When limited overs cricket first came into existence, there was widespread belief that spinners would find it difficult to hold their own in a game which is designed for batsmen to be far more attacking. Over the course of the history of one-day internationals, plenty of spinners have been pivotal in the success of their teams and among them, many of them have been off-spinners.
Almost all teams have had off-spinners as part of their bowling arsenal and while, many of them made their name for doing a superb restrictive job, the best ones were known for picking up wickets. Their quota of 10 overs was often crucial when it came to deciding the direction of the game and hence, they were the best in the business.
Here is a look at 5 of the best off-spinners to have ever played ODI cricket.
#5 Sanath Jayasuriya
He may be better known for his astonishing power hitting at the top of the order for Sri Lanka for close to a decade and a half, but it should not be forgotten that Sanath Jayasuriya was just as effective a left-arm off-spinner in limited overs cricket. He wasn't the craftiest of spinners and did not turn the ball much, but it was mighty difficult to hit him for runs easily.
He bowled quick, flat deliveries straight into the right-handed batsman's legs and the low trajectory made it very tough for batsmen to get underneath the ball or charge down the track. Jayasuriya wasn't a particularly consistent wicket-taker but since he played 445 games, he ended up with a career haul of 323 wickets, which places him at 4th place among highest wicket-takers in ODI history among spin bowlers.
He had an average of 36.75 but more importantly, he had an economy rate of 4.78.