Top 10 Batsmen in ODI Cricket History

Here is a list of the top 10 ODI batsmen of all time. These batters have performed at the highest level against all teams in different conditions.

Top 10 Batsmen in ODI Cricket History
Dillip Mohanty

Written by: Dillip Mohanty

(Sports Editor)

Last updated: 2023-09-21

Since the start of one-day international cricket in 1971, the world has seen a lot of great batters and bowlers. 4650 one-day internationals have been played in the 52-year period and the format has seen a lot of tweaks in the rules. ODIs started with 60-overs to be bowled per innings later changed to 50. Now the innings is spread across three powerplays with various fielding restrictions. Free hit is another new rule in the limited over format for the batters. Spreading over generations with brilliant batters of all kinds from all parts of the world, putting a list of 10 seems like an impossible task. However, here is a list of top 10 must-have batters in your side. These players have put in brilliant efforts for their respective countries in different times and made a name for themselves in the cricketing circles for years to resonate.

 

VIV RICHARDS (West Indies)


Career: 1975-1991
Matches: 187
Runs: 6721
Average: 47
Strike Rate 90.2
100s: 11
50s: 45
Best: 189
 

Viv Richards is one of the earliest exponents of hard hitting and aggressive batting. Richards was part of the two-time champion West Indies side, winning the trophy in 1975 and 1979. Playing without a helmet throughout his career, the fearsome Caribbean right hander plundered all kinds of bowling to every part of the field and beyond. Viv Richards 1979 WC.jpegWalking and carrying himself with a swagger on the field, his unbeaten 189 against England in 1984 is still the highest percentage (69.48%) of runs in a completed innings. Thanks to that knock, Richards held the record of the highest runs in an ODI innings for 13 years.

Richard’s fierce attitude, fiery batting and the impact he put on the West Indies lineup with his performances put him in the list of top batters in the world. Richards hit 11 centuries in his career and on each occasion, the West Indies team came out as victorious. He was also known to perform on the big stage having scored 1013 World Cup runs in 21 innings at an average of 63.31 with 3 centuries and 5 fifties. Viv Richards will always be known as the pioneer who introduced and made aggressive batting popular and role model for many modern greats.

SACHIN TENDULKAR (India)

Career: 1989-2012
Matches: 463
Runs: 18426
Average: 44.83
Strike Rate: 86.2
100s: 49
50s: 96
Best: 200*

The highest run scorer in the world across the two formats, Sachin Tendulkar has been one of the greatest batters for India. Making his ODI debut versus Pakistan as a 16-year-old middle order batter, Sachin later developed his skills to bat at any number in all conditions and became one of the best opening batters India has ever produced in the format. In a 24-year long career, Tendulkar produced many match winning performances for the team and also was the team’s leading run scorer during the 2011 Cricket World Cup which India won.

Having the most number of runs, centuries, fifties, etc., all Tendulkar did in his career was to make and break records. Sachin Tendulkar in ODI.jpgHe is the only batter to score over 15000 runs in ODIs alone. His nine ODI tons in 1998 are the most by any batter in a calendar year. Scoring 1894 runs in the same year made him the batter with most runs in a calendar year. No other batter has come closer in an attempt to chase his numbers.

Tendulkar was the strength of the Indian batting order when it struggled during the 90s and was also the team’s highest run scorer in the 1996, 2003 and 2011 World Cups. His 673 runs with a hundred, six fifties and an average of 61.18 made sure India reached the finals in 2003. In 2010 at Gwalior, Tendulkar became the first batter in the history to score a double hundred in ODIs achieving the feat against South Africa. In the 2012 Asia cup, he scored his 49th hundred in ODI versus Bangladesh which was also his 100th across the international formats. With thousands of runs and dozens of records under his belt, Tendulkar stands out as one of the greatest ODI batters in the world.
 

