The Great Indian Odyssey

Highest Impact ODI Players from India

Continuing in our series of pieces on each country’s ODI history, we come home. From 1974 to 2012 (before the start of the current series in Sri Lanka), India played 804 matches and won 397 with a win loss ratio of 1.08. Their highest score is 418, lowest 54. They won the World Cup twice, in 1983 and 2011 and finished as runners-up in 2003.

We present three lists – of players, batsmen and bowlers. The minimum qualification to be on these lists is to have played 75 matches. A match is considered in this system only when there is a result, and if the player has bowled or batted, as the case may be.

Here are the highest impact ODI players in India’s history.

A first look at the list actually formulates the major problem Indian cricket has faced for a while now—the lack of a quality all-rounder. Out of the 20 players present on this list, only 4 qualify as proper all-rounders (Yuvraj Singh barely makes it as a genuine all-rounder).  The rest of the list is evenly spread out with 8 batsmen and 8 bowlers featuring in it.

India’s recent dominance as a one-day unit (barring the last few series losses) can also be attributed to the fact that as many as 9 players from the present playing generation feature on this list.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been the face of Indian cricket for a while now and it is not that surprising that he is the highest impact ODI player of all-time for India. His individual pointers actually point to his overall greatness as an ODI player. When it comes to batting, Dhoni has the 7th highest batting impact for an Indian and more importantly has 5 SDs in his career which is also the second highest for a wicket-keeper batsman in the world after Adam Gilchrist and Kumar Sangakarra (both have 6 each). Even when it comes to his captaincy, he has been India’s highest impact captain, ahead of the likes of Azharuddin, Kapil Dev and Ganguly. Although wicket-keepers have generally low failure rates (due to the flat impact they register for doing a set job), Dhoni’s failure rate of 15% is only the second lowest in the world (after Gilchrist).

Kapil Dev
, the best all-rounder India has seen in its history of ODI cricket comes in at the second spot. Those debating about his position being higher than that of Tendulkar’s should have a look at the last column. His failure rate is the fourth lowest (for a non-wicket-keeping all-rounder) in the world and when you couple that with his 5 SDs, they all form the archetype of a true champion. Being a World-Cup-winning captain didn’t hurt him either.

Sachin Tendulkar
comes in at the third spot and is easily India’s highest impact batsman of all time. His tally of 10 SDs is the third highest in the world (after Jayasuriya and Akram) and goes on to prove his legacy in the ODI format to a great extent. He also happens to be the third highest impact batsman of the world behind all-time greats Viv Richards and Dean Jones, and the highest impact ODI batsman of his generation by a distance.  Despite not being on top of any of the individual batting parameters, he registers such a high impact by dint of big individual performances. Even in terms of consistency (which is ordinarily associated with him), he has a relatively poor failure rate of 44% in comparison to the rest of the batting greats of ODI cricket. (He is actually 20th on the list).

It is also good to see that so many bits and pieces players of India who were never given the credit they actually deserved come up so high on this list. Ravi Shastri (4th), Mohinder Amarnath (6th) and Manoj Prabhakar (8th) were all no doubt highly respected players in the Indian ODI arena but never before had they been included in the same league as of that of the Tendulkars, the Dravids and the Gangulys.

Manoj Prabhakar
, who at one point of time used to open for India, both with the bat and the ball, narrowly misses the cut of being an all-rounder (just 0.12 away from an IMPACT of 1 as a batsman) but makes it to the list as a highly effective bowler and on the basis of his singular SD and a comparatively low failure rate of 28%.

Irfan Pathan’s presence at the 5th position maybe a bit of a shock to some but his Career Bowling IMPACT of 1.98 is actually the third highest on this list and his Wickets Tally IMPACT (proportion of wickets taken in a match) the highest for an Indian bowler.  His ability to strike with the bat also makes him a serious contender for the all-rounder’s spot for India especially at a time when India are desperately looking for one.

Virat Kohli’s presence in the list as the only new-generation player to make it here is even more keenly underlined in the list below.


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