Friday, December 1

Top 5 captains and their key players in ODI Cricket

Shoaib Malik and Nasir Jamshed. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Every captain backs a certain set of players in limited-overs due to the variety of roles they offer to the team. Some captains trust few players who can bat and bowl, few players who can do big-hitting and few players who bowl in certain situations. At times, such players come to the rescue of the team with their skill while a few with their ‘luck factor’. In this article, we look at few captains and their lucky charm players i.e. the captains who have won all matches when a certain player is selected in the XI.

Here are the top five lucky charms in ODI cricket in whose presence their captains have 100 win percentage:

5. Faf du Plessis and Wiaan Mulder – 7 matches

Wiaan Mulder and Faf du Plessis
Wiaan Mulder and Faf du Plessis. (Photo Source: RODGER BOSCH/AFP via Getty Images)

Wiaan Mulder was backed by South Africa ahead of the 2019 World Cup as an all-round option. He played a total of ten ODIs thus far; all of them across 20 months going into the World event. However, he failed to make an impact as he picked up 8 wickets and scored only 74 runs. Nevertheless, Mulder seemed to be Faf du Plessis’ lucky charm as they won an ODI series in Sri Lanka in 2018.

Mulder played a total of seven ODIs under Faf’s captaincy and ended up on the winning side in all the seven games. Until the 2017 tour, the Proteas never won chasing in the ODI format against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. But in first two matches of the series, they chased down targets of 194 and 245 respectively.

Faf was ruled out of the remaining two matches where the visitors lost chasing twice in two games. Faf du Plessis recently stepped down from the captaincy of South Africa team. Hence, he might not be able to play quite too many ODIs following the recent debacles let alone leading the team again.

4. Prosper Utseya and Forster Mutizwa – 7 matches

Prosper Utseya and Forster Mutizwa
Prosper Utseya and Forster Mutizwa. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Forster Mutizwa made his ODI debut in 2009 at the age of 24 but didn’t play anymore after 2011. He played a couple of T20Is and a Test during the 2012 tour of New Zealand but never appeared in International games. Mutizwa had an impressive start to his career scoring 258 runs in six innings across his first seven ODIs that too at an average of 51.6 with help of three fifties.

He also had a strike rate of 101.57 in those seven ODIs but managed to score only one more fifty at an average below 20 and strike rate under 60 after that. Interestingly, Mutizwa’s first seven ODIs were played against Kenya and all of them under Prosper Utseya. He was part of all games in the 5-match away series at the start of 2009 and later played last two games of the home series in October.

Zimbabwe won all those seven matches and Mutizwa became a lucky charm for Utseya. The spinner was Zimbabwe’s ODI captain for nine more matches but none featured Forster Mutizwa. In those seven ODIs, only Hamilton Masakadza scored more runs than Mutizwa as he amassed 458 runs with help of three fifties and an unbeaten 178; the 2nd highest individual ODI score of Zimbabwe.

3. Shoaib Malik and Nasir Jamshed – 8 matches

Shoaib Malik and Nasir Jamshed
Shoaib Malik and Nasir Jamshed. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Nasir Jamshed’s ODI career spread between 2008 and 2015 witnessed him playing 48 matches where he scored 1418 runs at an average of 31.5. The opening batsman’s best came while playing under Shoaib Malik as he scored 290 runs across 8 games at an average of 41.42. Only Mohammad Yousuf (363 in 6 innings) scored more than Nasir in those eight games; all of them won by Pakistan. It could be said Malik-Jamshed duo were benefited as they played five ODIs vs Zimbabwe and three vs Bangladesh.

However, Nasir was part of the 2008 Asia Cup at home but wasn’t picked until their successive defeats against India and Sri Lanka. The left-hander was included in the fixture against India during the Super-4s but Malik was ruled out of the game after collapsing during the fitness Test. Later, Jamshed played under Shoaib against Bangladesh where he scored an unbeaten fifty during Pakistan’s 10-wicket win. This game turned out to be the last time where Nasir played an ODI under Malik’s captaincy.

Jamshed didn’t get to play under Malik after 2008 though the latter stood as Pakistan captain in a couple of ODIs. Both the players have not retired officially but there is absolutely no chance of Jamshed playing under Malik again. The veteran all-rounder, Shoaib, retired from the ODIs after the World Cup last year while Nasir still has a ban from the sport of 8 years to serve for his involvement in the spot-fixing during the 2017 PSL.

2. Shane Warne and Darren Lehmann – 9 matches

Shane Warne and Darren Lehmann
Shane Warne and Darren Lehmann. (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images)

Shane Warne is often considered as one of the few guys who were suitable to captaincy role but never got the chance for long enough. The leg-spinner did get to lead Australia in a total of 11 ODIs; all during the 1998 and 1999 home seasons. He led the Aussies in the 1998 Tri-series match against New Zealand which they won by 131 runs. Warne was later captain in ten matches during the 1999 Carlton and United Tri-series which the home team won after defeating England 2-0 in the best of three finals.

Darren Lehmann was part of nine ODIs under Warne’s captain and witnessed the Australians winning all those nine. Lehmann seemed to be a lucky charm for the leg-spinner as Australia won one and lost one under him when Lehmann didn’t play. The left-handed batsman didn’t feature in the first two matches of the C&U Tri-series where Australia lost to England by 7 runs and bounced back with an 8-wicket victory over Sri Lanka.

Lehmann played a key role in Warne’s captaincy success as he amassed 321 runs at an average of slightly over 40 with three fifties. Only Adam Gilchrist (391) and Ricky Ponting (349) scored more runs in those nine ODIs. Gilchrist also featured in all the nine ODIs where Lehmann played under Warne. But the wicketkeeper-batsman was part of the other two ODIs where Lehmann didn’t play which included the 7-run defeat against the English team.

1. Sir Viv Richards and Winston Davis – 13 matches

Winston Davis had to play the waiting game for being an active cricketer in the 1980s as he often got overlooked due to the pace-attack of the West Indies. Winston’s International career was spread between 1983 and 1988 where he got to play only 35 ODIs and 15 Tests but didn’t produce any outstanding figures. The best of Davis came under Sir Viv Richards especially during the 13 ODI matches he played under him.

Winston Davis bagged 15 wickets across those 13 ODIs at an average little over 30. His best figures during these games was 3/7 in the 1985 Port of Spain ODI against New Zealand where he bowled six overs. Winston’s best ODI bowling figures remain as 7/51 against Australia which he bagged on his World Cup debut in 1983; which was also his 2nd ODI appearance.

West Indies won all the 13 ODI matches under Viv Richards featuring Winston in the playing XIs. Out of those 13 ODIs, most of them resulted in being huge victories for the Caribbean team. The 15 wickets picked by Davis in those 13 ODIs were also the most by any West Indian in those specific matches. In fact, West Indies lost only three out of the 35 ODIs played by Winston Davis and only one Test out of 15 appearances.

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