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Most runs in a calendar year by a batsman across all formats

Sri Lankan legend and former captain Kumar Sangakkara holds the record for the most runs in a calendar year after scoring 2868 runs combined in 48 matches across all three formats in 2014.

Finishing with the most runs in a calendar year of international cricket is honestly one of the most illustrious records in the career of any batsman. After all, a batsman’s primary job is to score as many runs as possible in order to help his team win match after match on a consistent basis.

Therefore, it is unsurprising to find that all of the names mentioned in the list of the highest run-scorers in a calendar year are not only among the most remarkable batters of all time whose greatness needs little introduction but are also big match-winners.

In order to compile this list, we have taken into account runs scored by a batsman in his white-ball as well as Test career in the same year. Without further ado, let’s get down to the nitty gritty and discuss the top five players with the most runs in a calendar year:

Most runs in a calendar year: Top 5 list of players

PlayerNationYearMatchesInningsRunsHighest ScoreAverage100s50s
Kumar SangakkaraSri Lanka20144857286831953.11818
Ricky PontingAustralia20054658283320756.66915
Virat KohliIndia20174652281824368.731110
Virat KohliIndia201837472735160*68.37119
Kane WilliamsonNew Zealand201539462692242*65.65814

Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka – 2868 runs in 2014

Former Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara tops the list after sensationally scoring 2868 runs across all formats in 2014. Sangakkara retired from cricket in 2015 but in his penultimate year at the top of world cricket, he was at his dazzling best and shone brightly.

The former wicket-keeper scored the highest runs in a single year of his Test career in 2014. He made 1438 runs in 21 innings in the longest format at an average of 71.90 with the help of four centuries and eight half-centuries.

Playing 28 ODIs that year, he slammed 1256 runs at an average of 46.51, again, the highest in his individual career. He also scored four ODI centuries in 2014. Sangakkara was more muted in the T20I format, scoring only 119 runs in eight matches but he captained Sri Lanka to a T20 World Cup win in Bangladesh in 2014 and signed off from that format on the highest note possible.

Ricky Ponting, Australia – 2833 runs in 2005

Australia legend and multiple World Cup-winning captain Ricky Ponting was at his peak in 2005. He notched up 2833 runs in 2005 at an average of 56.66 and was at his very best. Ponting played 15 Test matches that year and scored a career-high record of 1544 runs at an average of 67.13 and with the help of six centuries and six fifties each.

The 2003 and 2007 Cricket World Cup winning captain was in unstoppable form in ODIs as well. Ponting scored 1191 runs in 29 matches at an average of 45.80 and slammed three tons and eight half-centuries. He didn’t play a lot of T20I cricket that year and only 98 of his 2833 runs came in this format.

Virat Kohli, India – 2818 runs in 2017

Indian stalwart and arguably the greatest batsman of his generation, Virat Kohli is the only batsman who features on this list twice, doing so in consecutive years in 2017 and 2018. That just goes to suggest how special Kohli’s peak was despite his recent struggles with the bat.

In 2017, Kohli played 10 Test matches, scoring 1059 runs at a jaw-dropping average of 75.64. He scored five centuries in 16 innings and had the best calendar year of his ODI cricket career scoring a record 1460 runs in 26 matches at an average of 76.84. Kohli notched up six centuries and seven fifties in the 50-over format that year. Had India won the ICC Champions Trophy in the final against Pakistan, his year would’ve become even better.

In the T20I format, Kohli scored 299 runs in 10 matches at a wonderful strike rate of 152.55. In fact, Kohli as the best strike rate of 92.15 across all formats among anyone in the top five list of players.

Virat Kohli, India – 2735 runs in 2018

Virat Kohli carried his dazzling form in 2018 into the 2018 calendar year as well. He slammed a career-high 1322 runs in 13 Test matches at an average of 55.08. He registered five centuries and five fifties in the longest format of the sport.

Kohli also brought up 1202 runs in 14 ODIs with the help of six tons and three fifties. He also had a wonderful strike rate of 102.55 that year. The legendary former Indian captain also scored 211 runs in the shortest format that year at an average of over 30.

It must also be mentioned that Kohli is the only cricketer who features thrice in the top 10 list of the players with the most runs in a calendar year in international cricket as he also scored 2595 runs in 2016.

Kane Williamson, New Zealand – 2692 runs in 2015

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson had a stellar breakthrough year in 2015 where he scored runs by the hundreds across all formats. Leading the way is his performance in Test cricket that year.

Williamson, who captained the Black Caps to the ICC World Test Championship in 2021, slammed 1172 runs in just eight Test matches that year at a stunning average of 90.15. His highest score of 242* contributed to plenty of those runs as Williamson crossed the 1000-run mark in Tests in a year for the first and only time in his career in 2015.

The middle-order batter was also exceptional in One Day Internationals as well. He played 27 ODIs that year and scored 1376 runs at an average of 57.33 and at a strike rate close to 90. Williamson slapped three centuries and nine half-centuries for the Black Caps who qualified for the final of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup but finished runners-up to rivals Australia.

144 of his 2692 runs came from just four T20Is in 2015 as Williamson batted at a mesmerizing strike rate of 165.51 – the highest in a calendar year in his T20 Internationals career.

FAQs

Who has scored the most runs in a calendar year in Test cricket?

Pakistan batsman Mohammad Yousuf scored 1788 runs across 11 Test matches in 2006 at an average of 99.33. He still holds the record for being the highest run-scorer in a calendar year in Test cricket.

Who has scored the most runs in a calendar year in ODI cricket?

Indian legend and arguably one of the greatest cricketers of all time, Sachin Tendulkar holds the record for scoring the most runs in a calendar year in ODI cricket after amassing 1894 runs in 34 matches in 1998. His former teammates Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly occupy the second and third positions on that list with 1767 runs and 1761 runs scored in 1999 respectively while Tendulkar again comes in the fourth position with 1611 runs in 1996.

Who has scored the most runs in a calendar year in T20Is?

Mohammad Rizwan of Pakistan holds the record of scoring the most runs in a calendar year in T20 Internationals. He made 1326 runs from 29 matches in 2021 and no other batter had crossed the 1000-run mark before him.

Who has scored the most runs in the calendar year 2021?

Mohammad Rizwan scored 1915 runs across 44 matches in the 2021 cricket calendar year, finishing as the highest scorer across all three formats last year.

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