The decade of 2010s is coming to an end. ODI cricket has gone through various changes and the players have changed too. In fact, a total of 1084 players played ODI cricket in this decade and not everyone has made it through.
There are numerous cricketers who hung up their boots this decade and called it quits either solely from ODI format or from all formats. The big stars like Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Jacques Kallis and hundreds of other big cricketers bid adieu to the game. But those retired players have played a vital part in ODI cricket in the 2010s-decade.
Hence, with the decade coming to a close in a couple of days, we look back at the best ODI XI among the players who retired from the 50-overs format:
1. Hashim Amla
There was a point when Hashim Amla was rated among the best ODI batsmen in world cricket. He wasn’t talked about much but the South African opener kept churning out runs. In fact, Amla was the fastest to 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000 and 7000 ODI runs in terms of innings. There was a trend. Virat Kohli set the record for most of those and Amla kept breaking those records.
Amla scored 7265 runs at an average of 49.76 in this 2010s-decade. Moreover, 26 out of his 27 ODI tons and 33 out of his 41 half-centuries in ODI cricket came in this decade. The Durban-born cricketer was the heart of South Africa’s team and performed consistently.
After a mediocre year in international cricket in 2019, Amla decided to hang up in August earlier this year. However, he continues to play domestic cricket in South Africa and is going the Kolpak way as he has signed a deal with Surrey.
2. Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar’s name might surprise a few, considering that he played just three years of ODI cricket in this decade. It was in December 2012 that Tendulkar decided to bid adieu to ODI cricket. He retired with a mammoth 18426 runs, 49 hundreds and 96 half-centuries in the 50-over format.
However, in this decade, the ‘Master Blaster’ played 23 ODI games with nine of them coming in the 2011 World Cup. In that tournament, he scored 482 runs at an average of 53.55 and finished as the second-highest run-getter of that World Cup.
Overall, Tendulkar scored 1032 runs in ODI cricket this decade before hanging up his boots. He averaged 46.90 and had a strike-rate of 92.30. He also scored four tons and three half-centuries. In fact, his 100th international ton was also in an ODI which was his penultimate game in 50-over cricket.
3. Kumar Sangakkara (wk)
Kumar Sangakkara was one of the prolific run-getters for Sri Lanka across formats. Till the time he retired, Sangakkara was the torch-bearer of Sri Lankan cricket. He simply churned out runs for fun and yet, he didn’t get as much limelight as some of the others.
The left-handed batsman played ODI cricket till the 2015 World Cup and he had the most runs in the decade till he retired. Only two players had more than 6000 runs in the decade and he was at the top of the run charts. Sangakkara scored 6356 runs at an average of 52.96 from the start of January 2010. Kohli was the only other player who was close to him.
The Sri Lankan veteran also scored 15 tons and 42 fifties in this period. Thus, there’s absolutely no doubt that he will be among the first players in this XI of retired cricketers from this 2010s-decade.
4. AB de Villiers
How can someone leave AB de Villiers out of an XI from the 2010s-decade? The South African star shocked the world when he announced his retirement from international cricket in May 2018. He was just 34 when he made the decision and seemed to have a lot of cricket left in him. There are rumours that he might return to international cricket but for now, he is counted among the retired players’ list.
The 2010s-decade was fabulous for De Villiers. He has the best average for any player who has played at least 50 ODI games in this decade. Mr 360 as he is called has amassed 6485 runs at an average of 64.20 and a strike-rate of 109.76. He’s rewritten batting records for fun. He has the fastest ODI fifty, fastest ODI ton and also, the fastest ODI 150, all of which came in 2015.
Moreover, 21 out of his 25 ODI hundreds have come in this decade. Thus, not only the retired XI but de Villiers will make it to the best ODI XI of this decade.
5. Yuvraj Singh
There’s absolutely no doubt that Yuvraj Singh was one of the biggest match-winners India has ever-produced in white-ball cricket. He played a huge role in two out of the three ICC white-ball triumphs in this century. The Punjab all-rounder turned games single-handedly.
While he was the key man in the 2007 T20 World Cup, Yuvraj continued his form and was the player of the tournament in the 2011 World Cup. In that tournament, he scored 362 runs which included four fifties and a hundred and also picked up 15 wickets. He was diagnosed with cancer and missed quite a bit of cricket.
Yuvraj wasn’t the same after he returned and was soon axed from the side. However, he made a stunning comeback in 2017 and was a part of India’s side which went to the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy. He even registered his highest ODI score in 2017 – 150 which came against England in Cuttack. In June 2019, he announced his retirement from international cricket.
