Greatest ODI XI of the post-1990 era
The first One Day International(ODI) was played in 1971 and very soon, the format became a gigantic success.
It was during the 1990s that several remarkable developments took place in the format - the strike rates of the batsmen and the economy rates of the bowlers climbed up rapidly.
The importance of having attacking openers was emphasised and the sport became more commercial.
In this article, I have tried to compile a list of all-time XI of the post 1990 era. Since the focus of the article is only about the post-1990 era, only those players who made their debut after 1990 or played the bulk of their cricket after 1990 are considered.
So this leaves out greats of the 1980s like Vivian Richards, Kapil Dev and Imran Khan to name a few.
Here is my selection of the Best ODI XI in the post-1990 era.
#1 Sachin Tendulkar
Needless to mention, Sachin Tendulkar is the greatest batsman of the modern era. There may be a few contenders who made runs as consistently and as fast as Tendulkar but Tendulkar's longevity beats them all.
In both the Test and ODI formats, Tendulkar racked up incredible numbers and smashed many batting records. He scored the highest number of hundreds, runs and became the first person to attain the elusive individual 200-run landmark in ODI cricket.
In an amazingly long career that stretched beyond two decades, there was rarely a period when the 'Master Blaster' was woefully out of form, except by the lofty standards he set for himself.
Besides being a fantastic batsman, Tendulkar was a very fine bowler too who possessed the knack of breaking partnerships at critical junctures. At times, he swung the matches in India's way with the ball. His brilliant last over in the 1993 Hero Cup semi-final against South Africa is a case in point.
Can anyone imagine a World XI without Tendulkar? 'The God of cricket' will open the batting for us.
#2 Adam Gilchrist (WK)
Adam Gilchrist was the cornerstone of the success of the world-beating Australian side of the late 1990s and the early 2000s.
When he entered the international arena, Gilchrist had huge shoes to fill as his predecessor was the great Ian Healy but he reached such glorious heights that he is ranked by many cricket pundits as the greatest wicket-keeper batsman ever.
In the shorter format of the game, Gilly opened the batting for Australia and did a phenomenal job at that. Right from the outset, he used to lay into the bowling attacks, smash them to smithereens, putting the opposition firmly on the back foot.
As a wicket-keeper, he set the standards by which the future keepers would be measured against. It was common to see him perform several acrobatic feats behind the wickets and pouching seemingly impossible catches.
For his belligerent batting, Gilly joins Tendulkar as the other opener and for his incomparable wicket-keeping skills, it is hard to think of any other player to don the gloves.
Other contenders for the openers spot included Sanath Jayasuriya, Virender Sehwag, and Herschelle Gibbs but it was impossible to look beyond the above two legends of the game.