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3 Englishmen, 2 Indians and 1 Aussie in Kohli-led Test Team of the Decade

The team of the decade consists of three players from England, two each from India, South Africa and Sri Lanka and one each from Australia and New Zealand.

Ranit Das Ranit Das @ranitd94
New Delhi Updated on: December 26, 2019 8:57 IST
Test Team of the Decade

3 Englishmen, 2 Indians and 1 Aussie in Kohli-led Test Team of the Decade

As the decade comes to an end, it's time to look at the best players over the last 10 years and the contenders are many. From individual brilliance to team achievements, a lot goes into choosing the best XI over the last 10 years. However, among the many great players, who played the game, consistency and ability to handle the pressure become the most important thing in Test cricket and the players, who have passed the test with flying colours are the ones, who make the cut in the team of the decade.

Therefore, with few days remaining for the year to end and the decade to cap off, we take a look at the best XI players and put them in a team that has ruled 2010-2019.

OPENERS

Alastair Cook: Alastair Cook has been one of the most consistent batters since making his debut in India 13 years ago. From scoring a century on his Test debut to singing off with a double ton in his retirement series last summer, Cook's has been an everlasting presence in the England squad.

As he hung up his boot in 2018, Cook retired with 12472 runs from 161 Test matches at an average of 45.35. The southpaw smashed 33 centuries and 57 fifties in his 13-year long career in whites.

In this decade, the former England captain scored 8818 runs from 111 Tests, averaging 46.41. He hit 23 centuries during the time and formed a formidable opening partnership with Andrew Strauss.

Kane Williamson: Well! Kane Williamson might not be your usual opener but keeping the Black Caps captain out of a Test team of the decade would be plain unfair. He has slowly become the linchpin of the Kiwi batting order and now has become the captain, who leads by example.

Williamson, who debuted on November, 2010, scored 6370 runs from 77 Test matches and has scored at an average of 52.21. He has slammed 21 Test tons in the process overall and Kane becomes the perfect foil for Cook at the top of the order.

MIDDLE ORDER

Steve Smith: Steve Smith was a close call for the captaincy but Virat Kohli's achievement's with India and their domination at home and victory Down Under just helps the Indian pip the Aussie at the helm. 

But, when it comes to batting, no one has better numbers than the former Australia captain.

Smith, who made his debut in 2010 and as a leg-spinner to begin with, has become one of the modern-day greats and perhaps the only one, who could give Sir Don Bradman a run for his money. Since making his debut in England, Smith has accumulated 7072 runs from 72 Test matches at an average of 63.14, smashing 26 centuries as well. One also has to consider that he was handed a one-year ban in March, 2018 for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal. 

Currently, Smith is ranked the No.2 batsman in red-ball cricket.

Virat Kohli: Kohli much like Smith has been the standout in his decade. His show with the bat reminds people of Sachin Tendulkar's battle with Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting in the 2000s.

Kohli, who made his Test debut in 2011 has scored 7202 runs from 84 matches at an average of 54.97. The Indian skipper has hit 27 centuries as well and led India with panache after taking over the captaincy from Mahendra Singh Dhoni in late 2014.

Not only that, Kohli is also the No.1 batsman in the world in whites.

The 31-year-old's record as a captain is unparalleled to any and therefore, becomes the unrivaled choice to lead the team. Under Kohli, India became the first Asian team to win a Test series in Australia and has been on top of the standings since 2017.

AB de Villiers: AB could be the Ponting to Kohli-Smith's Sachin-Lara. The South Africa, who made his Test debut in 2004, has been a stalwart for South Africa and once he went out, it highlighted SA's struggle with the bat across all formats.

De Villiers on many occasions carried the team on his shoulders and scored the bulk of the runs as the Proteas became a force to be reckoned with. AB retired with 8765 runs from 114 Tests at an average of 50.66 and hit 22 centuries.

From 2010 onwards, he scored 5059 runs from 60 games, averaging 57.48 and hitting 13 centuries before retiring in 2018.

