Picking Australia’s greatest ODI XI

The Rich History

Statistically, Australia has been the most successful ODI team since the format began in 1971. They have won 5 Cricket World Cups and 2 Champions Trophies. Their win percentage is the second-highest. Only South Africa’s win percentage of 63.92 is greater. Australia was also the first country to adopt coloured clothing, dark sightscreens and a white cricket ball. Therefore we must ask: what is Australia’s greatest ODI XI?

The Openers

Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden

TAUNTON, UNITED KINGDOM – JUNE 14: Matthew Hayden (R) and Adam Gilchrist of Australia in action during training at Somerset County Ground on June 14, 2005, in Taunton, England. (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)

Gilchrist and Hayden averaged nearly 49 while opening the batting together in ODI Cricket. They also scored over 5000 runs together. Their attacking cricket often set the perfect platform for the middle-order. Matthew Hayden dominated the 2007 Cricket World Cup. His 659 runs helped Australia win their third consecutive title. Adam Gilchrist scored a half-century in both the 1999 and 2003 World Cup final. He top-scored with 149 to annihilate the Sri Lankan bowling attack in 2007.

The Middle-Order

Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey, Michael Bevan

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 14: Ricky Ponting of Australia plays a ball to the leg side during the Fourth One Day International match between Australia and the West Indies at The Gabba on February 14, 2010, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Ricky Ponting captained Australia to two World Cup triumphs and personally averaged 42 with the bat. His finest moment was scoring a superb century in the 2003 World Cup final. Michael Bevan was regularly dubbed as the greatest ODI batsman of his time. His greatest attribute was taking the game deep and finishing off close contests. Michael Hussey was an excellent player of spin and a very consistent batsman averaging nearly 50.

The All-Rounders

Shane Watson and Andrew Symonds

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 16: Shane Watson of Australia acknowledges the crowd as he leaves the field after being dismissed during the 5th NatWest Series one day international at the Ageas Bowl on September 16, 2013, in Southampton, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Shane Watson scored back-to-back centuries in the 2009 Champions Trophy to help Australia win the tournament. An underrated bowler who could also bowl a good line and length. His 190 matches garnered 168 ODI wickets. Andrew Symonds could bowl both medium pace and off-breaks which was a rare skill to have at the time. His destructive batting helped Australia cruise through the 2003 World Cup.

The Bowling Attack

Shane Warne, Brett Lee, Mitchell Starc, Glenn Mcgrath

NEW ZEALAND – FEBRUARY 19: Australia’s Brett Lee, left jumps in the arms of Glenn McGrath after defeating New Zealand in the international one-day cricket match at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand, Saturday, February 19, 2005. Australia won by 10 runs. (Photo by Ross Setford/Getty Images)

Shane Warne did not play as much ODI cricket as he should have through various incidents. But his impact was massive on the games that he played. He would often deceive batsmen in the air with his drift. His ball to Herschelle Gibbs in the 1999 World Cup semi-final rivals his ball to Mike Gatting in 1993.

Brett Lee was a bowler capable of bowling between 90-100 miles per hour consistently. His sheer pace would often rattle opposition batsmen on any given surface. In his peak, Glenn Mcgrath was the definition of consistency. He would bowl accurately and frustrate batsmen because he would not allow them to score runs quickly. Another strength he possessed was that he could extract seam movement out of most surfaces.

Mitchell Starc is the only current player who makes this list. His left-arm variety would bring a different dimension to this attack. He has one of the best inswinging yorkers in the world which batsmen find difficult to defend against.

Australia’s Greatest ODI XI

Hayden, Gilchrist (WK), Ponting, Hussey, Bevan, Watson, Symonds, Lee, Starc, Warne, Mcgrath

Unlucky to miss out: Warner, Smith, Jones, Johnson

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