With the advent of T20s around the globe, batters have become even more aggressive in their approach in One Day International games. Flat pitches along with heavier bats and the rule of two new balls from the two ends have drastically reduced the impact of bowlers in the 50-over game.
However, we have seen a few batsmen who stole the limelight with their big hits even before the era of T20s. We take a look at the players with the most sixes in ODI cricket.
Shahid Afridi (Pakistan, 351 sixes)
The Pakistani all-rounder was one of the most dangerous players, who was capable of running away with the game in his prime. Batting lower down the order, Afridi turned games in favour of his side with some lusty blows in the death. Overall, the player, who turned out for 398 One Day Internationals between 1995 and 2015 smashed 351 sixes in his career in the format.
He also has the unofficial record of hitting the longest six in cricket (over 158 metres long). Afridi ended with 8064 runs in his career at an average of just over 23 with the help of 351 maximums and 730 fours.
Chris Gayle (West Indies, 331 sixes)
The Universe Boss is undoubtedly a modern legend of white-ball cricket. West Indies relied on his aggressive batting at the top of the order, and Chris Gayle hardly disappointed.
Overall, the Jamaican played 301 ODI matches for his country, scoring 10480 runs at an average of 37.83. He also has a double ton to his name – a knock of 215 off 147 balls that came against Zimbabwe in the 2015 World Cup. The 41-year old also has as many as 1128 fours in the format!
Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka, 270 sixes)
Before T20s took over the world, it was Sri Lanka’s opening batsman Sanath Jayasuriya who did not hesitate to play his strokes upfront even against the best bowlers in the world. Sri Lanka, the winner of the 1996 World Cup, was led by his refreshing intent to smack the ball from the very first over, which made the side a force to reckon with in the first decade of the century.
Jayasuriya, who played 445 ODI matches in his career, ended with 270 sixes – the third most sixes in ODI history. He also amassed 13430 runs in the format – the fourth-highest by any player. The former Lankan skipper also hit 1500 fours in the 50-over game.
Rohit Sharma (India, 244 sixes)
Rohit Sharma has the potential to move higher up the list considering that he might play for a few more years. The Indian opener has been a consistent match-winner for the side ever since he was asked to open the innings in the 2013 Champions Trophy in England.
Though he starts off slowly, Rohit has the ability to accelerate in the end with some big sixes all over the park. Currently, he has played 227 ODIs for the Men in Blue and has hit 244 sixes in the format. His current run-scoring tally stands at 9205 runs at an average of nearing 49.
Rohit also has the highest score by any ODI batsman – an innings of 264 that he played at Eden Gardens in Kolkata against Sri Lanka in 2014.
MS Dhoni (India, 229 sixes)
MS Dhoni’s six that helped India win the World Cup after a long gap of 28 years in 2011 has found its own place in history books. However, that is not the only six that he is well known for. One of the best players of the helicopter shot, Dhoni had the ability to send even the best yorkers out of the park in his prime.
Regarded as one of the best finishers in the game, Dhoni would often hand India a win with a last-ball six. Overall, he ended with 229 maximums from 350 ODI matches along with 826 fours. He also scored 10773 runs at an average of nearing 51 in the format.
Eoin Morgan (England, 219 sixes)
The current English skipper has reinvented ODI cricket as he encourages his team and his players to go all out for a win from ball one. Under his leadership, the side has tasted tremendous success, including winning the 2019 World Cup.
Morgan, too, has followed an aggressive style of batting in the last few years, and the fact that he tops the list of most sixes from England is evidence of his skills. He has as many as 219 maximums in 243 ODIs (he played 23 ODIs for Ireland from 2006 to 2009 with 18 sixes for the nation).
Overall, Morgan has scored 7620 international runs in the 50-overs, at an average of 39.48 and an impressive strike rate of 91.37.
AB de Villiers (South Africa, 204 sixes)
The list will be incomplete without the presence of Mr 360-degrees, AB de Villiers. The South African, known for his ability to play shots all over the park, had been a real star for the country, and his surprise retirement in 2018 left fans shell-shocked.
Overall, the South African ended with 9577 runs in 228 ODIs, where he hit 204 sixes – the seven most in ODI cricket. He also has the record for the fastest hundred and 150 in ODI cricket.
Brendon McCullum (New Zealand, 200 sixes)
Yet another cricket who impressed with his intent and his method of playing, in Tests as well as ODIs, was Brendon McCullum. The former New Zealand wicket-keeper was unstoppable if he got going, and often put his team in a commanding position by the time he was dismissed.
He has hit 290 maximums in his ODI career that lasted 260 matches. McCullum scored 6083 runs at an average of 30.41 with a strike date of over 96! With 107 sixes in the Test format, the player has the record for hitting the most maximums in the longer format of the game.
Sachin Tendulkar (India, 195 sixes)
Sachin Tendulkar played 463 ODIs for the country, and though he was not the most prolific six-hitter, he did play some jaw-dropping strokes against some of the best bowlers in the world.
Making his debut way back in 1989, Sachin went on to achieve great heights in his career, including scoring 18426 runs in ODIs – the highest by a far distance by any player. He smashed 195 sixes and as many as 2016 sixes in his career – the highest fours by any batsman in ODI cricket.
Sourav Ganguly (India, 190 sixes)
The fourth Indian on the list, Sourav Ganguly has hit 190 maximums in his career – the tenth most sixes in ODI history thus far. In his 15 years of ODI career, Ganguly scored 11363 runs in 311 games at an average of over 41.
Dada, as he is often called changed the complexion of Indian cricket with his tough exterior and never-give-up attitude