As a wonderful decade of cricket ends, the T20s have gained more importance than ever and Test cricket has risen up from the ashes to capture the imagination of fans. The one format that has been steady and rich in viewing experience this decade has been the One Day format. As such, identifying a team for the decade is no easy task. However, we make a solid attempt backed by some telling numbers.
There are three outright contenders for the openers of the decade - Hashim Amla, David Warner and Rohit Sharma. The Indian opener is a must-pick given his outrageous numbers in the decade that include three double hundreds and a further 25 centuries. Amla and Warner have averages very close to each other - 49.76 and 47.88 respectively - but the South African trumps Warner for scoring nine more hundreds and performing well across conditions. As such, Rohit will be partnered by Amla at the top in our team.
Rohit Sharma, Hashim Amla
Middle-order and wicket-keeper
The middle-order batsmen had a gala time in the decade with quite a few of them making impactful performances. Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, both averaging above 60 (60.79 and 64.2 respectively) are no-brainers at numbers 3 and 4. They remain the most popular and exciting batsmen of the decade and have 42 and 21 hundreds respectively.
There are quite a few players including Ross Taylor, Eoin Morgan and Kane Williamson sticking their hand up in the middle-order, but Kumar Sangakkara, who had a sensational career and played five of the ten years in the decade makes it to the team at no 5. He averaged 52.96 with 15 centuries in the format in the decade and will be followed by the best all-rounder in the decade, Shakib Al Hasan. The Bangladesh middle-order batsman finished as the second-highest wicket-taker in the format this decade, taking 177 scalps at 30.15 and made a decent impact with the bat too.
The captain of the side has to be the Indian World Cup winning skipper, MS Dhoni. He had a terrific decade despite his recent slump in form. An average of 50-plus with 39 half-centuries and four hundreds makes Dhoni a terrific lower middle-order batsman in the format. His captaincy skills remain second to none and it is inevitable that he leads the team of the decade.
Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Kumar Sangakkara, Shakib Al Hasan, MS Dhoni (c & wk)
We have gone in with a 3-1 combination, with three pacers complemented by one spinner. Obviously, Shakib provides a sixth bowling option in the side with his more-than-handy stump-to-stump bowling. The choice for three pacers came from a wider pool that included Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga, Mitchell Starc, Morne Morkel and Trent Boult. Imran Tahir is the irreplaceable spinner in the team of the decade. The South African picked up 173 wickets in 107 matches, averaging 24.83.
Among the pacers, we have Starc and Boult, two left-arm pacers who made a profound impact with their striking abilities as the first-choice picks. Bumrah and Malinga would ideally be in a one-on-one battle for the death over bowler's spot. Bumrah played just three years of ODI cricket and Malinga tops the wicket charts for the decade and as such the Sri Lankan pips the Indian pacer, with longevity being a major factor.
Mitchell Starc, Imran Tahir, Lasith Malinga, Trent Boult
ODI Team of the decade: Rohit Sharma, Hashim Amla, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Kumar Sangakkara, Shakib Al Hasan, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Mitchell Starc, Imran Tahir, Lasith Malinga, Trent Boult
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Punit Paranjpe