It’s been more than seven years since India and Pakistan faced each other in a bilateral series and only once did they meet in a series in the 2010s-decade. It was back in 2012-13 that Pakistan had toured India for a short limited-overs leg. Since then, it’s been only in ICC and ACC matches that the two Asian powerhouses meet.
However, they have played a lot of ODI cricket in the 2010s-decade. India won the 2011 World Cup and the 2013 Champions Trophy while Pakistan won the 2017 edition of the Champions Trophy. Moreover, some players were very consistent and a few of them emerged as world-beaters.
Thus, with the 2010s decade done and dusted, we look back at some of the star performers across India and Pakistan in ODI cricket and form a combined XI.
Here’s the combined XI:
1. Rohit Sharma
There was no better opener than Rohit Sharma in ODI cricket in the 2010s-decade. He was a middle-order batsman until 2013. He struggled for consistency and the promise that he had shown early in his career wasn’t converting into performances.
However, ever since he turned into an opener in 2013, there’s been no looking back. Rohit has scored 8249 runs in this decade which is the second-most. Moreover, out of which 6977 came batting at the top of the order. Furthermore, 26 out of his 28 tons have also been while he opened the batting.
The Mumbai batsman has smoked three double tons as well and will certainly go down as one of the best ODI openers of all-time. Thus, Rohit will be one of the first names on the team sheet irrespective of which countries you are considering.
2. Mohammad Hafeez
There have been plenty of openers who have done well for Pakistan in this decade. The likes of Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Ahmed Shehzad, Azhar Ali were among the few who did well for a decent period of time. However, Mohammad Hafeez pips everybody including a couple of Indians to make it as the second opener of this XI.
Hafeez has batted in the top order for most of his career and did so even in this decade. In fact, he opened the batting for Pakistan in 81 out of the 180 ODIs he played in this decade. The all-rounder scored more runs than any other Pakistani opener at the top of the order. Almost 50 per cent of the runs that Hafeez scored in this decade (2704 out of his 5740 runs) came at the top of the order.
Moreover, the Sargodha-born cricketer has the ability to chip in with 10 overs and can provide some useful breakthroughs as well. He picked up 101 wickets and had an economy of 4.11 in this decade which largely tilted the balance in his favour.
3. Virat Kohli
There’s absolutely no doubt that Virat Kohli is arguably one of the best ODI No. 3s to have ever played the game. There is not one player who even comes close to his record at the moment in ODI cricket. He’s churned out runs, hundreds and fifties for fun.
Kohli scored his first ODI ton in December 2009 and that set the ball rolling for him. Since then, he hasn’t looked back and has smashed 42 OD centuries since January 2010. There have been 52 half-centuries as well in this period. He has smoked 11,125 runs at a stunning average of 60.79.
Thus, there is no question whatsoever on who the No. 3 should be in this line-up. He has also featured in most ODI games (227) in this decade and is the only cricketer in the world to play more than 200 ODIs since January 2010.
4. Babar Azam
Due to Virat Kohli’s presence, Babar Azam cannot be accommodated at No. 3. But he is too good a player to be left out. The current Pakistan No. 3 has been his team’s best batsman for the last few years and has been scoring runs on a consistent basis in white-ball cricket. In fact, Pakistan depend heavily on Azam to do the bulk of the scoring.
Azam made his debut in 2015 and has been phenomenal since. Despite playing just 74 ODIs in this decade, Azam is in the top 10 run-getters among Indian and Pakistani players. In fact, only two other Pakistan players have more runs than him in this decade.
He has scored 3359 runs at an average of 54.17. Azam has also scored 11 tons and 15 half-centuries. In fact, that average is the third-best for any batsman (after AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli) in this decade.
Misbah-ul-Haq is one of those batsmen who has more ODI runs than Babar Azam in this 2010s-decade. He was a very underrated white-ball player and finisher. He had the ability to take the game deep and keep his team in the hunt and took Pakistan over the line on multiple occasions.
The former Pakistan skipper did not score a ton in his ODI career. However, 33 out of his 42 career ODI half-centuries came in this decade. He was one of the rocks of the Pakistan middle-order. Misbah scored 3399 runs since the start of 2010 which is the second-most by any Pakistan cricketer.
