The ODI format of the game, which came into existence in 1971, has seen many records made and broken as players come and go, generations after generations. From the flamboyance of Vivian Richards and Ian Botham, to the elegance of Rohit Sharma and AB De Villiers, ODI cricket has come a long way in the past four decades.
The format has been made more and more favourable towards the batsmen over the years. The introduction of batting powerplays and limiting the number of players outside the circle were some of the measures which led to increased averages and strike rates of batsmen.
ODI cricket is a format where each position of batting has its own significance and no slot holds any less importance than the other slots. The finisher at 7 is equally important as an opener and similarly, a versatile number 5 is as important as a steady number 3.
Over the years we have seen players making certain positions their own. Be it the likes of Kohli and Ponting for number 3, Dhoni and Bevan for number 6, certain batsmen have made certain slots their own and have defined the way that slot should be used in the format.
Here we look at the batsmen with highest batting averages for each batting slot (minimum 30 innings).
#Opening - Rohit Sharma (58.37)
Rohit has been one of the most consistent limited overs batsmen ever since he was sent to open the innings by MS Dhoni in the Champions Trophy 2013. Having a career full of ups and downs till then, Rohit has never looked back since then.
Known for his massive hundreds and an incredible record of three double hundreds, Rohit has scored 5,487 runs as an opener from 108 innings, at an average of 58.37.
#Number 3 - Virat Kohli (63.58)
Virat Kohli has been making a mockery of all batting records. He is on a record-breaking spree, batting on a whole new level, scoring at an unimaginable consistency. He already is the fastest man to score 10,000 runs and continues to break records for fun.
Currently one of the best in the world, Kohli has scored 8,139 runs at number 3 from 156 innings at an average of 63.58.
#Number 4 - Michael Bevan (59.60)
One of the vital cogs of the golden generation of Australian cricket, when the Aussies were almost invincibles, Bevan played the role of holding the middle order.
Bevan played 53 innings at number 4 and stayed not out for 15 innings, proving how vital he was for anchoring the innings as well as finishing. He scored 2,265 runs at number 4 with an average of 59.60.
#Number 5 - AB de Villiers (77.96)
The former South African skipper, AB de Villiers is one of the most loved cricketers around the world for his incredible skill sets and his out of the box shots. Also known as Mr. 360, AB has redefined the way middle overs are approached in ODIs.
But that is not all about AB, he had an enviable consistency too, as shown by his average of 77.96 from 42 innings at number 5. AB has a total of 2,027 runs at this slot.
#Number 6 - Michael Bevan (56.72)
Defining the role and significance of a finisher in ODI cricket, Bevan is one of the legends in the format. He was the one who showed the cricketing world the art of finishing games.
Bevan played a total of 87 innings at number 6, remaining unbeaten in 34 of them, scoring a total of 3,006 runs at an average of 56.72.
#Number 7 - Mahendra Singh Dhoni (46.84)
One of the best finishers the game has seen, known for his nerves of steel, the former India skipper, like Bevan, redefined the art of finishing games, taking the games as deep as possible and forcing the opposition to make errors. His strong finishes and the way he did that both while chasing as well as setting targets is simply unmatched.
MS played 32 innings at number 7 and scored 890 runs at an average of 46.84, remaining not out in 13 innings.
#Number 8 - Lance Klusener (58.67)
One of the greatest ODI all-rounders, Klusener was also a great finisher, at par with the Dhoni and Bevan. The 1999 World Cup was the highlight of the career of the Proteas all-rounder, where he almost took his team to the final.
Klusener scored 1,056 runs at number 8 from 36 innings, at an average of 58.67.
#Number 9 - Liam Plunkett (25.00)
The English pacer, known for his occasional big hitting, has played a total of 30 innings at the number 9 slot, staying not out in 12 innings. Plunkett has scored 450 runs at an average of 25.00.
#Number 10 - Kyle Mills (17.20)
The Kiwi seamer caused a lot of headache for oppositions with his mighty blows lower down the order. Mills scored 344 runs at number 10 from a total of 38 innings at an average of 17.20, which is not bad at all for a number 10.
#Number 11 - Ewen Chatfield (13.25)
The Kiwi medium pacer is the only player in the list who is from the 80s. Chatfield batted at 11 in 44 innings, remaining unbeaten in 36 of them. He scored 106 runs at this slot at an average of 13.25.