With an astonishing 29 of 50 jurors picking him as the best ODI player of all time, Richards won by a landslide in an exercise conducted by ESPNcricinfo's magazine 'Cricket Monthly'.
Tendulkar, the most-prolific one-day batsman of all time, narrowly beat former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram.
The last two positions in the top five were taken by Australia's Adam Gilchrist and current Indian ODI skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Through the late '70s and '80s, Richards dominated the one-day arena like no other cricketer, and helped his side to two World Cup victories in 1975 and 1979.
In terms of longevity and batting stats Tendulkar has no equal. Arguably the greatest batsman in contemporary cricket, Tendulkar rewrote many records during a glorious career spanning 23 years.
He amassed a mammoth 18,426 runs in 463 one-dayers at an average of 44.83. The diminutive right-hander has an astonishing 49 hundreds in the format, including a double hundred -- the first in this form of the game. Tendulkar also has a mammoth tally of 96 ODI 50s to his credit.
ESPNcricinfo's editor-in-chief Sambit Bal said, "No one does numbers better than us. But we also know that numbers don't always tell the full story. Which is why we rely on the cumulative wisdom of those who should know for our awards.
"And the World Cup was a good occasion to assemble a grand jury - drawn from different eras and countries - to pick the greatest ever one-day cricketer. It's hard to argue with the top five the poll has thrown up: between them they encapsulate the best of ODI cricket across the ages and also its evolution."
In all, 21 cricketers received votes - six Australians, five Indians, four Pakistanis, two West Indians, two South Africans, a Sri Lankan and an Englishman. The top 11 can be assembled into a dream team: Gilchrist, Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Richards, Jacques Kallis, Dhoni, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kapil Dev, Akram, Shane Warne and Joel Garner.
The 50-member jury included legendary cricketers Ian Chappell, Clive Lloyd, Rahul Dravid, Ponting and Graeme Smith.

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