6. MS Dhoni (c & wk)
Here is another spot where there’s hardly going to be any debate. Be it as captain or wicket-keeper, MS Dhoni will pip everybody else and make it to most ODI XIs of the decade. He played a staggering 196 ODI games in this decade which is the second-most by any player in world cricket.
However, 130 of those came as captain. He has the fourth-most runs as captain in ODI cricket since January 2010. But Dhoni is the second-highest run-getter among ODI wicket-keepers of the 2010s. The former Indian captain amassed 5640 runs at an average of 50.35 which included four tons and 39 half-centuries.
Dhoni was also fabulous behind the stumps. No player affected as many dismissals as Dhoni since the start of the 2010 decade. He took 170 catches and affected 72 stumpings which makes his tally 242.
7. Ravindra Jadeja
There were a few contenders for the No. 7 spot which is filled by the all-rounder. Shahid Afridi was one of the biggest ones but his inconsistency with the bat didn’t work in his favour. Shoaib Malik and Suresh Raina were also decent options but they don’t offer that much with the ball. Thus, Ravindra Jadeja has been picked.
The Saurashtra all-rounder has the ability to make an impact in all three departments. Be it with the bat, ball or even in the field, he can change the game. No other Indian or Pakistan player has more wickets in ODI cricket since 2010 than Jadeja’s 171. He has a good economy rate too.
He is a handy batsman down the order and can don the finisher’s role. He has scored 1987 runs at an average of 31.04 since January 2010. Moreover, Jadeja is a livewire in the field and can eke out a wicket or two with his fielding as well.
8. Saeed Ajmal
Saeed Ajmal may have disappeared and may not have played international cricket since 2015 but he’s had a significant impact in Pakistan’s ODI cricket this decade. He was bamboozling batsmen for fun and there were very few who could pick him. In fact, teams often played him out in order to deny him wickets.
Ajmal could spin the ball both ways and troubled some of the best batsmen in world cricket. However, after remodelling his action in 2015, he wasn’t that effective and hence, faded away. In 2017, he retired from all forms of cricket.
Yet, he has the most wickets for a Pakistan bowler in ODI cricket since the start of 2010. Ajmal has picked up 157 wickets from 91 games. His average of 21.90 with the ball is one of the best. Moreover, he had an economy of 4.24 which is the second-best for any India or Pakistan bowler in the 2010s-decade.
9. Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami is a very underrated white-ball bowler. His record is very good in ODI cricket and yet, he found himself out of the Indian ODI team for a couple of years. Shami is a wicket-taker and can blast through oppositions.
He made his debut in January 2013 and has taken the most wickets by an Indian pacer in the 2010s-decade. Shami has picked up 136 wickets at an average of 25. He has an economy of 5.50 but he picks up a wicket every 27 deliveries which is the best for any Indian bowler in this decade.
Thus, Shami will be one of the three fast bowlers in this line-up. He can take the new ball or even bowl first-change and still be effective.
10. Jasprit Bumrah
Despite making his debut in 2016, Jasprit Bumrah has become India’s premier fast bowler across formats. He has been simply brilliant. Be it at the start of the innings, in the middle or at the death, Bumrah has dominated and there have been very few instances of him going for runs.
Bumrah has played 58 ODI games in his career and has taken 103 wickets. He has an economy of 4.49 which is the best for any pacer who has taken at least 50 ODI wickets since the start of 2010. Moreover, his average of 21.88 is also among the best.
Thus, you cannot look beyond Bumrah in an ODI XI of this generation. He will lead the attack and will probably take the new-ball as well.
11. Junaid Khan
You might wonder given Pakistan’s fast bowling pool and talent, why only one Pakistan fast bowler features in this XI. There are a couple of reasons. India’s fast bowling stocks have been on the rise and Shami and Bumrah’s record makes it hard to leave them out.
Moreover, Pakistan fast bowlers have been very inconsistent. Only two Pakistan pacers have more than 100 wickets since January 2010. The likes of Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Umar Gul and the others have been very inconsistent.
Thus, Junaid Khan gets the nod in this XI. He also provides a left-arm pace option with the other two Indian pacers being right-armers. Junaid has taken 110 wickets in this decade which is the most by any Pakistan pacer. He can bowl fast and get the ball to nip around and has troubled the batsmen on a few occasions. He’s been inconsistent as well at times as well but he’s been Pakistan’s best fast bowler of the decade in ODI cricket.
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