The Indian cricket team had a dominant decade across all formats, in particularly ODIs. They had a positive win-loss ratio in all three formats and became one of the few teams to win an ODI bilateral series in every country after winning in Australia in 2019. India did it all this decade, completing the set of ICC trophies by adding the 2011 World Cup and 2013 Champions Trophy titles with the 2007 World T20. In every ICC tournament barring one, India estabished their presence in the knock-out stages consistently. The key factor behind their dominance in this decade was the contribution of the holy triumvirate.
When Sachin Tendulkar retired, many felt that the void he left behind when it came to run-scoring and handling big match situations would not be filled up. In came Virat Kohli and he changed the way how India approached ODIs with a trail-blazing exhibition of batting in any situation. When Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir retired, India felt that the combination of solidity and intimidation would not be repeated. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan filled the gap admirably and Rohit, in particular, set a new blueprint for India's aggressive strategy.
At the helm, there was MS Dhoni who ensured India's domination would be long-lasting. His tactical acumen combined with his finishing abilities at the start of the decade made India the total package. When he relinquished captaincy, he was there to mentor the youngsters and also to guide Kohli in his captaincy journey. The contributions by these three players ensured that India would dominate the decade.
MS Dhoni became the only captain to win all three ICC events with the 2011 World Cup and 2013 Champions Trophy wins. (Image credit: Getty Images)
MS Dhoni - Captain Par Excellence
When MS Dhoni took over the captaincy in Indian cricket's dark times post the 2007 World Cup exit, there were doubts about the future of Indian cricket. He dispelled the dark clouds in style and won the 2007 World T20. In his first few years as captain, Dhoni's defensive techniques as captain helped them win series against Australia at home. However, his 2011 World Cup title stands as his tallest moment in his career. The knock in the final, in which he promoted himself up the order, was a masterstroke. Before that final, he had a highest of 34 and decided that he must face the pressure. He soaked it in style and his six which gave India the World Cup title remained as one of the iconic moments in Indian cricket.
|AB de Villiers||135||6485||64.20||33||21|
His 2013 Champions Trophy heist was credited to his tactical acumen. Ishant Sharma had been expensive in the final but he gave the crucial second-last over to him which yielded two wickets and bowling Ravichandran Ashwin, a spinner in the final over, was a brave call. When it came to his batting, Dhoni became defined as the finisher-par-excellence. If his World Cup feat was not enough, he batted with the tail during the tri-series final in West Indies on one leg in 2013. He hit two sixes off Shaminda Eranga and helped India win the title by one wicket against Sri Lanka and the knock became a blueprint for death overs batting.
In 2012, during the tri-series in Australia, he hit a massive 112 meter six off Clint McKay and ensured India secured their only win against Australia in that summer of 2012. As the years wore on, Dhoni's finishing prowess waned but his tactical awareness was evident even after he gave up captaincy as he instructed Kohli on how to rotate bowlers and set the field.
Virat Kohli - God Like Domination And Consistency
The decade saw the definitions of consistency and match-winner change dramatically. The decade saw a player making chasing in ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals look incredibly easy. He defined the aggression and growth a new India was experiencing. This decade saw Virat Kohli establish a level of dominance and consistency which was almost unreal. When Sachin Tendulkar left the scene, many wondered how this humongous void would be filled. Kohli not only stepped up to the plate but he ensured Tendulkar would not be missed for long as he blasted records galore in this decade. The common trend in this decade was that a big score, be it in any format, was a given from Kohli. Failure was the rarest of rare.
