The Story of ODI Cricket: Past, Present, and Future

Every child that grew up in the 80s and 90s fondly recalls watching cricket matches with their grandparents on a black and white TV. Even though we lacked immersive technology, it didn't matter to us, because watching a day-long match was the most exciting part of the day. Watching all our legends, Mohammad Azharuddin, Young Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid batting all day to win a match was a bliss for all the 80s and 90s kids. The greatest talent was on display during ODIs, in which each side batted for 50 overs, from bowlers who outfoxed the opposition to fielders who gave it their all to batsmen who were able to balance aggressiveness with prudence. Before the popularity of T20 cricket, ODIs were the most adored format because it kept spectators on the edge of their seats. The sport was fascinating for everyone since each ball had the power to alter the result.

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50 overs might seem like too much, but don’t be fooled! There’s a lot of planning, fielding position, and strategy required for every ball bowled, and bowlers must stick to these plans perfectly. Discipline is always the key for bowlers. For batsmen, it is all about patience and taking a calculated risk. But if you’re Virender Sehwag, you have the license to go after the bowlers from the very first delivery. Just like in 2011 World Cup, the way he smacked boundaries off the very first balls in every match! 

Virender Sehwag was on fire in the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup

Credit: ICC Via Getty Images


Since its inception, the sport has always been played in a first class format that lasted 4-5 days. But how did just a day long format emerge from the test format, which lasted so many days? When was the first one day match played?

Let’s look at the incredible story of how a rain-washed test match gave birth to this lovely format!

In a test series between Australia and England in 1970s, the first three days got washed off due to rain. Rather than letting the whole match go and avoiding a draw, the officials decided to conduct a single day match of 40 eight-ball overs per side and decide the winner. This gave birth to the ancestor of our modern one-day format, which was played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on January 5, 1971.

Since then, the format has been modified to 50 six-ball overs per side.


Although an ODI cricket match is a daylong contest between the bat and the ball, the outcome of the game can be determined by the final ball of the day or altered by any number of balls. The format teaches us that even the smallest error—a no ball, a misfield, or a run out—can cost you the game and eventually the championship. Who better than our Indian team and its followers to understand the worth of these errors?

The ICC World Cup trophy- The biggest Prize in CricketThe ICC Champions Trophy is now a defunct competiton

                                             Credit: ICC

The Cricket World Cup and the Champions Trophy are the pinnacle competitions where the finest teams compete valiantly to demonstrate their mettle. These are the games where careers may be made or broken and there are also ones where legends are born and emotions get shattered.

The ICC Cricket World Cup is the sport's premier event, one that each team and fan looks forward to with great anticipation. The competition, which debuted in 1975 with a 60 over per side format, puts the best 10 teams in the world against one another. Every four years, the tournament has produced some of the biggest upsets and most inspiring underdog tales. 

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One huge upset was the 2019 semi final matchup between India and New Zealand. The Indian team was favorites in the tournament, which was played in a round robin format for the first time since 1992. India was at the top of the table after the end of the group stages. They had to bowl first and did that exceptionally well, restricting New Zealand to just 239, which would have been an easy chase. But the Indian batting order succumbed to New Zealand’s bowling. Only Dhoni and Jadeja kept the dream alive for all Indians, but what happened later in the match shattered everyone’s hearts to irreparable amounts. THAT DHONI RUN OUT………………………… and the dream was over. 

MS Dhoni's last innings was in the 2019 world cup semi finals vs New Zealand

Credit: ICC

Once known as the sibling Competition of the World Cup, the ICC Champions Trophy was a one day international tournament featuring only eight top cricketing nations. It originated in 1998 as the ICC KnockOut Tournament and was later renamed the Champions Trophy in 2002. However, the ICC has now revised its strategy and decided to focus on a single premier competition for each format of the game. Consequently, the Champions Trophy has been discontinued. In 2017, when the tournament was last played, Pakistan clinched the title, beating India in the finals. 