RICKY PONTING (Australia)

Career: 1995-2012
Matches: 375
Runs: 13704
Average: 42.03
Strike Rate: 80.3
100s: 30
50s: 82
Best: 164

Ricky Ponting is one of the modern greats and the finest from Australia. With 13704 runs, Ponting stands third in the list of highest ODI run scorers and his 30 centuries are the most for any Australian batter in ODIs. He is one of the most successful captains in the world, leading his team to two World cup victories in 2003 and 2007.Ricky Ponting in 2003 Cricket World Cup.jpeg He was also part of the 1999 World cup winning Australian squad. Leading Australia in 230 ODIs, Ponting has the record of most matches as captain in ODIs. 25 of his 30 tons have come in winning causes. He is the 2nd highest run scorer in World Cup history with his tally of 1743 runs lying only behind Sachin Tendulkar. His aggressive batting and free flowing strokes make him an outstanding exponent of limited overs cricket.

 

KUMAR SANGAKKARA (Sri Lanka)

Career: 2000-2015
Matches: 404
Runs: 14234
Average: 41.98
Strike Rate: 78.8
100s: 25
50s: 93
Best: 169

Kumar Sangakkara is one of the best wicket-keeper batters the world has seen. He is the 2nd highest ODI run scorer with over 14000 runs. Sangakkara hit 4 centuries in a row during the 2015 World Cup and is the only player in the world to score 4 consecutive tons. 18 of his centuries have come in a Kumar Sangakkara 2015 World Cup.jpegwinning cause for the team. He has hit 54 half centuries when the team has won the game. Featuring in 4 World Cups, Sangakkara has a tremendous average of 56.74 scoring 1532 runs in 25 innings. He also led the team to the 2011 finals where Sri Lanka went down against India. In the same year Sangakkara was the recipient of ODI Cricketer of the year and ICC People’s Choice Award. The gentleman from Matale will go down in the history as one of the greatest left handers that ever graced the field.

BRIAN LARA (West Indies)

Career: 1990-2007
Matches: 299
Runs: 10405
Average: 40.48
Strike Rate: 79.5
100s: 19
50s: 63
Best: 169

The elegant left hander from Cantaro, Trinidad; Brian Lara is known as one of the most impactful batters for West Indies with a tremendous career in Tests and ODIs. Though Lara didn’t win a single World Cup for his team but the mark he has left on Brian Lara in ODI.jpegWest Indies cricket can never be forgotten. Beginning his career in 1990, Lara was at the peak of his powers for the majority of his career and was the ICC ranked number one ODI batter for 1049 days. He held the spot from March 8, 1996 to January 21, 1999. He became the second player after Tendulkar to cross the 10,000 run mark in ODIs. Featuring in 5 World Cups, Lara was the top scorer for his team in the 1992, 1996 and 2003 editions and has scored 1225 runs in 33 innings hitting 2 centuries and 7 half centuries. His 16 centuries and 41 fifties have come in winning causes for West Indies.
 

AB de VILLIERS (South Africa)

Career: 2005-2018
Matches: 228
Runs: 9577
Average: 53.5
Strike Rate: 101
100s: 25
50s: 53*Best: 176

Another modern ODI great hailing from South Africa, AB de Villiers made his debut in a wonderful generation that saw the likes of Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers 2015 Cricket World Cup.jpegHerschelle Gibbs etc. AB de Villiers made a mark for himself with the ability to float anywhere in the batting order and the ability to score at a brisk pace against the best bowling attacks. He could also play some unorthodox strokes all around the park giving him the nickname of Mr. 360. AB de Villiers is only behind Jacques Kallis in the run scoring charts for South Africa with 9427 runs in a 223-match career. He averages 54.17 and has scored the runs at a pace more than a-run-a-ball.

In 2015, de Villiers broke the world record for the fastest century in ODIs reaching the milestone in only 31 balls against West Indies hitting 16 sixes in the knock. He led the team in the 2015 World Cup but failed to get the team past the semifinals where the Proteas were defeated by New Zealand in a thrilling encounter.

