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, to 16, we are now into the quarter-finals. Next it will be the semi-finals and, ultimately, our final. So cast your VOTE and decide just who is the greatest one-day international 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, while in the round of 16, he was a clear winner (75 per cent) over West Indies legend Curtly Ambrose.
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.
WAQAR YOUNIS (PAKISTAN)
The numbers: Matches: 262 | Wickets: 416 | Average: 23.84 | SR: 30.5 | Economy: 4.68 | BB: 7-36 | 5w: 13
ODI GOAT voting: Waqar sliced through the first round of voting like so many batsmen's defences, toppling Australian left-arm brute Mitchell Johnson with 76 per cent of the vote. His second-round match-up saw him meet fellow Pakistani quick Shoaib Akhtar, fresh from having outpaced Australia's Brett Lee. But Akhtar couldn't keep up with Waqar, who won 69 per cent of the vote. He downed another compatriot in the round of 16 - Wasim Akram - with 57 per cent of the vote, humbly tweeting later that he wasn't worthy.
Why he makes the list: Top-order or tail, left-hand or right, no-one destroyed batsmen with the machine-like efficiency of Pakistan swing king Waqar Younis. Lightning fast and lethally accurate, Waqar ran through batting orders with the nonchalance of a child through a playground. Together with Wasim Akram, and under the tutelage of another swing sultan, Imran Khan, Waqar learned to make the ball talk – and sing, and dance – and employed his methods to devastating effect through his 14-year ODI career. The late inswinging yorker was his calling card, and the chief weapon in his world record 13 five-wicket hauls. Perhaps the only thing missing from the right-arm quick's resume is success at the World Cup; he missed Pakistan's 1992 triumph and was overlooked for their appearance in the 1999 final.
Performance we loved: Just when batsman thought it was safe to wander back out to the crease, the 2001 model Waqar revisited his early 1990s pomp. The venues were the swing-friendly cities of Leeds and Nottingham. The victims England and Australia respectively. It was the first match though – a match in which victory was ultimately conceded to Pakistan amid troubling scenes of crowd violence – that Waqar really shone, removing England's top six and then taking another to leave the quick with 7-37, then the third-best figures in ODI history. Two days later, he took on world champs Australia and won, taking 6-59 to lead his side to a 36-run victory.
#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