When we think about 2019, there are plenty of cricketers who come to mind. They all played outstanding cricket for their respective teams and took them to glory, but none surpasses Virat Kohli.
The 31-year old, who started the decade as a young man still trying to find his feet in international cricket, ended it as one of the greatest cricketers of all time.
Here are the 3 reasons why Virat Kohli owned international cricket in this decade –
#1 Two ICC majors:
India and England were the only two teams that won two ICC majors in the decade and Kohli was a part of the Indian teams on both occasions when they did it in 2011 and 2013.
Kohli made significant contributions with the bat in the final matches of the World Cup 2011 and Champions Trophy 2013 which India clinched eventually.
When India lost a couple of early wickets in their pursuit of the target of 278 in the World Cup 2011 final against Sri Lanka, it was Kohli who stitched together an 83-run partnership with Gautam Gambhir for the third wicket and put India on course. He scored invaluable 35 runs off 49 balls in that game.
Kohli was also the leading run-scorer for India in the Champions Trophy 2013 final against England where he scored 43 off 34 balls in a game which was reduced to a 20-over affair due to rain. Kohli’s knock dragged India to a respectable total of 129 batting first and it proved to be enough at the end.
#2 Test series triumph in Australia:
Kohli became the first captain in the history of Indian cricket who captained the Indian Test side to a series victory in Australia. He did that last year when his Indian side beat the Kangaroos in their own backyard by 2-1 in a series of 4 Test matches.
Again, Kohli’s contribution with the bat was significant as he was the third-highest run-scorer for India in the series after Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant as he scored a total of 282 runs in the 7 innings that he played at an average of 40.28.
#3 Leading run-scorer in ODIs:
Kohli scored the most number of runs in ODI cricket in this decade. His dominance in the ODIs can be understood from the fact that the second-highest run-scorer in the list, which is Rohit Sharma, scored almost 3000 runs lesser than him.
The Indian captain scored 11125 runs in 220 ODI innings that he played in the decade at an average of 60.79 and a strike rate of 94.11. He scored 42 hundred and 52 fifties, hitting more than 1000 boundaries during this period between 2010 and 2019.
It was a phenomenal decade for Kohli, not only individually, but from the team’s point of view as well. He won major trophies with India; both in a red ball and white-ball cricket, and contributed massively in those victories. Kohli was also given the captaincy of India mid-way through the decade which was another high in his career.