It has become facile for any good Test batsman, let alone a great one to achieve 1000 runs in a calendar year with pitches becoming more batting friendly and the style of batting changing due to the T20s gaining so much popularity.
But when it comes to ODIs, there are just 300 balls for a team to face. So most batsmen do not get a chance to play a big knock on a consistent basis, and thus in this format of the game a batsman has to be ‘special mention’ for scoring over 1000 runs in a period of 12 months. Here are those brilliant batsmen who have scored the most number of runs in a calendar year in ODIs
1) Sachin Tendulkar (India) – 1894 runs in 1998
1998 was definitely his magnum opus year in one-day cricket, and it is because of these 1894 runs that India’s fortunes were on the brighter side as his performances almost single-handedly gave India important victories, making it a successful year for the team too and not just Sachin Tendulkar.
The year started off on a promising note with three back-to-back fifties against archrivals Pakistan in the Independence Cup in Dhaka. A tri-series at home followed which involved Australia and Zimbabwe, in which he scored a century against the Aussies at Kanpur in an otherwise mediocre tournament for him. But he made the sands of Sharjah his own, as he scored 435 runs in 5 games which included his two consecutive hundreds against Australia in a round-robin game and the final respectively. Both the innings are rated by many as the finest to have ever been played in one-day cricket as his 134 in the final made India beat the world champions Australia, and Tendulkar the crowned king of batting.
He made Australia his bunny yet again in an ICC Champions Trophy quarterfinal game in Dhaka in October 1998 when he scored 141 off just 128 balls, to help India qualify for the semifinals. While again it was in Sharjah where he hit two more centuries, this time against Zimbabwe. On aggregate, Tendulkar ended with as many as 9 hundreds in 34 matches averaging 65.31 and at a blistering strike rate of 102.15.
2) Sourav Ganguly (India) – 1767 runs in 1999
This was the year which proved why Sourav Ganguly had to be considered across the cricketing globe as one of the finest batsman in limited overs cricket. Within just three years of international cricket, Ganguly became India’s Mr. Dependable in ODIs especially, cementing the opening position in a power-packed Indian batting line-up alongside the maestro Sachin Tendulkar and gave India good, solid starts which was main reason why India were to an extent had a decent year of 1999.
He started off with three fifties in five games in New Zealand at the beginning of the year, with one of them being a match-winning effort. The Pepsi Cup triangular series was to follow at home, involving Asian rivals Sri Lanka and Pakistan. In the very first match of the tournament, he smashed an unbeaten 130 off just 160 balls against world champions Sri Lanka at Nagpur, which alongside Rahul Dravid’s 116 helped India reached 287 in 50 overs and that total was enough to clinch an 80 run victory.
His joy ride against the Lankans was to continue a few months later in the World Cup in England, when he hit his highest ODI score of 183 runs off just 158 balls, at a strike rate of 115.82. He was involved in another huge partnership with Dravid as the Sri Lankan attack comprising of Vaas, Muralitharan, Wickramasinghe and Jayasuriya were all given a royal thumping on a flat Taunton pitch. The innings demoralized Sri Lanka so much so that they had conceded defeat by the end of India’s 50 overs, as they were bowled for 216 and India won by 157 runs. Ganguly’s 183 is the second highest score by any batsman in World Cup history and the match was the last of Arjuna Ranatunga as captain, as the defending champions were effectively knocked out of the tournament.
Prior to that innings, he had hit a calculative 97 off 142 balls against South Africa in the first group match India played. However, India finished second best in the game. As India were knocked out in the Super Sixes, Dada ended with 379 runs in 7 games, being amongst the top 5 run getters of the competition.
There were two more hundreds to follow in the year, against Zimbabwe in Nairobi where he hit 139 runs off 147 balls and an unbeaten 150-ball 153 against New Zealand in the third ODI at Gwalior of the five match series at home. In the New Zealand series, he finished with an aggregate of 301 runs, averaging 75.25.
He scored four hundreds and ten fifties in 41 matches in 1999, with the 1767 runs coming at an average of 46.50.
3) Rahul Dravid (India) – 1761 runs in 1999
‘The Wall’ is the third Indian to feature in this list, proving how much batting firepower India possessed in the one-day game during his era. 1999 was the year in which Dravid was successful in showing that he can play in ODIs well enough, if not excellently since he was perceived as a ‘Test player’.
The year began in New Zealand where he was in great form in Tests. He carried that form into the ODIs, as in 5 games he finished with 309 runs in 5 games, including a run-a-ball 123 not out at Taupo. His second ton came against Sri Lanka in Nagpur a few months later. But come the World Cup, and Dravid passed with flying colours as an individual.
He finished as the top run-getter of the tournament, although India crashed out in the Super Six stage following a defeat to New Zealand. An aggregate of 461 runs in 7 matches was an outstanding run, which included a 104 not out at Bristol against Kenya and 145 not out at Taunton against the defending champions Sri Lanka. Both the tons played a fine supporting role in both the games, helping India win them. His streak included fifties against South Africa, England and Pakistan with only one of them going in vain.