6. Shane Watson
Shane Watson has batted at almost every position and has adapted well. He can bat at the top and go after the bowlers or he can bat in the middle and dwell according to the situation. Naturally, Watson was a fierce striker of a cricket ball and he still continues to light up T20 leagues around the world, including the IPL.
The Australian all-rounder had the ability to make an impact with both bat and ball. In this decade, he played 94 ODIs and made 3481 runs at an average of 40.47. He even picked up 69 wickets with the ball and had an economy of 5.09. Watson was Australia’s premier white-ball all-rounder. He was key to their balance.
In fact, he was a key member of the 2015 World Cup-winning squad as well. After the 2016 World T20 in India, Watson hung up his boots from international cricket and continued playing in various T20 leagues around the world.
7. JP Duminy
This may be a slightly surprising name in this XI but JP Duminy was an excellent finisher. He was never rated highly and he often slipped under the radar. He did disappoint on a few occasions but he had a decent record in this decade.
The South African left-hander scored 3824 runs and was a vital cog of South Africa’s middle-order for a large part of the decade. Moreover, Duminy can chip in with the ball as well. Out of the 145 ODI matches he has played in this decade, Duminy has bowled in 109 of those. His off-spinners are very handy. Thus, he can complete the fifth bowler’s quota in this team with Watson and Yuvraj.
He announced his retirement from the 50-over format this year and last played in South African colours in the 2019 World Cup.
8. Mitchell Johnson
Mitchell Johnson may not be rated highly in ODI cricket and he may be remembered for his performances in Test cricket. But he had very good numbers. In his ODI career, Johnson has picked up 239 wickets from 153 games. He had an economy under 5 and had a strike-rate of 31.3.
128 of those wickets came in the 2010s-decade. He averaged 24.45 with the ball and had a strike-rate of 31.1. Moreover, he had the ability to go out and tonk at the death. In fact, he had a strike-rate of 101.06 with the bat in this decade.
Johnson was a very underrated white-ball cricketer. He announced his retirement from international cricket in 2015 but continued playing T20 cricket. However, he quit from all forms of cricket in 2018.
9. Saeed Ajmal
At the start of the decade, mystery spinners were ruling the roost. While most of them fizzled out after a few games, there was Saeed Ajmal who tormented batsmen for quite some time. Batsmen found it tough to pick his variations and Ajmal made them dance to his tunes.
He was on top of his game till 2014 until he was called for illegal action and suddenly, he lost his venom. The Pakistan mystery spinner did make a return in 2015 but he had lost all his mojo. In November 2017, he retired from all forms of cricket.
However, despite playing international cricket only in the first half of the 2010s-decade, Ajmal is among the top ODI bowlers of this decade. He took 157 wickets in 91 ODIs and had an economy of 4.24 which is one of the best. His average of 21.90 is the fourth-best among bowlers who have at least 50 ODI wickets in this decade. Thus, he is one of the two frontline spinners of this XI.
10. Lasith Malinga
No bowler even comes close to the number of wickets Lasith Malinga has picked in this decade. The ace Sri Lankan pace may have blown hot and cold in the ODI format and decided to quit but he still ends this decade as the best bowler in terms of wickets. Malinga is the only bowler to have picked up 200 wickets since January 2010.
He has played 162 ODI games in the aforementioned period and has taken a stunning 248 wickets. His average and strike-rate may not be among the best but Malinga kept finding ways to pick wickets. He was the heart of Sri Lanka’s pace attack throughout this decade.
Moreover, he took eight five-wicket hauls which is the most for any bowler in this decade. Thus, he will lead this pace attack along with Mitchell Johnson.
11. Imran Tahir
Imran Tahir was one of the late bloomers in international cricket. He made his ODI debut in a World Cup game of 2011. However, since then, he became South Africa’s premier white-ball spinner and till he retired, not many even threatened to take his place in the XI.
Tahir was a consistent performer for South Africa. He gave them breakthroughs in the middle overs regularly. In the 107 ODIs he’s played, the leg-spinner took 173 wickets (third-highest for any bowler) at an average of 24.83. He even showed immense control and had an economy of 4.65.
Thus, Tahir was the best leg-spinner of this decade in ODI cricket. He retired from ODI cricket after the 2019 World Cup. However, he continues to play T20 cricket and is available for selection even in T20 Internationals.
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