February 25, 2009

Murali takes the baton from Akram

The progression of record holders for most wickets and runs in ODIs
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Muttiah Muralitharan's 503rd wicket in ODIs was Gautam Gambhir © AFP
 

A little more than a month into 2009, we witnessed the fall of a major record. Muttiah Muralitharan took his 503rd wicket against India at the Premadasa Stadium to become the highest wicket-taker in one-day internationals, an honour that Wasim Akram seemed to have owned forever. But who held the record before them and for how long? This week we look at the progression of record holders for most wickets and runs in ODIs.

Before Murali, Kapil Dev was the last bowler to simultaneously hold the records for Test and ODI wickets. Unlike Murali, who will remain the record holder in both formats for several years, Kapil's dual reign was brief. He had been the highest wicket-taker in ODIs since 1988, after breaking Joel Garner's nine-month old record of 146 wickets, against West Indies in Sharjah, but went past Richard Hadlee's Test record only in February 1994. By that time Akram was closing in on Kapil's ODI mark of 251 wickets. Akram claimed the mark in August 1994, trapping Sanath Jayasuriya lbw, also at the Premadasa Stadium, and remained on top for more than 14 years. Six years passed after Akram's last ODI, in 2003, before he was overtaken.

England's Geoff Arnold was the first bowler to remain the highest wicket-taker for more than two years - his tally grew from six to 18 wickets between 1972 and 1975, when ODIs were few and far between. Later Dennis Lillee held the record for three years before becoming the first bowler to take 100 ODI wickets, against Zimbabwe in the 1983 World Cup.

Who are the contenders to Murali's title? The closest current players are Chaminda Vaas and Brett Lee, with 400 and 313 wickets respectively, but it's highly unlikely that they will play long enough to overtake Murali. Makhaya Ntini is on 265 but he will have to double his tally to have any chance. Maybe the best bet is Ajantha Mendis, whose career has just begun. He's 23 years old and has become the fastest to reach 50 wickets.

Most wickets in ODIs - progressive record holders
Player Wkts Opposition Ground Match End Scorecard
KR Stackpole 3 v England Melbourne 5 Jan 1971 ODI 1
R Illingworth 3 v Australia Melbourne 5 Jan 1971 ODI 1
AA Mallett 3 v England Melbourne 5 Jan 1971 ODI 1
KR Stackpole 3 v England Manchester 24 Aug 1972 ODI 2
AA Mallett 3 v England Manchester 24 Aug 1972 ODI 2
RA Woolmer 3 v Australia Manchester 24 Aug 1972 ODI 2
AA Mallett 5 v England Lord's 26 Aug 1972 ODI 3
GG Arnold 6 v Australia Birmingham 28 Aug 1972 ODI 4
GG Arnold 18 v New Zealand Nottingham 11 Jun 1975 ODI 23
CM Old 18 v East Africa Birmingham 14 Jun 1975 ODI 27
CM Old 41 v West Indies Lord's 23 Jun 1979 ODI 74
AME Roberts 41 v England Melbourne 20 Jan 1980 ODI 86
AME Roberts 45 v England Lord's 30 May 1980 ODI 90
DK Lillee 45 v India Melbourne 6 Dec 1980 ODI 97
DK Lillee 103 v West Indies Lord's 18 Jun 1983 ODI 215
MA Holding 104 v Sri Lanka Sydney 17 Jan 1985 ODI 290
MA Holding 142 v England Melbourne 30 Jan 1987 ODI 428
J Garner 142 v England Melbourne 30 Jan 1987 ODI 428
J Garner 146 v New Zealand Christchurch 28 Mar 1987 ODI 441
N Kapil Dev 146 v New Zealand Sharjah 1 Apr 1988 ODI 517
N Kapil Dev 251 v New Zealand Christchurch 2 Apr 1994 ODI 899
Wasim Akram 251 v Sri Lanka Colombo (SSC) 22 Aug 1994 ODI 917
Wasim Akram 502 v Zimbabwe Bulawayo 4 Mar 2003 ODI 1980
M Muralitharan 502 v India Colombo (RPS) 3 Feb 2009 ODI 2813
M Muralitharan 505 v India Colombo (RPS) 8 Feb 2009 ODI 2818

The record for most ODI runs changed hands frequently between Ian Chappell, Dennis Amiss and Keith Fletcher during the first few years of ODI cricket. Amiss eventually broke from the pack in June 1975, going past Fletcher's tally of 599 runs to reclaim the record, and finished his career with 859 runs at an average of nearly 48, in 1977. Chappell and Fletcher were unable to catch up, even though they played until 1980 and 1982 respectively.