In 2017, de Villiers became the fastest batter to breach the 9000 ODI runs mark getting there in 205 innings but in the same year, Virat Kohli overtook him getting to his 9000th ODI run in his 194th ODI inning. He is also the 3rd fastest batter to go past the 7000 and 8000 run mark. AB de Villiers also has 27 player of the match and 6 player of the series awards to his name. He averages an astonishing 63.52 in World Cups scoring 1207 runs in 22 innings with 4 hundreds and 6 fifties. 21 of his centuries have come in winning cause for South Africa.

MS DHONI (India)

Career: 2004-2019
Matches: 350
Runs: 10773
Average: 50.57
Strike Rate: 87.5
100s: 10
50s: 73
Best: 183

The legendary former captain of India, MS Dhoni could easily make any top 10 list of best captains, wicketkeepers, finishers and so on. Making his debut back in 2004, Dhoni soon rose through the ranks and became a batting mainstay of the men in blue eventually taking over the captaincy in 2007 successfully leading the team to World Cup glory in 2011 at home.

His hard hitting and aggressive batting skill proved useful for India and costly to the opposition. Dhoni has a brilliant ability to read the situation MS Dhoni with 2011 World Cup Trophy.jpegin the game and could hit sixes at will. His ability to finish the innings with a flurry of boundaries whether batting first or chasing a total made him into a complete finisher. His 183 not out versus Sri Lanka is still the highest score by a designated wicketkeeper in ODIs. He is ranked 5th in the list of six hitters with 229 biggies under his belt.

Dhoni also got to the 10000 run mark in his 273th inning. It took Dhoni only 30 innings to move from 8000 to 9000 runs and a further 29 to cross 10000. He played 200 ODIs for India as captain and won 110 matches, winning 55% of the matches. After successfully leading the side to the 2011 World cup, Dhoni got another feather in his cap taking the team to 2013 Champions Trophy victory. Team India won every single game in the tournament including the couple off warm-up matches

HASHIM AMLA (South Africa)

Career: 2008-2019
Matches: 181
Runs: 8113
Average: 49.46
Strike Rate: 88.3
100s: 27
50s: 39
Best: 159

Another legendary South African opener, Hashim Amla was a classical right hander who could play all the shots in the books and could score risk-free at a good pace against all kinds of oppositions. Having scored over 8000 runs at a good scoring rate and average, Amla is the fastest batter in terms of innings to hit 2000, 3000, 4000, 6000 and 7000 ODI runs. His record of scoring the fastest 5000 and 8000 ODI runs has since been overtaken by Babar Azam and Virat Kohli respectively.

Only 3 of his tons have come in a losing cause with the team winning the games on 24 occasions when Amla has got to three figures scores. 2010 was a great year for Amla in both Tests and ODIs. In the whiteHashim Amla in ODI.jpeg ball format Amla hit 1058 runs with 5 centuries, a strike rate of 104.2 and averaged 75.57 becoming the number 1 ranked ODI batter in the ICC rankings. In 2012, Amla became the fastest batter to hit 10 centuries in the format and took the streak further becoming the fastest to score 15, 16, 17, 18 and 20 tons. His 20th ton was fetched in his 108th ODI innings. Signing off from international cricket in 2019, Amla also became the 4th batter in the world to score centuries against all Test playing nations.

VIRAT KOHLI (India)

Career: 2008-PRESENT
Matches: 280
Runs: 13027
Average: 57.38
Strike Rate: 93.7
100s: 47
50s: 65
Best: 183

One of the greatest batters to have held the bat, Virat Kohli is a modern day genius and a threat to almost every record which has set in the one-day internationals format. At 34 years of age, Kohli has already sneaked into the list of top 3 run getters in the format with over 13000 runs at a blistering average of 57.38. His 47 tons are only 1 short off Sachin Tendulkar’s 48. However scoring more than 5000 runs to overtake Tendulkar might be a distant dream, if Kohli continues batting at the same average and plays for at least 5-6 more years, he may well be on course to become the leading run scorer in ODIs.

The Delhi-born right handed batter, Kohli has 10 hundreds versus Sri Lanka which is a record for any batter for the most number of centuries against a particular country. The joint number 2 and number 3 spot hVirat Kohli in Asia Cup 2022.jpgas also been occupied by Kohli with 9 tons against West Indies and 8 versus Australia. Kohli also recently became the fastest man to get past the 13000 run mark, getting there in 267 innings. No other batter has taken less than 321 innings to get to the landmark. Kohli is also the fastest in terms of innings taken to score 8000, 9000, 10000, 11000, 12000 and 13000 runs in the format.

In his 16th year as an international cricketer, Kohli has smashed over 1000 runs in 7 calendar years and his strike rate of 115.5 in 2023 is the highest he has achieved in his career so far. Known as the chase king for India, Kohli has smashed 26 tons and 36 fifties when the team is chasing a total. 39 of his tons have come in a winning cause for India with 38 fifties also being scored in a winning cause. 22 of those tons have been scored when the team successfully chased down a total.

His numbers definitely back the fact that he is one of the all-time batting greats. With his 4th ODI World Cup coming up, Kohli would be rallying to add more runs for his team and to his tally.

ROHIT SHARMA (India)

Career: 2007-PRESENT
Matches: 250
Runs: 10031
Average: 48.69
Strike Rate: 90.2
100s: 30
50s: 51
Best: 264

Emerging as a 20-year old on the international scene, Rohit Sharma didn’t have a fairytale start to his career and hit only 2 centuries in his first 6 years as an ODI player. 2013 changed his fortunes once he was promoted to open the innings in the Champions Trophy which India went on to win. That year, Rohit Sharma scored over 1000 runs and has repeated the feat later on in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The year 2019 was his best year as he churned 1490 runs with 7 centuries at an average of 57.3. Five of those tons were hit in the 2019 World Cup alone where he was the leading run scorer with 648 runs at a monstrous average of 81 and striking those at 98.3. The team reached the semifinals but couldn’t go further.

Skip to 2023 and Rohit Sharma is well prepared to lead the Indian team for the first time in a World Cup after successfully winning the 2023 Asia Cup. In one of his most glorious year, 2013; Sharma became only the third batter after Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag to score a one-day double hundred when he hit 209 against AustrRohit Sharma 2019 World Cup.jpegalia at Bengaluru. Few months later, Rohit created history by scoring his second double hundred and scored a record 264 runs in 173 balls against Sri Lanka. Nine years down the line, it is still the highest individual ODI score. In that innings, Rohit scored 186 runs from boundaries hitting 33 fours and 9 sixes, a world record for most runs accumulated from boundaries in an individual inning.

Rohit Sharma broke Tendulkar’s record of hitting most fours in an inning in the same knock. Sri Lanka had to face the music yet again in 2017 when Sharma hit a record third ODI double century scoring an unbeaten 208 in 153 balls. He is the only batter to have scored multiple double centuries in the format making him one of the all time greats. He is the 2nd fastest after Kohli to complete 10000 ODI runs (205 innings). His innings of 101 against New Zealand earlier this year was his 30th ODI ton which equaled the tally by Ponting. He is only behind Tendulkar and Kohli in this list. As captain, Rohit has an average of 54.76 with 1369 runs under his belt. With the upcoming World cup in sight, Rohit would be aiming for the title and some more tons from his blade.

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Dillip Mohanty

Dillip Mohanty

Dillip has over two decades of experience in creating sports content. As the Sports Editor of SportsBoom, Dillip brings in a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. Dillip has worked with leading sports broadcasters and sports web content portals in Asia. He is an adept storyteller and has a special liking for data stories. He has a keen interest in data analysis and uncovering insights from large datasets. He loves to tell the story with rich and compelling data visualisation.

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