The ability to hit sixes is a key element of batting in modern-day cricket. You can’t perform across all formats of the game without being good enough to hit sixes whenever the situation demands. Certain formats at certain times will demand you to deposit the ball into the stands on a consistent basis and if you can’t do that, your team will suffer.
It will be unfair to say that the modern game is all about hitting sixes. It’s certainly not, but no youngster coming through the ranks in this day and age is too keen to play the ball along the ground. They want to learn how to hit sixes and that’s because it’s an important skill in the modern game. Here are the 3 players who hold the record of hitting more than 400 sixes in international cricket.
#3 Rohit Sharma (404 sixes)
Rohit Sharma is more of a proper batsman as he hits sixes playing the textbook cricketing shots rather than slogging anything. There is nothing muscular about his sixes. Everything is based on timing. He plays lofted on-drives, he sweeps, he pulls the ball, he drives the ball over extra-cover and he manages to clear the ground with all of these conventional shots.
The reason why he is able to hit sixes without using too much of muscle power is because he picks the length of the ball earlier than many other batsmen in the world and thus, he gets himself into the positions from where he times the ball perfectly to send it way back into the stands. Sharma is at No. 1 in the list of the leading six hitters in T20I cricket. He has hit 120 sixes in 104 T20Is so far. The 32-year old has also hit 52 sixes in test cricket and 232 in ODIs.
#2 Shahid Afridi (476 sixes)
Shahid Afridi was another batsman who was a natural six-hitter. He was more of an all-rounder and as he progressed in his career, he became a sort of a bowling all-rounder as his batting took the back seat and his leg-spin bowling came to the fore.
Afridi might not have been consistent with the bat right through his career, but he never stopped hitting sixes. The right-hander hit 52 sixes in Test match cricket, 351 in ODIs and 73 in T20 internationals before he bid adieu to the game. He still has the record of hitting the most sixes in ODIs to his name.
The ex-Pakistani skipper is currently active in franchise-based T20 cricket around the world and is still entertaining his fans with his big-hitting ability. He featured in the Pakistan Super League earlier this year and is likely to feature in the next edition of the tournament as well in February.
#1 Chris Gayle (534 sixes)
Chris Gayle’s name at the top of the six-hitting chart in international cricket is hardly a surprise for anyone. The big left-hander from Jamaica has hit 98 sixes in Test cricket, 331 in ODIs and 105 in T20I cricket.
Gayle’s six-hitting ability is down to brute force. He just muscles the ball over the fence. The fact that he is a big man and has got long levers, allows him to reach the pitch of the ball easily. If the ball is anywhere near his arc, it travels long more often than not.
Despite having the reputation of a six-hitter, Gayle actually has a decent enough technique as well which reflects in his batting average in Tests. The 40-year old averages 42.18 in a Test career spanning 103 games. He has retired from Test cricket already and although he hasn’t officially announced his retirement from white-ball formats yet, he doesn’t often feature for West Indies these days and features more in T20 leagues around the world.