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Shastri reveals who he regards as the greatest ODI players

Former India captain Ravi Shastri says its difficult to pin it to a single player when it comes to choosing greatest limited player of all time

Shastri reveals who he regards as the greatest ODI players - Cricket News
Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya during an ODI match.
Former India captain Ravi Shastri has revealed which players he believes are the greatest ODI stars of all time.

"If I was to choose my best ODI batsman then it would be Sachin Tendulkar and if I was asked to name my best ODI bowler then it would be Wasim Akram," said Shastri in an interview with the ICC website.

"But looking at all-round cricketers and their impact on the game then I am tied over Viv Richards and Sanath Jayasuriya."

"The best way to sum up the difference between Viv and the rest through his career was that he was the one player who had the ability to spoil a good game of cricket. Even when I was in the opposition and on the receiving end of one of his performances it was still possible to marvel at his ability.

"That ability was primarily as a batsman, of course, and with his body language and his aggression, when everything was in sync' then he was impossible to bowl at. But what shouldn't be ignored is his fielding which also turned matches, most notably his run-outs that helped beat Australia in the 1975 World Cup final and with the ball he invariably produced solid spells with crucial wickets through his effective off-spin. He was the match-winning package in every sense.

"As for Sanath Jayasuriya, he ripped up and re-wrote the one-day rule book through his amazing hitting at the top of the order and he's still doing it today, past the age of 40.

"On top of that, he's always been a brilliant fielder and a very under-rated bowler. Sanath is also, quite simply, a match-winner in every sense and in terms of his performances against India for example, when he's fired then invariably Sri Lanka has won.

"You can talk about the abilities of Muralidaran, Vaas, Sangakkara, Jayawardena and even Aravinda de Silva going back a few years but when Sanath is on song he has set up the match for the rest of them.

"He has redefined batting at the top of the order. When someone starts playing the way he did – and still does – back in the mid-1990s then cricket sense tells you that person will be found out at some stage. But here we are in 2009 and he's still at it, smashing opening attacks everywhere, just as he did over a decade ago. He might not be in his prime any more, that period in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but he can still hammer any attack. I saw his record century in Singapore against a quality Pakistan attack a few years ago and that was a privilege that still sticks in the mind."

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