Top 6 contenders for the 10,000 ODI runs club
Two decades ago, not even one player in the then 26-year-old history of the One Day International format had come close to achieving 10,000 career runs. When the prolific West Indian opening batsman Desmond Haynes retired in 1994, he sat pretty on top of the pile; at 8,648 runs, he was ahead of even the great Viv Richards. It seemed that overcoming his massive run tally would take some serious effort.
Only two years later, however, Mohammed Azharuddin overtook Haynes and it appeared that he would be the one to break new ground - until his career was cut short by controversy. Thankfully, at the turn of the century, Sachin Tendulkar emerged as the first (one among his many firsts) batsman to get to the magical figure.
In the 17 years since the little master got to the 10K landmark, 10 others have done so, with Sri Lankan opener Tillakaratne Dilshan being the latest entrant to the elite group. In fact, between 2004 and 2009, seven players made it onto this list. What was earlier a wondrous achievement is now quickly becoming a necessary pit-stop on the way to becoming an ODI great.
This decade, three Sri Lankans made their way onto the list to join Sanath Jayasuriya, thus making the emerald isle the largest contributor with four players out of the 11. In comparison, India has three. Entries on the list have slowed, with only three making it in the last eight years.
All three Sri Lankans who made the list this decade had made their debuts by the year 2000. It took them more than a decade of consolidating their run tally to get to the figure of 10,000. With the increasing amount of fixtures, however, batsmen are going to take fewer years to get to the landmark as time passes.
This year will most likely see a new entrant being welcomed into this club. A few more are on the cusp and should make it before the end of the decade.
Here are the top contenders to join 'Club 10,000' in this year or the next:
1. MS Dhoni - 9745
Just 255 runs away from making it to the club, and with two ODI against the Aussies still to go, Dhoni looks good to become the 12th member.
The former Indian captain is the leading run scorer currently playing in ODI cricket. It is quite likely that the landmark achievement will come against New Zealand, who will play a three-match ODI series against India next month.
If he does get there by the end of the New Zealand series, he will also become the third fastest to get to 10,000 (in terms of innings played). His average (52.11) is way above anyone in the club, the next highest being Tendulkar (44.83).
If Dhoni continues to play till the next World Cup, he might even have a shot at climbing up a few rungs on the highest run-getters' list.
2. Chris Gayle - 9352
While being famous the world over for his exploits in the shortest format and in league cricket, Gayle has quietly amassed over 9,000 runs in the ODI format.
Known to hit sixes at will, he has lately been stumped by the disagreements between the players' association and the West Indies Cricket Board. It is a shame that such a talented cricketer has had to sit out of so many games.
Despite missing out on a huge chunk of cricket, he is still in contention for making a place in the 10,000 run club. He is only 648 runs away, and a good season with the bat will get him there.
Last week Gayle was in third place, but a good showing in England has pushed his tally above that of AB de Villiers.
3. AB de Villiers - 9319
Mr. 360 is third highest on the list of current players. Although he is now party to a cat and mouse game with Chris Gayle in terms of ODI run tally, it is possible that his consistency will win out over that of the West Indian.
With his recent decision to play all three formats, it is quite likely that he will cross the 10,000 run barrier sometime next year.
Possessing a range of shots, De Villiers has single-handedly redefined batting in the limited overs formats. His swashbuckling style, however, hasn't come at the cost of his consistency - he has an average (53.55) even higher than MS Dhoni.
Not surprisingly, he also has the highest strike rate (100.25) amongst his esteemed peers. In fact, only Virender Sehwag and Shahid Afridi have higher strike rates than the South African (min. 3000 runs). Their averages, in comparison, are much lower.
4. Virat Kohli - 8707
The young Indian captain has made it a habit of breaking records at regular intervals, and this one is now within his reach. He is 1293 runs away from getting to the coveted landmark, but considering his form and class, it is almost certain that he will get there before the 2019 World Cup.
Kohli has the highest average (55.40) amongst current players (with over 2000 runs) and a pretty high strike rate (91.68). It is likely that Kohli will be the fastest to get to 10K runs in ODIs and possibly by a huge margin.
In the third ODI against Australia at Indore, he went past Yuvraj Singh's run tally to become 4th among currently active players.
5. Yuvraj Singh - 8701
Since he has been 'rested' for the ongoing series, it remains to be seen if Yuvraj Singh can make a comeback to the ODI side in the near future.
There are chances that he might be considered until the 2019 World Cup because of his experience and his proven match-winning ability. However, for that to happen, he will have to prove himself consistently over the next year.
At 1299 runs away from 10K, Yuvraj might be the least likely amongst the current players to get there.
6. Hashim Amla - 7186
Although the South African is 2814 runs away, he is a likely candidate to make it to 10,000. He has a solid technique, a high batting average (50.25) and a good strike rate (89.05). He is such an accumulator of runs that despite having played just over 150 innings in ODIs, he is already on this list.
Amla already has 25 ODI hundreds to his name and is the fastest to get there. It might take him a couple of years to get into the 10,000 club but it will be well worth the wait.
There are others behind him (Shoaib Malik, Ross Taylor, Upul Tharanga) who are well past 6,000 runs, but none of them seem to have a shot at getting to 10,000 ODI runs.
(Stats as of 25th September 2017)