Cricket is a Religion in India and any game is watched by millions. This blog is my take on the All Time ODI XI.
Player Name : Rohit Sharma
Team : India
An opener formed by the gamble of MSD, revived his ODI after an inconsistent run in his first 100 matches. But still, he could make an entry into this list with 3 double centuries in ODI cricket which in itself is a Herculean task. There was always a gossip about how gifted a player he was with his effortless stroke-making but couldn’t reflect the same with his runs. Then came a season in 2013, where he could chase down totals in excess of 350 with ease and not taking unnecessary risks. This was the core of his game. His game and technique proved to be so effective that he has scored centuries throughout the world irrespective of the pitch. His most effective shot, the pull-shot proved to be one of the best ones in the history of cricket and has shown the same prowess in World cup 2019 also where he scored 5 centuries in it but sadly couldn’t take his team through to the final. He’s just 33 now and has a good 3-4 years of cricket left in him. He has already made an entry into this list, looking forward to many more records being broken by the great man.
Player Name : Sachin Tendulkar
Team : India
My other opener is the Master Blaster, Sachin Tendulkar. The most complete batsman of all time. Technically the most sound with an aggressive mind set and a penchant to go for big runs every time he comes into bat. What else do you ask for in a batsman. Those classy drives and masterful strokes. Arguably one of the best cricketers of his generation, if not all-time. Scoring 49 centuries and lasting for 24 years, not even in the wildest of dreams one could expect that. But what’s great about Sachin is his keenest of the cricket minds which have proved to be effective all through his career. His innings against Australia in Australia in 2008 CB series final has to be one of the highlights. And also, his 200*. And also, his performance in the Sharjah. And also, his world cup performances in 2003 and 2011. Whew……Am I done with all of them? Pretty sure I’ve missed out many. That’s the little master for you. His quest started off as a teenager at the age of 16 and since then, he has continued his dominance against all teams, in all countries and battling all the conditions. This sort of expertise can walk into any team. So, he does into mine too.
Player Name : Virat Kohli
Team : India
Next comes in the KING. The batsman who defines his presence in the crease with his attitude, fighting spirit and a stubbornness to win the match from any sort of situation. His ability to score runs in the most complicated situations and conditions against the best bowlers in their own backyard makes him one of the best batsmen of all time. After all, he’s known for his ability to chase down totals with ease. His career in ODI cricket started off well by scoring his first 1000 runs in 24 innings and then consistently being able to put up impressive performances. But the turnaround came in Hobart, when India had to chase down 320+ score in 40 overs and with Virat’s class and sheer dominance, India could chase it down in 36 overs. He took Malinga to the cleaners that day and has been one of his best performances ever. With this, he started off the debates on whether he could be the next Sachin or not, only to put up better performances like the 183 against Pakistan while chasing down 330.His ability to handle pressure and chase down totals at ease irrespective of the ground places him as one of the best ever if not the best. Maintaining an average of around 60 with a strike rate of 90+ and scoring more than 11k runs, these are the figures of a champion.
Player Name : Sir Vivian Richards
Team : West Indies
Following that sort of a top order is a person who has defined batting for the next upcoming generations, an epitome of attack, intent and swagger. It might come as a surprise with him batting at No.3 but that’s the position he has scored maximum runs and that too at an average over 61 and a strike rate of 80+. He might have a high strike rate but he was not a slogger. He scored 6000+ runs in odi matches during a generation of fast bowlers and has also formed the crux of a batting line-up which went on to win the world cup twice in 1975 and 1979. His devastating style of batting with the attitude he carries, wearing a cap, chewing bubble gum and smacking sixes at will, that’s the typical Vivian Richards. Often, you’ll find bowlers in a soup and the opposition captain scratching his head of how to get him out and then come up with an idea of making him stay at the non-striker end. That is the sort of fear he instills in the opposition.
Player Name : AB De Villiers
Team : South Africa
At no.5, I need a batsman who can play according to the situation, who can hit a quick 100 or 120 when the teams need and also a player who can wear the opposition bowlers right down to their skin. Who better than ABD can do that? A batsman who has redefined the art of batsman ship in the modern era. A batsman who has made his name through his un-orthodox shots but still has a very solid defence. And also, a fielder who can fly around to save important runs for the team. One of best wicket keepers around and also the most underutilized one. But nevertheless, his batting can speak for him. His ability to score centuries in any part of the world against any kind of bowling attack has been his strength. If there is a slight top order collapse, he can block quality bowling with his defence, if the top order shines and he comes in the last 10 overs, he can still score a hundred. One such innings was his 149 off 44 balls where the bowlers had no answers to the champ and were getting smashed to all parts of the stadium. This sort of dynamism is necessary to bat in the middle order and no one better than ABD can suit this role.
