Ranking the Fab 5 based on current form
The five batters are virtually untouchable at this moment in time.
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When some of the greatest of the game like Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Kumar Sangakara, Rahul Dravid, and Mahela Jayawardene called it a day, there was conjecture that we may never see talented group of players ever again in the same era.
But the emergence of Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson, and Joe Root debunked it. These world-class batters are in a league of their own and are known as the ‘Fab Four’. But there’s a new inductee to this illustrious guild, a diminutive Pakistani named Babar Azam, whose form and temperament have compelled one to extend the ‘Fab Four’ to a ‘Fab Five’.
The five batters are virtually untouchable at this moment in time. Here is their ranking based on recent form in international cricket.
5. Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson is a name that is adored by cricketing fans all over the world. The Kiwi is one of the most eye-pleasing batters in the world. Williamson made his Test debut against India in 2010 and scored a beautifully compiled century, all that just at the age of 20. The now 31-year-old has scored over 15,000 runs for the Blackcaps and has been one of their most successful captains ever.
The New Zealand skipper is known for his timing of the ball and gap-piercing skills and relies on placement rather than power. His sumptuous innings in the 2021 T20 World Cup final against Australia is a testament to his abilities. But the modest player has suffered in the recent past with injuries and poor form.
The Blackcaps’ skipper has a humble smile even in the most devastating of situations. His legacy with the bat is well documented, and he will go down as one of the greatest New Zealand players of all time. But by the time he retires, he will probably be the most loved cricketer of all time as well.
4. Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli is widely regarded as the greatest batter of the modern era. The naturally aggressive right-hander has been a run-scoring machine for the Indian side for more than a decade now. Often remarked as ‘King’ Kohli, the stylish batter has amassed over 23,000 runs across all formats and is sixth on the list of most run-getters in ODIs.
Kohli’s dominance is quite evident from the fact that he averages 50+ in white-ball cricket and 49.95 in Tests. There isn’t a player in world cricket who can play the cover drive as elegantly as Kohli does. The tenacious top-order batter has conquered every country that he visited, with Australia and England being his favorite destinations.
The former Indian skipper has endured an abnormal dip of form in the last couple of years that has seen him fail to make a single century. But, such has been his dominance that he is still just one century short of Ricky Ponting’s 71 international centuries, having played 102 fewer matches than the Aussie legend.
3. Babar Azam
The youngest member of this illustrious class of batters, Babar Azam‘s rise has been meteoric in the past four years. The classy right-hander is strong-willed with the bat in hand. Even though he is still in the initial stage of his career, he has shown enough maturity to warrant a place among the best batters in the business.
The Pakistani batter breached the 4000-run mark in ODIs earlier this year, he became the second quickest player to the mark, beating the likes of Virat Kohli and Viv Richards to the feat. The batter from Lahore also holds the record of being the fastest to 2500 runs in T20Is.
Often dubbed as the next big thing in cricket, Babar’s biggest criticism has nothing to do with his batting form or technique, but it’s the fact that the bulk of his runs has come against the lesser sides in world cricket.
2. Steven Smith
The former Australian captain, Steve Smith started his career as a leg-spinner who could bat a bit. But by the time he was appointed the captaincy role, he had become the No. 1 batter in Test cricket. Smith is regarded as the best Australian Test batter since the days of iconic Don Bradman. The 33-year-old has scored over 8000 Test runs at a staggering average of 59.77.
The right-hander’s rise to the top has been breezy as he had to face time on the sidelines because of his unsound batting technique that saw him moving around the crease too often. But, the unorthodox batter displayed immense mental fortitude as he rectified his technique and became a much-improved batter.
Smith still fidgets around the crease, but it’s more controlled, and there is more guile to his batting than it may appear at first. Apart from being an impeccable Test batter, he is also quite entertaining with his nuances on the crease, especially with calls to his partners for ‘no run’.
1. Joe Root
The former England Test captain, Joe Root is arguably England’s greatest-ever batter. The right-hander made his debut for the national team in a Test against India in 2012. A young Root showed immense character on his debut as he scored 73 runs facing 229 deliveries. He has played 118 Tests in all and is scoring runs at an average of 49.57 with 26 centuries to his name.
The Yorkshire man loves spending time at the crease and is not shy of grinding runs out for his team in desperate situations. The ingenious stroke maker recently crossed the 10,000-run mark in Test cricket and became the second Englishman and 14th batter to reach that milestone.
The last year and a half haven’t been the greatest for the England team, but Root has been as solid as ever, holding fort in losing causes, showing grit and determination, only to be let down by his teammates. The middle-order batter amassed a staggering 1708 Test runs in 2021, with six centuries to his name.