Pakistan Team Celebrating their Champions Trophy 2017 victory against a dominant Indian side
Credit: ICC


The ICC rankings are a system for measuring how successful a national team has been over a period of years in this format, whether it be in bilateral matches, the World Cup, the Tri Series, or Champions League competitions. The formula is based on a team's performance in recent games, and teams are graded according to how many games they have won overall over time. Being ranked first as the best team in the world in this style is an honor for teams! 

Click here to check out the current ICC ODI Cricket rankings.

The Legends to Grace the Sport:

When it comes to this format, there are some legendary names that pop right up in our minds. The God-Sachin Tendulkar, might arguably be the greatest ever batsman in the format. King Kohli, is now following in his footsteps and is a modern great! There are also some players who have carried their teams to victories at every difficult stage, and are legends of the game. MS Dhoni, is the only captain to lead India to three ICC trophies and also has more than 10,000 runs in the format. Ricky Ponting was one of the greatest ever batsmen and a ruthless captain, leading Australia to two world cups. Sangakkara is one of the best wicket-keeper batsmen in ODI cricket, with over 14,000 runs. These are some of the biggest legends of the game who have graced this format with their love for the sport and excellence at their craft. 

Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar, the two greatest cricketers of all time
Credit: Hindustan Times

Here are the greatest batsmen and bowlers in ODI Cricket:


Batsman Name




Sachin Tendulkar




Kumar Sangakkara

Sri Lanka



Ricky Ponting




Sanath Jayasuriya

Sri Lanka



Virat Kohli*



With ZAP get a better understanding of how to bat with the ultimate confidence to someday find your name on this list. Read about Cricket Batting Tips Here.


Bowler Name




Muttiah Muralitharan

Sri Lanka



Wasim Akram




Waqar Younis




Chaminda Vaas

Sri Lanka



Shahid Afridi



Records and Stats:

Throughout history, there have been many brilliant performances by players that do not get documented in the record books. Kapil Dev's catch in the 1983 world cup or Dhoni's master strokes in his career as the Captain are just two examples which do not get documented in the record books. However, statistics can reveal a lot about the influence different players have had on the game, and in ODI cricket history, statistics can help quantify players' contributions. Here are some of the stunning stats in ODI cricket history. 

1- The record for most runs in the format is held by The God-Sachin Tendulkar’ with 18426. The man never stopped scoring runs, played everywhere, scored everywhere and at time to time made the bowlers bow down to his greatness. 

Sachin Tendulkar, one of the greatest ever, celebrates his innings with a bat raised up iin the air
Credit: DNA India

2- The most wickets in the format is held by Muttiah Muralitharan with 534! How unbelievable! He was a spin wizard, and made it completely impossible for the batsmen to read him. 

3- Ro-HITMAN Sharma holds the record for the most double centuries in this format of the game. His record of three double centuries is unlikely to ever be broken. 

Rohit Sharma Celebrates his 264, the highest score by a batsman in ODIs

Credit: NDTV Sports Via BCCI

He also holds the record of the highest score ever, with his 264 against Sri Lanka

4- The highest successful run chase in the history of the over format is when South Africa chased a mammoth total of 434 set by Australia. It was a match that nobody had ever thought was possible in their dreams, only for it to happen in reality.

Greame Smith celebrates the historic run chase by South Africa vs Australia
Credit: Cricbuzz on Twitter

The interesting fact about this match is that Australia set the record for the highest total ever in the first innings, which was broken by South Africa when they chased it down!


The ODI Cricket format has been at the forefront of the sport for more than five decades and has kept fans entertained with countless moments and memories of joy. Though for some fans it has brought continuous despair, the overall joy this sport brings them makes up for it. In recent times, One Day Internationals have lost a fair chunk of their popularity with T20 becoming the most watched and enjoyed format, but One Days still remain a most efficient test of a team's overall strengths and pedigree!

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