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!
CARL HOOPER (WEST INDIES)
The numbers: Matches: 227 | Runs: 5,761 | Average: 35.34 | SR: 76.63 | 100s: 7 | HS: 113no | Wickets: 193 | Average: 36.05 | SR: 49.6 | Economy: 4.36 | BB: 4-34
Why he makes the list: Carl Hooper betrayed his reputation as one of cricket's most laidback characters to forge an enduring 16-year ODI career. Exciting with the bat and generally economical with the ball, Hooper often drew comparisons with Mark Waugh as someone who made just about every facet of the game look all too easy. Occasionally, as with Waugh, that was to his detriment, however those concerns were quickly forgotten when Hooper got going, as there were few better sights to watch when the Guyanese stroke-maker was in full cry. The right-hander's finest years – from 1994-98 – coincided with Brian Lara in his pomp, and the two forged a formidable if unpredictable pair in the Windies middle-order, while between 1997 and 2003 Hooper led his country in 49 ODIs as the Calypso Kings went through a challenging period. Throughout, he retained his cool exterior, producing breezy middle-order knocks, snaffling high-quality catches in the slips and sending down his hard-to-get-away off-breaks.
Performance we loved: Criticised in Australia (where he played 50 of his 227 ODIs) for producing cameos over classics, Hooper stood up to be counted in a memorable day-night clash at the Gabba in '97. Australia set the Windies 282 to win, and the tourists were in early trouble at 2-45 before Hooper joined Lara in the middle. He shared a 154-run stand with Lara (102) and was still there a little under three hours later, with an unbeaten 110 from 109 balls beside his name and the chief architect behind what was then the greatest run chase ever pulled off against Australia on their own turf.
STEVE WAUGH (AUSTRALIA)
The numbers: Matches: 325 | Runs: 7,569 | Average: 32.90 | SR: 75.91 | 100s: 3 | HS: 120no | Wickets: 195 | Average: 34.67 | SR: 45.5 | Economy: 4.56 | BB: 4-33
Why he makes the list: Australia's 1987 and 1999 World Cup triumphs contained two very different versions of Steve Waugh the ODI cricketer. Waugh burst onto the scene as an all-action allrounder in '86, sending down his fast mediums with vigour and throwing his bat with verve. In his early 20s, he was a genuine wicket-taking option – largely courtesy of his pioneering back-of-the-hand slower ball – as well as a promising middle-order batsman capable of scoring runs quickly at the back-end of an innings. In the intervening years, his bowling receded and his batting went from strength to strength, highlighted by his forcing off-side strokes off the back foot, his withering straight drive, and later, the slog sweep. It wasn't until 1996 that he posted his maiden ODI hundred, but by World Cup '99, Waugh was entrenched at No.5 and about to begin a tournament that would earn him a reputation as cricket's most inspirational leader. For while the '87 triumph was an unexpected highlight during a low time for Australian cricket, victory a dozen years later cemented a belief that Waugh's side could emerge victorious from any situation – perhaps the uncompromising batsman and captain's greatest legacy.
Performance we loved: Waugh's fingerprints were all over Australia's remarkable 1999 World Cup success. Needing to go unbeaten through their final seven matches, he steeled his team to achieve the improbable, a fact underlined by his high watermark as a one-day player – a determined, backs-to-the-wall 120no that gave Australia a stunning success over arch-rivals South Africa. It was an innings in which Herschelle Gibbs dropped the World Cup, and Waugh took one giant leap towards winning it.
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