Player Name : MS Dhoni (Vice Captain)
Team : India
Next comes in the Vice-captain of the team, the best finisher in the world ever, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The captain who could achieve all the major ICC trophies with his street-smart captaincy and ice-cool mindset. His calming presence on the field has gathered appreciation from all corners of the cricketing world and is already being considered a modern great. From a stage where winning at itself was an uncertainty, there has come a stage where defeating India at home is near to impossible. Such were his selections and crude decision-making skills. His stumping at the speed of light can be a sweet cherry on the top. Taking the match down till the wire and winning it for the team is like bread and butter and has made the ‘match winner’ tag his own. His unorthodox style which is almost unreachable and his six hitting capability on which he has an extra-ordinary confidence are just few of those most attractive things you can ever watch in the history of the game. He could easily walk into any ODI XI ever made.
Player Name : Imran Khan (Captain)
Team : Pakistan
Easily the greatest cricketer ever produced by Pakistan. His handsome hunk type appeal which stood as a heart throb for the viewers attracted the viewers a lot but not as much as his cricketing brains. His long sway in his bowling with his reverse swinging yorkers and batting pedigree with which he could earn a spot in the top-6 itself makes him one of the best all-rounders to be produced in the history of the game. Under his supervision, a whole new generation of Pakistani fast bowlers have been produced with the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Aaqib Javed and Shoiab Akhtar dominating the world cricket for the next era completely. During the 1992 world cup, after winning just one match in their first 4, Pakistan were at the brink of getting eliminated. But in the press conference, Imran Khan came in and very confidently told that they have a good chance of lifting the world cup. Hearing this statement, the world of cricket started looking at him as a Madman but surprise, Pakistan brought in their best players and their A-game in the crucial part of the tournament and won all the matches from then and went on to win the world cup. The modern-day greats of Wasim Akram and Inzaman ul-Haq were the star performers during those matches. That is the sort of confidence a captain has to instill in his players even during the worst of the times. In the final, he came in to bat at no.3 and dragged the team out of trouble and scored 72 in 110 balls redefining the words – “Captain leading the way for the team”. This is the sort of leadership necessary for a team to succeed in tough challenging situations.
Player Name : Wasim Akram
Team : Pakistan
One of Imran’s prime comrades to lift the World cup 1992, the Man of the Match in the Final, the wizard of swing bowling is one of the greatest bowlers ever in the history of cricket. The tall left arm pacer who could swing it both ways with both the new and old ball could turn matches at will with his pace and consistency. Picking up more than 400 wickets in Test and 500 wickets in ODI, his caliber was never in question as started to impress Javed Miandad at a young age and then Imran Khan too. His dangerous bouncer or the deceptive slower deliveries were powerful addition to the already existing attractive armory. He is regarded as the best left arm pacer to have ever played the game by many greats. He was no dummy with his bat too as he used to bat at No.6 for Pakistan and also scored 33 runs at a real quick pace during that ’92 final. He also has a double century in test cricket. This sort of a match winner has to walk in to any sort of XI.
Player Name : Waqar Younis
Team : Pakistan
Considered as one of the best fast bowlers of all time, Waqar Younis is the most complete fast bowler. His ability to swing the new ball and also extract reverse swing with the old ball at lightning speed pace is his strength and could bamboozle any quality batsman. One of Imran Khan’s prime deputies, him along with Wasim Akram were one of the most feared bowling pairs ever in the history of cricket. Waqar was a trendsetter. He brought about a big paradigm shift in the art of fast bowling. As opposed to the ‘fast and short’ bowling that used to dominate those days, Waqar used to bowl full and fast, aiming for the batsman’s toes. This ability also earned him the nickname ‘The Toe crusher’. With his ability to move the ball late, Waqar became a lethal operator, both with the new and the old ball. He was named the “Burewala Express” which was the sound of death siren to the batsman. He has one of the most impressive strike rates at a formidable average which only one could dream of.
Player Name : Muthiah Muralitharan
Team : Sri Lanka
As controversial his bowling was, Mutthiah Muralidharan had no questions raised over the skills he possessed. His ability to turn the ball a long way even on pitches that don’t support spin bowling was his greatest strength. Being a part of the successful 1996 world cup journey, he has been one of the most successful spinners ever in the history of the game. The man with the most wickets ever could walk into every team possible because of his skill to bamboozle batsman at will and doing it all with a smile on his face. The spin wizard ended up with 534 wickets in his career and that is something which might not be broken ever.
Player Name : Glenn Mcgrath
Team : Australia
Finally, the bowler who could irritate batsman with that accuracy, giving away nothing and still pick up wickets at ease. He wasn’t the quickest or the canniest but his ability to pickup wickets everywhere in the world made him the best. His tall legs running in effortlessly, maintaining a decent pace and hitting the top of off stump day-in and day-out, this was his USP. Picking up 563 wickets with a highly impressive average of 21.64 is the kind of stuff greats are made of. His matching winning spells in 1999, 2003 and 2007 can never be forgotten by any cricket fan. His accuracy has made even greats like Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara his bunny. His position in the batting line up should explain the lightness of his cricket kit coming into a match.
I believe this team can win against any team and in any conditions. The images have been taken from Google and is for Representation purpose.