There was not much dissension when a panel of experts selected India’s Mahendra Singh Dhoni to be the man they put forward as the Ultimate ODI XI wicketkeeper.

Dhoni got the better of players like Australia’s Adam Gilchrist, the Ultimate XI Test wicketkeeper, and Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara.

The clincher, for both the panel and the Zone, is Dhoni’s ability, not with the gloves, but to figure out what course of action to take in a run chase and largely come out on the winning side.

It was revealed on the SportsMax Zone yesterday that Dhoni has had successful run chases with him at the crease for India 96% of the time. Chances are if Dhoni is at the crease, India will win.

That was more important to the panel than the tremendous glovework of South Africa’s Mark Boucher, or the pinch-hitting ability of Adam Gilchrist. Those two are considered the greatest wicketkeepers of all time. However, the panel believes Dhoni is the greatest wicketkeeper-batsman the ODI game has ever seen.

More important than the panel and the Zone, are the Fanalysts, so says the weighting around the votes.

Fanalysts have 40% of the vote for who gets into SportsMax’s Ultimate XI, with the panel and the Zone, enjoying 30% each.

With that 40% of the votes, the Fanalysts have chosen to agree with the Zone and the panel for the most part. Yesterday was no exception.

In fact, Dhoni’s 46.29% to Kumar Sangakkara’s 17.14% of the votes represents the biggest margin of victory since the Ultimate XI began two months ago.

With that pick, the Fanalysts team so far includes Rohit Sharma and Sachin Tendulkar as openers, Virat Kohli, Brian Lara, and AB de Villiers as the middle order, and Dhoni as the wicketkeeper.

The Zone and panel, however, have gone with Viv Richards in the place of Lara.

This evening, the panel and Zone will be voting on the Ultimate ODI team’s allrounder, with Fanalysts already seeming to decide on Jacques Kallis.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is credited with having the fastest hands behind the stumps and that suits him perfectly since he plays the game ahead of what is happening.

His overall game awareness and the ability to stay, always, one step ahead of the batsman puts him among the very best to occupy the position.

He is hardly your typical wicketkeeper and there is often a good amount of craft in his game. Under pressure when India needs a wicket, he has been known to produce moments of magic out of nowhere to send the batsman back to the pavilion. His stats for someone who does not count as a textbook wicketkeeper are staggering.

Dhoni, in 350 matches, has snaffled 321 catches along with a record 123 stumpings.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Born: July 7, 1981, Ranchi, Bihar (now Jharkhand)

Major teams: India, Air India Blue, Asia XI, Bihar, Bradman XI, Chennai Super Kings, East Zone, East Zone Under-19s, Help for Heroes XI, India A, Indian Board President's XI, International XI, Jharkhand, Rajasthan Cricket Association President's XI, Rest of India, Rising Pune Supergiants, Sehwag XI

Playing role: Wicketkeeper batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm medium

Fielding position: Wicketkeeper

 

ODI Career: (2004-present)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS      Ave      BF          SR      100s    50s   4s      6s      Ct     St

350     297     84     10773     183*   50.57   12303      87.56     10     73     826    229    321    123

 

Career Highlights

  • Highest batting average among wicket-keepers (50.96)
  • In 2017, became the first Indian to hit 200 sixes in ODIs
  • ICC ODI Player of the Year (2008 & 2009)
  • Highest score by a wicket-keeper, 183 against Sri Lanka in 2005
  • 1st player to pass 10,000 runs in ODIs with an average of over 50
  • Most not outs in ODIs (82)
  • Most stumpings by any wicket-keeper in an ODIs (120)

MS Dhoni, who made his ODI debut in December 2004 against Bangladesh and was run out without scoring, now holds the record for the most wins by an Indian captain in ODIs and T20Is, and most back-to-back wins by an Indian captain in ODIs.

He took over the ODI captaincy from Rahul Dravid in 2007 and led the team to its first-ever bilateral ODI series wins in Sri Lanka and New Zealand. In June 2013, when India defeated England in the final of the Champions Trophy in England, Dhoni became the first captain to win all three ICC limited-overs trophies (World Cup, Champions Trophy and the World Twenty20).

As an individual, Dhoni thrived in the Indian lower order scoring 10 ODI centuries and 73 50s. His presence made India a formidable opponent against all rivals because as long as he was at the crease India was in with a chance of victory.

In the third match of India’s bilateral series against Sri Lanka in 2005 at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, Sri Lanka had set India a target of 299 after a Kumar Sangakkara century and, in reply, India lost Tendulkar early.

Dhoni was promoted to number-three to accelerate the scoring and ended the game with an unbeaten 183 off 145 balls, winning the game for India.

Wisden Almanack (2006) described the knock as ‘Uninhibited, yet anything but crude'. It was the highest individual score in ODI cricket in the second innings before it was broken by Australia’s Shane Watson seven years later.

 

Career Statistics

 

Full name: Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Born: July 7, 1981, Ranchi, Bihar (now Jharkhand)

Major teams: India, Air India Blue, Asia XI, Bihar, Bradman XI, Chennai Super Kings, East Zone, East Zone Under-19s, Help for Heroes XI, India A, Indian Board President's XI, International XI, Jharkhand, Rajasthan Cricket Association President's XI, Rest of India, Rising Pune Supergiants, Sehwag XI

Playing role: Wicketkeeper-batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Fielding position: Wicketkeeper

 

ODI Career: India (2004-Present)

Mat  Inns  NO  Runs   HS     Ave      SR      100s      50s    Ct       St

350   297    84  10773  183*  50.57    87.56     10       73      321     123

 

Career Highlights

  • Highest batting average among wicket-keepers (50.96)
  • In 2017, became the first Indian to hit 200 sixes in ODIs
  • ICC ODI Player of the Year (2008 & 2009)
  • Highest score by a wicket-keeper, 183 against Sri Lanka in 2005
  • 1st player to pass 10,000 runs in ODIs with an average of over 50
  • Most not outs (82) in ODIs
  • Most stumpings (120) by any wicket-keeper in ODIs

Mahendra Singh Dhoni captained India’s Test team from 2008 to 2014. He is the only captain in the history of Cricket to win all ICC trophies. Under his captaincy, India won the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, the 2010 and 2016 Asia Cups, the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.

