Saturday, October 22, 2011

Is M.S.Dhoni The Best Ever ODI Finisher?

The extraordinary exploits of India's 'Captain Clobber' M.S.Dhoni with the bat in ODI cricket of late. Has raised the debate about whether he is indeed the best finisher in the games history.

In order to decide, whether the claim about the Indian skipper has merit, you firstly have to look at his strengths and weaknesses as a finisher. Then compare him to the other men in the games history, that have such a lofty reputation.

So lets start by looking at M.S.Dhoni

When looking at Dhoni, his skills make him in essence the perfect man to have at the crease when the game is on the line.

I say this for many fans associate finishing with a players ability to play the huge shots. Which is indeed an essential part of being an expert in the role, but then also is the player being a great runner between the wickets. For which Dhoni is not only one of the quickest between the wickets, but also a great judge of a run.

Thus in essence, he is like death with a thousand cuts for opposition Captains, and bowlers. This because he can hit the ball into the stands as well as anyone. Then with his great running, he has the opposition under constant pressure in the field, and the Captain under duress with the field he has to set. In truth, when Dhoni is in an ODI, there never is enough fielders on the field.

For he is such a master manipulator through dabbing a few singles to make a Captain bring a field up to stop the run flow. Then he will hit it over the fielders head to the boundary or into the grateful crowd

Away from his exceptional play in the role. He has the true mind of a finisher. In the respect that he is ice cool in a pressure situation, and then like a master chess player  being able to assess the situation, and figure a way to ultimately checkmate the opposition with his play

Lastly, you cannot comment, and duly compliment Dhoni without bringing into the discussion. That he achieves these monumental efforts with the added burden of what is arguably the toughest, and definitely the most pressurised job in World cricket.

The Indian Captain.

His Main Contenders

Javed Miandad (Pakistan)

There are few better than this great Pakistani when it comes to finishing. He was a complete player in all regards. He was not only as cool as ice, but one of the best agitators of the opposition, and had such an ability to have a mental hold over them. He could play any shot in the book, and was explosive if needed to be. 

Like Dhoni, he was such a great judge of a single, and master manipulator of fields. Then when he had to attack, he could hit them many a mile.

The fans worshipped Imran Khan for the Pakistani World Cup win of 1992. Which is justified, but Javed's role in the win was just as crucial. His cool as ice innings in the pressure cooker chase against New Zealand in the Semi Final was a true finishing gem

This by emphasising his ability to be a master in assessing a situation, and what was needed to get to a victory target. Then also being able to keep his team mates cool in the crisis as well. Which when talking of Pakistan, keeping players from commiting hari kari is always an issue

His ability was perfectly shown in this famous or infamous performance (if your an Indian fan) in Sharjah. Which was one of the best finishing efforts in the games history

Viv Richards (West Indies)

In any aspect of the ODI, the man known as the 'Master Blaster' was the king.

His finishing efforts you could reel off ad nausem, but two stand out. Firstly his breath taking century in the 1979 World Cup Final. That pretty much finished the game after the 1st completed innings.Then his unbelievable 189, where he shared in a last wicket stand of 102 with Michael Holding for which Richards scored 92 of the runs.

He had everything and so much more in regards to such a fear factor that insured a hold over oppositions. Also, such was his tremendous power and audacious shots. That in this age with small grounds and space age bats. I could see Viv hitting 300 in an ODI. That sounds truly ridiculous, but for the fans that held off his every more very believable.

Enjoy the 1979 World Cup effort:
Mohammad Azharuddin (India)

Supreme artist that could play a shot that made you fall in love with him due to its majestic elegance. He used to play so many cameos for India to either set up a big innings when batting first or in finding a way to win from hopeless positions.

Though a traditional player, he had that potential to hit a cricket ball many a mile when he wanted too. He held the record for the fastest century in ODI cricket with his 62 ball effort against New Zealand in 1988.

This century against Pakistan is very highly regarded
Aravinda de Silva (Sri Lanka)

Great player with both power and very good running between wickets.

Ice in his veins making a master of any situation. His innings in the chase of the 1996 World Cup, when he came in 2/23 is widely regarded as one of the best innings in ODI cricket.

