This is another one of those topics that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and it’s a list of the top 5 players who’s who in cricket history. This list will be difficult to crack because the number of ODI matches played these days is far less than in the past, and the number of great teams that used to play the 50-over format of the game is far less. Hopefully, the limited-overs game regains its allure because it is extremely fun, and I am a major admirer of this style.
It should come as no surprise that the Top 5 players with the most ODI matches played are Asians, as we Asians loved playing the ODI format of the game when all the teams were equal and the ODI cricket scene revolved around Asia and Australia and seeing great quality batters and bowlers go at it for 50 overs and show the world all their class and skills was a joy to witness, something that is missing in today’s times as the level of the teams is not as good and the ODI So, let’s have a look at the Top 5 Players that have played the most ODI matches.
Sachin Tendulkar (463 ODI Matches Played)
This is one of Sachin Tendulkar’s records that will almost certainly never be broken, as this number of matches played is unheard of, especially these days when players prefer to play test or T20I cricket rather than ODI cricket, but with the 2023 World Cup approaching, hopefully, more ODIs will be played. Sachin Tendulkar, my all-time favorite cricketer, played these many ODIs despite playing at the top for more than 22 years and simply hitting runs after runs for India.
The thrill of seeing Sachin Tendulkar bat was unrivaled. Without a question, the GOAT of One-Day International cricket. In as many matches, he scored almost 18000 ODI runs.
Mahela Jayawardene (448 ODI Matches Played
The legendary Mahela Jayawardene of Sri Lanka is ranked second on this list, having played only 15 ODI matches fewer than Sachin Tendulkar. He was the Mr. Dependable of Sri Lanka cricket, along with Kumar Sangakkara, when it came to batting, scoring over 12500 runs to show it. Sri Lanka’s big match player, Mahela Jayawardene, is best known for scoring a stunning century in the 2021 World Cup final, but India was too good on the day and quickly chased down the target. As a great leader and one of the best batters in Sri Lankan cricket, he will be sorely missed.
Sanath Jayasuriya (445 ODI Matches Played)
Another all-time great of Sri Lankan cricket, he is now regarded as one of the best all-rounders to have ever represented the country. This guy is one of a select handful who has scored over 13000 ODI runs and taken over 300 wickets, and this is what made him such a lethal player since the other team didn’t know how to play against him when he was batting at his best or bowling left-arm spinners and taking regular wickets. Sanath Jayasuriya also played the ODI format for 22 years, and it’s easy to see why he did so because no one else could match him.
Kumar Sangakkara (404 ODI Matches Played)
The third back-to-back player from Sri Lanka, this time from the Holy Trinity of Sri Lankan cricket’s finest players, with just Muthiah Muralidaran remaining on the list. Kumar Sangakkara was one of the most prolific run-scorers in not just Sri Lankan cricket but also world cricket, scoring over 14000 ODI runs at an average of over 40. He served Sri Lankan cricket with great dignity and pride and was a tremendous global advocate for the game. I like watching him bat, and he was the most graceful and sophisticated athlete I had ever seen.
Shahid Afridi (398 ODI Matches Played)
Shahid Afridi of Pakistan is the fifth and final player on our list. Sanath Jayasuriya was to Sri Lanka what he was to Pakistan. When he was at his best, he was the most dangerous batter in the world, smashing bowlers for pleasure and hitting 45-ball ODI hundreds. Not only that, but Shahid Afridi was also a wizard with the ball, taking 395 ODI wickets, the most ever, and scoring over 8000 runs for Pakistan. All of his colleagues and supporters affectionately referred to him as Lala, and he was also known as Book Boom Afridi because he constantly came out intending to hit sixes.