Sam Ferris & Adam Burnett
Sam Ferris & Adam Burnett
The #ODIGOAT is cricket.com.au's knockout competition to determine who the fans think is the greatest ODI player of all time. We started with 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, to 32, we are now into the round of 16. Next it will be 8, 4 and ultimately our final. So cast your VOTE and decide just who is the greatest ODI player in history!
IMRAN KHAN (PAKISTAN)
The numbers: Matches: 175 | Wickets: 182 | Average: 26.61 | SR: 40.9 | Economy: 3.89 | BB: 6-14 | 5w: 1
Runs: 3,709 | Average: 33.41 | SR: 72.65 | 100s: 1 | HS: 102no
#ODIGOAT voting: In a first-round showdown with New Zealand legend Sir Richard Hadlee, Imran was the resounding winner, collecting 81 per cent of the vote. The second round saw him face up to Australian legend Glenn McGrath and after a tight tussle the Pakistani icon emerged with 60 per cent of the vote.
Why he makes the list: Perhaps Pakistan's greatest cricketer, Imran Khan inspired a nation with an imperious all-round game that was matched by the respect he commanded as a leader. Floating to the crease like a butterfly, Imran stung like a bee with the ball through deadly reverse swing, a yorker that dreams are made of, and at his fastest, a fierce bouncer. The captaincy elevated his game and allrounder status, taking more responsibility with the bat to be held in the same regard as peers Botham, Hadlee and Dev. For 18 years he served as Pakistan's most important ODI player, ushering in, and sometimes plucking from obscurity, the likes of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. At 39, Imran capped off a remarkable career by leading Pakistan to the 1992 World Cup title over England.
Performance we loved: In his last match for Pakistan – the '92 World Cup final in Melbourne – Imran produced one final gem. All tournament he wore a white t-shirt with the image of a tiger on it, imploring his men to fight like a cornered tiger – there is nothing more dangerous than a cornered tiger, he proclaimed. He wore the t-shirt to the toss and won it, electing to bat. Entering at first-drop, Imran steadied the ship at 2-24, combining with Javed Miandad to put on 139 for the third wicket. The elegant right-hander batted for 159 minutes and scored 72 to provide the backbone of Pakistan's 6-249. While his bowling was no longer the rapier of his youth, tactically he was a sharp as ever, unleashing his heir Wasim in a match-winning spell. To cap it all off, he claimed the final wicket as the cornered tigers were finally set free.
CURTLY AMBROSE (WEST INDIES)
The numbers: Matches: 176 | Wickets: 225 | Average: 23.52 | SR: 41.5 | Economy: 3.48 | BB: 5-17 | 5fa's: 4
#ODIGOAT Voting: Ambrose took on fellow firebrand Shane Bond and despite the Kiwi's stunning record and fearsome reputation, he was no match for the Antiguan. The Windies quick took 75 per cent of the vote. Sri Lanka stalwart Chaminda Vaas was also no match for the fiery Ambrose, mustering just 41 per cent of the vote to put Curlty into the final 16.
Why he makes the list: Few fast bowlers in world cricket have possessed the intimidation factor of Curtly Ambrose. Standing over his foes like an executioner ready to swing the axe, Ambrose was a terrifying prospect for batsman hoping to first survive then, if they could, dare to score. Delivering his thunderbolts from close to 10ft, it was not just the steepling bounce that made him such a difficult opponent, but the accuracy and dexterity to have the ball on a string. His first year, 1988, was his most lethal, taking 28 wickets in only 15 matches at 15. As the years went on the pace and nip slowly started to face, but when the mood struck, he could flick a switch and return to the brilliant best of his youth.
Performance we loved: It's best not to wake a sleeping lion, but that's what Dean Jones did when he asked Ambrose to take off his white wristbands at the SCG in 1993. Jones thought Ambrose was "trying some sort of camouflage". The six-foot-seven West Indian didn’t see it that way, and was outraged. Ambrose roared to life, destroying the Australians with 5-32, and was particularly savage to Jones, going more after the batsman than his wicket. The towering failed to dismiss his man, but his ferocious spell inspired the Windies to a 25-run win. Nobody ever asked Ambrose to remove his wristbands again.
#ODIGOAT First Round
Tendulkar v Sharma | Akram v Starc | Garner v Donald | Richards v de Silva | Azharuddin v Miandad | Dev v Vettori | Lloyd v Border | Jones v Clarke | Waqar v Johnson | Warne v Kumble | Hooper v S. Waugh | Imran v Hadlee | Lee v Akhtar | M. Waugh v Jayasuriya | De Villiers v Boucher | Lara v Amla | Gilchrist v McCullum | Gayle v Haynes | McGrath v Pollock | Anwar v Ganguly | Sehwag v Greenidge | Ponting v Gibbs | Dhoni v Sangakkara | Inzamam v Kallis | Murali v Hogg | Bond v Ambrose | Malinga v Vaas | Kohli v Pietersen | Symonds v Klusener | Afridi v Saqlain | Bevan v Hussey | Dilshan v Jayawardena
#ODIGOAT Second Round
Shoaib v Waqar | Jayasuriya v S. Waugh | Ambrose v Vaas | Miandad v Lara | Warne v Dev | Border v Inzamam | Gilchrist v Sangakkara | Richards v Jaywardena | Wasim v Garner | Ponting v Clarke | McGrath v Imran | Tendulkar v Anwar | Bevan v Sehwag | Symonds v De Villiers | Muralidaran v Afridi | Kohli v Gayle
#ODIGOAT Third Round