Presenting the Fab-4 batters of the next era

The next genration looks set to take over the baton.

Shreyas Iyer
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Shreyas Iyer. (Photo Source: BCCI)
Gaurav Tripathi
GAURAV TRIPATHI

Jr. Statistician

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While cricket is a team game, individual records of players are also at stakes. These stats and numbers also ignited ‘who’s the world’s best’ debate. As of now, there’s an unofficial group of elite batters, known as ‘Fab 4.’ India’s Virat Kohli, Australia’s Steve Smith, New Zealand’s Kane Williamson and England’s Joe Root feature in the elite club, thanks to their blitzes over the 22 yards.

All these players are cornerstones of their respective batting line-ups. While all four have different strengths and batting styles, consistency is one common factor among their performances over the years. As all four have tormented the best of bowlers, the debate of who’s the best of the lot has been on since a while.

Notably, all members of the current Fab-4 are over 30 and have entered the latter stage of their career. Hence, it would be interesting to see where all of them will stand at the end of their career. Meanwhile, several young guns have shown promise earlier in their career and some even seem all set to form the ‘Fab -4’ of upcoming times.

Meanwhile, let’s look at the Fab -4’ of next era:

1. Babar Azam

The Pakistan skipper has been sensational so far in his career and his numbers speak volumes of his abilities. Many even reckon Azam’s emergence has made the current elite club Fab-5. However, the right-handed batter is just 27 and has at least 10 years of good cricket left in him. While he has already shattered many records, several are still in the pipeline.

Making his international debut in May 2015, Azam ended Pakistan’s quest of a reliable top-order batter. He started his career with a bang and played one staggering knock after another. He showcased his potential across all formats and guided Pakistan to numerous wins.

The same earned him captaincy in all formats. It must be noted that Azam averages over 45 in all three formats and his numbers are all but likely to get better in upcoming times. Owing to all these factors, he should be the primary member of next era’s Fab-4.

2. Shreyas Iyer

The right-handed batter has the potential to replace his countryman Virat Kohli in the elite club. Making his debut in 2017, the right-handed batter played some fine knocks in his first few assignments but couldn’t get a permanent place in the playing XI. However, things changed a couple of years later as Iyer ended India’s long-lasting search of a number-four batter in ODIs.

Interestingly, Iyer’s playing style is pretty similar to that of Kohli. The 27-year-old has a sound technique and he likes collecting runs with orthodox shots. However, this doesn’t mean Iyer can’t score quickly. His strike rate after 22 ODIs is over 100 with his average being over 40. After thriving in white-ball cricket, Iyer also proved his potential in the Test arena.

He scored a century against New Zealand on Test debut and backed it up with a half-century in the second innings. As Ajinkya Rahane hasn’t been performing lately, many believe Iyer should become a regular in India’s Test XI as well.

3. Aiden Markram

It wasn’t long when South Africa were a formidable force in world cricket. However, retirement of several key players saw the team’s downfall in recent years. Nonetheless, several young players have shown promise earlier in their career.  Aiden Markram is certainly one of them.

Having led South Africa to the Under-19 World Cup in 2021, Markram has shown his potential at the highest level as well. Making his debut in September 2017, the opener didn’t take long in cementing his place in the Test team. He went onto make a mark in the white-ball cricket as well, earning praises from different quarters.

He has even led the national team which shows selectors have high hopes from him. Hence, it would be interesting to see if the right-handed batter can bring the glory days back in South African cricket.

4. Marnus Labuschagne

The South African-born Australian batter looks all set to replace Steve Smith in the elite club. Labuschagne’s playing style is pretty much identical to that of Smith’s and his international career has gotten off to a sensational start. While Labuschagne made his Test debut in September 2018, his performance in Ashes 2019 in England earned him global recognition.

Labuschagne has gone strength-to-strength since then and his numbers are nothing short of exceptional. After thriving in the longest format, Labuschagne made a mark in white-ball cricket as well. Although he hasn’t played a T20I match so far, he is a proven start in Australia’s T20 competition – Big Bash League.

The right-handed batter couldn’t have made a better start to his international career and many are backing him to go a long way. He is also a potential candidate to become Australia’s captain in future.