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What the best ODI batsmen have…

August 22, 2009

Continuing from the last post, what makes a good ODI batsman?

Consistency: Yes, the high average is an obvious sign of a good player, but the quality of the runs matter. Shorn of the freebies collected against the likes of Kenya, UAE, Holland etc., do the player’s averages stay afloat or do they dip significantly. Consequently, how has he done against the best ODI teams of the past decade and a half? Australia and South Africa. All players have favourite venues and do better at some versus others, but the great ones manage to do a decent job irrespective of country, whether, home or foreign. Do dips in career averages in specific years matter? I don’t think so, every player I can think of has had the odd slow year.

Big Scoring Appetite: I consider this one more applicable to the limited overs version than test matches. Because big scores (100’s and 50’s) go a long way towards ensuring wins in ODIs. Brisk 30’s and 40’s are fine but the best players take control of the innings and set the tone, more often in the first innings. Sure, the top order has an inherent advantage on this count, but then aren’t many captains who hide their best players at numbers 5 or lower.

Ability to dominate: The big difference between tests and ODIs is the need for the best batsmen to stamp their authority on the opposition bowling sooner rather than later.  Not the kind of mayhem caused by frantic swinging in the death overs, but a mix of proper yet assertive cricket while taking on responsibility to build the team innings. Flogging medium-pace so-and-so’s from Kenya and UAE is one thing but destroying top class attacks with fearless strokeplay is a definite hallmark of the best ODI batsmen.

Big-match temperament: An extension of the quality of runs argument. Pre-20-20, ODIs were being scheduled on team stopovers on the way home from series. So runs scored in world cups, the tri-series in Australia, Champions trophy count for more than a 7 match bi-lateral series played between two bored and tired teams. So do runs scored in deciders like semi-finals and finals of these tournaments.

So, how does Sachin Tendulkar rate on these parameters? For that we compare him to some of the best going around. There could be debates about the individuals in the group, but it’s unlikely that anyone would disagree with the whole lot of players in the peerset.

Here’s my list: (in alphabetical order): Adam Gilchrist, Brian Lara, Hershelle Gibbs, Kevin Pietersen, Ricky Ponting & Virender Sehwag.

Coming up: The best ODI batsmen

Back to ‘The Sachin Tendulkar Debate’

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Meril B. permalink
    September 17, 2009 10:17 am

    I’ll categorized the greatest ODI batsman by team, then choose my top 10 .
    West Indies: Vivian Richards, Brian Lara, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Chris Gayle,
    Australia: Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Mark Waugh
    England-Graham Gooch.
    Pakistan: Saeed Anwar, Mohammad Yousuf, Inzaman-Ul-Haq, Note-Shahid Afridi-is an aggressive batsman-but often loses his wicket unceremoniously-going for the big shots.
    India: Sachin Tendular, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Mahendra Singh Dhoni-currently ranked number (1) ICC batsman ODI
    Sri Lanka-Sanath Jayasuriya, Arivinda DeSilva, Kumar Sangakkarra, Marvin Atapattu
    South Africa-Gary Kristen, Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis
    New Zealand-Brendon McCullum.
    Sorry, Zimbabwe-one of the greatest wicketkeeper batsman, in fact Zimbabwe’s greatest batsman ever-Adam Flower, elite test batsman, but not an elite ODI batsman. Bangladesh-good upcoming batsman,but no elite
    My top ten, would be Vivian Richards, Brian Lara, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting, Saeed Anwar, Sachin Tendular, Sourav Ganguly, Sanath Jayasuriya, Herschelle Gibbs & Jacques Kallis. Thanks for reading.

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