5 players with 150 ODIs whose average never dropped below 35

S Sam
New Zealand v Pakistan - ICC Champions Trophy - Semi Final
Mohammad Yousuf

One day International cricket has always been more demanding of batsmen as far as stroke-making is concerned. Batsmen need to be far more attacking, they need to take risks and score as quickly as possible during the latter half of the innings.

Needless to say, it is quite difficult to be wholly consistent over the course of a long career and maintain an average of at least 35 at all times. An average of 35 is what could be called 'decent' in ODIs and there have only been a handful of batsmen who never let their career average drop below 35 despite having played in excess of 150 ODIs. Here is a look at 5 of those batsmen.

#5 Mohammad Yousuf

The former Pakistani captain was one of their best batsmen in all formats of the game for the majority of the 1st decade of the new millennium. As an ODI player, Mohammad Yousuf held the middle-order together with his superb stroke-play, strike rotation and timely hitting. He was one of the world’s leading batsmen during his career and also one of the most consistent.

From 1998 to 2010, the elegant right-handed batsman played in 288 ODIs and averaged 41.72. He also scored 15 centuries and as many as 64 half-centuries. Throughout his career, the lowest his career average ever dropped to was 35.65 and hence, he was regarded as one of Pakistan’s most important players during the majority of his career.

#4 Graeme Smith

Bangladesh v South Africa: Group B - 2011 ICC World Cup
Graeme Smith

The former South African captain is credited for building one of the most formidable teams in recent memory and Graeme Smith himself was a pillar of the team at the top of the order in all forms of the game. He had an unconventional technique but it was effective and it allowed him to take on some of the best bowlers in the world.

The opening batsman was also capable of sustained hitting when the need arose and remained one of the most consistent batsmen for South Africa in ODIs during his career.

The left-hander debuted in 2002 and for the next 12 years, played in 197 ODIs for his country. He scored just short of 7000 runs at an average of 37.98 but what made him so important was the fact that he very rarely scored much less than his average. The lowest he had averaged in his career was 36.13.

#3 Michael Clarke

ODI - Australia V Zimbabwe
Michael Clarke

He is one of the greatest batsmen to have ever played for Australia and although Michael Clarke cut down on the number of ODI games towards the end of his career, he remains one of the better players for his country in that format of the game.

Clarke was an excellent stroke-player, possessed a tight technique and could hit out when the situation demanded. In addition to that, he was an excellent runner and remained the quintessential versatile middle-order player that ODI teams need.

He played 245 ODIs in a career spanning around 12 years (2003-2015) and scored almost 8000 runs at an average of 44.58. It was a very good average for a middle-order batsman but what set him apart was the fact that Australia could almost always depend on him to make a contribution. The lowest he ever averaged in his ODI career was 37.72, which further reinforces the idea that he rarely went through long stretches of poor scores.

#2 Michael Bevan

Michael Bevan in action
Michael Bevan

As far as ODI batsmanship is concerned, the former Australian star remains one of its biggest pioneers and throughout his career, Michael Bevan made it a habit of steering the team through the latter half of the innings with incredible consistency.

He was not a big hitter of the ball but he could take a single of any delivery, hit a boundary when it was necessary and bat with the tailenders towards the ends of an innings. Last but not the least, he had nerves of steel and guided Australia to many famous victories during his illustrious career.

Bevan remains one of the most consistent batsmen to have ever played in ODIs and considering the fact that he was a middle-order batsman, it is remarkable that he averaged 53.58 in 232 games over the course of a decade (1994-2004). The extent of his consistency is best illustrated by the fact that his career average never dropped below 42.33 and that is why he is still regarded as the first great ‘finisher’ in ODI cricket.

#1 Michael Hussey

Australia v India - Tri-Series Game 1
Michael Hussey

He was 28 years old when he made his ODI debut but Mr Cricket Michael Hussey soon became one of the world’s best batsmen and is still regarded as one of the greatest limited overs batsmen to have played the game.

It was almost as if the absence of Michael Bevan was never really felt by the Australians. He was a left-hander like Bevan but in addition to everything that made the latter great, Hussey could also be a brutal power-hitter when the need arose.

He surpassed Bevan as far as consistency stakes are concerned and although he averaged 48.16 (less than Bevan) in 185 games from 20014 to 2012, he never averaged any lower than 47.89. It is no wonder that Australia are still struggling to find a replacement for Hussey even though he retired 6 years ago.

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Edited by Kishan Prasad
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