That clean hit of the ball, the time when it hits the middle of the bat and sails over the rope in a flash. Not many had perfected the art of clean hitting. Nowadays bats have become bigger and better and even mishits go over the rope. Still, this list has batsmen who have played both conventional shots and slogs to hit humongous sixes. A few sixes were just over the rope while a few went outside the ground, hitting a car in the parking lot or going on the road. Sixers get cheered the most, in the modern brand of cricket they have become the bread and butter for many batsmen.
Let’s take a look at the batsmen with most sixes in ODIs-
10. Yuvraj Singh (155 sixes)
One of the cleanest hitters of the ball the World Cricket has ever seen. Yuvraj Singh’s fans will remember his 84 against Australia in the Champions Trophy in 200 and the shot that he hit out of the park and into the parking lot shattering a car’s windshield. That’s the kind of power Yuvraj Singh packs when he hits the ball. Not to forget the wrath he unleashed on Stuart Broad hitting him for six sixes in an over. Though it was in T20Is. Yuvraj is still playing in ODIs which means that he can still take over former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting’s record.
9. Ricky Ponting (162 sixes)
The legendary Australian skipper who headed the most lethal team in it’s golden era. His pull shots are still a joy to watch and arguably considered the best in the business. In his 17-year-long career, Ponting was ruthless with the bat. Every Indian fan will remember Ponting’s innings in the 2003 World Cup final where he smashed Indian bowling lineup to the ground. He struck sixes as if he had a spring in his bat which later spread as a rumour for a while. Ponting’s spot might be in danger with Yuvraj trailing by just 7 sixes.
8. Sourav Ganguly (190 sixes)
One of the most aggressive openers for India who could decimate any bowling lineup on his day. Ganguly’s dancing down the pitch and hitting the ball over long on or midwicket was as iconic as his cover drive. Though called the ‘God of offside’, Ganguly once set looked for biggies and that’s why he is the 8th batsman on this list. His fans will remember when he struck 3 sixes in a row and each time ball disappearing out of the ground.
7. AB de Villiers (194 sixes)
Dubbed as Mr.360 by many, the Proteas batsman can hit the ball in any area of the ground, literally! His innovative shots have been an inspiration for many. He can play the most conventional shots for sixes and the next ball he will be scooping the ball over his head. One of the most feared batsmen in World Cricket as this point of time. De Villiers might move up the list in the coming time. If you don’t believe it please watch the fastest 150 in ODIs.
6. Sachin Tendulkar (195 sixes)
Arguably the best batsman in the world till date. Sachin Tendulkar struck as many as 2016 fours in ODIs, a feat that batsmen could only dream of reaching. His 18,426 runs in ODIs also include 195 sixes. Though in the second half of his career he mainly depended on fours to score big, that did not stop him to stretch his arms once in a while. The iconic Sharjah series in 1998 was an exhibition of humongous sixes from Tendulkar when he was injury-free and destroyed Australian bowling attack single-handedly. Though his spot in his danger with De Villiers closing in.
5. Brendon McCullum (200 sixes)
What De Villiers is to South Africa, Brendon McCullum is to New Zealand. McCullum could give De Villiers a run for his money with a wide array of shots he possesses. McCullum robbed teams of a win with a single-handed effort. His strike rate of 96.37 is the proof that he did not refrain from taking the aerial route that often. It was a joy to watch him play big shots with a nominal back lift. McCullum’s spot is in danger as well with De Villiers closing in.
4. MS Dhoni (208 sixes)
The man with one of the fiercest swing of the bat, his iconic ‘Helicopter shot’ has been a fantasy for many power hitters. Dubbed as one of the best finishers in world cricket, the batsman who uses his guile to outsmart the bowler every now and then. Dhoni is leading the way for Indian batsmen in the list and is expected to go up the ladder until he retires. Though his strike rate has gone down of late. But that does not infer that Dhoni could not make the ball go the distance.
3. Chris Gayle (238 sixes)
This name was pretty much expected on the list. The self-proclaimed ‘Universe Boss’ and a six-hitting machine who believes in boundaries rather ran running between the wickets. A man who abides the policy of stand and deliver. He can seriously damage the ball with a single hit and shake the confidence of any bowler with his six-hitting skills. The West Indies opener would have had better statistics if not for his tussle with West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
2. Sanath Jayasuriya (270 sixes)
The Sri Lankan opener who redefined batting in powerplay overs in the 90s. The guy was a beast and was an inseparable part of Sri Lankan side for over two decades. The fourth-highest run scorer in ODIs of all time had a strike rate (91.20) that players only dreamed of in his era.
1. Shahid Afridi (351 sixes)
The fiery Pakistan batsman who batted on various positions but was true to his nature. Afridi may have had a disappointing batting average when compared to other batsmen in the list. But he did not refrain from taking the aerial route, once he got going, a run-fest was a guarantee. He had the fastest century in ODIs for a long time. What Afridi could do to a batting lineup can be ascertained from the fact that the ratio of sixes and fours is almost 1:2 in his ODI career. He leads the list by far and it will take someone special to beat this record.
We might see a shuffle in the list in the time to come.
Statistics credit: ESPNCricinfo