Another three-way battle began two years later when Greg Chappell went past Amiss during the World Series Cup in Australia in 1979. West Indies were also involved in the tournament and Viv Richards scored 85 off 77 balls against England at the Gabba in the very next match to go past Chappell's tally of 867. The record changed hands twice more during the series and it ended with Richards leading with 1059 runs - he was the first person to score more than 1000 runs in ODIs.

Gordon Greenidge entered the race briefly and held the record for seven months in 1980 before Richards took it back against Pakistan in Sialkot on December 5. Two days later Chappell was back in front and this time he held the record for three years, until he played his last match in April 1983, finishing with 2331 ODI runs.

Richards soon caught up and broke the record against India in December 1983. It was the start of a seven-year reign for the King and he had raised the bar to 6051 runs by March 1990. Richards played until May 1991, leaving Greenidge behind, but he was overtaken before his last ODI by team-mate Desmond Haynes, who broke the record against Pakistan in Karachi in 1990. Haynes' final tally of 8648 stood for four years after his last ODI, against England in 1994.

In November 1998, Mohammad Azharuddin became the first Indian to become the highest run-scorer in ODIs, and the record has never left the subcontinent since. Azharuddin remained the record holder until the end of his career in June 2000. Five months later Sachin Tendulkar scored his 9379th run in the Champions Trophy final against New Zealand to become the highest run-scorer in ODIs. He currently has 16,440 runs but his appearances in ODIs have become more sporadic.

Most runs in ODIs - progressive record holders
Player Runs Opposition Ground Match End Scorecard
JH Edrich 82 v Australia Melbourne 5 Jan 1971 ODI 1
IM Chappell 113 v England Manchester 24 Aug 1972 ODI 2
IM Chappell 144 v England Lord's 26 Aug 1972 ODI 3
DL Amiss 168 v Australia Birmingham 28 Aug 1972 ODI 4
DL Amiss 302 v New Zealand Manchester 20 Jul 1973 ODI 7
IM Chappell 316 v New Zealand Christchurch 31 Mar 1974 ODI 11
DL Amiss 322 v India Leeds 13 Jul 1974 ODI 12
KWR Fletcher 338 v India The Oval 16 Jul 1974 ODI 13
KWR Fletcher 400 v New Zealand Wellington 9 Mar 1975 ODI 18
DL Amiss 509 v India Lord's 7 Jun 1975 ODI 19
KWR Fletcher 599 v New Zealand Nottingham 11 Jun 1975 ODI 23
DL Amiss 613 v East Africa Birmingham 14 Jun 1975 ODI 27
DL Amiss 859 v Australia The Oval 6 Jun 1977 ODI 44
GS Chappell 867 v West Indies Sydney 21 Dec 1979 ODI 80
IVA Richards 883 v England Brisbane 23 Dec 1979 ODI 81
GS Chappell 919 v England Sydney 26 Dec 1979 ODI 82
GS Chappell 953 v England Sydney 14 Jan 1980 ODI 83
IVA Richards 971 v England Adelaide 16 Jan 1980 ODI 84
IVA Richards 1059 v England Sydney 22 Jan 1980 ODI 87
CG Greenidge 1073 v England Leeds 29 May 1980 ODI 89
CG Greenidge 1133 v Pakistan Karachi 21 Nov 1980 ODI 93
GS Chappell 1154 v New Zealand Sydney 25 Nov 1980 ODI 95
IVA Richards 1211 v Pakistan Sialkot 5 Dec 1980 ODI 96
GS Chappell 1213 v New Zealand Melbourne 7 Dec 1980 ODI 98
GS Chappell 2331 v Sri Lanka Colombo (SSC) 30 Apr 1983 ODI 196
IVA Richards 2457 v India Jamshedpur 7 Dec 1983 ODI 229
IVA Richards 6501 v England Georgetown 7 Mar 1990 ODI 617
DL Haynes 6537 v Pakistan Karachi 9 Nov 1990 ODI 639
DL Haynes 8648 v England Port of Spain 5 Mar 1994 ODI 890
M Azharuddin 8648 v Sri Lanka Sharjah 6 Nov 1998 ODI 1366
M Azharuddin 9378 v Pakistan Dhaka 3 Jun 2000 ODI 1600
SR Tendulkar 9433 v New Zealand Nairobi (Gym) 15 Oct 2000 ODI 1639
SR Tendulkar 16440 v Sri Lanka Colombo (RPS) 3 Feb 2009 ODI 2813

(*The player's first row shows the stats in which the player broke the record and the second, his record when he was equalled or overtaken)

Click here for the full tables.

If there's a particular List that you would like to see, email us with your comments and suggestions.

George Binoy is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo