It has been a dramatic decade in the ODIs, which saw three different World Champions, two Champions Trophy winners from the subcontinent and not to forget, it has witnessed one of the most controversial and unforgettable World Cups finals in 2019. For what its worth, the format has not lost any of its relevance with the emergence of T20Is, which was the fear in the early days of this decade.
Another major factor affecting the game significantly in this decade was the constant change in field restriction laws. The two new ball system completely took the reverse-swing facet out of the format and made things a little more convenient for the batsmen. One can only feel for the bowlers, but they didn’t just sit back, they rather fought back and gave us, the audience, so many moments to remember.
To what has been such an eventful decade (2010-2019), here’s the honorary best XI of the format across all the teams:
1. Rohit Sharma
To call his last six years eventful would be an understatement. From getting ignored for the 2011 World Cup to turning an opener in the 2013 Champions Trophy, Rohit Sharma spent three years finding himself and trying to understand where his strengths lie, he finally did and the world of cricket found one of the finest openers of all time.
Rohit struggled to face the new ball away from home, whenever there was a lot of lateral movement. He took his time to settle into the process and was given ample time by the management. All of that investment was fruitful in more than one way, as the man ended up smashing 6 hundreds in World Cups, on level terms with Sachin Tendulkar (five tons in just the 2019 edition).
Rohit’s statistics speak for itself. In 177 matches, he scored 7,991 runs at an average of 52.92 and no opener has scored more runs than him. Not to forget, his tally includes 27 centuries, a mind-boggling 3 double centuries and is also the only cricketer with more than 200 sixes in this span of time.
2. Hashim Amla
The South African monk was one of the stalwarts of this format in the decade, smashing aside many records with his unparalleled consistency. He is the fastest to 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000 and 7000 runs in this format and he achieved all of these numbers in this decade. He scored the most runs among South Africans in international cricket this decade.
Hashim Amla was a part of one of the best South Africans units they ever came up with and played supportive knocks to the explosive men in the side. He and AB de Villiers had some memorable outings in this span of time, which are worth cherishing over and over again. Although he took up the job of holding one end, he never backed away from playing his shots.
In 159 matches, Amla scored 7265 runs at an average just shy of 50 and despite having a very orthodox batting style, he had a strike-rate of 89.11. He mustered 26 hundreds in these 10 years, making him the third-best century-getter only behind Kohli and Rohit in this span of time.
3. Virat Kohli
Well, what is left to say about this man? Already being hailed as the greatest ODI player of all time, a compliment coming from all parts of the world irrespective of any national bias, Virat Kohli is scaling heights which were earlier reached only by one man – Sachin Tendulkar. Will he be able to catch up with him? The coming three years have the answer to that.
Kohli’s decade started with a World Cup triumph, where he scored a brilliant hundred against Bangladesh and also a very important 35 in the final. The 2015 World Cup didn’t go according to the script, but he was back scoring important runs in the 2019 edition. His undying hunger to score runs has been a fascinating aspect of his game to witness and his passion keeps everyone glued to their TV sets.
The only cricketer with more than 10,000 runs in this decade, Kohli smashed 11036 runs at a gobsmacking average of 61.31. He is already the second-best century-getter of all time, 13 ahead of the great Ricky Ponting. He scored 42 hundreds and 51 half-centuries this decade, with a career-best of 183 coming against arch-rivals Pakistan in 2012.
4. AB de Villiers
The face of a modern renaissance in terms of innovation and creativity in batting, AB de Villiers made the world notice his exploits and kept the fans in awe of his pyrotechnics. One of the cult legends of the game, AB de Villiers didn’t just achieve big numbers, he also won many hearts with his humble attitude and determination to do anything for the team – From keeping wickets to bowling some crucial overs.
Under his captaincy, South Africa came very close to lifting the World Cup in 2015 but that wasn’t to be the case. They lost out narrowly in the semifinals to New Zealand and we all remember the heartbreak it gave to all these fans. The man was expected to play the 2019 World Cup, but a year prior to that, he shockingly announced his retirement and has been playing T20 leagues since then.
AB de Villiers has a better average than any other batsman in the decade, even better than Virat Kohli. He piled up 6485 runs at an average of 64.20, which came at a harrowing strike-rate of 109.76, bettered only by Jos Buttler and Glenn Maxwell. He also piled up 21 centuries and 33 fifties, also scoring the fast 50, 100 and 150 in this format in 2015.
5. Ross Taylor
No matter what he does, for some reason, Ross Taylor always remains underrated. Despite scoring tons of runs for the side across all formats, there is a feeling across the cricketing universe that he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. Well, there is no way this XI can be completed without his monumental presence.
Ross Taylor was an integral part of the two World Cup finalist squads in 2015 and 2019 for New Zealand. The side also reached the semifinals in 2011, where Taylor played some explosive knocks. His batting position sometimes kept floating according to situations, but not his ability to churn out runs no matter what.
He played 155 games for the country, having smashed 6428 runs at an average of 54.01, which is outrageous when we consider the situations under which he came to bat. This tally also includes 17 centuries, to go with 39 half-centuries.
6. MS Dhoni (C & wk)
One of the three captains lucky enough to go all way and lift a World Cup trophy, MS Dhoni’s status as a modern-day superstar turned into a cult legend in this decade. He had some tough patches where he couldn’t muster runs the way he should’ve, but he has been their main man in the middle order for a long time now.
