The ODI format has chopped and changed quite a bit over the last decade. At times, there was a lot going in the batsmen’s favour as well. For a few years, only four fielders were allowed outside the 30-yard circle apart from the powerplay overs. Hence, batsmen capitalized and started amassing more runs with the passage of time.
Now, there are two new balls – one from each end and it does pose a challenge early on. Moreover, the batting powerplay has been done away with as well and five fielders can be at the boundary after 40 overs. Thus, there are quite a few things that a batsman has to assess.
While ODI (and white-ball) cricket seems like a batsmen’s game and it is true but only to some extent. The batsmen have faced their own set of challenges as well.
Thus, with the 2010s-decade coming to an end, here we rate the top 10 ODI batsmen of this decade:
Kane Williamson – 7.5/10
It was only in August 2010 that Kane Williamson made his ODI (or rather international) debut. He started off with two back to back ducks before scoring a ton in his fifth game. However, he was largely inconsistent for the first couple of years before he picked up the pace to pave his way into the elite list.
In fact, it was only from 2013 that he got a lot more consistent and has never looked back since. He might be placed at the ninth place on the list of players with most runs in ODI cricket since January 2010. But he has been New Zealand’s talisman. At No. 3, he controls the innings and paces it beautifully.
Williamson has scored 6132 runs at an average of 47.90 in the 149 ODI games he’s played. He’s made 13 tons and 39 half-centuries. He’s made runs almost everywhere but there are better players who’ve performed better than him I ODI cricket and hence, he gets a seven and a half.
Kumar Sangakkara – 8/10
You might be surprised to see Kumar Sangakkara’s name on this list, considering that he played international cricket only till 2015. However, in the first half of the decade, he had the highest runs in ODI cricket. Since the start of this decade, only Sangakkara and Virat Kohli made more than 6000 runs. But the former topped the list.
In 142 ODI games that the Sri Lankan legend played in this decade, he made 6356 runs at an average of 52.96. These 6356 runs are sixth-most in this decade despite not featuring in an ODI since April 2015. Moreover, he scored 15 tons, which includes four in a row in the 2015 World Cup.
He was the heart of Sri Lanka’s middle-order and kept churning out runs. If it was only the first half of this decade, Sangakkara would’ve easily been near a perfect 10 but he retired in 2015 which makes his rating eight.
David Warner – 8/10
David Warner is one of those cricketers who made a progression from T20Is to ODIs to Tests. The left-handed opener has been one of Australia’s most prolific run-getters across formats. In ODI cricket, he’s been Australia’s premier batsman.
Having made his debut in early 2009, the New South Wales opener didn’t really make a big impact in his first few games. Thus, he was dropped and wasn’t even around for a couple of years. He made a comeback in October 2011 and has become the No. 1 opener for his side.
Warner has played over 100 ODI games in this decade and has amassed 4884 runs which is the most by an Australian since January 2010. Aaron Finch is the only other Aussie who more than 4000 runs in this period.
Babar Azam – 8/10
If there is one young player who is catching everyone’s attention with some delightful stroke-play and his consistency, it has to be Babar Azam. The Lahore-born batsman has been making runs consistently in white-ball cricket ever since he made his debut in 2015. In fact, he’s been Pakistan’s best batsman by a distance in the last few years.
Azam has made 3359 runs at an average of 54.17. This average is the third-best for any batsmen with more than 1000 ODI runs in this decade. He’s scored 11 hundreds and 15 fifties in his four-and-a-half-year career so far and has come up the ranks really quickly.
He has become Pakistan’s premier batsman across formats and is often compared to Virat Kohli. Azam started off batting at No. 4 and 5 in his first few games before he switched to No. 3 and since then, he’s come into his own. Azam has impressed but gets an eight having played just the second half of the decade.
Joe Root – 8.5/10
When we talk about England’s white-ball cricket, we talk about power and might of their batting line-up. Batsmen like Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes often come in mentions. There’s hardly any mention of Joe Root. However, the current England Test captain is the most consistent out of all of them.
