Team of the Decade - Part 2
From our Junior Correspondent 5 of 7

5. Team of the Decade - Part 2


Written by Sandy M - RCC U17s

With cricket suspended for the foreseeable future, now is the perfect time to look back to the past, and truly appreciate the spectacular players we have seen over the last 10 years. We were lucky enough to even watch one of the top 6 players live at ODP - and what a show AB De Villiers put on that day! Now it is time to reveal places 7-12 in my team of the decade, based on achievements in the past 10 years. As a reminder, players such as Sachin Tendulkar (retired from internationals in 2013) did not play long enough into the decade to be considered. This is a team based on achievements in all three formats of the game, with Test match performances given the most importance and domestic performances largely ignored (apart from the IPL). As is often the case with such teams, many great players have had to be left out. It appears that my decision to omit Rohit Sharma sparked some debate, and there are no Australian bowlers. Yes, there are a lot of England players. I expect that many of you reading this will disagree with some of my selections. That’s the way it should be. Let me know your selections in the Comments down below.

So here are my selections 7-12 (with one bowler being changed out depending on conditions)
7. Ben Stokes
8. Ravichandran Ashwin
9. Lasith Malinga
10. Dale Steyn
11. James Anderson
12. Yasir Shah (In for Malinga on a turning wicket)

7. Ben Stokes
Barring a court case, nothing has been able to stop Ben Stokes as he has risen to become the best all-rounder in world cricket. He is the ultimate match winner, as embodied by his 135* to save the Ashes. The night before, he had bowled a 20 over spell, taking three wickets to keep Australia’s total within reach. He started with just 2 off 66 balls, before scoring 73 runs in partnership with number 11 Jack Leach to win the game. It was the innings of the decade, and it alone gave him a place in this team, not to forget his World Cup final heroics, 7000 international runs, 200 international wickets and incredible diving catches. A versatile player built for the modern game, Stokes does the impossible with ease.

8. Ravichandran Ashwin
At times overly reliant on spinning wickets, Ashwin is nevertheless the greatest spinner of the decade. He is the highest international wicket taker this decade, and the fastest player to 100 Test wickets for nearly a century. He has nine 10-wicket hauls, nearly 600 international wickets, 4 Test centuries, the best average and the second-best strike rate of any spinner over the decade. An experienced, conscientious and intelligent player, Ashwin is essential.

9. Lasith Malinga
An unconventional choice with an unconventional action, limited in Test matches (just two this decade), but Malinga is an electrifying bowler, the likes of which we will likely never see again. His 248 ODI wickets are over 70 more than his nearest competitor and he also has taken the second-most t20I wickets. For the second time (only once this decade), he took four wickets in four balls in a t20I, becoming the first man to 100 t20I wickets in the process. He has managed to win five IPLs, including the most recent 2019 tournament, when he took a wicket with the final ball and secured his team a one run win. With the game on the line, Malinga is the man to close it out.

10. Dale Steyn
With fellow South African Kagiso Rabada seemingly always suspended for looking too harshly at batsmen, Dale Steyn will take the new ball. Steyn has performed consistently over the decade: he has taken 267 Test wickets at the third-lowest average (22.29), and the second-lowest strike rate (43.9) of the decade. He has also adapted well to the shorter formats of the game, having taken 145 ODI wickets. ESPN Smartstats rated him the most influential t20 bowler of 2019, suggesting that he is still going strong, nearly ten years after his 10 wicket haul against India in Nagpur (the second best Test spell of the decade).

11. James Anderson
Over these 10 years, Jimmy Anderson has established himself as the most prolific pace bowler in the history of Test match cricket. He has taken 427 Test wickets (second only to Muralitharan for the most in any decade ever), and 20 5-fors in over 100 Tests, with his consistency and durability (ignoring late 2019) remarkable. At an average of just 25.87 (better than his previous decade) he is now fourth on the all-time Test wickets list, nearly 100 more than his closest modern ‘rival’, fellow England opener Stuart Broad. Anderson may average less than 10 with the bat, but, against India in 2014, he scored a remarkable 81, showing he is a multi-dimensional player. (Sometimes)

12. Yasir Shah
A wildcard leg spinner, Yasir Shah has taken 207 Test wickets in just 37 matches – the fastest player ever to do so. He has taken three 10-fors, averages over 5 wickets a game, and became the first leg spinner for 20 years to take five wickets in an innings at Lord’s. He has consistently been able to break records - first leg spinner since Warne to be the no. 1 ICC ranked bowler, most wickets after playing 15 Test matches, the second fastest player to 100 wickets, the fastest spinner to 150, the second bowler to take 10 wickets on a single day of a Test (that contributed to match figures of 14/184, the most for any bowler against New Zealand and the second most for a Pakistan player) and, sadly, the first bowler in Tests to concede 200 runs in an innings three times. However, he did also score a Test century against Australia in the same series! As a typical leg spinner, he takes a lot of wickets while conceding lots of runs, however, in an economical team such as this, he becomes a valuable wicket taking option and second spinner on a dry, subcontinental pitch.

The full 12 is therefore:

  1. Sir Alastair Cook
  2. Kane Williamson (vc)
  3. Kumar Sangakkara
  4. Virat Kohli (c)
  5. Steve Smith
  6. A.B. De Villiers (wk)
  7. Ben Stokes
  8. Ravichandran Ashwin
  9. Lasith Malinga
  10. Dale Steyn
  11. James Anderson
  12. Yasir Shah (In for Malinga on a turning wicket)

My analysis of the top 6 can be found here. So what do you think?

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