The greatest ODI XI of all time
Disclaimer: The following article is the opinion of the author and does not reflect that of Sportskeeda.
Over the years, cricket has evolved a lot, more specifically ODI cricket. Initially, when the ODI game started it was viewed as a mini Test match where the batsmen treated the opening phase like a Test match and gradually increased the scoring rate. Then came the 1996 World Cup which changed the dynamics of batting at the top of the order. Romesh Kaluwitharana and Sanath Jayasuriya went all guns blazing in the first 15 overs, consistently scoring 100 runs during the period.
However, with the advent of T20 cricket, ODIs have been radicalized. Gone are the days when batsmen treated it as a reduced Test match; the new age players see it as an extended T20 match. Such has been the proficiency of the modern-day batsmen that scores in excess of 350 runs have become just par these days.
Back in the day, Sunil Gavaskar scored 36 runs in 174 balls in a World Cup match, now we see a certain AB de Villiers scoring a ton in just 31 balls. Bowlers have so many varieties and variations that the term "line and length" has been pushed into oblivion.
So, we look at the players who have revolutionised the ODI game, mastered it, and have gone on to leave a mark on this beautiful game, players whose achievements' have stood the test of time, players who have brought a whole new audience to the game, players who could play in any sort of condition. In short, arguably the greatest 11 players in the history of limited-overs cricket.
The team combination will be of 5 batsmen, 1 Wicket-keeper, 1 All-Rounder, 4 bowlers (3 pacers and 1 spinner).
#1 Sachin Tendulkar (India)
It’s a no-brainer, simply put; he is one of the best ODI batsmen of all time for the amazing longevity and the sheer volume of the runs that he has scored.
How a neck injury to Navjot Singh Sidhu changed the landscape of ODI batting forever. Asked to open the batting for the first time in limited overs, Sachin annihilated the Kiwi bowlers to score 82 runs off just 49 balls at Auckland's Eden Park and it is fair to say that he never looked back since, taking ODI batsmanship to another level, charting unheralded territories. He went on to become the first batsman to score an ODI double century.
“I didn’t see Don but to me, in all my years associated with the game, I haven’t seen a better batsman than Sachin Tendulkar,” said Viv Richards in a eulogy to the ‘Little Master’.
As shown in the above stat, Sachin holds the record for most matches, innings, runs scored, balls faced, most 100's, most 50's. He was also was the first man to score 200 in limited overs international cricket, with an average of almost 45 which is exemplary for an opener, and his strike rate of 86 is an underrated aspect of his game.
The World Cup is the pinnacle of ODI cricket and needless to say, Sachin dominated almost each edition of the World Cup barring 2007 and finally managed to win the elusive World Cup Winners Medal in 2011 in home soil, thereby achieving almost everything possible in the game. He has also won the player of the tournament in the 2003 world cup after finishing runners-up to Australia.
Contenders: Sourav Ganguly, Saeed Anwar, Gordon Greenidge, Rohit Sharma and Mark Waugh