In issue 27 of Wisden Cricket Monthly, a panel of writers selected the standout ODI team from a stellar year for the format.
2019 was a bumper year for the 50-over format. It was headlined by the World Cup, won by England for the very first time in unforgettable fashion, and there was plenty of other ODI cricket played too, with Pakistan playing their first games at home in the format in over a decade.
As ever, there were plenty of big scores and huge sixes as the evolution of white-ball batting continued apace. But the bowlers hit back too, with the World Cup not seeing the record-breaking scores plenty were expecting. Wisden’s ODI innings of 2019 and Wisden’s ODI spells of 2019 have already been revealed, but the Wisden Cricket Monthly ODI team of the year is a different beast, rewarding not spectacular moments of individual brilliance, but continued excellence over a 12 month period.
Selected based on performances in ODIs played between December 3, 2018 and December 3, 2019, here is Wisden Cricket Monthly‘s ODI team of the year:
1. Rohit Sharma – India
Runs 1,232, average 53.56, strike rate 88, hundreds 6
Proof that beauty is no impediment to machine-like runmaking. The prince of the stylists, since becoming a limited-overs opener, this has been Rohit’s decade: 25 hundreds in 134 matches, three doubles (three!) in that time, and the small matter of five centuries in last summer’s World Cup. A one-day phenomenon who, aged 32 and now installed as a Test opener, could be about to go stratospheric.
2. Jason Roy – England
Runs 845, average 70.41, strike rate 118.18, hundreds 3
What hits you first is the career-long strike rate, comfortably north of a run-a-ball. Even accounting for the vagaries of form and the challenges of opening, Roy has sustained that rate across his 84 matches, and has now added consistency to his enduring threat. Three tons this year, and a booming average. Be afraid, be very afraid.
3. Virat Kohli – India
Runs 1,288, average 64.40, strike rate 95.90, hundreds 5
Kohli has invested so much getting the Test team right – all the while churning out monstrous numbers wherever he goes – but he will be cranky at India’s failure to win an ICC trophy since the 2011 World Cup. He was merely good at the most recent tournament, not passing three figures once, but his hunger is undimmed: in his next ODIs after the World Cup, he hit 234 runs (28 fours, 1 six) for once out, across two matches at Trinidad. Look busy. The King’s got work to do.
4. Babar Azam – Pakistan
Runs 1,092, average 60.66, strike rate 92.30, hundreds 3
Pakistan’s next great batsman has batted 20 times in ODIs in the last year and made it to (at least) double figures on each occasion. His technique is so pure that he doesn’t really do failure: the good balls get smothered, the bad ones are cuffed away with clinical poise. If there is a criticism, it’s that he’s so good, he should dominate even more. The fear is that the pressure of carrying a batting line-up will end up tugging on his shoulders, but for now, there is no sexier batsman on the planet. Babar’s cover drive is the signature shot of the era.
5. Shakib Al Hasan – Bangladesh
Runs 841, average 84.10, strike rate 97.11, hundreds 2; wickets 16, economy rate 4.75, strike rate 49.5
Before Shakib’s deeply regrettable failure/refusal to report a series of corrupt approaches pertaining to inside information for betting purposes, resulting in a year-long ban with a second year suspended, he was the pre-eminent all-rounder in the world, who enjoyed a superb World Cup campaign (606 runs in eight innings) and the adulation of a nation. His performances, if not his decision-making, remain world class.
6. Ben Stokes – England
Runs 719, average 59.91, strike rate 92.53; wickets 12, economy rate 5.69, strike rate 46.9
7. Shai Hope (wk) – West Indies
Runs 1,420, average 67.61, strike rate 80.04, hundreds 5; 31 dismissals
The Bajan rock around which this promising West Indies line-up arranges itself. An elegant runmaker who anchors the innings, Hope is also a keeper with good enough hands to edge out Jos Buttler in our XI. He needs to make his mark in the big matches – he’s so far posted just one fifty from 11 matches against Australia, India and England combined – but he has the game to do it.
8. Mitchell Starc – Australia
Wickets 27, economy rate 5.42, strike rate 20.5
The most devastating white-ball bowler around. The leading wicket-taker at the World Cup with 27 scalps – accounting for the whole of his year’s work in 50-over cricket – he is still, when fit, the one they all fear. By far the fastest bowler in the world, there is no delivery more dangerous in the white-ball game than Starc’s inswinging toe-crusher.
9. Yuzvendra Chahal – India
Wickets 29, economy rate, 5.73, strike rate 29.3
The will-o’-the-wisp leggie was the standout slow bowler at the World Cup, with his control and accuracy ensuring that Kohli entrusted him with the big overs. In a relatively slim field currently, Chahal is seen as the best attacking spin bowler in the 50-over game.
10. Jasprit Bumrah – India
Wickets 25, economy rate 4.62, strike rate 31.8
Bumrah’s genius lies in the fact that he doesn’t bowl bad balls. His career economy rate, a tick under 4.5, is outstanding and untouchable, a full half-a-run per over better than any of his nearest fast-bowling challengers. And his strike rate isn’t bad either. One of the modern greats in the making.
11. Trent Boult – New Zealand
Wickets 38, economy rate 4.70, strike rate 30.5
The fast bowler’s fast bowler. Sharp through the air, skilled with the new ball, prepared to slug out the ugly death overs and evidently devoid of nastiness or ego. Predicted to have a great World Cup, he was oddly ineffective for the first part, before coming alive at the business end. Bowled brilliantly in the final and could have won the game for New Zealand with a bit more luck. Instead, it was his fate to step on the rope at long-on. We won’t hold that against him.
The 2018 Wisden Cricket Monthly ODI team of the year
First published in issue 27 of Wisden Cricket Monthly