Simon Patrick O'Donnell
January 26, 1963, Deniliquin, New South Wales
Right hand Bat
Right arm Fast medium
Multi-talented athlete Simon O'Donnell ended a promising Australian Rules football career to focus on cricket. He went on to become a valuable all-rounder in the Australian one-day team, and was a member of the side when it marked its resurgence with a surprise World Cup win in 1987. O'Donnell the cricketer is most keenly remembered for a number of explosive innings in Australia's middle-lower order. His clean, powerful drives straight of the wicket and through mid-on were particularly effective. His feats included an 18-ball half-century against Sri Lanka in 1990, which remained the fastest 50 scored in ODI cricket for almost six years. However, O'Donnell's intelligent fast-medium bowling often proved to be more pivotal in Australia's one-day fortunes. In the 1987 World Cup he had limited impact with the bat but was a significant wicket-taker and finished the tournament as Australia's most economical bowler.
O'Donnell was diagnosed with cancer at the end of the tournament. He made a strong recovery and returned to one-day international cricket from 1988-89.
Since his retirement from cricket, O'Donnell has become a member of the Nine Network's commentary team, and is the regular host of The Cricket Show, which airs during the lunch breaks of Tests in Australia.
Anthony Fallick (June 2002)
Batting & Fielding