With the Cricket World Cup now in full swing, SportPesa takes a look at some of the finest players to make their mark at cricket’s one-day showcase.
Arguably the finest pace bowler of all time, Glenn McGrath’s consistently, whether in whites or the one-day arena, was breath-taking. Possessing the ability to place the ball pretty much wherever he wanted, McGrath was the bane of the world’s finest batsmen throughout his Australia career and that form was evident in the shortened version of cricket as McGrath quickly gained a reputation for destroying teams at both ends of the game.
Retiring in 2007 after a glittering career, McGrath was able to look back at a stunning one-day career that saw him feature in four world cup finals, claiming success in three of them. His partnership with Shane Warne, a brutal combination of seam and pace, took so much pressure off the Australian batsmen as batting targets remained moderate and achievable thanks to the work put in by both McGrath and Warne. A winner of the highest order.
Sir Viv Richards
His contributions to cricket earned him a knighthood even without such an honour, Viv Richards’ place in cricket folklore is secure no matter what. Competent in both versions of the game, Richards record in the test field measures up against anyone’s as he led a marvellous West Indies to a level never seen before in the game. His winning mentality wasn’t just limited to five-day cricket though as he made a stunning impact in one day cricket.
With his World Cup average standing at a remarkable 63, Richards was somewhat slow to make an impact in cricket’s short game, but he soon made amends for it in the 1979 final. Looking like they were slipping to England, Richards stepped up and produced a brilliant match-winning performance as he scored a memorable 138 to put the West Indies in lead that England didn’t come close to chasing down. Richards innings earned him the man of the match award as the West Indies took the tournament trophy.
The finest wicket keeper of all time, but Adam Gilchrist was not only an expert with the gloves, he was an absolute master with the bat in both forms of the game and that was most evident when playing 50 over cricket. Able to score quickly and also in an exciting manner, Gilchrist was a central part of Australia’s success from the late 1990s onwards.
Opening the batting for Australia, Gilchrist build solid foundations time after time in solid partnership with Matthew Hayden. Several brilliant displays in World Cup finals brought his home nation glory on multiple occasions and his 149 from 104 balls against Sri Lanka in 2007 was simply stunning.
He never replicated his remarkable test or one day form in the two World Cup finals he played in, but Sachin Tendulkar was a star throughout his tournament run with India. Possessing a World Cup average of 56.9, Tendulkar was a genius in cricket’s short form and his ability to score quickly no matter what the conditions, was an attribute that made India one of the most feared teams about.
Scoring centuries for fun, Tendulkar was also a threat when bowling and took some notable scalps when performing with the ball instead of his trusted bat. An icon of cricket and arguably the sport’s greatest ever batsman, Tendulkar’s contribution to the one-day game was massive.
The third Australian on the list, and possibly the finest cricketer of all time. Shane Warne burst on the scene with Australia in the early 1990s and his wicket taking ability revolutionised the sport with a major emphasis being placed on spin bowling. His ability to scare batsmen no matter what the conditions or surface ensured that he was the most dangerous weapon any captain could have and that was evident when representing Australia in multiple World Cups.
A figure of calmness whenever he played, Warne never stayed down for long thanks to his uncanny ability to turn any situation in Australia’s favour. Under Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting, Warne was a captain’s dream as they knew they could turn to him at any time and he would more than often find a result.