ESPNCricinfo is celebrating its 25th anniversary by choosing the dream teams from the last 25 years from 1993-2017. In this process, they unveiled the dream Men’s ODI XI of last quarter of the century.
The team selection was done by a jury consisting of the likes of Ian Chappell, Sanjay Manjrekar, John Wright, Dav Whatmore and Mark Nicholas. Each selector sent in their all-time XIs and the best of the best was chosen from amongst these teams.
Sometime back, in their celebration of 25 years of cricketing reporting, ESPNCricinfo had unveiled their dream Men’s Test XI, which had a few surprises for the fans and saw two Indian greats in Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag making it into the team.
The ODI team selection was drastically different with many more names being added to the list. The first contention came between Ricky Ponting and MS Dhoni for the batting slot and then Dhoni with Warne for the captaincy. The strength of ODI team selected lies in having three wicketkeepers (counting AB de Villiers). So this means Gilchrist could stand for Warne and Dhoni can take up gloves for his CSK teammate Muralitharan.
Therefore without further adieu, here is the ESPNCricinfo Dream Men’s ODI XI of past 25 years.
The opening duties go to Adam Gilchrist and Sachin Tendulkar. Apart from being the left-right combination needed to hurt the bowlers; you have two of the most sophisticated and destructive openers of ODI history starting for you.
Gilchrist scored fifties in his first two ODI World Cup finals in 1999 and 2003. However, in his third in 2007, he went big and scored 149 (with a squash ball in his glove), to bat Sri Lanka out of the game. Plus you have one of the greatest keepers ever to take up gloves doing duty behind the stumps.
So much has been written for Sachin Tendulkar and his ODI career that writing anything else seems futile. Over 18,000 runs, 49 centuries, the first man to score a double hundred in ODIs and many more such records makes him the greatest ODI batsman in the world, ever. With Gilchrist at the other end, Sachin might not have to worry about going after the bowling from the start and can look to play long innings.
If Brian Lara was brilliant in Test cricket, he was amazing in ODI cricket as well. With three scores of 150+ to his name in ODI cricket, Lara was the perfect no.3 batsman for your XI, who could keep the tempo of the scoring going or if needed, up the ante. With 10,000 plus runs in the format, the legitimacy is always there and seeing those booming cover drives in colored clothing is just too good.
At no.4 you will see the modern ODI master in Virat Kohli. The current Indian captain has scored over 9,000 runs in just a tip over 200 ODIs with an average hovering near 59. A strike rate of over 90 and 35 centuries to his name, he has established himself as a modern-day great of the ODI game. Also, 21 hundreds in chases is a no mean feat and if you are chasing a big total, you would want Kohli in your team.
No.5 sees AB de Villiers batting with his innovations and clean hitting all over the park. He could destroy bowling attacks in a jiffy (31-ball hundred, if you remember) and could hang around too if needed. He in the playing XI means an extra 40-50 runs in the kitty. His fielding is an asset and he could also keep wickets if needed.
Jacques Kallis is the all-rounder in this ODI XI. With over 10,000 runs and over 250 wickets in the format and the ability to bat up the order or slog at the end, Kallis could do it all and is the biggest asset in the team.
MS Dhoni will don the gloves in the dream XI and bat at no.7. One of the greatest keepers, captains, and finishers of all time, Dhoni has cemented his legacy in ODI cricket with 2011 World Cup and 2013 Champions trophy wins to his name. The only keeper with 100 stumpings and penchant for finishing matches with a six, you cannot have a better chaser (along with Kohli of course) in your team, than Dhoni.
The bowling attack of the ODI team is similar to the Test XI with Wasim Akram, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Muttiah Muralitharan at the helm of things
All the four are World Cup winners. Wasim Akram was the Man of the finals in 1992 World Cup and was the first bowler to pick 500 wickets in the format. Shane Warne has the most Man of the match awards in semi-finals and finals in World Cups –1996 World Cup semifinal, 1999 World Cup semis and finals.
Glenn McGrath has the most wickets in World Cup history and bowed out of international cricket after winning the 2007 World Cup, as the player of the tournament.
Muttiah Muralitharan has the most wickets in ODI history, won the 1996 World Cup and played in the finals of the 2011 World Cup, his last ODI match.
ESPNCricinfo men's ODI XI of the last 25 years:
Adam Gilchrist, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, MS Dhoni (C-WK), Wasim Akram, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Muttiah Muralitharan