ODI GOAT: Tendulkar vs Rohit

A pair of Indian master blasters go head-to-head in the opening round of match-ups

Adam Burnett

7 April 2016, 09:00 PM AEST

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!


The numbers: Matches: 463 | Runs: 18,426 | Average: 44.83 | SR: 86.23 | 100s: 49 | HS: 200no

WATCH: Mix Tape: The best of Sachin Tendulkar

Why he makes the list: Because he's Sachin, and excluding 'The Little Master' from the top 64 ODI players of all time would be like discussing relativity without Einstein. Tendulkar took his first short, confident strides to the middle as a 16-year-old in 1989 and for the next 22 years or so it felt like he scarcely left the middle. Throughout, he retained his boyish appearance, exacerbated by his oversized pads and railway sleeper of a bat that he swung with a precision that matched his footwork. The right-hander was technically adroit, unerringly patient, wholeheartedly ruthless and perhaps more than anything, possessed an insatiable appetite for scoring runs. He did that better, and more regularly, than anyone to have played ODI cricket, as the 4000-plus gap he has on his nearest rival on the 'most ODI runs' list attests. He fell one short of 50 ODI centuries, but fittingly became the first man to score 200 in an ODI. His record-breaking, feted career was capped off with a World Cup triumph on home soil in 2011.

Performance we loved: The 1998 version of Tendulkar was perhaps the most devastating of all; the Little Master had found his place at the top of the batting order, had benefited from lessons learned through almost a decade on the international scene, but still retained a youthful exuberance. Two days before his 25th birthday he made a blistering 143 against Australia in Sharjah, hammering five sixes and nine fours in what was ultimately a losing run chase. He made up for the defeat two days later, when he celebrated his quarter-century with a repeat act, this time in the final. Chasing 273 to win, Tendulkar picked up where he'd left off 48 hours earlier, flaying an Australian attack that must have been sick of the sight of him for another 134 from 131 balls. Across two innings, Tendulkar had provided an unrestrained celebration of subcontinental batting, and proof positive that, when in the mood, no-one on the planet could match him.


The numbers: Matches: 148 | Runs: 5,008 | Average: 42.08 | SR: 84.60 | 100s: 10 | HS: 264

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Why he makes the list: The last figure among the above statistics. On a crazy night in Kolkata back in November 2014, Rohit took ODI batting to where it had never been, hammering 264 in a single innings to raise the limited-overs benchmark to scary new heights. Perhaps more frighteningly, this was no one-off perfect storm; a year earlier, against Australia in Bangalore, he'd become the third man to score an ODI double century, hitting a slightly ridiculous 16 sixes along the way. Those preferring the legends of yore to the modern-day megastars might balk at Rohit's inclusion on this list, but the facts are plain: the 28-year-old right-hander owns the highest score in ODI history, is the only man to post two ODI double hundreds, and those 16 sixes have never been bettered. Over the past 16 months he's also answered the critics who suggested he couldn't perform outside India, blazing four hundreds in Australia, including two in excess of 150.

Performance we loved: How do you go past the 264? Rohit only hit nine sixes in this epic but the fact he hit 33 fours is probably even more astounding. Not impressed yet? Consider then that he singlehandedly defeated Sri Lanka, who posted what in days gone by would have been considered a strong total of 251 in reply. India made 404 off the back of the Rohit record, and were never going to be headed. It was Rohit's first international since coming back from injury. "(I've had) a few months' break, so I'm not really tired – I was ready to bat another 50 overs," he said afterward. Sri Lanka will have been glad it wasn't a Test match. 

NEXT VOTE: Wasim Akram vs Mitchell Starc