The ODI season is in full swing, with Australia and India recently completing the highest-scoring five-match series of all time, while the defending world champs head across the Tasman at the start of February for a hotly anticipated Chappell-Hadlee series against the Black Caps.
Following on from our feature on the players who have hit the most sixes in Test history, the CBS Top 5 is paying tribute to the superstars who have cleared the rope the most times in one-day internationals – and there’s not an Australian in sight.
5. MS Dhoni (Asia/India) – 192
The veteran skipper showed he is still one of the best hitters in limited-overs cricket, smashing four sixes in India’s series against Australia amongst a modest total of 86 runs in five matches. Dhoni has scored 8918 ODI runs in 275 matches at the sensational average of 51.25, hitting a six every 52 balls he faces.
4. Sachin Tendulkar (India) – 195
‘The Little Master’ played a colossal 463 ODI matches from 1989-2012, and holds records for most runs (18,426) and centuries (49). One of the most technically brilliant batsmen of all time, Tendulkar preferred going along the ground, hitting 2016 fours in his glittering career – but his longevity ensured he made it onto this list with 195 sixes.
3. Chris Gayle (ICC/West Indies) – 238
No surprises to see the flamboyant Windies stalwart on this list. Gayle, who boasts 22 ODI tons in 269 matches, is the co-holder (with Rohit Sharma and AB de Villiers) of the world record for most sixes in an innings, clubbing 16 against Zimbabwe during last year’s World Cup. He averages a six every 40 balls he faces in one-dayers.
2. Sanath Jayasuriya (Asia/Sri Lanka) – 270
A player at the forefront of revolutionising one-day cricket during the mid-1990s as an aggressive opener, Jayasuriya played 445 ODIs and scored 13430 runs from 1989-2011. The Sri Lankan legend, a key figure in the nation’s watershed 1996 World Cup triumph, crafted a strike-rate of 91.20 despite playing much of his career during a time when run-a-ball batsmen were unheard of. In 1996 he demolished Gordon Greenidge’s record for most sixes in an ODI innings (8) with 11 against Pakistan, a mark that stood until 2008.
1. Shahid Afridi (Asia/ICC/Pakistan) – 351
The evergreen limited-overs specialist debuted as a 16-year-old in 1996 and is still going strong 20 years later as Pakistan’s T20 captain. ‘Boom Boom’ Afridi averaged a six from every 20 balls he faced – an astonishing effort – while his strike-rate was an incredible 117. Predominantly used as a middle- to lower-order powerhouse, Afridi averaged just 23.57 in 369 innings but managed six centuries and 39 fifties. In his first ODI innings, Afridi equalled Jayasuriya’s six-month-old world record of 11 sixes in an innings when he smashed Sri Lanka for a record-breaking 37-ball ton. Ironically, the teenager carted Jayasuriya for 28 off one over.
Soon-to-retire New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum is just outside the top five with 191, hitting a six every 33 balls he faced in ODIs. South African superstar AB de Villiers is making his way up the leaderboard, sitting in seventh spot currently with 181 sixes in just 195 matches.
Ricky Ponting (ninth) is the highest Australian on the list with 162 sixes in 375 games, followed by Adam Gilchrist (11th) with 149 in 287 ODIs and Shane Watson (17th) with 131 in 190 games.