The year 2016 witnessed some phenomenal performances by young and experienced cricketers. Across formats, there were efforts worth watching on loop. May it be Joe Root’s class in all the three formats or Virat Kohli’s hunger in the whites, in the Blues or the RCB colours, 2016 was a run-feast. Not just runs, there were plenty of wickets, and spinners stole the show. From R Ashwin’s mastery in all the formats to Yasir Shah’s impressive run for Pakistan in the whites, it was an year where the tweakers dominated proceedings. According to Yahoo India Year in Review 2016, here’s a look at the top cricketers who stood out in the last 12 months.
Joe Root: It has been an year to remember for England right-hander Joe Root. The right-hander has excelled in all formats, in all conditions, and has scored bucket loads of runs turning out for his country in the last 12 months. In the 15 Test matches he has played in 2016, Root has amassed 1285 runs and hit three hundreds in the process. His runs have come at an impressive average of 49.42. In the fifty-over format, he averages a brilliant 61.23. Root has collected 796 runs in the 15 matches he played in the coloured clothing for the three lions, and hit two hundreds. Root’s run in the shortest format was a decent one and it included good outings in the ICC World T20 2016 in India. England’s premier batsman scored 297 runs in the nine matches he played, at an impressive average of 37.12. There were plenty of comparisons between Root and Kohli throughout the year and both had some mind blowing outings with the bat.
Moeen Ali: Ali is not the surprise entrant to the list but his position, ahead of Virat Kohli and R Ashwin, comes as a surprise. He has proved his worth with both bat and ball, in all formats, for England and has been a valuable contributor in the last year. The left-hander’s batting earned him the limelight early in his career and he has lived up to the expectations in the year gone by. Coming lower down the order, he has made crucial additions to the scoreboard. In the 15 Tests, Ali has amassed 838 runs at a more than impressive average of 44.1o. He has also scored three hundreds in the process. As far as his effort with the ball is concerned, Ali picked 34 wickets with the year-best of 5/57. In the coloured clothing however, it makes a different reading. The all-rounder is yet to make substantial contributions in the ODIs, and has managed 145 runs from 15 matches, at an ordinary average of 16.11. Bowling average is drops further to 70.50 and only 10 wickets with best bowling figures of 3/43. It’s a similar story in the shortest format – 70 runs, at 17.50, seven wickets, at 28.85, from the nine matches he played for the country.
Virat Kohli: The year 2016 has belonged to India’s Test skipper and the most consistent batsman across all formats. In the 10 Tests he has led India in the last 12 months, he has scored 965 runs at an average of 68.92 and hit three centuries, including two double hundreds. The numbers shoot in the fifty-over format where Kohli averages 92.37, and has scored 739 runs from 10 matches. He has also hit three hundreds in the coloured clothing. It gets even better in the shortest format where Kohli’s average soars above 100 to 106.83. He has scored 641 runs from the 15 matches he has played for the country.
R Ashwin: 2016 has seen rise and rise of R Ashwin, with both bat and ball. The offie has won the confidence of the team management with his stable batting lower down the order and has been making more than useful additions to the total, on a consistent basis. Not only his batting, his bowling has improved a lot in the last 12 months. 545 runs with bat at 45.41, including two hundreds, and 59 wickets at 22.83 explain why Ashwin is the best Test all-rounder in the world at the moment. Ashwin hasn’t played much in the coloured clothing and has taken only two wickets in the 2 matches he has played so far. In the shortest format however, Ashwin has been a skipper’s delight as he has returned with 23 wickets from 17 matches, at a brilliant average of 16.17.
Yasir Shah: Ashwin and Shah have been the spinners to watch out for in the review period. Both have been very impressive for their respective countries, and Shah’s run with the ball has played a key role in Pakistan’s ascendancy in the longest format. In the 8 Tests he has played for Pakistan, Shah has picked 40 wickets at an average of 34.97. He returned wicketless from the two ODIs he played and didn’t turn out for the Asian unit in the shortest format of the game.
Kane Williamson: New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is no.6 on the list for his leadership skills and run with the bat. While there was not much to cheer about during their tour of India, where they were whitewashed 3-0, Williamson has contributed with the bat in all conditions for the Black Caps. In the ten matches, he has scored 753 runs at an impressive average of 47.06, including one hundred against India in India. It doesn’t make a good read in the fifty-over format where the right-hander has amasssed 456 runs in 12 matches at an average of 38. He hit only one hundred in the last 12 months in the coloured clothing for the Kiwis. In the shortest format, where New Zealand enjoyed a good run in the ICC World T20, Williamson scored 383 runs in the ten T20I games for New Zealand.
Carlos Brathwaite: Brathwaite’s claim to fame was his effort with the bat against England in the ICC World T20 final. Facing Ben Stokes in the final over, Brathwaite had a mountain to climb for his side as they needed 19 off the last six deliveries to win the cup. He hit not one, not two, not three but four big sixes to seal the win and help his side lift their second World T20 title.
Other players who also make the list are Shakib Al Hasan, David Warner and Kagiso Rabada.