Sam Ferris & Adam Burnett
Sam Ferris & Adam Burnett
The #ODIGOAT is cricket.com.au's knockout competition to determine 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, we are now into the round of 32. Next it will be 16, 8, 4 and ultimately our final. So cast your VOTE and decide just who is the greatest ODI player in history!
WASIM AKRAM (PAKISTAN)
The numbers: Matches: 356 | Wickets: 502 | Average: 23.52 | SR: 36.2 | Economy: 3.89 | 5w: 6 | BB: 5-15
#ODIGOAT voting: It was a battle of the lethal left-armers in the round of 64, but Mitchell Starc was no match for Wasim, who claimed 79 per cent of the vote.
Why he makes the list: Perhaps the greatest left-arm fast bowler to grace a cricket field, Wasim Akram revolutionised pace bowling and mastered the mystical art of reverse swing. In a career that spanned almost 19 years, Wasim was the first player to 500 ODI wickets and no quick has taken more scalps than the Lion of Lahore. Possessing a quick arm-action and a wrist like a whip, Wasim was devastating in the middle of his career – taking 198 wickets in 131 matches from 1992 to 1997. In combination with fellow swing prodigy Waqar Younis there was no better new-ball pair as Pakistan won the '92 World Cup then stampeded to the '99 final. Wasim remarkably played under 13 different captains, but was never more effective than under his own leadership; in 109 matches at the helm, he claimed 158 wickets at 22.63, slightly better than his overall career record, and led Pakistan to 66 wins. Above all the numbers and records, Wasim was the most feared white-ball quick of his generation, and perhaps the best ever.
Performance we loved: The big stage is where legends are made, and there is no bigger stage than the final of a World Cup. In 1992, Pakistan came up against England at the MCG and it was Wasim who turned the tide. He chipped in late in Pakistan's innings with a rampant 33 from 18 balls, de rigueur today but almost unheard of 24 years ago. The momentum stayed with the speedster into England's innings where he removed Ian Botham with the new ball then returned late at the behest of Imran Khan to trigger the breakthrough; a ball that swung in, pitched, held its line and clipped the top of off-stump to remove a perplexed Allan Lamb for 31. Next ball, Chris Lewis faced the same delivery, only this time the ball swung in with the angle, hooping into the stumps. England never recovered, Pakistan won their first world title and Wasim was man of the match, and an instant legend.
JOEL GARNER (WEST INDIES)
The numbers: Matches: 98 | Wickets: 148 | Average: 18.84 | SR: 36.5 | Economy: 3.09 | BB: 5-31 | 5fa's: 3
#ODIGOAT voting: Garner went head to head with fellow quick Allan Donald in the round of 64, edging past the South African with 53 per cent of the vote.
Why he makes the list: If there was a more terrifying sight for a batsman than watching the 203cm colossus that is Joel Garner running into bowl, we haven't seen it. The tallest and perhaps the most fearsome of the West Indies brilliant pace bowling battery of the 1980s, Garner was equally devastating with the white ball as he was with the red. No bowler has a better average than Garner's 18.84 (min. 1500 balls), and his economy rate of 3.09, albeit in a more conservative era, remains unmatched. While his release point was stratospherically high, it was ability to deliver a toe-crunching yorker at the death made him a devastating one-day weapon.
Performance we loved: A lot of players in this #ODIGOAT contest have performed when it mattered most – in World Cups. In just the second edition of the showpiece 50-over event, 'Big Bird' produced the best bowling performance in a final, 5-38 against England at Lord's, which remains a record to this today. Garner went wicketless in first spell of the 60-over per side contest, but his second spell was frightening and fruitful, taking 5 for 4 in 11 balls, including Graham Gooch and David Gower, with four of his victims bowled. Incredibly, it was only his sixth match in the format.
#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
#ODIGOAT First Round: Azharuddin v Miandad
#ODIGOAT First Round: Dev v Vettori
#ODIGOAT First Round: Lloyd v Border
#ODIGOAT First Round: Jones v Clarke
#ODIGOAT First Round: Waqar v Johnson
#ODIGOAT First Round: Warne v Kumble
#ODIGOAT First Round: Hooper v S. Waugh
#ODIGOAT First Round: Imran v Hadlee
#ODIGOAT First Round: Lee v Akhtar
#ODIGOAT First Round: M. Waugh v Jayasuriya
#ODIGOAT First Round: De Villiers v Boucher
#ODIGOAT First Round: Lara v Amla
#ODIGOAT First Round: Gilchrist v McCullum
#ODIGOAT First Round: Gayle v Haynes
#ODIGOAT First Round: McGrath v Pollock
#ODIGOAT First Round: Anwar v Ganguly
#ODIGOAT First Round: Sehwag v Greenidge
#ODIGOAT First Round: Ponting v Gibbs
#ODIGOAT First Round: Dhoni v Sangakkara
#ODIGOAT First Round: Inzamam v Kallis
#ODIGOAT First Round: Murali v Hogg
#ODIGOAT First Round: Bond v Ambrose
#ODIGOAT First Round: Malinga v Vaas
#ODIGOAT First Round: Kohli v Pietersen
#ODIGOAT First Round: Symonds v Klusener
#ODIGOAT First Round: Afridi v Saqlain
#ODIGOAT First Round: Bevan v Hussey
#ODIGOAT First Round: Dilshan v Jayawardena