Whenever the question of the greatest one-day cricketer has cropped up, the names of Sir Viv Richards and Sachin Tendulkar come up almost instantly. And, in the midst of the 2015 ICC World Cup fever, ESPNCricinfo's magazine 'Cricket Monthly' conducted an online poll to find out who comes on top. The result? The West Indian legend pipped the Indian genius, and was unanimously chosen as the greatest ODI player of all time by the distinguished voters, with 29 out of 50 votes. While Tendulkar came second, he was closely followed by Wasim Akram, Adam Gilchrist and Indian skipper MS Dhoni.
It may be recalled that Richards was a key figure in West Indies' dominance in world cricket through the 70s and 80s. Richards played an influential hand in West Indies' back to back World Cup wins in 1975 and 1979. He also starred in the 1983 final, which West Indies went on to lose. Apart from his batting prowess, Richards was a brilliant fielder as well. He effected three crucial run-outs in the 1975 World Cup final. He was a decent bowler as well. As these factors seemed to influence the jury to pick Richards over Tendulkar.
In terms of numbers, Tendulkar has no equal in one-day cricket. He holds the record for the most matches, most runs and most hundreds. In 463 ODIs, he amassed 18426 runs with 49 hundreds and 96 fifties at an average of 44.83. Tendulkar also holds the distinction of being the first one-day cricketer to score a double century, when he made 200 against South Africa in 2010.
The 11 greatest one-day players, according to the voters, were as follows: Gilchrist, Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Richards, Jacques Kallis, Dhoni, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kapil Dev, Akram, Shane Warne and Joel Garner. (Names not in order of votes)
The 50-member jury featured renowned cricketing names like Ian Chappell, Clive Lloyd, Rahul Dravid, Ponting and Graeme Smith among others.
--By A Cricket Correspondent