We might’ve seen the last of MS Dhoni in the 2019 World Cup, with no signs of him coming back. But it’s important to recognize the efforts he put in to establish himself as the finest finisher of all time. He came out to bat numerous times with the team losing 3 or 4 wickets early in the innings and steadied the ship with calmness and skill.
He will be the captain of this honorary XI having achieved so much for the country in this format. In 196 matches, he piled up 5640 runs at an average of 50.35 and a strike-rate just in excess of 85. He piled up 4 centuries in the process and also minted 39 half-centuries, most of which came while he batted at number 5 or below.
7. Shakib Al Hasan
Needless to point out, but Shakib Al Hasan has been the greatest all-rounder of this decade, without a shadow of a doubt. The Bangladeshi stalwart kept amassing runs for fun batting at number 3 and 4 and when it came to his duties with the ball, his 10 overs were more crucial than anyone else.
It is hard to recollect any all-rounder being the best batsman and best bowler in their side and having an impact of these proportions on a country. Shakib’s mind-boggling decade came to a stellar finish in the 2019 World Cup, where he amassed 606 runs with the bat and did a fair enough job with the ball.
Coming to the numbers which could leave you spellbound, Shakib mustered 4276 runs in 131 matches at an average just under 40. This includes 40 scores in excess of 50. He is also the second-highest wicket-taker of this decade, picking up 177 scalps at an average just over 30 and an outstanding economy of 4.72.
8. Lasith Malinga
Among all the fast bowlers, the limited-overs belonged to Lasith Malinga. He ended up topping the wicket-taking charts in T20Is and ODIs and is the only cricketer to have taken more than 200 wickets in this decade. He seemed to have lost his touch in the last couple of years but still kept churning out some decent performances for his side.
The legend of Lasith Malinga was at its lethal best in the 2011 World Cup, where he picked up 13 crucial wickets. The fast bowler was unfortunate to not have the best of support after Nuwan Kulasekara lost his touch and on most occasions, he had to do the job all by himself to keep Sri Lanka alive.
Malinga played more matches than any other bowler mentioned in this list. In 162 games, he picked up a whopping 248 wickets at an average just under 30. He also has an impressive economy of 5.46 and picked up a staggering 8 five-wicket hauls.
9. Mitchell Starc
Maybe we had the privilege to witness Mitchell Starc in phases because of his stint with injuries, but what a pleasure it has been to see him operate. Having made his debut against India in 2010, Starc kept scaling new heights with every passing season. One of the deadliest death overs bowlers of the game, he can pull out six on six Yorkers in an over, all of them coming in at over 140 kph.
Starc’s most memorable contributions for Australian cricket came in the World Cups. He was the leading wicket-taker in both World Cups, also winning the player of the tournament in 2015. He picked up 22 wickets in 2015 and 27 in 2019 and became only the fourth bowler after Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralitharan and Glenn McGrath to pick up more than 50 World Cup wickets.
In 85 matches that Starc played in these 10 years, he picked up 172 wickets at an average of 20.99 and an economy just over 5. He has the most impressive strike-rate among all bowlers mentioned in this list, picking wickets every 25 deliveries. His career-best figures of 6/28 came against New Zealand in one of the games of the decade, but unfortunately in a losing cause.
10. Trent Boult
This generation of cricket lovers will remember the exploits of these two outstanding left-arm fast bowlers in Mitchell Starc and Trent Boult. Whilst the Australian bombshell kept ravaging past batting units with his pace, Boult had the remarkable ability to make the ball curl like a banana despite bowling at over 140 kph regularly.
What makes the Kiwi bowler so special was his ability to hold his nerve under the most intricate of situations. He bowled the two most important overs for New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup final, the 50th and the superover. He is lightning quick on the field as well, making him a highly productive cricketer.
In 89 matches, he picked up 164 wickets coming at an average of 25.06. His economy has been impressive as well despite bowling the toughest overs (5.05) and has five 5-fers to his credit. Only Malinga has bowled more maiden overs than Boult among the mentioned bowlers (58 maidens by Boult, 69 from Malinga).
11. Imran Tahir
Perhaps the best spinner with the white ball this decade, Imran Tahir makes the cut in both the ODI and T20I XI of the decade. The South African leggie kept batsmen dancing to his tunes and besides being metronomically accurate, he was one of the most shrewd customers, making him a very important part of the South African setups.
He also became the first spinner to bowl the first ball of a World Cup, a feat he achieved just this year. Although South Africa had a miserable outing in the World Cups besides the 2015 edition, he has been their pillar in the spin department and even led the inexperienced bowling attack in 2019.
Tahir is the third-highest wicket-taker of this decade, picking up 173 scalps in 107 games. With a bowling average of 24.83 and an economy of 4.65, it’s needless to say he has been an outstanding servant for the South African side.
12th man – Kane Williamson
The way Kane Williamson carried himself after such a heartbreaking final, which was equally controversial, the New Zealander showed the world what a gentleman he is. This wasn’t the first time he was in limelight for being the nice guy in cricket, he has always been so, ever since he made his debut in 2010.
Brendon McCullum and Mike Hesson saw the talent this guy possesses and groomed him well enough to make him a captain one day. Once McCullum retired in 2016, he took over the reins as a captain in all formats and has done a terrific job thus far. He still has a lot of good years left in him but we can already deem him one of the finest personalities the game witnessed.
In 149 matches, he piled up 6132 runs at an average of 47.90. He registered 13 centuries and 39 half-centuries, piling up runs at a strike-rate in excess of 80. The stalwart definitely will have another shot at the World Cup and perhaps, the fans will be hoping for something better from his side.
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