There were two more hundreds to come, one vs. the West Indies at Singapore and the other against New Zealand in Hyderabad of a run-a-ball 153 which is his highest ODI score ever. He played 43 ODIs to get these runs at an average of 46.34, batting regularly at No.3.
4) Sachin Tendulkar (India) – 1611 runs in 1996
Tendulkar makes it to the list for the second time, and makes India proudly occupy the top four positions. His efforts of 1998 were due to his maturity as a batsman, as the year 1996 marked his stature as India’s best batsman in the team in all formats of the game as he was improving leaps and bounds as an ODI player.
The very first match he played in the year was in the 1996 World Cup held in the Indian subcontinent. He scored an unbeaten 127 against minnows Kenya at Cuttack. This set the tone for a phenomenal run in the tournament as that was followed with a 70 against the West Indies at Gwalior, 90 against Australia in his hometown Mumbai and 137 against the eventual winners Sri Lanka in the group stages. He did not score big against Zimbabwe and Pakistan (in the quarterfinals), but scored an exceptional 65 against the Lankans in that fateful semifinal in Kolkata on a deteriorating pitch. He ended as the highest run scorer in the competition with 523 runs, despite India getting knocked out in the semis.
Three more hundreds were to seen from him, two being against Pakistan in Singapore and Sharjah and the last one against South Africa in Mumbai in December 1996. The 1611 runs were scored in 32 matches, in which he averaged 53.70 and had a strike rate of 82.44.
5) Matthew Hayden (Australia) – 1601 runs in 2007
Hayden may have had a topsy-turvy ODI career but even with age not being on his side, he was a man to watch out for by any opposition. The destructive Australian opener was the highest run-getter in the world in the year 2007 with 1601 runs to his name. This was primarily due to the World Cup in the Caribbean where he ended as the maximum run scorer in the tournament, giving a winning farewell to his legendary teammate Glenn McGrath and helping the Australians defend their World Cup title successfully, in what was to be his last global tournament alongside opening partner Adam Gilchrist.
He started off with a 60 against Scotland which was followed by a stunning 68-ball 101 against the South Africans at Basseterre. That win helped Australia’s confidence grow as he backed that up with a 158 in the first Super 8 game against hosts West Indies. Another hundred was to follow against New Zealand in the same round, this being his third against the country in that year. There were few scores in the 30s and 40s, but all those contributed in Australia winning and Hayden’s aggregate came up to 659 runs in 11 matches.
Earlier that year, Hayden had hit 117 against New Zealand at Perth and was amongst the best batsmen in the triangular tournament, in which Australia lost to England in the final. After that, Australia went to play in New Zealand and in the last ODI at Hamilton, he hit 181 not out which was the highest score by an Australian in an ODI until Shane Watson broke the record in 2011.
Post World Cup, Australia played a 7 match series in India and Hayden scored three fifties to help the team win the series. He averaged 59.29 throughout the year, playing 32 matches.
6) Saeed Anwar (Pakistan) – 1595 runs in 1996
Alongside his Indian counterpart Sachin Tendulkar, it was Saeed Anwar as who flourished throughout the year 1996 being a prolific run getter for Pakistan. He scored as many as 1595 runs in the year, as he began his merry making ways in the World Cup.
He scored three fifties in five group games, remaining unbeaten in one of them which was a 92-ball 83 against the Netherlands. The other two were a 71 off just 72 balls against England while he scored 62 off just 67 balls against New Zealand, giving his team quick fire starts in all the three games. In the quarterfinal against India, he scored 48 runs off just 32 balls but unfortunately that did not help his team win and so Pakistan were knocked out of the tournament. He ended with 329 runs in 6 games, averaging an impressive 54.83.
There were consistent scores from him in Singapore, Toronto, England and in particular Sharjah throughout the year. His first hundred of 1996 came against the world champions Sri Lanka in Nairobi where hit 115 runs off just 120 balls. The good form was carried to Sharjah late in the year where he hit hundreds against Sri Lanka once again and New Zealand with Pakistan winning both the matches and going on to win the triangular series.
He played 36 ODIs throughout the year, averaging an impressive 51.45 with three hundreds and ten fifties on aggregate.
7) Sourav Ganguly (India) – 1579 runs in 2000
Ganguly continued from where he left off in 1999, and in addition to 2000 those two years saw his stocks in ODI cricket rise to the highest level. This was his period of prime and it co-incided with his appointment as the permanent captain of India’s ODI and Test teams following Sachin Tendulkar’s resignation after a disastrous tour of Australia and Tests at home against South Africa.
But during the triangular series in Australia, Ganguly ended as India’s highest run scorer by far with a century each, against the hosts and world champions Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and against archrivals and World Cup 1999 finalists Pakistan at Adelaide. His 100 in Melbourne came off 127 balls but he could not see India throughout in a run chase of 270, as a result Australia won by 28 runs. But against Pakistan, he scored bigger and a much brisk pace. His 141 came off 144 balls, and that was enough for India to win by 48 runs as Pakistan were left to chase 268 on a deteriorating batting wicket.
