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!
MOHAMMAD AZHARUDDIN (India)
The numbers: Matches: 334 | Runs: 9,378 | Average: 36.92 | SR: 74.02 | 100s: 7 | HS: 153no
Why he makes the list: Mohammad Azharuddin was a forerunner to a wonderful generation of Indian batsmen and it would surprise few if the likes of Tendulkar, Laxman and co were inspired by one of the most watchable cricketers of his time. Where others biffed and bashed in their attempts to up the ante in the one-day game, Azharuddin merely added more shots to his repertoire, most of which were caressed into gaps with insouciance. With supple wrists, his style was built to suit his home conditions, and it was in Asia that he scored six of his seven hundreds, while he averaged 28 and 26 in Australia and West Indies respectively. Superb in the field and a long-time captain, Azharuddin left the game as one of India's most decorated cricketers, however the stain of match-fixing – for which he received a life ban from the BCCI that was later lifted – blighted his career at its conclusion.
Performance we loved: Azharuddin broke Miandad's record for the fastest-ever ODI hundred with a stunning display of ODI batting to get India out of jail in improbable circumstances against New Zealand in 1988. Chasing 279 to win, Azharuddin entered proceedings in the 29th over with the score 5-133, and promptly blitzed a 62-ball hundred. He finished 108no (10x4s, 3x6s) from 65, to seal a two-wicket win for his side and leave with a world record to his name. It stood for eight years, until Sanath Jayasuriya destroyed it with a 48-ball effort against Pakistan.
JAVED MIANDAD (PAKISTAN)
The numbers: Matches: 233 | Runs: 7,381 | Average: 41.70 | SR: 67.01 | 100s: 8 | HS: 119no
Why he makes the list: Javed Miandad loomed as a colossus over ODI cricket for more than two decades, neatly bracketing his 50-over career with the inaugural World Cup in 1975 and the '96 edition on the subcontinent, including his home country of Pakistan. Only Sachin Tendulkar played in as many World Cups (six), Miandad beginning his career in the 50-over showpiece a day before his 18th birthday and closing it out as a 38-year-old with 1083 World Cup runs – then the most ever. Sharp between the wickets as well as between the ears, Miandad rarely scored his runs rapidly (one exception being his 73-ball effort against India on New Year's Eve) but nonetheless was one of the prototype batsmen of one-day cricket, and earned bonus points among his countrymen for his regular standout displays against bitter rivals India (ave 51, with 3x100s).
Performance we loved: Nine wickets down, one ball remaining, four runs required. That was the equation, but the context made it all the more memorable; Pakistan against India in the 1986 final of the 'AustralAsian Cup' in Sharjah. Miandad was unbeaten on 110 when he faced up, his century the shining light in a run chase that had stayed alive solely because of his efforts. A low full-toss from Chetan Sharma was duly dispatched over midwicket for six, and Pakistan had won a classic ODI and kick-started a run of success over India that was largely attributed to the psychological blow Miandad's winning six had struck.
#ODIGOAT First Round: Tendulkar v Sharma
#ODIGOAT First Round: Akram v Starc
#ODIGOAT First Round: Garner v Donald
#ODIGOAT First Round: Richards v de Silva