Virat Kohli is the only player to score 10000 runs in a decade and hit 69 centuries. (Image credit: Getty Images)
Like India, Kohli's journey also involved some downs but for a majority of the decade, it has been on the upswing. Kohli made his first big impression in 2010 when he hit a century against Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens along with Gautam Gambhir. He proceeded to hit a century on World Cup debut and was part of the side that won the 2011 World Cup. If there is one moment which defined Kohli's greatness, it was during India's ruinous tour of Australia in 2011/12. In the 4-0 loss, Kohli was the only one who stood tall with a century in Adelaide. In 2012, in the Hobart ODI, Kohli's penchant for big knocks in a chase came to the fore. His 133 off 86 balls, including an onslaught on Lasith Malinga in the death overs, symbolised his greatness. Taking on the lion in his own den and taming the lion became symbolic of Kohli.
|AB de Villiers||250||12820||54.32||67||34|
From that point on, greatness came to Kohli and he became the greatest player in the decade. The Hobart heist was followed by a brilliant 183 against Pakistan in Dhaka in what became Tendulkar's final ODI match. From Hobart 2012 till Cuttack 2019, Kohli has established himself as a bonafide legend while chasing. He has 26 centuries while chasing at an average of 68. India have lost only four times that he has scored a century while chasing.
His ODI records in the decade are staggering. He has eight centuries against Australia and Sri Lanka while he has nine against West Indies. He has an average of 45 against every nation in ODIs barring one game against Netherlands where he scored just 12. In Tests, he underwent a torrid couple of years. He failed in England and averaged just 13.4 but after that, his career hit peaks with four centuries in Australia and tons in South Africa and New Zealand. He flayed centuries at will in Tests at home and on the second return in the overseas cycle, he hit centuries in Australia and South Africa and finally conquered England with two centuries.
*All Stats are before the Boxing Day Tests between Australia vs New Zealand and England vs South Africa.
His batting aggression has also helped in his captaincy as he now has 33 Test victories as captain, the most for any Indian. He has overseen ODI series wins in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand in 2018/19 while in his tenure, India have lost just one series at home which was before the World Cup against Australia. In this decade, Kohli alone is the only batsman in history to score over 11000 runs in ODIs and his Test as well as Twenty20 exploits have made him the only player in history to score over 20,000 runs combined across formats in a decade. In 11 years of his international career, Kohli has hit over 1000 runs in ODIs seven times while in Tests, he hit over 1000 runs in three consecutive years from 2016 till 2018.
Rohit Sharma - Breaking New Ground
If this decade is to be remembered fondly for India, the exploits of Rohit Sharma will have to be mentioned as one of the key factors. It was the decade in which Rohit broke new ground. 'Mr. Talent' became Mr.Matchwinner or Hitman. The batting exploits from Rohit was a lesson in batting destructively and clinically and he often gave Kohli a fierce fight as to who was the best player in the side. The decade began with Sachin Tendulkar smashing 200 against South Africa in February 2010 while Virender Sehwag hit 219 against West Indies in Indore in 2011.
The duo of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli shattered records consistently throughout the decade. (Image credit: Getty Images)
However, Rohit rewrote the history books in style in limited overs cricket. His first breakthrough came in 2013 when he smashed 209 against Australia in Bengaluru in 2013. The knock included a record 16 sixes and it laid out the blueprint of Rohit's success - Score Big and hit big. If 209 was not enough, Rohit redefined batting in 2014 when he blasted 264 against Sri Lanka in Kolkata in 2014. The knock was the highest individual score in ODIs and was the second-highest in List A cricket. The ferocity of Rohit's knock was such that Sri Lanka lost by 13 runs to Rohit's bat alone.
If that was not enough, Rohit became the first player to hit a third double century in ODIs when he smashed Sri Lanka in Mohali in 2017. Even in Twenty20 Internationals, Rohit redefined batting as he became the first player to hit four centuries in the shortest format of the game. In this period, he became the leading six-hitter in cricket for India. Rohit became the third player to hit over 400 sixes in international cricket but he is the leading six-hitter for India. In Twenty20 Internationals, Rohit is comfortably the leading six-hitter while in ODIs, he has surpassed Dhoni as the player with most sixes. Rohit also has 70+ sixes against Australia, which is the most by any player against the five-time world champions. In this decade alone, Rohit has hit 397 sixes which is comfortably ahead of players like AB de Villiers, Kohli, David Warner, Eoin Morgan and Dhoni.
The brilliance of Kohli, Rohit and Dhoni has ensured that the decade from 2010 to 2019 would truly be India's. Their contributions were memorable and they have left an indelible mark in the history of Indian cricket.