Root has accumulated 5856 runs at an average of 51.36. He is England’s rock and anchor at No. 3 and often plays around the big hitters. Yet, he’s scored more hundreds and fifties in ODI cricket than any other England batsman in this decade. He is No. 11 on the list of most ODI runs in this decade.
Thus, Root is a pretty underrated ODI batsman. He consistently ticks over and lets the other players hog all the limelight. Hence, he gets eight and a half.
Ross Taylor – 8.5/10
While the limelight has been on other big stars around the world, Ross Taylor has quietly and consistently scored big runs. Along with Kane Williamson, he has been New Zealand’s dependable player in the middle. In fact, the duo coming in at 3 and 4 gives the team a cushion and dependability factor as well.
Taylor has made 6428 runs in this decade which is the fifth-most in ODI cricket. The New Zealand No. 4 has 17 hundreds and 39 fifties to his name in this period. Hence, that puts him fifth on the list of most 50+ scores since January 2010.
He may not have been noticed so much but he is among the best ODI batsmen of this 2010s-decade. He’s been New Zealand’s best, even better than Williamson as far as consistency is concerned. Thus, he too gets 8.5.
Hashim Amla – 9/10
There was a template throughout the 2010s-decade. Virat Kohli kept breaking the record to reach a particular milestone in the fastest time (number of innings) and Hashim Amla kept breaking that. Between 2000 and 7000 ODI runs, Amla was the fastest to each of those milestones. However, Amla never got the attention he deserved.
There was nothing too fancy about the way Amla went about his business. He played proper, orthodox cricket shots and still scored heavily. With 7265 runs, he is the third-highest run-getter in this decade. He scored 26 hundreds which is the third-highest as well in this decade.
There was hardly any South African batsman apart from AB de Villiers who was as consistent as Amla. Hence, he gets a nine rating for his phenomenal batting record.
Rohit Sharma – 9/10
For Rohit Sharma, 2013 was the turning point. Until then, he was a talented batsman who was struggling for any sort of consistency. But he shifted to the top of order took place, he hasn’t looked back. The Mumbai batsman has been very consistent and has owned batting charts as well.
He’s been ODI cricket’s most successful opener of the decade as well. Sharma has amassed 7991 runs (second-most in this decade) at an average of 52.92. He’s scored 27 ODI tons as well which is also the second-most. The current Indian white-ball vice-captain has also smoked three double tons.
Rohit has been simply fabulous as an opener. His exploits at the top of the order have been one of the reasons for India’s success. There is little doubt that he is among the top three or five ODI batsman in the world at the moment. Thus, he gets a nine as well.
AB de Villiers – 9.5/10
At the start of this decade was the entry of Mr 360. While AB de Villiers was an established player across formats, the wide range of shots were never released. But right from the onset of this 2010s-decade, de Villiers has stamped his authority and legacy as a proper 360 degrees player.
The South African star simply toyed around with the bowling. He made a mockery of some solid bowling attacks. He scored 6485 runs in 135 matches since January 2010. His average of 64.20 is the best by any batsman who has scored more than 1000 runs in this decade.
De Villiers even had a fantastic strike-rate of 109.76. He scored the fastest 50, 100 and 150 in the history of ODI as well. Thus, there’s little surprise that de Villiers is right up in the ratings of best ODI batsmen of this decade.
Virat Kohli – 9.5/10
There isn’t even an iota of doubt as to who the best ODI batsman of the decade is. No player has come even close to touching Virat Kohli’s ODI record in the 2010s-decade. He is more than 3000 runs away from the second-best Rohit Sharma. Kohli has amassed 11,036 runs at an average of 61.31 since January 2010.
Be it runs, average, hundreds, fifties, Kohli is topping most of those lists. He got his maiden ODI ton in December 2009 and he carried on from there and entered this decade. He has struck 42 tons and 51 half-centuries in this decade. No one has even played as many ODI matches as Kohli in these 10 years.
The current Indian captain is well on track to break the great Sachin Tendulkar’s record. Kohli has absolutely dominated this decade and has been the best batsman by a distance. The only blip has been his record in 50-over World Cup semi-finals where he has scores of 9, 1 and 1. Else, a perfect 10 would’ve been ideal.
Watch: South Africa spinner bowls with both hands in MSL 2019
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