5 batsmen who made batting look easy
- These batsmen were complete artistes with the willow.
- Do you agree with the list, or do you have others in mind?
The game of cricket is centered around scoring of runs. Over the years, many great batsmen have graced the cricket field and have given the spectators a treat for their eyes. The crowd loves to see balls hit out of the park, but what’s more delighting are the splendid drives, the beautiful cuts and the wondrous wristy flicks.
It takes a very composed and elegant batsman to hit these shots with pin-point perfection. There have been a number of batsmen who have made these shots look easy with their sparkling elegance and never rushed through their shots. Here’s a list of five such batsmen who made batting look easy and had plenty of time to play their shots.
#5 Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli may be considered India’s top batsman at present statistically, but when it comes to elegance, the Delhi boy is yet to match Rohit Sharma. Blessed with an outstanding ability to find the gaps, the biggest reason behind Rohit’s elegant stroke-play has been the extra millisecond he takes before hitting his shots.
After he began to open the Indian innings from 2013 onwards, Rohit has established himself one of India’s most reliable batsmen through his elegant batting. Whenever questions have been raised on his form, Rohit has always let his bat answer for himself and has been India’s savior on several occasions.
He is the only cricketer to have hit three double centuries in ODIs and holds the record for the highest individual score in the 50-over format. Sharma has hit 9115 runs at an impressive average of 49.30, scoring 43 fifties and 29 hundreds.
Leading from the front in the Indian Premier League, Rohit Sharma has guided his team Mumbai Indians four times in the cash-rich tournament.
He has also scored 2773 T20I runs at an average of 32.6. The Test match credentials of Rohit Sharma saw a massive turnaround after
#4 VVS Laxman
If Sourav Ganguly is considered to be the god of off-side, then VVS Laxman is certainly his equivalent on the on-side. Blessed with fluid technicality and exceptional wristwork, Laxman has been one of India’s greatest Test cricketers ever. He timed his shots perfectly and was a terrific player against spin as well. He wasn’t a very aggressive in his body language but a very languid batsman who was a treat to watch.
Laxman was a wizard with the willow and played several crucial innings for India, with the 281 against Australia being the epitome amongst them. With several of his best innings coming against Australia, the Australians have admitted having no idea where to bowl to him. Laxman scored 8781 runs in 134 Tests from 1996-2012, averaging almost 46 and hitting 56 fifties and 17 hundreds.
His ODI records may not be as good as his Test records but he has helped India recover from quite a few crunch situations. One such instance came against Zimbabwe when India were tottering at 3/3 before Laxman rescued the team by hitting a career-best 131 and setting up two-century partnerships in the process. In the 86 ODIs he played, Laxman score 2338 runs at an average of 30.76 and hit ten fifties and six hundreds. Laxman will surely be remembered as one of the most elegant batsmen India ever produced.
#3 Mark Waugh
At one stage in his First-Class career, Mark Waugh was nicknamed “Afghan”. The name came in reference to the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan which was dubbed as the “forgotten war” because he had to live in the shadow of his brother Steve Waugh.
“Elegance” is the least what could be said of Waugh’s batting style. Waugh’s stylish and skillful strokeplay made even the most difficult of shots look simple. During his playing days, he owned the leg-side.
Waugh usually adopted a facial style of play, which led to many accusing him of being a lazy batsman and being vulnerable to soft dismissals. But this batting style of him helped him garner 8029 Test runs at an average of 41.81 and 8500 ODI runs at an average of 39.35.
He scored 47 fifties and 20 hundreds in Test cricket and 50 fifties and 18 hundreds in ODI cricket. Another uniqueness of Waugh’s batting was the authority he asserted on spinners. At the time of his retirement in 2002, he was the highest run-scorer and the highest century maker for Australia in ODIs.
#2 Zaheer Abbas
Zaheer Abbas was one of the most gifted stroke players to have ever graced the sport. Regarded as one of the greatest Pakistan batsmen of all-time, Zaheer Abbas had a stellar career in both tests and ODIs, scoring 5062 Test runs at an average of 44.79 and 2572 ODI runs at an average of 47.62.
Although most of Abbas’ big knocks came in low-pressure situations, his reputation as a world-class batsman was cemented by his four double-centuries in Tests.
In an era where a strike rate of 60-70 was considered phenomenal, Abbas had a strike rate of 84.80 in ODIs. He had a very elegant style of playing and was a very fluent stroke maker. He was nearly unbeatable against outswings which made him very dangerous on English soil.
His ability to bat well on flat wickets and score quick runs made him well suited in the limited-overs format. His versatility lay in his capability to adapt as per the situation, something which was portrayed against Australia when he made a calm but steady innings of 84 off 100 deliveries without hitting a single boundary.
One of the most balanced batsmen of the game, had he been born a decade later, then he would have been held in the same regard as a Viv Richards or a Sachin Tendulkar.
#1 David Gower
One of the best left-handed batsmen to have ever played cricket, Gower was a talismanic figure in England’s national setup during his playing days. Wisden described Gower as "fluffy-haired, ethereal-looking" who played "beautifully, until the moment he made a mistake. Sometimes, the mistake was put off long enough for him to play an innings of unforgettable brilliance."
Gower had a very carefree approach towards the game and had a very strong top hand. Many referred his languid batting style as “aloof” and “lazy” but he was able to implement his strokes with effortless ease.
An immensely graceful batsman who never rushed through his shots, Gower scored 8231 runs in Tests, averaging 44.25 and scoring 39 fifties and 18 hundreds. In ODIs, Gower scored 3170 runs at an average of 30.77, scoring twelve fifties and seven hundreds.
He was the top scorer at the 1983 World Cup with 384 runs at an average of 76.80 and a strike rate of 84.95, which was even higher than Sir Viv Richards. An excellent, calm, and composed batsman, Gower is surely one of the most elegant artists with the willow.Published 10 Sep 2016, 16:16 IST