1. Adam Gilchrist
For a decade the sight of Gilchrist lashing the new ball over the infield or the rope was the harbinger of another Australian triumph. In his first two World Cup finals he stonked fifties; in the third, he smashed 149, perhaps the most exhilarating innings ever played on the game’s biggest stage. All that and the best wicketkeeping dismissals-per-innings going.
Did you know? Each of Gilchrist’s 16 hundreds were in wins, eight when batting first, and eight when chasing.
9619 runs at 35.89 from 287 ODIs (strike rate 96.94); Best 172; 16 hundreds, 55 fifties
417 catches, 55 stumpings
2. Sachin Tendulkar
Tendulkar was the insatiable machine of one-day cricket. Nobody made as many runs, scored as many fifties, or hundreds – and in 2010, pushing 37, he became the first man to 200. He had more soul than a machine: few cricketers provided their countrymen memories as definitive, from Desert Storm in Sharjah to the Uppercut in Centurion.
Did you know? Tendulkar won 62 Man-of-the-Match awards in ODIs – 29% more than the next best (Sanath Jayasuriya, 48).
16,980 runs at 46.14 from 413 ODIs (strike rate 87.29); Best 200*; 49 hundreds, 84 fifties
142 wickets at 43.36 (econ rate 5.20); Best 5 for 32; 2 five-fors
3. Brian Lara
If Lara was born to bat in the longest form, he could also transfer that appetite to 50-over cricket. When he got to 10,000 ODI career runs, he was just one of a handful to have done so, and even fewer players had gone past 150 an innings as many times as him (three). All, of course, done in exquisite style.
Did you know? Lara is one of only five batsmen to score over 5000 runs in wins at an average above 60; the others are Kohli, Dhoni, de Villiers and Hashim Amla.
8849 runs at 40.77 from 255 ODIs (strike rate 81.89); Best 169; 17 hundreds, 51 fifties
4. Virat Kohli
Not yet 30, Kohli already has claims to being the greatest to have ever batted in the one-day format. If his average, in the high-50s, is jaw-dropping, consider that he scores those runs at a strike rate well above 90, while rarely condescending to slog. No target is safe when Kohli is on the chase.
Did you know? Kohli has 21 hundreds in chases – already four more than the next best (Tendulkar) – 19 of which have led to wins.
9030 runs at 55.74 from 202 ODIs (strike rate 91.73); Best 183; 32 hundreds, 45 fifties
5. AB de Villiers
The madman genius of limited-overs cricket. De Villiers sets himself up at the crease in ways bowlers cannot imagine, and makes shots that other batsmen cannot dream of. When in flow there is no batsman as destructive as him – and has possibly never been. Thirty-one-ball century anyone?
Did you know? De Villiers is the only ODI batsman to score 1000-plus runs at an average of more than 50 and a strike rate of more than 100.
9515 runs at 54.06 from 225 ODIs (strike rate 101.07); Best 176; 25 hundreds, 53 fifties
6. Jacques Kallis
There may be bowlers, it is true, with more than 273 wickets, but have they scored over 11,000 colossal runs at 44 an innings? Kallis was the ultimate team balancer, equally capable of rescuing batting collapses and stepping up to bowl with the field still up.
Did you know? Kallis is one of only two allrounders to get the double of 10,000 runs and 250 wickets; Jayasuriya is the other.
11,579 runs at 44.36 from 328 ODIs (strike rate 72.89); Best 139; 17 hundreds, 86 fifties
273 wickets at 31.79 (econ rate 4.84); Best 5 for 30; 2 five-fors
7. MS Dhoni
Dhoni has the strength of an ox, the alacrity of a cat, and a technique all his own. He hits sixes as lustily as he steals singles nimbly, and has turned finishing-line manoeuvres into a party trick – none as famous as the straight six for the 2011 World Cup. Besides, no other keeper has 100 stumpings in one-day cricket.
Did you know? Dhoni has remained unbeaten in 44 winning chases, the highest in ODI history. Jonty Rhodes is next with 33.
9898 runs at 51.55 from 312 ODIs (strike rate 88.46); Best 183*; 10 hundreds, 67 fifties
293 catches, 105 stumpings
8. Wasim Akram
The two electrifying deliveries with which Akram bowled out Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis in the 1992 World Cup final are perhaps the greatest two deliveries ever bowled in one-day cricket. They also spell out in neon green why Akram could be perhaps the greatest one-day bowler there has ever been.
Did you know? Akram has taken three or more wickets in an ODI innings more times than any other bowler – 76. Muralitharan is next with 68.
Bowling: 295 wickets at 23.83 from 208 ODIs (Econ rate 3.97); Best 5 for 15; 2 five-fors
Batting: 2430 runs at 18.40 (strike rate 85.71); Best 79; 0 hundreds, 5 fifties
9. Shane Warne
If the Pakistanis showed that legspinners can be ODI match-winners, Warne left no doubt of it. With his prodigious breaks and phenomenal will to win, he could turn matches that were slipping away or ram home early advantages – and he demonstrated both, unforgettably, in the final two matches of the 1999 World Cup.
Did you know? Warne is the only player to win three Man-of-the-Match awards in the semi-finals or finals of World Cups.
Bowling: 293 wickets at 25.73 from 194 ODIs (econ rate 4.25); Best 5 for 33; 1 five-for
Batting: 1018 runs at 13.05 (strike rate 72.04); Best 55; 0 hundreds, 1 fifty
10. Glenn McGrath
He generated fewer column inches than the batsmen and the bad boys, but McGrath’s line, length, cut and bounce were no less crucial to Australia’s success. Particularly lethal in World Cups, he bowed out of international cricket in 2007, fittingly, not just as (three-time) World Cup winner, but also Player of the Tournament.
Did you know? McGrath is the leading wicket-taker in World Cups with 71 wickets, at an average of 18.19 and economy rate of 3.96.
381 wickets at 22.02 from 250 ODIs (econ rate 3.88); Best 7 for 15; 7 five-fors
11. Muttiah Muralitharan
Murali claimed more wickets than anyone in ODI history, with more four-fours than anyone too, all at an economy rate straight out of the 1980s. He played five World Cups, won one, helped power Sri Lanka into the final of two and the semi-final of a third. Why wouldn’t you have him in your side?
Did you know? Took four or more wickets in an innings 25 times, second only to Waqar Younis, who did it 27 times.
534 wickets at 23.08 (econ rate 3.93); Best 7 for 39; 10 five-fors
All statistics are for the period March 1, 1993 to December 31, 2017