Best ODI XI of 21st Century
Since, One Day Cricket started in 1971, it has come a long way afterwards. The journey that started with Test Cricket in 1877, saw the introduction of ODIs and then T20s and more shorter versions too.
As the development and enhancement of the game itself progressed, we saw the rise of number of cricketers with their own techniques and styles. Some of them shined bright and took the game to next level.
Here, in this article, we have tried to make a best ODI playing XI based on their performances and the impact they had on the game in 21st century.
Best ODI XI of 21st Century
Sachin is undoubtedly a legend of this game. His 23 year old career comprises of outstanding consistency as he ended his career as highest run scorer in ODI history. He has a total of 49 centuries in one day internationals out of which 22 came in 21st century. Sachin has 46 fifties and 22 centuries in 21st century accumulating a total of 8527 runs at an average of 48.17.
The left handed Australian batsman, Adam Gilchirst finds a place as the other opener. There were quite a few names for discussion in this spot. Guys like Mathew Hayden, Sanath Jayasuriya, Virender Sehwag and Chris Gayle had great careers as openers. But this guy finds a place in this team for his performances in big matches. He was a key member of the Australian squad that dominated world cricket for significant amount of time.
Kohli is the modern day genius as far as batting is concerned. His consistency of scoring runs while chasing a target is unbelievable. Kohli has scored more than 11,000 runs in one day cricket and is still actively continuing to score more. Currently, he is the captain of Indian team. 22 out of his 43 centuries have come while chasing.
AB de Villiers
There's something special about this guy. The South African batsman is another legend of the game. He has always been known for his dynamic strokeplay abilities and hit the cricket ball to any corner of the ground with so much fluency. De Villiers also holds the record for fastest 50, fastest 100 and fastest 150 in one day internationals. He has scored 9577 runs with a strike rate of more than 100 and average of 53.
Jacques Kallis is the another South African who finds a place in this playing eleven. The fast bowling allrounder is the greatest allrounder of all time. Kallis has more than 11,000 runs which includeds 17 centures along with 273 wickets to his name. As far as performance of 21st century is concerned, Kallis has scored 7729 runs at an avarage of 45.73. He also has 171 wickets to his name in this period. He is one of the 5 players who have 5000 runs and 150 wickets in ODIs.
A number of players could have been in contention for this spot but the hard hitting left hander from India wins the race. He played a vital role in India's world cup win in 2011 world cup as he was named Player of the Tournament. Yuvraj hit Stuart Broad for 6 consecutive sixes in an over during the knockout stage of inaugural 2007 T20 world cup. Yuvraj has scored 8701 runs for India in the middle order out of which 8028 runs came in 21st century.
MS Dhoni (c)
MS Dhoni is probably an obvious pick in the lineup. One of the best finishers the game has ever seen and a great captain too. Dhoni has all major ICC trophies to his name including T20 world cup, ODI World Cup and Champions Trophy. Also known as Captain Cool, Dhoni is known for his influential captaincy and great work behind the stumps. Dhoni will also be the captain of this side.
Despite his inconsistency in performance, this allrounder from Pakistan is known for his hard hitting abilities and handy leg spinners. Afridi has more than 8,000 runs in ODIs out of which 5,000+ plus runs came in 21st century with an strike rate of 129. Afridi's figures of 7/12 against West Indies is still the second best bowling figures in ODIs.
The Australian fast bowler won two worldcups in 2003 and 2007 with the Australian side. Similar to Adam Gilchrist, Lee was also an integral part of the Australian squad that dominated the world cricket for signigicant years. Lee could bowl consistently at 150 kph plus speed and was a nightmare for best of the batsmen as well. Lee has 380 wickets to his name from 221 matches in the current 21st century which makes him the leading wicket taker in 21st century.
Muralitharan was a legend and has won many matches for his team singlehandedly. Murali is the leading wicket taker in 21st century among the spinners with 323 wickets to his name. Murali has a total of 534 wickets from his entire career. Murali has an economy of 3.83 in this century with a bowling average of 21.01. His economy is the best among spinners in this century.
Known for his slingy action, Malinga is second in the list of highest wicket takers in 21st century only after Bret Lee. Malinga has 338 wickets to his name in 226 matches including eight 5 wicket hauls. Known for his ability to bowl deadly yorkers, Malinga played a crucial role in Sri Lanka reaching the final of the 2011 World Cup. Malinga remains the highest wicket-taker in the IPL till now. He has also taken 4 wickets off 4 consecutive balls twice in international cricket. Besides, he has five hat-tricks in international cricket.
Notable Mentions : Ricky Ponting, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara