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Tendulkar blasts his way into all-time ODI team

Roar Rookie
25th February, 2010
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Roar Rookie
25th February, 2010
8
3254 Reads

Sachin Tendulkar has become the first male cricketer to score 200 runs in an ODI. Cricinfo says it best: “His experience of 20 years at the international level came into play in this historic innings, staying at the crease from the first ball to the last, never once losing focus. His innings was absolutely flawless.”

In what is supposed to be the fag-end or twilight of his career, he still displays the passion, skills and readiness to face the challenge of a 20 year old.

Probably the emergence of Sehwag, Yuvraj, Dhoni as leading players and the support-cast of Gambhir, Raina, Kohli has helped to take the spotlight pressure of him and enabled him to bat in the carefree ways of his youth.

Another reason this would be a special innings for Sachin would be that he has emulated his idol sir Vivian Richards in creating a new ODI batting record. Richards was overtaken by Saeed Anwar who was in turn matched by Charles Coventry.

But however elegant and effective they were, both were really not in the class of Richards or Tendulkar.

Sachin is still missing a world-cup trophy in his ODI CV.

But he might end up creating new and unique individual batting records, which might never be matched by anyone else, like maximum no of international matches played, runs scored or centuries hit across all formats of the game put together. Maybe just like the Don is always remembered for batting average of 100, Sachin might always be remembered for 100 international centuries.

So where does he stand in the list of all-time great ODI players?

I would still rate Richards as the best ODI batsman ever and I am sure Sachin would be the first person to agree with me. Richards holds a phenomenal 40+ average at 80+ strike rate across various venues and different bowling attacks.

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Not to mention he never wore a helmet.

There is really no peer to Sachin Tendulkar in pacing an innings across 50 overs and I would rate him as the best orthodox opening batsman above Hayden, Smith, Anwar etc.

Adam Gilchrist, to me, would compensate Sachin very well as the best un-orthodox opening batsman above Jayasuriya, Gayle, Tilakaratne Dilshan etc. He is no mere pinch-hitter, as revealed by his respectable batting average.

Ricky Ponting would be among the most consistently combative and versatile players ever and his athletic fielding and running between the wickets places him a notch above Lara, Arvinda De Silva, Martin Crowe, Richardson etc.

These four (Tendulkar, Gilchrist, Ponting and Richards) would make my top 4 batsmen by batting order.

The next three batting positions should be occupied by the best batsmen who can set-up and chase down any targets.

I am sure by the time he retires, M.S. Dhoni would have settled all doubts regarding being the best finisher in terms of setting up a chase, as he would have faced the least number of dotballs as a percentage of his innings (Can anybody challenge this claim? Azharuddin, Dean Jones, Jhonty Rhodes or anybody else?)

That would make him a better finisher, in my book, than Bevan, Hussey, Miandad, Malik, Inzamam, Pietersen, Jayawerdane, De Silva etc.

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During chases, Klusener has a strike-rate of almost 100 at an average of 45+ (bloated no doubt, like Bevan, by not-outs obviously). But he is still the most consistently, explosive finisher, I have seen in the game.

Flintoff, like Klusener has a strike rate close to 100, but a significantly lower average of 35 during a chase. What strengthens his claim as the best bowling all-rounder is that he can walk into any team based on his death bowling skills alone. He has the best strike rate among bowlers in death, after 35+ overs.

So my top 7 batsmen would be (in batting order)

1) Sachin Tendulkar
2) Adam Gilchrist
3) Ricky Ponting
4) Vivian Richards

5) MS Dhoni
6) Lance Klusener
7) Freddy Flintoff

To round it off, I have listed my top-picks for the 4 bowling slots.

Best swing bowler-right arm is Sir Richard Hadlee, left arm is Wasim Akram.

Hadlee, undoubtedly, had the much better average, but Wasim’s reverse swinging skills would have given him an edge on all kinds of surfaces

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Most effective pace bowler? McGrath by economy rate, Donald by strike rate

Best wicket taking spinner is Warne for legspin, Saqlain for offspin. With nothing much to separate the two

Best restrictive spinner? Murali for offspin, Vettori for left-arm spin

Best reverse swing yorker bowler is Darren Gough and Waqar Younis. Waqar had more pace, but a worse economy rate. When he went for runs, he really got clobbered: the same curse which afflicts all super-fast bowlers like Brett Lee, Shoaib Akhtar etc.

So the final 12 – actually 17 (of my all-time great ODI players)
1) Sachin Tendulkar
2) Adam Gilchrist
3) Ricky Ponting
4) Vivian Richards

5) MS Dhoni
6) Lance Klusener
7) Freddy Flintoff

8) Richard Hadlee / Wasim Akram
11) Glen McGrath / Allan Donald
9) Shane Warne / Saqlain Mustaq
10) Muthiah Muralitharan / Daniel Vettori

12) Darren Gough / Waqar Younis

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Where do you think Sachin’s achievements will be placed in the long-run?

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