It was more than 48 Years ago when India played its first ever One-Day International game. To date, India has played the most no. of ODI matches for any team ( 1014 ) and has also lifted the most glorious trophy in Cricket twice.
India has been one of the most dominating teams in ODI cricket lately. In the last decade, the team won 149 games in the format at a win rate of 66.11%, which happens to be the highest among full member nations.
From Sunil Gavaskar to Jasprit Bumrah, India has seen numerous cricketing legends. Let’s have a look at the 11 names which, in our opinion, shall be a part of India’s All Time ODI XI.
So let us begin with the XI.
Every person who has lived in India in the last few decades must have heard the name “Sachin Tendulkar”. Such has been the legacy of the great man.
When most of us were bothered to complete our Social science assignment, a 16-year-old Sachin was bothered about facing a ruthless Wasim Akram and a fiery Waqar Younis in front of thousands of people in Karachi.
Although Sachin made his ODI debut in 1989, his first century in the format came much later, in 1994, against Australia. And Oh God, no one would have believed that this century would be followed by 48 more in the particular format only.
In ODI cricket, Sachin Tendulkar piled over 18000 Runs, a number far from reaching even 10 years after his retirement. His tally of 62 MOM awards is also second to none.
- Strike Rate-86.24
These numbers are absolutely incredible. But his contribution to the Indian cricket team has been astronomical, even if you leave out the numbers. He has inspired a generation of Indian cricketers, from MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh to Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
From winning the Man of the Tournament in a world cup to becoming the first double centurion in the format, his records are innumerable. Even his inclusion into the All Time ODI XI is beyond doubt.
Career Highlight: Winning the Cricket World cup as India’s leading run-scorer.
No Indian opener ever probably was as good as Rohit Sharma in the period he has played.
Popularly known by apt nicknames such as ‘Mumbai cha raja’ and ‘Hitman’, the 35-year-old, owing to his ability and habit of scoring daddy hundreds and seldomly double ‘hundreds’, is arguably the biggest run-away match winner of the ICT and this format has ever seen.
As an opener, the stalwart has won 18 MOTM awards in just 147 innings, hailing him with one of the best MOTM Ratios in the history of ODI cricket. Let alone being the second-best ODI opener in Indian History, Rohit Sharma is also among the best ODI Openers of All Time
- Strike Rate-89.2
Highlight(s) of his career: 264* and 208 vs SL, 209* vs AUS and 5 centuries in a single WC edition – all unprecedented feats
A total of 247 cricketers have represented India in One-day Internationals, but Cap no. 175 is a particularly special one. Virat Kohli is one in a billion. An absolute maniac with a never-ending hunger to be the best ever.
To chase off 321 in an ODI game with 13.4 overs to spare sounds quite unrealistic. But not for the 23-year-old passionate Delhi boy. This was the time when everyone knew that he was the next big name in world cricket. But, Oh Lord, we never knew that he’d go on to become the greatest batsman to have played ODI cricket ever.
When we say that he is the greatest ODI batsman of all time, we have sufficient backing with Statistics. Let’s have a look.
- Innings – 253
- Runs – 12344
- Average – 57.68
- Strike Rate – 92.84
- 100s/50s – 43/64
Needless to say, Virat Kohli makes his way into any ODI Side in the world as the No.3 batsman.
Career Highlight: 183 vs Pakistan in Asia cup (2012)
At no 4 comes the big man from Hyderabad. One of the finest middle-order batsmen ever produced. Probably had the best wrists ever in the history of the sport. He was one of the most stylish, flamboyant batsmen, renowned for his magical wrists with whom he used to play those flicks that were 2nd to none.
Azhar broke Desmond Haynes’ record to become the highest run scorer in ODIs and became the 1st cricketer to cross 9000 runs; he remained the leading run scorer until Sachin broke it the same year Azhar played his last ODI match.
He was the main man for India in the 80s and early 90s until a superhuman named Sachin arrived on the scene.
- Strike Rate-74.0
Azhar had some of the great knocks, one of which reads as 108 of 65 vs New Zealand chasing 279, coming at 50/3. A 100 of 62 balls was the fastest by any Indian until Sehwag bettered it after 20 years of this brutal massacre.
Whenever there are arguments about all-time Indian greats in the format, Mohammad Azharuddin’s name is almost certain to be discussed. But Azhar failed as a cricketer when, in 2000, he was found to be involved in a match-fixing scandal, which shattered millions of Indians, for whom Cricket was much more than a sport which could be sold for substance.
