The #ODIGOAT is cricket.com.au's knockout competition to determine the greatest ODI player of all time. We've selected our top 64 ODI players and now we're asking YOU to do the hard work – that is, narrow it down to one. Set up in much the same way as a tennis tournament, each day you'll see head-to-head match-ups, with the winner of those progressing to the next round to square off with their next challenger. From 64, we'll go to 32, to 16, 8, 4 and ultimately our final. So cast your VOTE and decide just who is the greatest ODI player in history!
VIV RICHARDS (WEST INDIES)
The numbers: Matches: 187 | Runs: 6,721 | Average: 47.00 | SR: 90.20 | 100s: 11 | HS: 189no
Why he makes the list: It was serendipitous that Viv Richards and ODI cricket came along at a similar time, because it feels like one was made for the other. The West Indies had only played two ODIs before Richards debuted in the format at the 1975 World Cup, and truth be told, he had an ordinary tournament, despite his famous three run-outs in the Windies' final triumph over Australia. It was in 1976 – Richards' record-breaking year in Test cricket – that he found his feet in the format, and never looked back. By the end of the decade, he'd set the benchmark for ODI batting, inspired by his own natural aggression to hit harder and score faster than anyone who'd come before him. A match-winning century in the 1979 final earned him a second World Cup trophy, while an unbeaten 153 from 130 balls against Australia at the MCG in'79 was another instant classic. In the 1980s, 'The Master Blaster' dominated, motoring along at a strike-rate of 90 while every other batsman tried – and failed – to keep up.
Performance we loved: The apogee in a wonderful career came in 1984 against England in Manchester when, with his side deep in trouble at 7-102, Richards launched an outrageous assault on the bowlers, blasting 189no in a total of 9-272 (the next best score was 26). For 13 years it stood as the highest score in ODI history, and to this day remains a contender for the best ODI knock there has been – suitably supplied by one of the best ODI batsmen of all.
ARAVINDA DE SILVA (SRI LANKA)
The numbers: Matches: 308 | Runs: 9,284 | Average: 34.90 | SR: 81.13 | 100s: 11 | HS: 145
Why he makes the list: An artist of a batsman and a trailblazer within his country, Aravinda de Silva was a major factor in Sri Lanka's rise from cricketing minnow to ODI powerhouse, culminating in their stunning 1996 World Cup triumph. Devastating square of the wicket and with a penchant for playing spinners with panache, de Silva was hugely productive in the middle order for Sri Lanka across an ODI career that spanned a remarkable 19 years. De Silva peaked as a batsman in 1996-97, scoring more than 1000 runs in each calendar year at an average hovering around 50 and a strike-rate exceeding 85, and it is no coincidence this was when Sri Lanka enjoyed their most success, highlighted of course by World Cup glory.
Performance we loved: Australians may not have enjoyed it at the time, but they should certainly have appreciated de Silva's World Cup final masterclass. With the hopes of a nation on his shoulders, de Silva first chipped in with three wickets (his handy off-breaks took more than 100 in ODIs) before he took control of the run chase after the Lankans had lurched to 2-23 in the early overs. Set 242 to win, de Silva picked the gaps and paced himself perfectly, ultimately steering his side to glory with a comfortable 22 balls to spare. He was unbeaten on 107 and had earned himself a slice of history.
#ODIGOAT First Round: Tendulkar v Sharma
#ODIGOAT First Round: Akram v Starc
#ODIGOAT First Round: Garner v Donald