s historic triumph can be felt across all matches. One of the most complete players to have donned the Indian colours, Kapil Dev’s place as the best Indian all-rounder is undisputed.
The best spinner that the country has produced, Anil Kumble was the Indian captain’s go-to man in times of adversity. Whether it was breaking a partnership or running through a batting line-up all on his own, Kumble was someone who the captain and team could bank upon. His performance in the 1996 ICC World Cup almost led India to glory on home soil, for he emerged from the tournament as the most successful bowler with 18 wickets in seven games at an astonishing average of 18.73.
Alongside being the spearhead of the Indian attack for close to a decade, Javagal Srinath is often heralded as India’s first express pace bowler. His ability to generate prodigious bounce and reverse swing the ball made him a deadly bowler and a nightmare for opposition batsmen. Srinath, along with Zaheer Khan, remains India’s joint most successful bowler in World Cups, with 44 wickets in 33 matches at an average of 27.81.
Zaheer Khan ties up the entire Indian attack with his fantastic left-arm pace bowling. If his performance in the 2003 World Cup – where he finished with 18 wickets from 11 games – was worthy of applause, then his performance in the victorious 2011 World Cup - where he finished as the joint highest wicket taker with 21 wickets – was simply mesmerizing. Despite injuries holding him back from his full potential, Zaheer Khan has time and again proved his worth as one of India’s best bowlers. He is also one of the best death bowlers in ODIs, something that Indian cricket lacked in the past.
To see the greatest Indian Test team chosen by these expert panelists, click here: All-time Indian Test XI