Poll: Who do you think is the best young Test batsman at the moment?
Published - Jul 24, 2016 4:07 pm | Updated - Aug 22, 2016 8:39 am
Just when you thought the race for the best Test batsman had settled down, it heats right up with the summer. Two of our horses leading the race, Joe Root and Virat Kohli, can be seen currently in action while the others, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson are gearing up for their tours of Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe respectively. It will be a rare occasion when all of the top batsmen in world cricket will be in action simultaneously and give the viewers a chance to decide their pick for the number one Test batsman.
(46 Matches, 4005 runs, 55.86 Avg, 10-100s, 22-50s, HS 254)
At the young age of 25 and 44 Tests into his career, Joe Root has matured so fast to become the backbone of the England batting order. Root boasts of a staggering average of 55 and is only the third English batsman to score a second double hundred in Tests. Just 4 years into his England career, Root already has 10 hundreds under his belt and has proved himself against all oppositions in the toughest of times.
Ever since the disastrous Ashes series of 2013-14, after the controversial sacking of Kevin Pietersen, Root has piled on runs with unbelievable ease, averaging 66.25 since then in 29 Tests. His 386 runs on the South Africa tour in 2015 led the platform for a memorable series and with a tally of 460 runs in Ashes 2015, he was the top scorer for England.
With a solid base, Root can both safeguard during a batting collapse and dominate the bowling attack with ease. He scores runs at a fast pace by Test cricket’s standards and has completely changed the way England approach the game now. The team’s dependence on Root can be demonstrated with his rare failure in both innings of the Lord’s Test against Pakistan where they failed to stand up against a testing bowling line up. But with an astounding 254 at Old Trafford, Root has shown that he means business and will not let Pakistan get away with another win.
(44 Matches, 4099 runs, 58.56 Avg, 15-100s, 17-50s, HS 215)
After Shane Warne’s retirement, Australia were desperate for another spinner who could match his level and their hunt went on for far too long into the next decade. Drafted in the Australian team as a leggie who can wag with the tail at the end, Smith underwent an incredible transformation after an inconsistent start to his Test career in 2010. He was often overlooked by the opposition teams as a potential threat and the thought of him taking the game away from them could never cross anyone’s mind.
A below par performer with the ball, Smith had shown flashes of brilliance with the bat lower down the order sometimes but not until the Ashes series of 2013/14 did he do that with a greater regularity. He was the revelation of the famous series where Mitchell Johnson terrorized the English batsmen. Ever since then, Smith never looked back and with his great from, the mantle of captaincy was passed on to him by Michael Clarke. He averages an unbelievable 80 runs per innings since 2014 and was the leading run-scorer in Tests in 2015 with a tally of 1474 runs including 6 hundreds.
Smith may not be the most technically sound batsman around, but his career average of 58.5 proves that his unorthodox batting style of shuffling across the stumps is totally effective. He has played just 6 Tests in 2016, scoring 509 runs with 2 hundreds and 3 fifties from just 9 innings and his magical wrists will be a treat to watch on the turning tracks of Sri Lanka.
(50 Matches, 4309 runs, 51.29 Avg, 14-100s, 21-50s, HS 242*)
With a career average of almost 50, Kane Williamson is the rarest of New Zealand batsmen to be so famous all over the world thanks to his exploits in the longest format of the game. Ever since his debut in 2010, he has become a pillar of strength for the Kiwis and if he continues on the projected path till the end of his career, he will definitely finish as New Zealand’s best batsman ever, with quite a margin.
In the year 2015, Williamson amassed 1172 runs despite featuring in just 8 Test matches which included 5 hundreds and 4 fifties at a Beadmanesque average of 90. His career best score of 242 came in a record partnership with wicketkeeper BJ Watling against a touring Sri Lankan side in the 2014/15 season.
Kane Williamson is arguably the most technically sound batsman in world cricket at the moment. A strong back-foot player, Williamson has proved his talent against all the oppositions outside of the subcontinent. He has played very few matches in India or Sri Lanka and is yet to display his talent on the dry pitches but it won’t be a very tough challenge for Williamson since he is equally strong against spin.
(44 Matches, 3245 runs, 45.06 Avg, 12-100s, 12-50s, HS 200)
The Indian Test skipper, Virat Kohli is the oldest among the 4 contenders for our poll at the age of 27 years. Ever since he donned the Indian jersey, he was expected to lead India for a long time into the future. Though he got off the blocks a bit slower than his counterparts, Kohli picked up the pace with his first hundred coming up against Australia in 2012 at Adelaide.
He has scored hundreds in South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and the recent addition to this list is West Indies. He was on fire against the Australians particularly, on the 2014/15 tour, where broke Rahul Dravid’s record of the most runs by an Indian in a series down under with 692 runs at an average of 86 including 4 hundreds and a fifty. It also featured hundreds in both innings of the Adelaide Test where India were looking to take the game away from the Australians when Kohli was on the crease in the second innings. That series was the first time we saw the real talent of Virat the Test batsman. Ever since then, he has tasted success in Sri Lanka as well leading India to a rare Test series win in the island nation.
Kohli is fiercely talented and gifted cricketer who believes in honing his skills and fitness above anything else. He has an aggressive mindset as captain and a batting style which takes the attack to the opposition. The Indian captain has matured beautifully over the past year and his double hundred against West Indies was the first of many to come.
The best thing about these four is their consistency to lead their team into winning positions. And since all of them are currently at a similar stage in their respective careers, this race is going to be on for a long long time. We want the readers to decide who they think is the best among the four, vote and make your opinion count.