As the decade draws to an end, we look back at a fascinating decade of Cricket to select our best XI during the 2010s. A mix of statistics, standout performances, and bit of personal bias played a part in this selection.
So here are the elevel players we think make the strongest team of this decade.
Alastair Cook: In a decade where openers struggled for the large part, Sir Alastair Cook stood head and shoulders above everyone else. Cook ended up with the most runs during this decade, 8,818, and his 23 centuries during this period have only been bettered by the freak duo of Steve Smith And Virat Kohli. He had a couple of lean years in the middle of the decade and an average 2018 before his retirement, but England’s struggles at the top of the order since his retirement underline his value to the team.
David Warner: An absolute beast at home, average away but David Warner does enough to beat the other contenders to be the opening partner alongside Cook. Scored same number of centuries as Cook, 23, while compiling 7088 runs this decade including a magnificent 335* at the end of the decade against Pakistan. His reputation took a beating when he was suspended for an year by Cricket Australia after the “sandpaper scandal” but he has firmly put that behind him during this Australian summer.
Kumar Sangakkara (c): Among batsmen with 1500+ runs this decade (yes we put that qualifier only to discount Voges), only Steve Smith averaged higher than Sangakkara’s 61.40. The smooth left hander was in irresistible form during the first half of the decade as he kept piling on the runs. Sanga scored 17 of his 38 Test hundreds this decade, including 4 double centuries, 1 triple centuries and a score of 199*. He also becomes our captain since we think that the suave charismatic Sangakkara might be able to bring all these big names and egos together.
Steve Smith: In his first Test in 2010, Steve Smith batted at Number 8 and 9 in the 2 innings, scoring 1 and 12 respectively. By the time 2019 ended, he was hailed as the greatest Test batsman since Don Bradman and even a half century from the man was seen as a failure. From a leg spinner who could bat a bit to the premier batsman in the format, It is the most stunning transformation in Cricket since Hansie Cronje turned into a cheat. Just like Warner, he missed an year after sandpaper gate but he exorcised those ghosts during a phenomenal Ashes where he wrested the Ashes for Australia.
Virat Kohli: It was the decade of Virat Kohli, the best all format batsman, the only man to average 50+ in all formats, he can walk into any Test side of the decade. After an average start to his Test career, Kohli announced he belongs at this level with his century in Adelaide at the end of the 2012 tour, and hasn’t looked back since. Nobody has scored more than the 27 Test centuries compiled by the Indian captain, and combined with his ODI centuries, he is looking set to become the 2nd batsman to breach the 100 international centuries mark.
AB De Villiers (wk): It was tempting to go for a specialist wicket keeper but how do you keep the phenomenon called AB out. Whether you want to accelerate to set up a target or you want to block whole day to see out a draw, AB is your man. In total, AB scored over 5000 runs in this decade at an average of 57.48 with a career best of 278* in Abu Dhabi against Pakistan.
In the matches AB played as a Wicket Keeper, his average jumps to 57.41, against his overall career average of 50.66.
Ben Stokes: Tough to choose the all-rounder between Shakib Al Hasan and Ben Stokes, both performed outstandingly well during the decade, but since he is expected to bat at Number 7 in this line-up, we have gone for Ben Stokes, someone more suited to bat with the lower order. Played some outstanding innings with the bat, like the exhilarating 258 in South Africa or one of the greatest ever Test knocks in Headingley and always delivered the goods with the ball for the team. Whenever his captain desperately needed a wicket or needed someone to make something happen, he put his hand up.
Ravichandran Ashwin: One of India’s biggest match-winners in a decade where they marched their way to Number 1 position in Test rankings. Ashwin picked up 362 wickets at 25.36, and also scoring 2,385 runs with 4 centuries during this period. Along with Jadeja, Ashwin formed a potent pair that made Indian invincible at home.
Dale Steyn: The greatest fast bowler of his generation. While Broad and Anderson may have more wickets than him, Steyn is streets ahead of them when it comes to average or strike rate.Before finally losing the battle to injuries, Steyn picked up 439 wickets in total, 267 of them during this decade. Seaming home tracks or flat Indian wickets, Steyn was highly potent everywhere and picked up wickets all over the world.
Stuart Broad: 7th most successful bowler of all times, Broad picked up 403 wickets during this decade while forming one of the greatest fast bowling partnerships with James Anderson. For a fast bowler, he also managed to keep his fitness levels remarkably high, playing the most test matches this decade, level with Cook, 111. When Broad got on a roll, batsmen had no chance as he ran through one batsman after another. His 8 for 15 at Nottingham will go down in Ashes history as one of the greatest spells of fast bowling.
James Anderson: The most successful bowler during this decade with 429 wickets. The first fast bowler to ever reach 150 Test matches. The most successful fast bowler of all time. James Anderson has been breaking records all over the place during this decade and deservedly gets his spot in the team of the decade. The tag of “clouderson” has been firmly shed during this decade as well as he picked wickets in different countries under all kinds of conditions. Still looking in peak physical shape, he is set to become the first fast bowler to touch the 600 wickets mark.