It’s the dusk of another year. 2019 is coming to a close and only two international matches are yet to be completed – both of them being Boxing Day Tests, one in Australia and one in South Africa. Including those two, a total of 491 international matches have been played in 2019.
One of the biggest challenges of modern-day cricket is to adapt to different formats and continue to be consistent and successful in each one of them. Switching formats is not easy but there are certain players who’ve mastered the art. They have shown that they can perform in all three formats consistently.
Thus, after 36 Tests, 149 ODIs and 306 T20Is in 2019, we take a look at the Best XI across all formats from 2019:
(Note: Stats updated till 25th December)
1. Rohit Sharma
Without a doubt, 2019 was Rohit Sharma’s year. Be it white-ball or red-ball cricket, Rohit was simply outstanding throughout the year. He had an outstanding World Cup and reinvented himself in the longest format of the game.
In ODI cricket, India’s white-ball vice-captain finished as the leading run-getter in 2019. He amassed 1490 runs which included seven tons, five of which came in the 2019 World Cup where he finished as the highest run-scorer. He had a rather sedate time in T20Is as he made 396 runs at an average of 28.28 and a strike-rate of 138.46.
However, it is Test cricket that was the format that Rohit would’ve enjoyed the most. He’s constantly been in and out of the Test side and there’s barely been any consistency. But the move to open the batting worked wonders just like white-ball cricket. Rohit opened in five Test matches and made 556 runs at an average 92.66 which included three tons. Overall, he was the second-highest run-getter across formats in 2019 as he made 2442 runs and scored 10 international hundreds, most by an opener in a calendar year.
2. David Warner
It was a comeback year for David Warner. After a torrid 2018 where he was banned due to the ball-tampering saga, there was a lot of hype around the swashbuckling Australian opener. And he has lived up to expectation. It’s been a wonderful comeback for Warner with a small little hiccup in the form of the Ashes series.
Warner’s international return was in the World Cup and he was Australia’s premier batsman. He made 647 runs and fell one run short of being the tournament’s leading run-getter. The left-hander scored three tons and as many fifties and drove Australia into the semi-finals. Those were the only ODIs he played.
His return to Test cricket wasn’t that easy as he struggled in the Ashes and couldn’t buy a run. However, after returning to Australia, Warner became a different beast. He pummelled runs in T20I cricket as he made 287 runs from six innings and was dismissed just once. In Test cricket, he scored a couple of tons, including a fine triple ton (335) beating Sir Don Bradman’s highest individual score.
Despite playing just 24 international games this year, Warner finished at No. 6 on the leading run-getters list. He aggregated 1580 runs and averaged 68.69 across formats in 2019.
3. Virat Kohli (c)
Year after year, Virat Kohli keeps scaling new heights. It was another year where he amassed more than 2000 runs in international cricket. It was his fourth successive year where he’s done that and has become the first player to do so as well. He finished the year 2019 with 2455 runs across formats which is the most by any batsman this year.
Kohli is a beast in ODI cricket and finished the year as the second-highest run-getter in the 50-over format. He made 1377 runs at an average of 59.86 which is almost the same as his career ODI average. He scored five tons and seven half-centuries.
As far as Tests are concerned, he was slightly more inconsistent when compared to the last few years. However, he still scored 612 runs at an average of 68.00 but scored just two hundreds. In T20Is, he found some of his lost form as well. 2017 and 2018 weren’t as good as the previous years but the Indian skipper has got going once again in 2019. The Indian skipper scored 466 runs at an average of 77.66 and a strike-rate of 147.93. Hence, despite being slightly inconsistent, Kohli still ended up leading the batting charts of 2019.
4. Steve Smith
Like David Warner, the emotions were very similar for Steve Smith when he returned to international cricket after he served the 12-month ban. It was only in June that he made a comeback and it was through the World Cup. While he didn’t have a standout tournament, he was Australia’s crisis man and scored four fifties in the mega event.
However, when the Ashes started, he took his batting on another level. Test cricket was always his preferred format but he dominated England like never before. They were sick and tired of him and just couldn’t find a way to get past him. Smith scored a staggering 774 runs from four Tests and helped Australia retain the urn. He may not have scored big in the home Tests but still is second on the list of leading run-getters in Test cricket.
Smith even fared well in the shortest format. He played six games but batted in just three innings. But he made the most of those as well. He scored 146 runs and was out just once. The Australian run-machine is not even in the top 10 run-scorers in 2019 across formats but the impact he had was simply phenomenal.
5. Babar Azam
Only three batsmen were able to scale the 2000-run mark across formats in 2019. Babar Azam was the third after the Indian star duo of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. The Pakistan star was the third-highest run-getter in international cricket this year as he made 2082 runs.
Azam has been Pakistan’s best batsman by a distance for some time now. He’s dominated batting charts across formats for Pakistan. There was a slight doubt over his ability in Test cricket and he’s squashed that to pieces. Azam scored 616 runs at an average of 68.44 and also registered three tons.
Moreover, he continued piling on the runs in white-ball cricket. In ODI cricket, the Pakistan No. 3 made 1092 runs and averaged 60.66 while he scored 374 runs at an average of 41.55 in T20Is. It was a year when the all-format Babar Azam came to the fore and pushed himself into the discussion of being one of the best batsmen in world cricket at the moment.
