Cricket has grown immensely since the 50-over format was introduced. The game became much more accessible to the audience and at the same time more interesting to watch.
Batsmen started to play more freely and started attacking a lot more than they did during Test matches. To counter the attacking stroke play, the bowlers started to bowl more yorkers and slower balls. The field settings also changed drastically.
Also Read: Best Test XI of the 21st century
The real progress in one-day matches began during the mid-1990s when many future legends made their debut. Their style of play suited both Test cricket as well as the 50-over format. Sponsorship and broadcasting took a giant leap forward during this era. Players enjoyed much more money because of their on-field performances. Some players built a brand of their own successfully.
In this segment, let us have a look at the best ODI XI from the last 25 years.
Openers: Sachin Tendulkar and Adam Gilchrist (wk)
Sachin Tendulkar is often cited as the greatest batsmen to have graced the game itself. The amount of pressure and expectations that he carried every time he walked onto the field was beyond imagination for some players.
Tendulkar played in 463 ODI matches, the most by any batsmen in the 50-over format. He scored 18426 runs at a tremendous average of 44.83. He managed to score 49 centuries and 96 half-centuries in his marvellous career.
Tendulkar's impact on the 50-over game is beyond his stats. The way he carried himself on the field with humility has been appreciated by critics and fans all around the globe. Especially in India, where he is treated as a demi-god.
Adam Gilchrist is undoubtedly the most influential wicket-keeper batsmen in the history of the game. His style of play changed the way 50-over game was pursued. His audacious approach to the game made him a favourite amongst cricket fans and critics.
In 289 matches, Gilchrist scored 9619 runs at an average of 35.89. He scored his runs at an astonishing strike rate of 96.95. The southpaw revolutionized the way with which he played pace and spin bowling. He was involved in 472 dismissals behind the wicket, out of which 417 were catches and 55 were stumpings.
He was one of the most important members of the Australian team that won a hat-trick of world cups.