Wednesday, November 16, 2011


The skill of a player is tested in Test matches rather than in limited overs fixtures. Yet one can’t rule out the greats of ODIs when talking on great performers. The lack of success in longer traditional format is likely to hinder a person’s greatness quotient when he has been a star in limited overs cricket. True greats are one’s who shine in every format of the game they play. It has been a norm to laud the successful ones in Test matches. But let us not forget the Limited overs specialists who brought a lot of beauty to the great game. This is a write up on such great One day specialists who unfortunately could not find their feet in tests.

If there is an opinion poll on greatest ODI player or batsmen to be precise, one name to pop up in the discussion will be Michael Bevan. He is considered to be the best finisher in ODI history. If Steve Waugh’s reassuring presence at No 5 in Test batting line up of the great Australian side was pivotal, none the less is Bevan’s role at No 6 in their ODI setup. A man for crisis and pressure situations, he has been the key in Australia’s chases with a calm and cool demeanour. Dhoni is acclaimed as “Captain Cool” these days but the original “Cool Customer” is always Bevan. His staggering record of 6912 runs in 232 matches at an amazing average of 53 and 67 not outs speaks the volume of his impact on Australia’s successful run in ODIs. When in a tight chase or to make the target too huge for the opposition, he was their man. His run a ball style and cool presence at the crease soaking the pressure and ability to shepherd the tail are worth emulating for any finisher. If at all a World All Time ODI XI is selected, this man is likely to find a place at No 6. 

Despite such a commendable job in ODIs, Bevan was never a great Test player. For a batsman of his calibre 785 runs in 18 tests for Baggy Green is a blot in the profile. He did have a successful kick start to the test career but failed to live up to his ODI exploits in longer formats. His weakness against short ball is a mystery still because he had a good domestic record in Australia and England.

Next man in my list is an Enigma. A character seen never before and never after in Cricket field. Shahid Afridi, toast of Pakistan is another one day wonder. Right from making debut as a teenager and scoring the fastest century in ODIs, Afridi has been a relevation. He boasts of few of the quickest ODI knocks and yet he has an enviable record as a spinner. He has been a man in news all the time and not always for on field reasons. From a string of retirements and comebacks to ball biting episode he has been in limelight day in and day out. A lion at heart and heart in the sleeves, he has been the face of Pakistan cricket in last few years. Blessed with the impeccable ability of clearing the ground and a talent of scoring lightning quick, he has under achieved with the bat. More often than not, he loses his wicket to his keenness to clear the ground. With the ball, he is different though. A man with uncanny knack of picking wickets, the Pathan has been a clever economical bowler too. As a captain, he had the ability to take Pakistan to Semi final of World Cup 2011 when they had controversies plaguing them down from every sphere. His failure with bat despite so much talent is again a mystery. 

Truly a legend in ODIs with 6274 runs and 320 wickets, Afridi has not been a part of Test squad in more than 27 tests. It is not that he was not selected but it has been a self imposed exile. He has been reluctant to play the longer format for the reason better known to him. If not for his batting, his leg spin can find him a place in Test squad anyday. Unlike others, it has been a temperamental issue rather than a technical one.

Completing my trio is World Cup winning Man of the Series in 2011 World Cup. Yuvraj Singh is one of the cleanest striker of the ball. He has the record of scoring fastest fifty in any format of the game. Broad will never forget that Durban night in his lifetime for becoming the only Test Bowler to be hit for six sixes in an over in T20s. Making his debut with a street smart 84 against Australia, Yuvraj has spent a  career with so much success in ODIs. He has an amazing record of 8000 plus ODI runs and has got a name as an excellent finisher and accumulator. India’s success in ODIs during the middle period of 2000s owes to his batting as much as to Tendulkar’s or Sehwag’s starts. He has also been an allrounder par excellence with 109 wickets in ODIs. 

Yet a batsman of his quality has been found wanting in the Whites. The presence of Fab Four in Indian middle order robbed him the opportunity to establish himself in Test squad. By the time his time came, He could not sustain the spot. He has failed time and again to quality spin and swing bowling. For a man of his quality, 1800 runs in 36 tests is complete failure. He is still to find his feet in the test team and off field controversies have n’t been helping him either. But still if he can establish his test career, he would be doing a world of good to India’s future with the Trio of Legends in their final phase of career. But time is fast running out.

The list is not complete. Malinga, the ultimate death bowler had a short test career compared to his Limited overs one thanks to a dodgy knee. J.P.Dumminy is yet to establish himself as a test player though he has a decent limited overs record. There are surely lot more names to be added up like Abdur Razzaq, Dwayne Bravo etc. But these three players – Bevan, Afridi and Yuvraj are names that could find a place in their Team’s annals in ODIs but unfortunately not in Test format. Surely they are greatest One Day Wonders.

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