The iconic Sachin Tendulkar and Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni are among five leading contenders vying for the crown of the greatest ODI cricketer of all time.
Australia’s former swashbuckling opener Adam Gilchrist, Pakistan pace legend Wasim Akram and West Indies great Viv Richards are the other three nominees, as per an exercise conducted by ESPNcricinfo’s magazine ‘Cricket Monthly’.
The winner – determined by a jury of 50 players, commentators and cricket writers from around the world – will be announced next week.
The jury’s choice of the five greatest comprise two gamechanging wicketkeeper-batsmen, a magician fast bowler, and two batting greats.
In terms of longevity and batting stats Tendulkar has no equal. Arguably the greatest batsman in contemporary cricket, Tendulkar rewrote many records during a glorious career spanning 23 years.
He amassed a mammoth 18,426 runs in 463 one-dayers at an average of 44.83. The diminutive right-hander has an astonishing 49 hundreds in the format, including a double hundred — the first in this form of the game. Tendulkar also has a mammoth tally of 96 ODI 50s to his credit.
Dhoni – the only current player in the top five – has emerged as one of the greatest finishers in One-day Internationals.
His power-packed, inventive strokes powered India to triumph from the jaws of defeat, not once but many a times. He played a key role in his team’s triumph in the title clash of the 2011 World Cup.
Gilchrist’s ODI career spanned over 12 years – 1996 to 2008 – during which he set the stage ablaze with his explosive strokeplay that won Australia countless matches, including the 2007 World Cup final against Sri Lanka.
Through the late ’70s and ’80s, Richards dominated the one-day arena like no other cricketer, and helped his side to two World Cup victories in 1975 and 1979.
During a career that spanned nearly two decades, Akram, often called the ‘Sultan of Swing’, could do anything with the ball. He belonged to the rarest of rare category, somebody who could bowl six different deliveries in an over. He finished with 502 wickets – still comfortably the most for a fast bowler in ODI. He was Man of the Match in Pakistan’s title triumph in 1992 final.
The jury includes legendary cricketers Ian Chappell, Clive Lloyd, Martin Crowe, Rahul Dravid, Ricky Ponting and Graeme Smith; veteran commentators Tony Cozier, Mark Nicholas, Mike Haysman and Sanjay Manjrekar; and respected writers Gideon Haigh, Mike Coward, Suresh Menon and Mike Selvey.