Australia's greatest ODI XI of all time
Australia is the most successful nation in cricket’s history. They have won almost 50% of the test matches they have played in, which makes them the team with the highest ratio of wins in test cricket. They have also won 4 ODI World Cups and finished runners-up on 2 occasions.
Moreover, most of the innovations of modern-day cricket trace their origins to Australia. Australia is the country where cricket was first played with colored clothing, white ball and black sight screens. Australia also hosted the first ever day-night one-day match.
Australia has also given birth to some wonderful limited over cricketers. Here is a look at Australia’s greatest ever one-day XI:
#1 Mark Waugh
Junior, as Mark Waugh was fondly known among his teammates, was one of the most elegant batsmen of all time. Very few batsmen in the history of cricket have caressed the ball as sweetly as him. He was also a brilliant timer of the ball and had a wide range of strokes in his repertoire.
Waugh was simply stupendous in the shorter version of the game. He could play some magnificent cover drives, loft the ball nonchalantly over the short mid-wicket and hit some audaciously beautiful flicks. He seemed to have more time than the other batsmen to play his strokes and it was a proof of his undeniable class as a batsman.
Waugh was also a player for the big occasions. He made 3 centuries in the 1996 World Cup and 1 more in 1999. He also made a breathtaking 173 against West Indies in a tri-series final at the MCG, which remains his highest score in one-dayers. He was a middle-order batsman in tests, but was elevated in the batting order to play as an opener in the one-dayers.
Waugh made 8500 runs from 244 matches at an average of 39.4 in his ODI career. He also made 18 centuries and 50 half-centuries. He was a very useful off-spin bowler as well and took 85 wickets in his ODI career. He also remains one of the greatest fielders of all time.
#2 Adam Gilchrist
If one has watched Adam Gilchrist’s incredible innings of 149 against Sri Lanka in the 2007 World Cup final, one would not even think twice before selecting him any all-time team for one-dayers. Gilchrist could murder any bowling attack on his day and remains one of the most explosive batsmen the game has seen.
Gilchrist was primarily a back foot player, but could be devastating off his front foot too. His cuts and pulls were of the highest quality, and so were his cover drives and on drives. It was literally impossible to stop him scoring runs as long as he was on the wicket.
Gilchrist was a very good wicket-keeper too and kept very creditably against the bowling of Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne and Brett Lee. He used to play as an opener in one-dayers because of his whirlwind batting. He also made 1 century and 2 half-centuries in the 3 World Cup finals he played in.
Gilchrist was a member of 3 World Cup winning squads. He also made 9922 runs in 287 ODIs at an average of 35.9 and effected 472 dismissals. There has not been a better wicketkeeper-batsman than him in the game’s history.
#3 Ricky Ponting
Ricky Ponting remains Australia’s highest run-getter in both tests and ODIs, and walks into this team because of his those credentials. He was a marvelous player on the leg side and could hit some sumptuous pulls and hooks. He was one of the most prolific run scorers in the world in his prime and made runs against all oppositions.
Ponting played for Australia for 17 long years and excelled while batting in the No. 3 position. He was also a very good player of pace bowling and enjoyed playing on fast and bouncy tracks. However, he also scored heaps of runs in the sub-continent.
Ponting was a big match player too and destroyed the Indian bowling in the 2003 World Cup final to score 140 priceless runs. He also played a brilliant knock of 104 against New Zealand to steer Australia home in a one-dayer in 2007. He finished with 13704 runs in ODIs at an average of 42 and also captained Australia to two World Cup and one ICC Champions Trophy titles. He was a brilliant fielder too.
#4 Dean Jones
Dean Jones had a career ODI average of 45 while playing in the 1980s and 1990s, when most of the batsmen struggled to have an average over 40. He was an outstanding ODI batsman with all kinds of shots in his repertoire. He played his hooks and pulls with consummate ease and could also hit some ferocious cover drives.
Jones was a member of the World Cup winning team of Australia in 1987. He also played in the 1992 World Cup, but Australia failed to qualify for the semifinals on their home soil. Jones played a match winning knock against India in that World Cup. He also played an outrageously good innings of 145 against England in 1990 to win an ODI for Australia.
Jones scored 6068 runs in 164 ODIs for Australia at an average of 44.6 and also made 7 centuries and 46 half-centuries. He was perhaps the best batsman of his generation for limited overs cricket.
#5 Mike Hussey
Michael Hussey was called “Mr. Cricket” by his teammates and excelled in all the aspects of the game. He was a brilliant middle order batsman, a useful medium-pace bowler, an outstanding fielder and possessed an astute cricket brain. He played for Australia from 2004 to 2012 and contributed immensely to their stupendous success in the late 2000s and early 2010s.
Hussey was a batsman who could score briskly without playing reckless shots. Whether he was leaning on to play his cover drives or falling back on his back foot to hit the pulls, he always remained a viewer’s delight. Most of his shots were copybook stuff, but very effective at the same time.