Keeping aside morality, Azhar finds a place in our all-time ODI XI due to his invaluable contributions to Indian Cricket during his time.
Yuvraj Singh is the hero India most needed. A magnificent batter, a handy bowler and an incredible fielder. This guy was an outright match-winner.
His dedication to Indian Cricket is unparalleled. We are all familiar with what happened during the 2011 World Cup.
An All-rounder like Yuvraj has a huge impact on the game. He has won 27 Man of the match awards in 304 games, a clear indication of his match-winning abilities.
- Batting Average-36.56
- Batting Strike Rate-87.68
The aforementioned numbers themselves are good enough for him to find a place in the All-Time ODI Xi of India. However, His contributions in the 2011 World Cup Win for India adds a lot of weight to these statistics.
Career Highlight: Match winning 57* vs Australia in the quarter-final of the 2011 World Cup.
MS Dhoni (WK) (Captain)
A flamboyant boy from a small town took the world by storm with a 148 in his fifth ODI Inning. Little did we know that the young lad would go down as one of the greatest players in the history of ODI Cricket.
We are all familiar with the incredible wicketkeeping skills of Dhoni- the wicketkeeper and match-winning tactics of Dhoni-the Captain. But Dhoni-the batsman in ODI has been just as good, if not better.
Ms Dhoni is one of the only two batsmen in One-Day internationals to have scored 10K + Runs at an average of above 50.
Not only that, the RPI ( Runs per Inning ) for the middle order batsman stands at an amusing 36.27.
- Strike Rate-87.56
These numbers are good enough to be ranked as a Top 10 all-time ODI batter.
A multidimensional cricketer like Mahendra Singh Dhoni adds tremendous value to any side of the world.
To pick him as the wicketkeeper & captain of India’s All Time ODI XI is a no-brainer.
Career Highlight: 91* against Sri Lanka in the 2011 World Cup Final
A 19-year-old tall and confident lad with curly hair walked into the Indian side in 1978. His charm was undeniable. He possessed every trait ever required to lead a side with utmost dignity and pride.
Kapil was announced as the Indian Captain just before the unforgettable 1983 World Cup. We have all heard stories about that unbelievable campaign.
He was arguably the greatest all-rounder that the nation has ever produced. A proper match-winner in all the 3 aspects of the game. Striked at 95.07, which is humongous considering those days when batsmen struggled, having 60-70 as their strike rate.
His lethal swing bowling will be an asset to the team as his 253-wicket tally remains as one of the highest in the list even after 25 years of retirement, which tells his greatness. Adding to his swing bowling and assaulting batting, Kapil was likewise a splendid fielder. With him at number seven in this team, the batting looks more than solid.
- Batting Average-23.80
- Strike Rate-95.07
- Bowling Average-27.45
Kapil ended his career with just one hundred, but that one hundred is probably one of the biggest reasons that every Indian child has once dreamt of becoming a cricketer. Coming in at 17-5 in a must-win game against Zimbabwe, Kapil Dev unleashed something inhuman, something which was too good to be captured in frames. Those 175 runs were a display of resilience, grit, determination and a hunger to do something for the nation.
His place in India’s All-Time ODI XI can not be questioned.
Career highlight: 1983 world cup performances with both bat and ball
As of now, the tall off-spinner from Karnataka stands as the highest wicket-taker for India in this format. His test feats often overshadow his ODI feats even when he still has 337 wickets in this format shows the volume of success he has achieved throughout his career.
The go-to man for any of the captains whenever they searched for wickets. Kumble remains the only Indian bowler to this date to pick up more than 60 wickets in ODI in a calendar year.
Anil Kumble hardly turned the ball. His strength was his accuracy and the subtle variations which he developed over the years as an international cricketer. At times, he was even jokingly dubbed the quickest Indian bowler after Javagal Srinath. A true maestro of variations not as gifted as someone like Shane Warne, he worked on his strength instead of focusing on the skill he was not the best in.
- Strike Rate-43
The numbers are great, but his impact is greater not just as a bowler but as a senior leader. The spinner inspired the generations in our nation. One of the greatest figures in Indian cricket history and among the most clever bowlers of all time.
