Presenting before you the all-time New Zealand Men’s ODI XI, based on the ICC all-time rankings.
Across fifty years of ODI cricket, New Zealand has produced several remarkable ODI players. And while they have never won an ODI World Cup – they were runner-ups on the last two occasions – they have several great ODI moments to their name: including the ICC Knock Out Trophy triumph in 2000, and beating the invincible Australia team 3-0 at home in 2007.
This XI, built entirely on the basis of the ICC all-time rankings, comprises five batters, one wicketkeeper, two all-rounders, a spinner, and two quicks. Let’s take a look at the side:
41 ODIs, 1,598 runs @ 47, 3 100s, HS: 171
All-time ICC ODI rating: 854
All-time ICC ODI ranking: 26
Glenn Turner was an ODI giant in the nascent stages of the format, at a time when few had figured out how to approach it. He was the highest run-getter in the inaugural World Cup in 1975, adding 333 runs at an average of 166.5 with a highest score of 171 against East Africa, which remained the world record for eight years. In 41 ODIs he scored three hundreds and nine fifties.
87 ODIs, 2,784 runs @ 35.69, HS: 93
All-time ICC ODI rating: 812
All-time ICC ODI ranking: 49
Andrew Jones started late, making his debut at almost 28 but went on to forge a successful ODI career for himself in the late Eighties and Nineties. While his Test returns (an average of 44.27) won him greater praise, he was quite a useful batter in a bowling-friendly period. Although he never scored an ODI hundred, he had 25 fifties to his name.
151 ODIs, 6,174 runs @ 47.49, 13 100s, HS: 148
All-time ICC ODI rating: 799
All-time ICC ODI ranking: 59
A modern-day legend, Kane Williamson is one of the finest batters the nation has ever produced. With a long career ahead, he is the fifth-highest run-getter for the Black Caps in ODIs, and over 6,000 runs to his name. He is also a handy bowler, with 37 wickets in his kitty.
143 ODIs, 4,704 runs @ 38.24, 4 100s, HS: 107
All-time ICC ODI rating: 818
All-time ICC ODI ranking: 44
Martin Crowe was one of the greatest players of all time. He had a prolific career for New Zealand in the Eighties and Nineties, leading his team’s charge in the 1992 World Cup. He captained his side all the way to semi-final of the tournament, before being undone by Imran Khan’s cornered tigers. Adept at playing across conditions, he was also one of the few batters who were able to counter Wasim Akram’s dreaded reverse swing.
236 ODIs, 8,602 runs @ 47.52, 21 100s, HS: 181
All-time ICC ODI rating: 841
All-time ICC ODI ranking: 30
Ross Taylor, who featured in his final ODI series in April 2022, is statistically the most successful ODI batter for New Zealand. With 8,581 runs at an average of 48.2 in ODIs, he has played his part in several ODI victories for the Black Caps. Amongst his memorable knocks was a chancy 131 at Pallekele, which helped New Zealand get the better of Pakistan in the 2011 World Cup.
260 ODIs, 6,063 runs @ 30.41, 5 100s, HS: 166
All-time ICC ODI ratings: 685
All-time ICC ODI ranking:
Possessing a strike-rate of 96.37 in ODI cricket, Brendon McCullum was in many ways New Zealand’s answer to Adam Gilchrist: a boisterous, confident, aggressive batter in limited-overs cricket. And while he was a successful opener, his versatility helps him bolster the middle order in this XI.
It was natural that such a player became a favourite for many T20 franchises around the world, which perhaps played a part in his early retirement from international cricket, but by then he had established Black Caps as a strong ODI outfit.
78 ODIs, 928 runs @ 16, HS: 64; 89 wickets @ 30.53, 1 five-for, BBI: 5-28
All-time bowling rating: 784
All-time bowling ranking: 36
All-time all-rounder rating: 464
All-time all-rounder ranking: 15
While his son, Chris Cairns, went on to become a far more successful New Zealand cricketer, Lance Cairns was no less impactful in his time. He could bowl accurate inswingers, while also hitting big sixes lower down the order. He used a specialised bat on occasions, one termed ‘Excalibur‘. It lived up to its name when Cairns hit the fastest ODI fifty at the time with it.
115 ODIs, 158 wickets @ 21.56, 5 five-fors, BBI: 5-25; 1,751 runs @ 21.61, HS: 79
All-time bowling rating: 923
All-time bowling ranking: 2
All-time all-rounder rating: 470
All-time all-rounder ranking: 13
Dubbed by many as the greatest-ever Kiwi cricketer, Hadlee was a raging force in ODI cricket. He picked 158 wickets at an average of 21.56 with five five-fors to his name. He was also a handy batter with 1,751 runs to his name. He achieved his career-best rating of 470 in 1986 – that year, his batting average was 27.9, while his bowling average was 17.57.
295 ODIs, 305 wickets @ 31.72, 2 five-for, BBI: 5-7
All-time bowling rating: 788
All-time bowling ranking: 33
This name shouldn’t surprise anyone. The most successful ODI bowler for New Zealand is the team’s sole specialist spinner. Debuting in 1997, his role evolved over the years from a holding bowler to the chief strategist, determining his side’s fortunes as the captain. Daniel Vettori’s all-round skills ensure that this side bats all the way down to nine.
82 ODIs, 147 wickets @ 20.88, 4 five-fors, BBI: 6-19
All-time bowling rating: 809
All-time bowling ranking: 23
The former policeman who could bowl with fiery pace rocked Australia in his debut series in 2002. He was the highest wicket-taker in the series, plucking 21 wickets at an average of 16.38, and enjoyed a short but fruitful career where he secured his reputation as one of New Zealand’s finest bowlers of the 2000s. His international career, though, was time and again afflicted by injuries which meant that he retired early.
114 ODIs, 140 wickets @ 25.84, 1 five-for, BBI: 5-34
All-time bowling rating: 892
All-time bowling ranking: 6
Hadlee’s efficient ally during the 70s and 80s, Ewen Chatfield was an effective bowler in his own right. With 140 ODI wickets at an average of 25.84, he helped New Zealand to several wins in the era, also taking 14 wickets across three World Cup editions.
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