Hussey made 5442 runs from 185 ODIs for Australia at a staggering average of 48.1 and was also a member of the World Cup winning side in 2007. He could have a longer international career for Australia had it not been for the presence of the likes of Damien Martyn and Darren Lehmann in the international set-up for the Aussies.
#6 Michael Bevan
Michael Bevan was so consistently good for Australia in the one-dayers that his performances were taken for granted at times. He remains the greatest finisher the game has ever seen and could lead a run chase like nobody else.
He hit a boundary off the last ball to fashion a memorable win for Australia against West Indies in 1996. He also made a brilliant century while batting with the tailenders against New Zealand in 2002 and ultimately won the match for Australia.
Bevan was also instrumental in Australia’s 2 wicket win over England in the 2003 World Cup as he had a 60 run partnership with Andrew Bichel for the 9th wicket. There are dozens of such instances when Bevan won the game for Australia from a very tricky situation.
He was a part of 3 World Cup winning teams for Australia. He also scored 6912 runs in 232 matches at an unbelievable average of 53.6. He also remained a very useful chinaman bowler and took 36 wickets.
#7 Andrew Symonds
Andrew Symonds was a destructive lower middle order batsman and a very useful off-spin bowler in the one-dayers. He was also the best fielder in the Australian team in the 2000s, which was a great feat considering the fact that Australia had excellent fielders like Ponting and Hussey in their team during that period. He also remains one of the most powerful hitters the game has ever seen.
Symonds would always be remembered for the two explosive knocks he played in the 2003 World Cup. Australia lost 4 wickets very cheaply in the group league match against Pakistan, but recovered to post a formidable total thanks to Symonds’ incredible 143. He again played a magnificent knock of 91 against Sri Lanka to pull Australia out of troubled waters. He was a member of the 2003 and 2007 World cup winning teams.
Symonds made 5088 runs at an average of 39.8 from 198 ODIs. He also had a great strike rate of 92.4. He managed to take 133 wickets for Australia in the ODIs as well.
#8 Brett Lee
Brett Lee was a fast bowler capable of bowling at around 160 kilometers an hour, a very good tailender capable of hitting big sixes and an outstanding fielder in the outfields. He could bowl some lethal yorkers and outswingers and also had a knack of picking up wickets regularly.
Facing Lee was usually a scary proposition for the opposition batsmen. He could induce mortal fear in them with his breathtaking speed and made the job easier for other bowlers. He was also a very decent bat and hit Allan Donald for 3 sixes in an over in an ODI in 2002.
Lee won the World Cup with Australia in 2003. He also took 380 wickets at 23.4 and made 1176 runs from 221 ODIs. His charming personality and smiling face could not take away from the fact that he remained a fierce competitor throughout his career. Therefore, he has to be a part of this team.
#9 Shane Warne
Shane Warne is one of the greatest cricketers of all time and was a better test bowler, but his exploits in ODIs can not be ignored either. He was very economical for a leg-spinner and bowled very few loose deliveries in his ODI career. His exceptional control over line and length made him a great bowler in ODIs too.
Warne also had the ability to rise to the occasion and excel in a big match. He took 4 wickets each in the semifinal and final of the 1999 World Cup and virtually won Australia the World Cup. He could not play in the 2003 World Cup following a ban imposed on him by ICC and retired from ODI cricket in 2005.
Warne relied a bit more on his flippers than usual in limited overs cricket. However, he bowled the conventional leg-break delivery as well and took 293 wickets from 194 matches. Warne finished with a career economy rate of 4.25, which is very good for a leg-spin bowler. He was a decent lower order batsman too and made 1018 runs in his ODI career.
#10 Nathan Bracken
Nathan Bracken was a left-arm fast bowler who specialized in limited overs cricket for Australia. He had exceptional control over line and length and could bowl a very useful slower delivery. He also could generate decent swing with the new ball and got some wickets with the movement.
Bracken played ODI cricket for Australia from 2001 to 2009 and was a member of the World Cup winning team in 2007. He delivered a great performance against the South Africans in the semifinal as Australia went on to win the match by 7 wickets. He was also a useful lower-order batsman and hit some lusty strokes.
Bracken finished his ODI career with 174 wickets from 116 matches at an average of 24.4. He had an economy rate of 4.41, which is excellent considering the fact that he played in an era, when 300 plus totals were the order of the day. He was also a very decent fielder in the outfield.
#11 Glenn McGrath
Glenn McGrath’s metronomic accuracy made his a great bowler in all formats of the game. It was very difficult to score off him and batsmen often gave away their wickets out of frustration caused by his excellent control over line and length. He could also generate seam movement off the surface and made thing even more difficult for the batsmen.
McGrath was a member of 3 World Cup winning teams for Australia. He also was the highest wicket taker in the 2007 World Cup, his last tournament for the Aussies. He very rarely bowled loose deliveries and almost never gave the batsman any leeway.
McGrath took 381 wickets in 250 ODIs for Australia at an average of 22. He also had a great economy rate of 3.88 in ODIs. He was a very good fielder as well, but remained quite ordinary as a batsman throughout his career.
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