Career highlight: Those early years from 1993-96 when he was at his peak powers it was all high in his career with many great spells. One of them reads as 6/12 vs Windies in 1993
Pure pace. Those proper inswingers, ahh! One of the finest fast bowlers to represent India at the international level, Srinath could have achieved much more if not for his injuries during his prime days. One of the very few threatening pacers India ever produced.
Srinath had an unparalleled ability among his peers to generate extreme pace and bounce from any surface. Had a humongous task to fill the voids in the Indian pace attack after the great Kapil Dev retired and he did that task in a commendable way.
Having announced his retirement in 2002, he was still persuaded by the captain Sourav Ganguly to continue in ODI at least till the Wc. He repaid it all until the world cup final, including the 18 wickets series vs New Zealand which remains the record no. of wickets in a bilateral series by a pacer.
What happened in the world cup was sad, really sad. He lost his nerves and ended up conceding 87 in 10 overs courtesy of the masterclass of the genius Ricky Ponting. Not a great end, but still remains the highest wicket-taker among pacers for India. One of the underrated servants of Indian Cricket.
- Strike Rate-37.8
Those were great numbers, but what made it even better was his numbers against the best in the world. Srinath revelled when playing against the best in the world: he averaged 23.68 against England, 20.41 against New Zealand and 27.74 against the West Indies. Mighty incredible, if you take most, came in dust bowls.
A Right Arm Fast bowler pacing with incredible consistency in line and length, capable of getting a breakthrough for his team whenever required. India knew they had found an extraordinary fast bowler when Shami took five consecutive three-wicket hauls in 2013-14 against South Africa and New Zealand.
The fact that Shami has played just 82 One Day international games might leave a lot of people wondering how he finds a place in India’s All Time ODI XI. Let us dig into his statistics to get an answer to the question.
- Strike Rate-27.55
His bowling average is the second-best for any Indian, while his bowling strike rate is not only the best for any Indian but also the third-best for any fast bowler across the world. (Criteria – Minimum 100 wickets)
In addition to the above:
- Shami was India’s second-highest wicket-taker after Umesh Yadav in the 2015 World cup, bagging 17 wickets in just 7 games.
- In the 2019 World cup, Shami played just 4 games and ended up picking 14 wickets at a mind-boggling strike rate of 15.00.
Though the speedster has quite some years of Cricket left in him, His records are good enough to find a place in India’s All Time ODI XI.
Career Highlight: Hattrick in The World cup 2019 against Afghanistan.
Zaheer Khan is arguably the greatest fast bowler in ODI cricket that India has ever produced. The left-arm pacer became a household name in the 2000s with his exceptional performances with the ball.
The impact that Zaheer had on the Indian bowling unit is unmatched. Statistically, someone like Ajit Agarkar might seem slightly better but if we look at the bigger picture, It has always been Zaheer in need of the hour.
- Strike Rate-35.8
Khan was India’s leading wicket-taker for India in all three editions of the World cup in which he featured, namely 2003,07,11. This itself is quite suggestive of his invaluable contributions to Indian Cricket.
Career Highlight: Winning the 2011 World cup and finishing as India’s leading wicket-taker.
12th Man: Virender Sehwag
If there is something which comes the closest to describing the word ‘fearless’, it is Virender Sehwag.
The bowler would put in all his efforts, pacing through to deliver the first ball of the innings and a Nonchalant and audacious Sehwag would cut it away for four without a second thought in his head.
His batting style and his approach never failed to impress. The opener struck at a massive 104.34 in an era where a strike rate of 85 was considered impressive for openers.
Sehwag scored 8273 ODI runs at a decent average of 35.06, including 15 tons and a double century.
To not pick Sehwag in India’s All Time ODI XI was a tough call, but the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma made it easier, as there is no doubt about them being the openers of the squad.
Thus, the ‘Najafgarh ka Nawab’ finds a place in our squad as the 12th man.
A few other names which deserve a special mention in this squad are Harbhajan Singh, Ajit Agarkar, and Shikhar Dhawan.
So India’s All Time ODI XI is
- Sachin Tendulkar
- Rohit Sharma
- Virat Kohli
- Mohammad Azharuddin
- Yuvraj Singh
- MS Dhoni (WK) (C)
- Kapil Dev
- Anil Kumble
- Javagal Srinath
- Mohammed Shami
- Zaheer Khan
12th Man: Virender Sehwag
Extras: Harbhajan Singh, Ajit Agarkar and Shikhar Dhawan