Selecting 2017’s Best ODI XI

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 26: David Warner of Australia bats during game five of the One Day International series between Australia and Pakistan at Adelaide Oval on January 26, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Morne de Klerk/Getty Images)

Previously I selected my best Test XI for 2017 and had a couple of tough and interesting decisions to make. After another year of ODI cricket which saw Pakistan headlining the format with their Champions Trophy win to India registering a series win in all their bilateral assignments, I pick my ODI XI for the year 2017:
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Rohit Sharma

There was no need to look any further than Indian opener Rohit Sharma for the first of the openers’ slots in my ODI XI. “Hitman” as he is called all over the world, he had a phenomenal year with the bat. 1293 runs at a humongous average of 71.83 with five fifties and six hundreds; Rohit hit a third ODI double hundred of his career too. The Indian limited overs Vice Captain had a hundred in every tournament/series he participated in. A staggering year has seen him enter the Top Five in the ODI Batsmen Rankings. He hit the most number of sixes (46) this year in ODI Cricket.

David Warner

The second openers’ slot was up for a lot of debate. Quinton de Kock, Upul Tharanga, Hashim Amla, Shikhar Dhawan and Tamim Iqbal all had brilliant years with the bat. The one I have gone ahead with is swashbuckling opener David Warner for my ODI XI. Warner had a brilliant 2017. Having only played 13 games, Warner had three hundreds, including his first hundred in India. In those 13 games, Warner had 691 runs at an average of 57.58 with a fifty as well. Finishing the year with a strike rate of 102.82, higher than any other opener with more than 500 runs, Warner makes it to my side.
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Virat Kohli (C)

Number three is perhaps my easiest choice. It is Indian Captain Virat Kohli, who also is the captain for my ODI XI. His numbers this year are gigantic. In 26 games, he has 1460 runs at an average of 76.84 with seven fifties and six hundreds. Currently the Number One ODI Batsman in the World, Kohli more than flexed his muscles this year, managing to attain the highest ranking by points for any Indian player. The more you say about his year, the less. He is head and shoulders above the rest in Limited Overs Cricket. India won every single bilateral series under Kohli’s captaincy and came close to winning the Champion’s Trophy.

Joe Root

An esteemed member of the “Fab Four“, Root makes it to my ODI XI at Number Four. With Ross Taylor, Babar Azam and AB de Villiers all averaging well above 55, Root was my pick after he notched up some very big numbers. In 19 games, Root has 983 runs at an average of 70.21 with seven fifties and two hundreds. He notched up his career best score of 133 not out at the Champions Trophy against Bangladesh and his year had some consistent performances in India, West Indies and at home too. Raising his bat in every second innings, Root is my Number Four after much thought given to some others with great numbers as well.

MS Dhoni (WK)

Amongst wicketkeepers, my pick is former Indian Captain MS Dhoni. The simple reason behind it is that his glove work has been second to none and his numbers are pretty good too, amongst wicketkeepers, he averages the most with the bat. 788 runs in 29 games at an average of 60.61 with seven fifties and a hundred. His year started with a hundred against England in the opening series in February and was filled with rearguard action in West Indies and both home and away against Sri Lanka and Australia. With 39 dismissals (26 catches and 13 stumpings), Dhoni finished the highest amongst wicketkeepers.
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Ben Stokes

For the all-rounder spot for my ODI XI, I had no doubts in choosing Ben Stokes. Stokes finally proved his value in ODI Cricket this year by amassing 616 runs in 15 games at an average of 61.60 with four fifties and two hundreds. A hundred in the Champions Trophy and one against South Africa, Stokes scored his runs at a strike rate of 106.24 which is crucial in the lower middle order. He also had 14 wickets at an average of 39.43. With his game on a different level across all formats, England would hope his off the field problems are resolved quickly and he is back in an England shirt as soon as possible.

Hardik Pandya

It was a headline year for Hardik Pandya who rose to new heights after a consistent run of performances throughout the year. Batting in different positions from four to eight, Pandya showed adaptability with the bat and bowled key spells in tight games. With the bat, in 28 games, Pandya has 557 runs at an average of 34.81 with four fifties and a strike rate of 120.56. With the ball, Pandya took 31 wickets at an average of 35.52 with noteworthy performances in the Champions Trophy final and in the home series against Australia. Shakib Al Hasan, Shoaib Malik and Moeen Ali had great performances with the bat but could not do much with the ball.

Rashid Khan

The first bowler I have considered is a spinner and this was an easy choice after seeing Afghanistan Leg-Spinner Rashid Khan this year. In 16 games, Rashid has picked 43 wickets at an average of just 10.44 picking up two five-wicket hauls this year. His economy rate is a very impressive 3.80. Best figures of 7/18 against the West Indies helped Afghanistan script a historic win in the Caribbean Islands. His strike rate of 16.4 balls per wicket is the best this year. Rashid conceded more than 50 runs on only one occasion, another indicator of the kind of control he had this year and thus he makes it to my ODI XI.
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Hasan Ali

It was one of cricket’s biggest underdog stories when Pakistan beat all the odds to win the Champion’s Trophy. Seamer Hasan Ali was at the forefront of that campaign. In 18 games, Ali has 45 wickets at an average of 17.04 with three five-wicket hauls. He is the 2017’s Highest Wicket-Taker in ODIs and is an automatic pick in my ODI XI. 13 wickets at the Champions Trophy at an average of 14.69, Ali took three-wicket hauls in four consecutive games which ultimately resulted in Pakistan winning all four games. He would torment Sri Lanka in a bilateral series where he picked 14 wickets in five games at an average of 11.29. His strike rate of 20.3 balls per wicket is second only to Rashid Khan.

Jasprit Bumrah

After bursting on to the scene in 2016, Bumrah consolidated on his breakthrough year with another consistent year with the ball in ODI Cricket. In 23 games, Bumrah has taken 39 wickets at an average of 26.25 with one five-wicket haul. What has been most impressive about Bumrah has been his proficiency in bowling at the death. His ability to bowl yorkers at will won India quite a few games in their record breaking year. Along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Bumrah was instrumental in bowling the opposition for sub-standard totals. He makes it to my ODI XI.

Trent Boult

Bowling with the new ball and at the death are skills only a select few possess. Trent Boult does both brilliantly and this year is no exception. In 16 games, Boult has taken 31 wickets at an average of 24.58 including two five-wicket hauls. Figures of 6/33 against Australia and 7/34 against West Indies at home were proof how Boult is capable of winning games for New Zealand on his own. Figures of 4/35 against India in Mumbai were instrumental in New Zealand winning that match. Good performances against South Africa and in the Champions Trophy too make Boult the final player in my ODI XI. Liam Plunkett was high on my list to make it to the team but Boult’s impact in matches made me select the Kiwi speedster.

With another year gone by, I have selected my best ODI XI of 2017 with some interesting choices and selections and some interesting exclusions. This is my Best ODI XI from 2017:

  1. Rohit Sharma
  2. David Warner
  3. Virat Kohli (C)
  4. Joe Root
  5. MS Dhoni (WK)
  6. Ben Stokes
  7. Hardik Pandya
  8. Rashid Khan
  9. Hasan Ali
  10. Jasprit Bumrah
  11. Trent Boult

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