ODI GOAT: Wasim vs Starc

Two lethal left-arm quicks square off in the opening round of match-ups

Sam Ferris

7 April 2016, 07:00 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: 356 | Wickets: 502 | Average: 23.52 | SR: 36.2 | Economy: 3.89 | 5w: 6 | BB: 5-15

WATCH: Mix Tape: Wasim Akram smashes it

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.


The numbers: Matches: 46 | Wickets: 90 | Average: 19.65 | SR: 24.2 | Economy: 4.85 | BB: 6-28 | 5w: 5

WATCH: Starc terrorising the West Indies

Why he makes the list: The complete ODI bowler. He swings the new ball at lightning pace, owns the most devastating yorker in the world and a frightening bouncer, and is the best death bowler in the business. In his second ODI, a 20-year-old Starc claimed 4-27 against Sri Lanka, before injury cost him 18 months. Upon his return, a match-winning effort from the six-foot-six southpaw against Pakistan proved the catalyst for a stunning three years with the white ball. Late in the summer of 2013, Starc was at his brutal best against the West Indies, claiming back-to-back five-wicket hauls in Perth. Another injury and a form slump gave the 26-year-old a chance to recalibrate his weaponry and it paid dividends in 2014-15, culminating in a man-of-the-tournament 22 wickets at 10 in the 2015 Cricket World Cup. Lissom, lithe and lethal, Starc is on pace to become the fastest bowler to 100 ODI wickets, and among players with 50 ODI scalps, he owns the best strike rate (24.2) and second-best average (19.65). 

Performance we loved: 6-28 against the Black Caps in last year's World Cup. Tasked with defending only 151, Starc almost single-handedly won Australia the match. The pace ace knocked over Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor and Grant Elliott in quick succession. A vicious bouncer then found the glove of Luke Ronchi, but time, and more importantly runs, were running out fast. Starc was undeterred, shattering Adam Milne's stumps then knocking over Tim Southee first ball with another brilliant yorker. Nine down and still six runs to win, Starc, with 6-28, had two attempts at No.11 Trent Boult, who survived before Kane Williamson hit the winning runs at the opposite end. The Black Caps had won, but Starc had emphatically confirmed his reputation as the world's best.

WATCH: Starc strikes twice in first over

NEXT VOTE: Sachin Tendulkar vs Rohit Sharma