Men's Test XI of the Decade
1. Alastair Cook
111 tests, 8769 runs, average 46.15, HS 294, hundreds 23, fifties 37
Alastair Cook scored the most runs of the decade, by 1600. This as good as seals him in the side, but to add to that, he has made his the majority of his runs in, statistically, the 8th hardest country to bat in (England), with an average RpW of 33.85. Cook also made 12 hundreds away from home, the 3rd most of anyone, behind Kohli and Smith. He has the second best average as an opener, behind only Warner (of those playing more than 20 tests). An example of Cook's doggedness was his marathon 836 minute 263 against Pakistan in 2015. It was the 3rd longest innings of all time, and the longest ever by an Englishman. 5 of the 20 longest knocks by English batsman have been made by Cook, more than anyone else.
2. David Warner
82 tests, 6970 runs, average 49.08, HS 335*, hundreds 23, fifties 30
The swashbuckling, controversial and ridiculously talented David Warner is the second opener. The numbers speak for themselves, the highest average as an opener, and the joint most hundreds. In Australia, Warner has the mind boggling average of 66.21, at a strike rate of 77. After his disastrous tour of England earlier this year, his place in the side was questionable. But, Warner hit back in a typically Warner like style, blitzing 2 hundreds in 3 innings, followed up by Australia's 2nd highest test score of 335*. In danger? Not for long.
3. Kumar Sangakkara
44 tests, 4763 runs, average 65.24, HS 319, hundreds 17, fifties 20
The man with the best average at number 3 gets the role. Sangakkara, one of the most elegant batsman of the decade thrilled fans around the world during the first half of the decade, before his retirement in 2015. With a hundred approximately every 2.5 tests, Sangakkara helped Sri Lanka become a force to be reckoned with for 5 years, but his and great friend Mahela Jayawardene's retirement ended their countries success. A great example of Sangakkara's quality was his phenomenal 7 hour 203 vs New Zealand in Wellington, a test they eventually won, a far cry form their 8 wicket loss in the first test in Christchurch.
4. Steve Smith
71 tests, 7072 runs, average 63.14, HS 239, hundreds 26, fifties 27
The greatest batsman of our generation is, undoubtedly Steven Peter Devereux Smith. With a crazy, seemingly impossible technique, Smith has developed amassed a heroic volume of runs, at an equally heroic average. He makes runs wherever, and makes them exquisitely. Scoring a remarkable 1,441 runs over the last two Ashes series alone, he is already arguably the best since Bradman. After being banned for 'Sandpaper gate' in 2018, Smith came back in the most preposterous way, by making twin hundreds at Edgbaston, sealing a landslide Australian victory.
5. AB de Villiers
60 tests, 5059 runs, average 57.48, HS 278*, hundreds 13, fifties 27
One of the finest ODI batsman in the last decade aswell, de Villiers is potentially the most rounded player in the side. He could go gung ho from ball 1 or take his time and eek out a draw - like his 33 off 220 to save the game vs Australia in Faf du Plessis' maiden game, in 2012. He also struck a magnificent 278* vs Pakistan, helping SA recover from a disastrous start - being 33-3. De Villiers was also a very competent keeper in his early years, averaging 60 in the last 10 years when a keeper.
6. Shakib Al Hasan
42 tests, 3147 runs, average 42.52, HS 217, hundreds 5, wickets 162, average 31.97, 5s 13
Shakib Al Hasan, currently banned due to not reporting being approached by a fixer, has among the best all rounder records in the last 30 years, and is up there in the all time stakes. A very canny and capable batsman, Shakib has long been Bangladesh's best player, and he still is to this day. He can make runs anywhere (I know it's a different format but the WC proved he is good in England), and has the Tigers' 2nd highest test score, and one of their 5 double centuries. As well as this, Shakib is a very useful bowler, averaging 32 (better than Nathan Lyon) with 167 wickets since 2010.
7. Ravi Ashwin
70 tests, 2385 runs, 124 HS, 28.73 average, 4 hundreds, 362 wickets, 25.36 average, 27 5s
Ravi Ashwin is one of many bowlers who can bat well in this decade. Philander, Jadeja, Holder, and Pat Cummins to name but a few. But Ravi Ashwin combines the best batting and bowling together, to create an extremely useful number 7. Ashwin has batted at 6, 7 , 8 and 9 for India over the years, most recently at 9, but on average 7 feels right for him. With the ball he is the best spinner in world cricket, with a mesmerizing doosra and the pioneer of the carrom ball. He takes wickets for fun, especially on slow, low Indian turners. With 362 wickets, he has the second most among current spinners, and the Indian all rounder has 27 5 wicket hauls.
8. Vernon Philander
61 tests, 1700 runs, 74 HS, 24.63 average, 0 Hundreds, 220 wickets, 21.99 average, 13 5s
The South African nibbler is a rare thing in test cricket nowadays, a less than 80 mph bowler. But what a trundler he is. He gets more movement than most bowlers in world cricket, and has one of the best averages of all time. A handy batter too, Philander made 8 fifties, and made important contributions very often. He often would rip through a batting side in 6 overs, and his economy was exceptional - just 2.63.
9. Rangana Herath
72 tests, 363 wickets, 9/127 BBI, 14/184 BBM, 26.41 Average, 2.75 economy, 57.5 S/R
This Sri Lankan banker is their 2nd best spinner, after Murali. He came onto the international scene very late, aged 31, but in the last 8 or 9 years he has been phenomenal for the Sri Lankans. With 363 wickets since 2010, Herath is one of the most consistent and controlled spinners in world cricket, and has taken 9 10 fors in tests and a whopping 34 five fors.
10. Dale Steyn
59 Tests, 267 wickets, 7/51 BBI, 11/60 BBM, 22.29 average, 3.04 Economy, 43.9 S/R
The South African pacer has one of the best averages for any bowler in the last 10 years, and is one of the most aggressive and deadly bowers to play the game. He roars in with great steel and confidence, and is incredibly passionate about his game, and can tear through sides with outstanding ease. He is pacy too, and a great swinger of the ball. Undoubtedly one of the scariest bowlers to face, Steyn's 6-8 against Pakistan in 2014 was instrumental in bowling them out for a mere 49.
11. Jimmy Anderson
107 tests, 436 wickets, 7/42 BBI, 11/71 BBM, 24.1 average, 2.65 economy, 54.5 S/R
The King of Swing Jimmy Anderson is probably the most improved player on this list. Before 201, Anderson had been in and out of the side, playing 44 games, with 148 wickets at an underwhelming average of 34. But in the last 10 years, Snderson has sky rocketed. Not quick by any stretch of the imagination, Anderson relies on seam, swing and movement through the air to prize his wickets. A master on green tinged English wockets, Anderson has an amazing record in his home country, far better than that away from home. At home since 2010, Anderson averages 21.19, compared to 29.41 away from home.