Then in my view for its completeness in how he played, and excelling against a very good Team and attack. The best finishing effort in the games history
Lance Klusener (South Africa)

Pure power, and my word what power the man known as 'Zulu' had!!!!!!

Plus when you combine it with his ability to innovate. He was an absolute nightmare for oppositions with the finishing cameos he played.

Though, he loses marks for his miscommunication's while running.........
Michael Bevan (Australia)

Widely regarded as one of the best ODi players ever.

Bevan had the reputation of one of the best finishers through his ability to sum up a situation, and go through the gears. Firstly in a crisis stabilising the situation through his expert accumulating of ones and two's and then upping the tempo through his hitting of boundaries. Then ultimately into over drive with his 6 hitting ability.

One of the key reasons for Australia's dominance of the ODI game
Clive Lloyd (West Indies)

One of the first true stars of the ODI game. A batsman of immense power, especially square of the wicket. The man know as the 'Big Cat' in honour of his breath taking fielding in the covers was also very cat like in his batting. Like a cat he was so stylish, and then when corner in a situation, he would come out and truly devastate. Quite literally clawing all the bowlers eyes out with his lethal blows.

A true master of finishing cameos, and in a Final or big match- he was truly money in the bank in terms of certain to perform
Mike Hussey (Australia)

Mr Cricket as he is affectionately known has garnered such a lofty reputation in all forms of the game. Though in the ODi arena, he is truly one of the best in any situation. As a finisher, he like all the best combines his expert running between the wickets and easy power to be lethal. Plus as cool as the other side of the pillow
Yuvraj Singh (India)

One of the true heroes of the indian World Cup win. He is such a composed player in the pressure cooker situations, and a perfect man for match defining cameos. Few have his power to all parts of the ground, and that intimidates in a very unique manner.
Inzamam ul Haq (Pakistan)

Love is Inzamam ul Haq because he is such a man that oozes cool. The stylish batsmen who always looks as though he just woke up. Then with the physique that gave the impression that he had a McDonald's drive in in his back yard, that he used regularly.

Despite all this.................

Boy could he play!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

His calm under pressure was as if he didn't have a pulse, and his mastery of any situation was beyond compare.

His innings of 60 off 37 balls in the 1992 World Cup Semi Final was one of the best innings ever, and a true finishing classic
Chris Harris (New Zealand)

One of the host of very accomplished Kiwi ODI players, and definitely one of the most under rated.

In pressure situations Harris was such a King. Whether it be through his innovation, hitting or pressure on the field through his running

Andrew Symonds (Australia)

Watch him in action, and enjoy!
Andrew Symonds ( Australia )

Almost the perfect ODI batsman.

He had power, great running, such calm under pressure and boy did he intimidate the opposition with his sheer potential to devastate like few others.

As a finish, he was near perfect.

It is a great pity, that he had a personality better suited for sitting on a boat in the middle of the ocean with a fishing rod in one hand and a beer in the other.

Rather than put up with the discipline of International Cricket
Last Word

In truth, picking who is the best is like choosing which of your children that you love the most.

Though this being said, Dhoni is indeed one of the most complete ODI players the World has seen, and indeed would be at the top of most lists.

So, ill leave the final choice to you the readers. As to who you think is best.

PS- Yes, and I am sure ive left many worthy names out!


  1. My first choice for the title is Michael Bevan. He did the job effectively without much fan fare. The flashy finishers list will certainlt be headed by Lance Kluesner and Shahid Afridi - the high risk men - who fail as many times as they succeed.

    Chris Harris, NZ do not get enough recognition as they deserve.

  2. This is not eazy, As u can see all these great batsmans doing there best to the team. I too go for Michael Bevan, he has done this many times and always consistant. Another point to consider is that, the positin they were batting, Sir Viv Richards, Clive Loyd, Javed Miandad, Aravinda De Silva, Azar all bats in the top order. The presure is not that much coz plenty of batting to come in, But if you look at Michael Bevan, Lance Klusner and Dhoni they always have to do the job with the tailenders.... And another good innings i would like on the list..... Anjelo Mathews 77 Not out against Australia! A MIRACLE AT MCG!

  3. what about the innings of Abdul Razzaq in odi vs SA where 102 were needed of 67 deliveries and 3 wickets left. He scored almost 90 runs of those and finished the game.

  4. This List is Uncomplete Without Abdul Razzak,