Big Hitters of 90s
Cricket has witnessed a surge in the strike rates of the batsmen with the advent of T20s. The batsmen continue the mindset in the 50 over game too. The teams crossed the 400 runs frontiers multiple times in recent years. Batsmen too crossed the 200 runs milestone in ODI. But these were not the scenario in the 90s. The teams struggled to cross the 300 mark. 250 runs were an average team score. But even during those times, some batsmen managed to entertain the cricket lovers with their big hits. So in this article we are going to discuss about some of the big hitters of 90s.
Sanath Jayasuriya is one the most explosive batsmen who donned the Srilankan jersey in the 90s. He along with Romesh Kaluwitharna changed the way of playing cricket in the first 15 overs when there were fielding restrictions. He was a great all-rounder. The left-arm spin of Jayasuriya was as good as any other spinner. he is the only player who has scored more than 10,000 runs and got more than 300 wickets in ODI. It is interesting to note that Matara Marauder started his international career as a spinner. In ODI he scored 13,430 runs at a strike rate of 91.2.
In the 90s, when the wicket-keepers were not judged much on the basis of their batting skills, Adam Gilchrist was an exception. He was equally good behind and in front off the wicket. Gilchrist was known for his hard hitting skills. the Australian wicket-keeper scored 9619 runs in the ODI, at a strike rate of 96.95. He didn't changed his style of batting even in Test cricket. In the longer format of the game, he scored 5570 runs at a strike rate of 81.96. Gilchrist hold the record for being the first player to hit 100 sixes in Test cricket.
Sachin Tendulkar is regarded by cricket pundits as one of the best-ever batsmen to have played cricket. Often compared to the likes of Don Bradman and Vivian Richards, Sachin Tendulkar was the backbone of Indian cricket for more than a decade. He is the only Indian batsman who scored above 80 strike rate in the 90s (among batsmen who have scored more than 1000 runs). Sachin is the first batsman to score 100 centuries in international cricket. He is the first to score 10000 ODI runs and the first batsman to score 200 runs in an ODI match. Wisden ranks the Indian batsman second behind Don Bradman in the list of the top 5 Test batsmen. Again Sachin is ranked second behind Vivian Richards in the list of best ODI batsmen.
Shahid Afridi was a big sensation in Pakistan cricket. He was known for his big hits. Afridi came into the scene with a big statement when he scored a 37-ball century against Srilanka in his second match. His innings comprised 11 huge sixes, and it was a world record at that time. Afridi scored 8064 runs from 398 ODIs at an average of 23.57. He scored his runs in ODI at a strike rate of 117 , and at a strike rate of 86.9 in Test cricket. The batting average seems to be on the lower side, and he could have done better in terms of consistency. He failed to adjust his batting style according to the needs of his team and situations. Shahid Afridi scalped 395 ODI wickets with his leg spin.
The former New Zealand cricketer has considered one of the best all-rounders to have played. He scored 4950 ODI runs at an average just below 30 at a strike rate of 84. He is the only kiwi batsman to score a century in the 100th ODI for a winning cause. Cairns has played some of the most famous innings in New Zealand cricket history with the willow, notably his unbeaten 102 to help New Zealand defeat India in the ICC KnockOut Trophy final in 2000 and his 158 from just 172 balls in a Test match against South Africa in 2004.
Lance Klusener, the former South Africa all-rounder is known for his big hitting and swing bowling. The aggressive all-rounder played 171 ODIs for South Africa scoring 3576 runs at an impressive average of 41. He also took 192 ODI wickets at an average of 29.9. Klusener remains etched in the minds of cricket lovers for his heroics in the 1999 cricket world cup held in England. In the tournament, he scored 281 runs from 8 innings at an average of 140. He scored those runs at a strike rate of 122. in the tournament he topped the list of six hitters, with a tally of 10 sixes. Klusener is recognized for his exploits to One Day Internationals when he established himself as a formidable batsman and won the 1999 World Cup's Man of the Tournament award. In the years coming up to the 1999 World Cup, he displayed hints of his power hitting. His baseball-style backlift and powerful hitting lit up the competition, and South Africa almost reached the title game thanks to his heroics. Moreover, he received the Wisden Cricketer of the Year award in 2000.