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Opinion

The new fab four of batting... and Steve Smith doesn't make the cut

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Roar Pro
13th May, 2020
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Cricket has evolved so much that everyone is busy making their World XI or some kind of other team during this lockdown.

So I have decided to make a new fab four in world cricket.

The quartet of Steve Smith, Joe Root, Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli is popularly acclaimed as the fab four in world cricket due to their performances in all three formats. All bat at the same position, at number three in limited overs and at number four in Tests.

So with changing times and changing performances, this list must also change because some new players are knocking on the door and old guns are losing their place because of their dismal performance.

This is a list of batsmen only considering their performance across all three formats. Here is my new fab four in world cricket.

1. Virat Kohli
86 Tests, 7240 runs at 53.63, 27 centuries
248 ODIs, 11,867 runs at 59.34, 43 centuries
82 T20Is, 2794 runs at 50.80, 24 fifties
The first player who is just ruthless in all three formats is Virat Kohli. With 70 centuries in international cricket, he is the only player having averaged above 50 in all three formats. He is currently at number one in the ODI rankings and number two in Tests.

After making his debut in 2008, he didn’t look back. He doesn’t think of failure. In 2015 he was named captain of India in Tests and India kept the number one position in Tests for almost three years under his captaincy.

The main reason behind his success is determination and passion for the game. He has not put himself above the game and kept game his top priority. His class, timing and temperament make him a world-class batsman.

Virat Kohli plays a cover drive

(Photo by Morne de Klerk/Getty Images)

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2. Kane Williamson
80 Tests, 6476 runs at 50.99, 21 centuries
151 ODIs, 6173 runs at 47.48, 13 centuries
60 T20Is, 1665 runs at 32.64, 11 fifties
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is at number two in my fab four. He was the captain of New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup, where they ended being runner-up. He was awarded the player of the tournament award.

He is currently the best Kiwi player, having an average of 50.99 in Tests and 47.48 in ODIs. His best quality is calmness, which grooms him as a batsman and as a captain also.

He is a successful batsman in Asian conditions because he handles spin very well. Most of the overseas batsman struggles against spin in Asia. Due to this ability, I ranked him above Steve Smith and Joe Root, who are not as good under these conditions.

3. Babar Azam
26 Tests, 1850 runs at 45.12, five centuries
74 ODIs, 3359 runs at 54.17, 11 centuries
38 T20Is, 1471 runs at 50.72, 13 fifties
The first new entry in my fab four is Babar Azam in place of Joe Root, who has lost his form during the past year, making way for a new player to join this club. Babar Azam had a superb last year that resulted in becoming the captain in limited-overs cricket.

From an average batsman, he has transformed himself into a fixture in Pakistan’s middle-order. He has scored runs in almost every country.

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He was the leading run-scorer for Pakistan in the 2019 World Cup. He has an average of almost 50 in all formats and is the only player in the top five of the rankings across all three formats. That’s the main reason that influences me to add him to this list and to exclude Root due to his poor form during the previous year.

Babar Azam batting for Pakistan

(Harry Trump-IDI/IDI via Getty Images)

4. David Warner
84 Tests, 7244 runs at 48.94, 24 centuries
123 ODIs, 5267 runs at 45.80, 18 centuries
79 T20Is, 2207 runs at 31.52, 17 fifties and a century
The next player in this list who is replacing Steve Smith is David Warner. He is an explosive player, who has developed his dominance across all formats. He started as an aggressive opener in T20 cricket but transformed his technique and became the Test cricketer.

We have seen his destructive approach in Tests also. He is one of the few batsmen to score a century before lunch in Test cricket. Even some of the best bowlers struggled against him when bats in the flow.

The main reason for Smith’s exclusion is the ban, which kept him away from cricket for one year. Now he has made his comeback and started performing well, especially the Ashes series, where he was the leading run-scorer.

I hope he’ll again make this list soon.