World’s 10 best cricketers of the decade
Blazing bats dominate the decade's best cricketers.
Eight of the 10 to make cricket writer Russell Gould's list are best known for their feats with the willow.
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Only a GOAT and a swing bowler Aussies love to hate have come from outside the batting craft.
1.Virat Kohli (India)
Across all three-forms, the Indian captain has been peerless over the past 10 years. His numbers are actually quite staggering. His 7202 Test runs and 27 hundreds are more than anyone, plus he also averages over 50 in one-day internationals (60.31) and T20s (50.00). His 11,000 ODI runs put him eighth on the all-time list, and have come in just 239 games. All told Kohli has scored an astounding 20,000 international runs in the past decade, with 70 centuries, 43 of which have come in ODIs. On numbers alone he stands out, but when you include the bold, confident captaincy which has taken India to the top of the Test and one-day rankings, and made them a power at both home and away, it's hard to go past Kohli as the number one.
2. Steve Smith (Australia)
If the Australian batting dynamo didn't miss 12 months of international cricket, it's more than likely Smith would have a better Test record than Kohli. As it stands, his … Test runs is second only to his Indian rival, and the Australian also got to that number faster than anyone in cricket history. The incline on which his Test average has ascended since his maiden century against England in 2013 has been incredible, and having topped 65 Smith has become a force few teams have been able to reckon with. His one-day record is not as overwhelming, but he still has pounded eight centuries to go with his 26 at Test level, and when you include the fact he's a World Cup winner and been a series-winning captain of his country Smith's spot is hard to deny.
3. Hashim Amla (South Africa)
The South African run-machine quietly went about compiling a record that really only Kohli bettered in the past 10 years, pounding out a mammoth 48 hundreds among more than 14,000 Test and one-day international runs. In a single series against India, in India, Amla rolled out innings of 253 not out, 114 and then 123 not out to underline his quality, and a career high of 311 not out against England at The Oval in 2012 catapulted his team to a series win among many during his outstanding Test tenure. Only Kohli and his Indian teammate Rohit Sharma scored more than Amla's 7362 ODI runs in the past decade.
4. AB De Villiers (South Africa)
Devastating is the best way to describe the South African marvel who struck fear in to the hearts of bowling attacks around the world before his earlier-than-expected retirement from the international game last year. A sporting freak de Villiers took special pride in playing shots that defied logic, and blasting big scores quickly in one-day cricket. He holds the record for the fastest 50 (16 balls) and 100 (31) balls, feats he achieved in one almighty innings against the West Indies at the SCG during the 2015 World Cup. He 6628 ODI runs over the past 10 years came at an average of 64, with 22 hundreds as well. He saved some of his best work for his last Test series, against Australia in 2018, including an imperious 126 not out at Port Elizabeth, swatting 21 boundaries to remind the world that when he wanted to, AB could do whatever he wanted.
5. Jimmy Anderson (England)
The only fast-bowler on the list really stamped his class on the longest form of the game with 435 of his 575 Test wickets, the most of any fast bowler, ever, coming in the past 10 years, in 107 matches, which is testament to his durability. His capacity to terrorise top orders, and tailenders, saw him the sing king take at least four wickets in an innings an incredible 57 times. Only in 2019, during the Ashes, did the now 37-year-old king of swing show signs of wear and tear, lasting just four overs of the first Test and while his best may be behind him, his 10 years of bowling work was as good as the mountain of runs scored by the batsmen above him on the list.
6. Joe Root (England)
The England captain has started to lose a grip on his place in the "Fab Four" batsmen with Smith, Kohli and Williamson in recent times, but his performance over the past decade puts him on close to equal terms with them. All of his 13,000-plus international runs (more than Steve Smith), and 32 hundreds, have come since his Test debut against India in 2012. He has compiled such a significant body of work over that eight-year stretch that he's just outside the top-ten all-time run scorers for England, and he's only 28-year-sold. The knock on Root has been a poor conversion rate - he only has 16 Test hundreds - and a few more triple-figure returns from his 45 Test half-centuries would have put him in that top 10 easily.
7. Kane Williamson (New Zealand)
The mild-mannered Kiwi marvel set about racking up runs at the start of the decade and hasn't stopped, taking down a bunch of New Zealand records along wthe way. Williamson is the sort of number three batsmen every team needs, so reliable and consistent and unwilling to give up his wicket easily. He has climbed to fourth on the all-time Test run-scoring list for the Kiwis, in just 132 innings, and his career average of 52 is the only one above 50 for his country. His 20 Test hundreds are the most for New Zealand. In all Williamson has 33 hundreds and 70 half-centuries in his more than 12,000 international runs which have elevated the Kiwi in to cricket's upper-echelon.
8. Nathan Lyon (Australia)
The spinner the Aussies call the "GOAT" gets in to the list ahead of a couple more prolific tweakers because of everything he has going against him compared to them. Lyon is an off-spinner bowling predominantly in Australia, on pitches he has adapted his own style too. Of his 365 Test wickets, the most of any Australian finger-spinner, Lyons has taken 166 at home, and 199 away. India's Ravi Ashwin's has 362 wickets, in only 70 Tests, but of those 254 have come on Indian wickets. That's 70 per cent on pitches made to turn. It's an effort which makes Lyon's continued, consistent performances all the better. Sri Lankan Rangana Herath was more likely to make the list than Ashwin too, with 366 wickets in the time period, but like Ashwin, he has the advantage of spinning wickets, which Lyon rarely has.
9. David Warner (Australia)
Another triple form dynamo, Warner's 12-month ban cost him 1000 or so runs given his prolific scoring against the red and white-balls and more than 11,000 odd runs, with 37 hundreds topped by his career-best 335 not out against Pakistan, is a comparable record to any elite batsmen this decade. But he also holds the record for the lowest return of any opener in any five-match series after his 95 runs in the Ashes, a stretch of failures that the likes of Smith and Kohli have never gone through. But Warner, a street-fighter who turned himself from a white-ball wonder in to a red-ball master, put that behind him by slaying Paksitan on his return to Australia, where he also went through an entire T20 series unbeaten, which is some feat for an opener.
10. Chris Gayle (West Indies)
Marginalised for being a T20 hitman, the West Indian marvel also managed to smash a Test triple-century (against Sri Lanka in 2010), a one-day double-century (215 v Zimbabwe in the 2015 World Cup) and more than 13,000 T20 runs in leagues around the world. The self-proclaimed "Universe Boss" was a man in demand for so much of the past 10 years that he was the first to ditch his international ambitions to become cricket's great entertainer. He embraced where the game was headed and he made up for any personality faults with the sort of big-hitting which left people in awe.