ODI GOAT: Waqar v Johnson

A pair of sizzling speedsters who, on their day, were among the most captivating sights in cricket

Adam Burnett

11 April 2016, 06:02 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: 262 | Wickets: 416 | Average: 23.84 | SR: 30.5 | Economy: 4.68 | BB: 7-36 | 5w: 13

WATCH: Waqar Younis sending stumps flying

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.


The numbers: Matches: 153 | Wickets: 239 | Average: 25.26 | SR: 31.3 | Economy: 4.83 | BB: 6-31 | 5w: 3

WATCH: Menacing Mitch

Why he makes the list: Be it in Baggy Green or Australian gold, Mitchell Johnson performed his fundamental role – taking wickets – at a more regular rate than just about anyone. In fact, among ODI players with 150-plus caps, Johnson's strike-rate of a wicket every 31.3 balls is the fourth-best in history, behind only legendary trio Brett Lee, Saqlain Mushtaq and Waqar Younis. Despite debuting in December 2005, he missed selection in Australia's World Cup success of 2007, but with the retirement of Glenn McGrath, he quickly established an explosive new-ball pairing with Lee, the duo claiming 167 wickets together (Johnson 83, Lee 84) in 58 matches. After Australia's World Cup quarter-final exit in 2011, the left-armer made up for his disappointments at the showpiece event with 15 wickets – including three in the final – as his side claimed a fifth title and Johnson, alongside skipper Michael Clarke, finished on a high at the MCG in 2015.

Performance we loved: A 24-year-old Johnson announced himself as an international force in the space of eight wicked deliveries in the unlikely destination of Kuala Lumpur, ripping out India legends Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar before blasting away Irfan Pathan and Yuvraj Singh for a pair of ducks. It was hostile bowling at express pace – the type Johnson would make his name on.

#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

ODI GOAT bracket