Whether they enjoy it or not, cricketers follow a hectic schedule.
Skippers and former players have time and again been vocal about their displeasure on hectic calendars and player-workload.
International cricket’s ceaseless toil finally came to a halt due to the Covid-induced break. The pause turned to be a blessing in disguise for many as they got ample time to charge mentally and physically.
‘The Cricket Monthly’ compiled the list of the topmost busiest players from the last decade. As expected, batsmen dominate the list while only a single specialist bowler makes the cut.
Here are the top 5 busiest cricketers of the 2010s. (These figures are from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2019.)
5. Joe Root - 568 Days
England's red-ball captain Joe Root is the fifth busiest cricketer of the decade. Root played 568 Days (393 for Tests, 143 for ODIs, and 32 days for T20 Internationals) of international cricket.
Root made his international debut in 2012 against India at Nagpur. And there's been no looking back since. He established himself as England's premier batsman, especially in test cricket, during the decade. On the occasion of England's 1,000th Test in August 2018, he was named in the country's greatest Test XI by the ECB.
The 2014 Wisden Cricketer of the Year was made England's test captain in early 2017, following Alastair Cook's resignation. His flawless technique and ability to keep the scoreboard ticking by rotating the strike and finding the boundaries when required makes him an admirable top-order batsman regardless of the format. He was pivotal to England's success at the 2019 World Cup, scoring the most runs for the eventual World Cup winners.
Root has made it to the ICC Test Team of the Year thrice (2014, 2015, 2016) and ICC ODI team of the Year twice (2015 and 2018). The Englishman has now played for England in 97 Tests, 149 ODIs, and 32 days for T20ls. He is also a part of the elite “fab four," which comprise of Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, and Kane Williamson.
4. Ross Taylor - 571 Days
Ross Taylor played a combined total of 571 Days of international cricket, including 345 for Tests, 155 for ODIs, and 71 days for T20 Internationals.
The 36-year-old arrived in the International scene in 2006, with an unorthodox freewheeling style of strokeplay and excellent hand-eye coordination. He took over captaincy from Daniel Vettori at the beginning of the decade and became the first Samoan to lead the black caps.
Since then, the underrated Kiwi has turned into New Zealand's quintessential number four batsman across all formats. The late bloomer is New Zealand's leading run-getter in Tests and ODIs. Taylor has achieved the rare feat of featuring in all the semifinals of the last four 50-over World Cups. He is also the first cricketer to play in 100 matches in all three formats of the game.
The veteran batsman won 2020's Sir Richard Hadlee Medal as New Zealand’s cricket player of the year, claiming the prestigious award for the third time in its 10-year history. He recently displaced Daniel Vettori as Kiwi's most-capped player with 438 appearances in international cricket.
The former New Zealand skipper has earned 105 Test caps, 232 ODI caps, and 102 T20I caps and scored close to 18,000 runs in international cricket till date.
3. Stuart Broad - 593 Days
Stuart Broad is the only bowler on this list, having played a total of 593 Days for England - 491 for Tests, 64 for ODIs, and 38 days for T20 Internationals.
The decade witnessed Broad's meteoric rise from a talented rookie into England's leading strike bowler alongside Jimmy Anderson. He exhibited glimpses of greatness during the 2009 Ashes, rattling Australia's solid top-order. He also won the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2010. But, no one would have predicted such longevity. To be precise, the lanky pacer has outlasted four test captains.
With a lethal in-swinger that unsettles the best and an ability to flog bounce from benign surfaces, Broad has scalped a staggering 514 wickets with the red-ball. His career-best figures of 8 for 15 in the first innings of the fourth Test of the 2015 Ashes was named as Wisden's Men's Test spell of the decade.
He is one of a select group of cricketers to take two Test hat-tricks. As a batsman, he slammed 169 against Pakistan in August 2010 courtesy of which he still holds the record of the second-highest ever score made by a number 9 in a Test.
Broad has represented England in 143 Tests, 121 ODIs, and 56 T20Is. Even at 34, he has not shown any signs of slowing down, and like fine wine, his aura in Tests has continued to rise by each passing match.
2. Angelo Mathews - 608 Days
Sri Lanka’s Angelo is the second busiest international cricket of the decade. Mathews played a total of 608 Days (352 for Tests, 196 for ODIs, and 60 days for T20 Internationals) of international cricket during this period.
Mathews became Sri Lanka's youngest ever Test captain at the age of 25, after having been groomed for the post for two years. He led the Lankans in their monumental Test series win in England (2014). Mathews played a record 52 international matches in the year 2014. He registered the most wins as captain in the same year, winning 20 ODIs out of their 32 outings. The Lankan was also integral to his side's World 2014 T20 triumph and was awarded 2015's Wisden Cricketer of the Year and the Sri Lankan Cricketer of the Year for his stellar performances.
A reliable all-rounder during his early years, Mathews began to give precedence to his batting since the latter half of the decade to diminish his workload and avoid injuries. He continues to be specialist batsman in tests whereas he still plays as a batting all-rounder, bowling occasionally in the limited-overs for the balance of the team.
Mathews has played in 86 Tests, 217 ODIs, and 74 T20Is for Sri Lanka till now. He has accumulated close to 6000 runs in both ODIs and Tests each at an excellent average of 41.94 and 45.31 respectively. In addition,
1. Virat Kohli - 668 Days
No prizes for guessing!
Virat Kohli has been the busiest cricketer in the world during the 2010s. The Indian skipper's workload has been nothing short of extraordinary. During this period, the 32-year-old played a whopping 668 Days of international cricket, including 366 for Tests, 227 for ODIs, and 75 days for T20 Internationals.
Kohli is a full 60 days clear of Angelo Mathews, the only other player with a workload of 600-plus days. Kohli has gone from being India's reserve batsman at the start of the decade to cricket's modern great by the turn of the decade. Kohli has more than lived up to his billing of being Sachin Tendulkar's successor. The iconic batsman has amassed over 22,000 runs across three formats and already has a phenomenal 70 international centuries to his name.
Kohli has donned the national colours 87 times in Tests, 251 times in ODIs, and 85 times in T20Is. He has enthralled the audiences during the entirety of the decade with his wide array of shots and ability to chase mammoth totals under pressure.
The decade's most engaged player has been a regular fixture at ICC Awards, winning the Cricketer of the Year twice (2017 and 2018), ODI Player of the Year award thrice (2012, 2017 and 2018), Test Player of the Year once (2018). He was adjudged Wisden's Leading Cricketer in the World for three straight years from 2016 to 2018.
Kohli was deservedly honoured with ICC's Player of the Decade, recently.Published 08 Jan 2021, 08:42 IST