In cricket, with the encompassing determinants, it’s remarkably laborious to ensure a long career. Be it your own form, the strategy of the team or the intense competition, there are a plethora of hindrances to having a long career. In ODI’s especially, since every nation builds their side in preparation for the upcoming World Cup, the task is even tighter. Yet, there have been a few cricketers who have had ODI careers spanning around two decades. In this article, we talk about five players with the longest ODI careers in the history of the game.
5. Chris Gayle – 19 Years 337 Days*
Matches – 301* || First Match – 11 September 1999 || Last Match – 14 August 2019*
One of the very few active cricketers who made their debut in the previous century, Chris Gayle stands at No.5 on this list. It needs to be mentioned here that Gayle is yet to retire from ODI cricket, and he could still move up the chart.
The ‘Universe Boss’ made his debut in the 1st ODI against India when the teams were on a tour to Canada in Toronto in 1999. A 19-year-old then, Gayle batted at No.4 but was bowled off Robin Singh on his eighth delivery. He could add just one run to the team’s cause. India eventually won that game by eight wickets.
4. Javed Miandad – 20 Years 272 Days
Matches – 233 || First Match – 11 June 1975 || Last Match – 9 March 1996
For a player who was there in the scene for almost two decades, you could say that Javed Miandad‘s stat of playing 233 ODI encounters is underwhelming. Yet, the cricketer was a legend for his country with his impactful performances.
One of the first cricketers who made ‘running between the wickets’ an important constituent of batting skills, it is ironic that in both his debut and the final game, which was in the 1996 World Cup against India, he was run-out. Despite many problems, Miandad came up with a spectacular performance in the 1992 World Cup, where he scored six fifties and helped his country lift its maiden trophy.
3. Sanath Jayasuriya – 21 Years 184 Days
Matches – 445 || First Match – 26 December 1989 || Last Match – 28 June 2011
A fearless opening batsman in ODI’s, Sanath Jayasuriya represented Sri Lanka for a long-time. He was part of five World Cup campaigns for Sri Lanka and won the trophy in 1996.
A 20-year-old when he made his debut, Jayasuriya was regarded as more of a bowling all-rounder. It was in Sri Lanka’s Australia Tour in 1989 that Jayasuriya made his ODI debut. Batting at No.5, the southpaw could score just three runs. Sri Lanka lost that game. In his final ODI game in the Sri Lanka tour of England and Scotland in 2011, Sanath made two runs from four deliveries and ended up on the losing side.
2. Mithali Raj – 21 Years 264 Days*
Matches – 214* || First Match – 26 June 1999 || Last Match – 17 March 2021*
Mithali Raj, the only woman cricketer on this list, occupies the No.2 spot on this list. The batting heavyweight from India, Mithali has already crossed two decades in her ODI career. She has also quit T20Is to prolong her ODI career. In a couple of interviews, the right-hander has revealed her intentions that the 2022 World Cup will be her swansong. If she does that, she can move to the No.1 spot on this chart.
It was a memorable debut for Mithali in ODI cricket. Batting first at Milton Keynes against Ireland, Team India put on 258 runs without losing a wicket in 50 overs. Despite playing her debut game, Mithali top-scored with 114 runs and set up the victory for the country.
1. Sachin Tendulkar – 22 Years 124 Days
Matches – 463 || First Match – 15 November1989 || Last Match – 18 March 2012
Of course, it is Sachin Tendulkar who tops this list of cricketers with the longest ODI careers. Arguably the best ODI batsman to have walked out to the field, Sachin, over a career that lasted more than two decades, set up an array of records and statistics, which batsmen are still finding difficult to beat.
Sachin’s first and last ODI game were two contrasting matches. Both were against Pakistan, and while his debut was a low-scoring thriller, his last encounter was a high-scoring one. Batting at No.5, Sachin got off to his ODI career with a duck, but he bowed out of the format as a legend with a well-made 52 of 48 balls as an opener. While India lost in Sachin’s first outing, in his last clash, Team India defeated Pakistan by six wickets.