He ended with 356 runs in 7 matches, averaging 50.85. The run scoring did not stop against South Africa in the 5 match ODI series at home. He celebrated the news of him becoming captain in the second match itself at Jamshedpur, where he was unbeaten on 105 off 139 balls, taking India safely home by 6 wickets in a tricky run chase of 200. It was followed by a 56 at Faridabad and 87 at Nagpur in the third and fourth ODIs respectively, with the 87 being another match winning effort. Again, Ganguly was amongst the top run scorers, with 285 runs in 5 games, averaging 71.25 as India won the series 3-2, although later this series was to be accused of match fixing.
There was a hundred in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh against the hosts but more impressively, he scored two more of those in the ICC Champions Trophy in Kenya in back-to-back matches against South Africa, in the semifinal and New Zealand in the final. His 142-ball 141 not out was key to India getting the better of the 1999 World Cup semifinalists by 95 runs and unexpectedly qualifying for the final and being favourites to win the tournament after seeing the turmoil Indian cricket was in. But his 130-ball 117 could not help India beat the Kiwis in the final, despite India’s score being 264 in 50 overs.
Towards the end of the year, he hit 264 runs in 4 ODIs against Zimbabwe at home which involved a 152-ball 144 in the 2nd ODI at Ahmedabad. Overall, Dada made 2000 his own by playing in 32 matches, averaging 56.39.
8) Mark Waugh (Australia) – 1468 runs in 1999
It seems as if 1999 was the year of the batsmen in ODI cricket, looking at this record of run feasts. This time though, it is an Australian who has scored above 1000 runs in the year and Mark Waugh was the man to do it, having forged a successful opening partnership with wicketkeeper batsman Adam Gilchrist.
The year started off at home, with a triangular series against England and Sri Lanka. At one stage, he was in sublime form scoring six fifties in a row with four of them helping Australia win, and eventually he was the team won the competition with the younger Waugh scored 537 runs in 12 matches.
The World Cup in England was another success for him as he hit 67 against minnows Scotland at Worcester in the very first match and 83 against India at The Oval followed by a 104 against Zimbabwe at Lord’s, continuing his run feast in London. All these contributions helped Australia to come back from the dumps following a defeat against Pakistan in the initial stages of the tournament, to go on and win the title. Waugh ended with 365 runs in 10 matches, being amongst the top 5 run getters in the tournament alongside the likes of Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid.
He scored one fifty in Sri Lanka following the World Cup and a hundred and another fifty against Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe, which meant that he ended with 1468 runs at an average of 44.48 in 36 matches.
9) Gary Kirsten (South Africa) – 1467 runs in 2000
The former India coach and current South Africa coach comes twice in this list. He was one of South Africa’ s finest opening batsmen in both formats of the game. In 2000 though, he played 36 ODIs and scored 1467 runs, averaging 44.45 at a strike rate of 73.20. Amongst those runs, he hit only two hundreds but more importantly as many as thirteen fifties which were crucial in giving South Africa impressive starts, for the middle order to carry on.
He had a brilliant series in India and seemed to be the only South African player to have given his 100% throughout the five matches. He hit 115 off just 123 balls in the first match at Kochi, which unfortunately India won despite being given a target above 300. There were two consecutive half centuries to follow, with one of them being a match winning effort. On aggregate, Kirsten ended his Indian sojourn with 281 runs in 5 games, averaging an outstanding 56.20.
Another century was to follow against New Zealand later in the year, at Kimberley during the home ODI series. He hit fifties throughout the year against India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand extending his dominance across the world.
10) Gary Kirsten (South Africa) – 1442 runs in 1996
Four years before that manic year, it was the first signs of Kirsten’s supremacy as one of South Africa’s reliable openers. In 29 matches, he hit 1422 runs at an average of 57.68 and a strike rate of 83.64. He hit a colossal six hundreds and four fifties in those many games, mainly due to a successful World Cup in the Indian subcontinent.
South Africa came in as one of the favourites to win the competition after missing out narrowly in 1992. In the very first match of the tournament, he created history by smashing an unbeaten 188 off just 159 balls against pushovers UAE in Rawalpindi. This is the highest individual score ever in World Cup cricket and his highest score in one-day internationals. Modest 30s and 40s were to be seen against England, New Zealand and Pakistan but scored 83 against minnows Netherlands. On aggregate, he hit 391 runs in 6 matches, averaging 65.16.
His merry making ways against India began this year with hundreds in Sharjah after the World Cup, while he also scored tons against Pakistan and Australia. His consistency throughout the year saw South Africa being one of the most in-form ODI teams in 1996, despite being knocked out of the World Cup in the quarterfinal stage and Sri Lanka being world champions. It laid the foundation for the most glorious period in South African cricket from 1996-2000, when they became a world beater ODI side who despite not winning global tournaments, were ranked amongst the top 3.