WICKET-KEEPER

Kumar Sangakkara: Well! Sanga hung up his boots in 2015 but whatever he has done in the five years of cricket since the turn of the decade, no one has been able to match up to the Sri Lankan keeper.

Sangakkara made his Test debut in 2000 and scored 12400 runs from 134 Test matches and was a mainstay of the Sri Lankan batting along with Mahela Jayawardene for the most part of the previous decade and some of this.

The current MCC president not only has a wise head on his shoulders but is also one of the most decorated wicketkeeper in the history of the game and is still the most successful wicketkeeper in terms of numbers in this decade till his time of retirement. Sanga scored 4851 runs from  46 Tests at an average of 61.00 and has also scored 17 of his 38 Test centuries during the period.

ALL-ROUNDERS

Ben Stokes: Ben Stokes's inclusion was a close call with Jacques Kallis but considering Stokes's all-round contribution with both bat and ball and his recent heroics with the bat against Australia in the Ashes turns the tide in his favour.

Stokes made his Test debut in 2013 and adds balance to the side with both bat and ball.

The England all-rounder has so far played 59 Test matches and scored 3738 runs at an average of 35.94, scoring 8 centuries. With the ball, Stokes has scalped 137 wickets am average of 33.45 and taken four five-wicket hauls.

R Ashwin: Ravichandran Ashwin becomes the lead spinner of the team thanks to his consistent perforamances with the ball and lately with the bat as well for India.

Ashwin took over the reins from Harbhajan Singh and replaced him full-time in red-ball cricket.

The Tamil Nadu tweaker has played 70 Tests since making his debut in 2011 and taken 362 wickets at an average of 25.36. Ashwin has taken 27 wicket hauls in Tests and 7 10-wicket hauls in a match.

With the bat, he has scored 2385 runs at an average of 28.73 and scored 4 centuries as well. 

BOWLERS:

Rangana Herath: Rangana Herath just edges past Nathan Lyon in the team because of his overall contribution to the Sri Lankan team after the departure of Muttiah Muralitharan and his bowling style.

Herath, who mad his Test debut in 1999, had been in Murali's shadows for the longest of times and has played 72 of the 93 Tests in this decade. A consistent left-arm orthodox bowler and handy batter in the tail, Herath adds more value overall than Lyon, who also has an incredible story of his own.

Overall, Herath has played 93 Tests, taking 433 wickets at an average of 28.07 and since the turn of the century, he has grabbed 363 wickets at an average of 26.41 and taken 30 five-wicket hauls out of his 34 overall.

Dale Steyn: The South African pacer spearhead for the longest of time, Steyn struck terror in the minds of batsmen along with Morne Morkel. Since making his debut in 2004, Steyn has played 93 Tests, taking 439 wickets at an average of 22.95 and is the leading wickettaker for South Africa in the longest format of the game.

Steyn's pace and accuracy with the ball and the ability to move the ball both ways became extremely difficult for batsmen to negotiate. In this decade, however, Steyn's career has been marred with injuries but he still he has managed to take 267 wickets at an average of 22.29 which also includes 15 of his 26 five-wicket hauls.

James Anderson: James Anderson's inclusion was a no-brainer as the England pacer has managed to outclass all his fast-bowling competition and go on top of the pile in terms of wickets taken. Anderson currently has 575 wickets and is the highest amongst the pacers in Test cricket and fourth overall behind three spinners.

After making his debut in 2003, Anderson slowly became a regular fixture in the England side and along with Cook, he perhaps was one of the first names on the team-sheet. 

However, most say that his strength is to bowl in swinging conditions and without it, he is half the bowler he is but despite all that, he has managed to take wickets around the world an prove to be a legend with the ball for the Three Lions.

Anderson currently has 427 wickets from 105 matches in this decade and an average of 24.19. Also, 20 of his 27 five-wicket hauls have come after the turn of the decade.

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