6. Ben Stokes
2019 was one of the most dramatic years in the life of Ben Stokes. Be it the World Cup or the Ashes, Stokes was England’s go-to man. He had a year to remember and there were life-defining knocks along the way as well.
He may not have numbers that stand out and beg people to look at it. But the impact and the emotions his contribution had was on another level. Stokes did not play any T20I cricket this year and yet, he makes it to the best XI across formats from 2019.
Stokes played 10 Test matches and scored 772 runs at an average of 48.25. His knock of 135 at Leeds was one for the ages and many already argue it to be the best Test knock ever. He even took 20 wickets to go with his 772 runs in the longest format. As far as ODI cricket is concerned, Stokes 719 runs at an average of nearly 60 and also took 12 wickets. He scored seven half-centuries including one in the World Cup final which led England to a win.
Thus, 2019 was the year where Stokes redeemed himself and gave it all for England.
7. Quinton de Kock (wk)
Quinton de Kock does bat at the top of the order in white-ball cricket but there was no other keeper had a better year than de Kock. He scored 1502 runs at an average of 48.45 in international cricket in 2019 which is the most for any South African batsman.
In fact, he was one of the only few shining lights in what was a disappointing year in South African cricket. De Kock scored consistently in all formats. While he made 584 runs at an average of 44.92 in Test cricket, he scored 774 runs at an average of 48.37. Moreover, he scored a couple of fifties in T20Is as well.
Thus, it was a good year for de Kock. He scored three hundreds and 13 half-centuries across formats. He topped every batting chart for South Africa and was the only wicket-keeper batsman who performed consistently across formats.
8. Pat Cummins
It was the year of Pat Cummins if you consider the bowlers. He came out and led the Australian pace attack in every format and was simply outstanding. Be it Tests, ODIs or T20Is, Cummins was brilliant and stepped up every time he took the field.
The premier Australian pacer took 94 wickets across formats and was easily the best bowler of the year. He has 54 wickets in Test cricket which is the most by any bowler this year. He averages 20.61 this year in the longest format.
Meanwhile, there may not be a lot of limelight on him in white-ball cricket but he still does the job. Cummins took 31 wickets at an average of 21.61 from 16 ODI games and had an economy of 4.73. It was the return of Cummins in T20I cricket after two years. He picked up nine wickets in seven games and had an economy of 6.62.
9. Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan may not have had a great World Cup but he’s been the best all-format spinner this year. No other spinner has more wickets than Rashid across formats in 2019. The Afghan superstar has picked up 56 wickets across in international cricket.
After a low-key Test debut in 2018, Rashid made amends this year and had a fine time with the red-ball. Afghanistan played just three Test matches but Rashid ripped through every batting line-up he was up against. He picked up 21 wickets at an average of 15.76 in the longest format.
Rashid had a sedate year in ODI cricket as he picked only 15 wickets but was economical. However, he was at his best in the shortest format. The leg-spinner took 20 wickets at an average of 12.90 and was the third-highest wicket-taker in T20Is this year.
10. Mitchell Starc
Mitchell Starc didn’t start off the year well. He did pick up a five-wicket haul in a Test match against Sri Lanka but played just three international games (all of them being Test matches) till June. He was also dealing with a few injury issues. However, his return from injury brought out a new beast in front of the world.
Starc played only a handful of white-ball cricket in 2017 and 2018. However, he returned to the Australian side in the 2019 World Cup and dominated the bowling charts. Starc is a World Cup beast and showed that the 2015 edition wasn’t a flash in the pan. For the second successive World Cup, he topped the wicket charts. The left-arm pacer picked up 27 wickets from 10 games and struck once every 20 balls.
Meanwhile, Starc also played five T20Is and took eight wickets. It was the first time since 2014 that Starc played more than two T20Is in a calendar year. Meanwhile, Starc played just one Test in the Ashes but he’s found his form once Australia started their home season. He’s taken a total of 40 wickets in Test cricket this year which includes four five-wicket hauls.
Overall, the New South Wales left-armer has 75 wickets (third-most) in international cricket in 2019. His average of 18.78 is the second-best for any bowler with more than 30 international wickets this year. Hence, Starc had a wonderful 2019 and was easily the best left-arm bowler this year.
11. Mohammed Shami
2019 was the coming of age of Mohammed Shami. He was India’s premier bowler in Test cricket but he’s made it big even in the shorter formats. Shami was the second-highest wicket-taker in 2019 across formats and took 77 wickets. His average of 19.81 was the third-best for any bowler who picked more than 30 wickets in international cricket this year.
In Tests, the Bengal pacer picked up 33 wickets at an average of 16.66. Meanwhile, it was the return of Shami, the white-ball bowler. He finished on top of the bowling charts in ODI cricket. He took 42 wickets and had a strike-rate of 25.3.
Shami even made a return to T20I cricket after a period of more than two years. However, he played just one game against the West Indies and did well. He took 2/25 against a rampaging West Indian batting line-up. Thus, Shami was excellent throughout the year, continuing his red-ball form and reinventing himself in white-ball cricket.
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