A right-handed middle-order batsman and an unorthodox wicket-keeper, Dhoni made his ODI debut in December 2004 against Bangladesh and played his first Test a year later against Sri Lanka.

In Test cricket, Dhoni has done the job longer than any other Indian wicketkeeper as only Syed Kirmani with 88 Tests comes close to Dhoni’s 90. Dhoni also has a higher batting average than any other Indian wicketkeeper and has scored the most runs.

In fact, Dhoni holds the Indian record of most wicket-keeping dismissals in Tests, 294 and is the only Indian keeper to score 4000 runs and effect 200 dismissals.

Dhoni also holds the Indian record of most wicketkeeping dismissals in a Test with nine dismissals in a Melbourne Test, his last.

After taking up the Test captaincy in 2008, he led the team to series wins in New Zealand and the West Indies, and the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2008, 2010 and 2013.

In 2009, Dhoni also led the Indian team to number-one position on the ICC Test rankings for the first time.

In 2013, under his captaincy, India became the first team in more than 40 years to whitewash Australia in a Test series.

 

Career Statistics 

 

Full name: Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Born: July 7, 1981, Ranchi, Bihar (now Jharkhand)

Major teams: India, Air India Blue, Asia XI, Bihar, Bradman XI, Chennai Super Kings, East Zone, East Zone Under-19s, Help for Heroes XI, India A, Indian Board President's XI, International XI, Jharkhand, Rajasthan Cricket Association President's XI, Rest of India, Rising Pune Supergiants, Sehwag XI

Role: Wicketkeeper batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style Right-arm medium

 

Test Career – India (2005-2014)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS      Ave    SR      100     50      Ct       St

  90      144     16      4876    224     38.09   59.11     6      33     256      38

 

Career highlights 

  • Ranked 3rd for most runs scored by a wicketkeeper in Tests (4876)
  • Ranked 5th for most dismissals by a wicketkeeper in Tests (294)
  • Second-most wins by an Indian captain in Tests (27)
  • Most centuries playing as captain and wicketkeeper (5)
  • The joint highest number of stumpings in Tests (38)

Today marks 25 years since Major League Baseball stars called off their strike, which had resulted in the previous year's World Series being scrapped.

It is also 38 years to the day since the New York Mets were left stunned by the death of one of the biggest names in baseball.

History was made on this day in England at Aintree in 1977, while India's cricketers and Manchester United's Wayne Rooney were both celebrating nine years ago.

Let's take a look back at April 2 in sporting history.

1972 - Baseball in shock as Mets manager Hodges dies

Gil Hodges had been a superstar with the Brooklyn Dodgers and Los Angeles Dodgers, and rounded off his playing career with the just-founded New York Mets. An eight-time All-Star, as a coach he added to the two World Series with the Dodgers, Hodges famously reviving the Mets and leading them to a shock 1969 title triumph over the Baltimore Orioles. But Hodges died on April 2, 1972, at the age of just 47, when he suffered a heart attack following a round of golf in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was his second heart attack: a first came in Atlanta in September 1968, early in his career as manager of the Mets.

1977 - Red Rum wins third Grand National

Tommy Stack rode Red Rum to Aintree glory, as the Ireland-bred steeplechaser followed up 1973 and 1974 triumphs at the Liverpool course with an unprecedented third Grand National victory. The feat has never been matched, with Red Rum triumphing against the odds after second-placed finishes in 1975 and 1976. At the age of 12, Red Rum's third success went down as one of racing's most famous wins.

1995 - Baseball stars go back to work

From August 12 1994 until April 2 1995, there was no top-tier baseball in the United States, with MLB stars going on strike in a labour dispute that stemmed from salary-cap proposals that got players riled. The 1994-95 season was abandoned in September, and the strike lasted for 232 days until judge Sonia Sotomayor's injunction against team owners persuaded the players to go back to work.

2011 - India triumph, Rooney treble

India landed Cricket World Cup glory in front of their home fans in Mumbai when the hosts landed a six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the final. Mahela Jayawardene made a century in Sri Lanka's 274-6 before India reached their target with 10 balls to spare, helped by 97 from Gautam Gambhir and 91 not out from MS Dhoni.

In London, on the same day, Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick as Manchester United came from 2-0 behind to defeat West Ham 4-2 at Upton Park in the Premier League, an important result as Alex Ferguson's team went on to win the title weeks later.

There are so many things to love about cricket.  But most of us will freely admit that very few things are as satisfying as watching the ball scream well clear of the boundary ropes, perhaps to parts unknown. Unless, of course, you are watching your favourite bowler, or it was your team that desperately needed the ball to stay in the ground. 

Standing obdurately at the crease to deliver these telling blows are often some of cricket's Supermen, bulky, sinewy they come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing remains constant, once they get going, nothing gets in their way. 

Today we pay tribute to 10 of the game’s biggest hitters but with a twist. Our hitting greats have been put into two teams of five. Who could you count on to get the runs you need? Your guess is as good as ours.  Below are the picks for 10 of the heaviest hitters.