'Fab Four' of the modern generation: A comprehensive career review
The 'Fab Four' of the current generation are dominating world cricket now. The Fab Four includes Team India captain Virat Kohli, former Australia captain Steven Smith, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, and England Test captain Joe Root.
These four players are the mainstays of their team's batting line up and are the considered best batsmen in today's generation. All these batsmen bat at either number 3 or number 4 position which is considered as a very important batting position for the team to post a competitive score.
While there is a constant debate over the standings of these four players among them, there is no denying in fact that all of them are match-winners for their respective formats and can win the team matches irrespective of the format and match situation.
The journey of these players from their debut to the highest level has been phenomenal which is described as following:
#1 Virat Kohli (India)
The current Indian captain came into limelight as the skipper of the Indian team that won the U-19 World Cup in 2008. His leadership qualities were noticed along with his intensity in the field. He also earned IPL contract in the inaugural season of IPL with RCB and continues to play for the franchise till now.
He made entry to the national squad against Sri Lanka as a replacement for unavailable openers and performed decently at the opening position, but was left out of the team after the regular openers Sachin and Sehwag were back.
However, he continued to impress in the domestic circuit and forced the national selectors to call him back again in the squad in 2009. He repaid the faith of selectors by scoring his maiden ODI hundred against Sri Lanka in a successful run-chase.
He continued to be part of the team and was also included for the World Cup 2011 squad. He scored his first hundred in World Cup against Bangladesh in his first ever WC match and then stitched an important partnership with Gautam Gambhir in the finals after the fall of two quick wickets.
After performing consistently in limited overs cricket, he was handed his debut in Test cricket in 2011 against West Indies as many players were rested.
After that, he was selected for the tour Down Under against Australia. He was not able to score much in the first two Tests and was being criticized for his poor technique. But he came back strongly in the next two Tests, scoring 75 in the third Test at Perth and then scoring a century in the fourth Test at Adelaide.
Moreover, he continued to impress in the limited overs format and went to make innumerable records for fastest to multiple-of-thousand runs in ODIs and went to become the highest run-scorer in a calendar year many times.
One of the most remembered innings of Kohli came in the tri-series in Australia against Sri Lanka in 2012, where he scored 133* and helped India chase the target of above 320 in less than 40 overs and kept India alive for the tournament. This innings had announced the arrival of the greatest chase master of the game.
He was also handed the captaincy of RCB for IPL 2013 and continues to do it till now.
He continued his good form further in the year and became the mainstay of the Indian middle order and contributed largely with his extraordinary fielding skills. He also played decently in Champions Trophy and played very well against Australia at home, scoring fastest hundred by an Indian in ODIs and helped India chase targets of 350 above continuously.
He carried his form in the tours to South Africa and New Zealand. The lowest point of his otherwise astonishing career came in the tour of England in 2014, where he scored runs at the average of less than 20 and was getting out again and again against the out-swinging deliveries and was criticized largely for his poor batting techniques in foreign conditions.
But he soon proved his worth in foreign soil by batting solidly in the 2014-15 tour to Australia and was also handed the captaincy of the Test team by Dhoni in the last Test of the series. Although he was not able to win the series for India, he made a solid testament to his solid batting technique. His wrists and bottom hand were the strongest point in his batting technique and helped him play flicks and pick-up shots very easily and he scored runs heavily in the leg-side.
He continued his good form in limited overs cricket and performed well in WC 2015, but failed to perform in semi-finals against the eventual champions Australia. After the IPL, he led the Test team first time for a complete series against SL and won his first test series as a captain after storming back into the series after the team lost the first Test at Galle.
He did not scored heavily in the 2015-16 home series against South Africa on the dreaded turning tracks but batted enough and led the team well to win the series. He played well in limited overs against South Africa and also against Australia in Australia. This was the series when his purple patch started and he scored heavily in both ODIs and T20s.
He also dominated as a batsman in the T20 WC in 2016 and played one of the most remembered innings in the must-win match against Australia.
The 2016 IPL was the best IPL for him as he scored 4 centuries, the only batsman to do such till date, and took the team to finals single-handedly, but was unlucky to not able to lay hands on the silverware.
He continued his form in the Test format and soon completed his fourth double century in Tests against the England side at home and scored very heavily in the whole series, batting out the England team in each match.
He was then handed over the reins of limited overs team by MS Dhoni and this did not affect his batting much as he continued to pile plethora of runs in the ODIs and T20s against England.
However, he did not have a great series against Australia at home and also the IPL as he was suffering from injuries. But he came back strong in the 2017 Champions Trophy and led India to finals, where they were shockingly defeated by Pakistan. Recovering from the loss, he continued piling on runs against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka and then against Australia and Sri Lanka at home.
Then came his first tour in the SENA country as a captain and also as a batsman after that forgettable tour of England. Although team India was not able to win the Test series in RSA, Kohli continued improving his game and scored heavily in both Test and limited overs cricket and helped India win the ODI and T20 series.
He had a decent outing in IPL 2018 by his usual standards, but after IPL he had probably the most important tour of his career till date, in England as he had to prove his critics wrong. He did so and scored a huge amount of runs in the Test series and it clearly showed great improvement in his technique. He played Anderson well and the series seemed to be England vs Virat Kohli.
He continued his form in limited overs cricket and erased all the memories of his previous tour of England and showed that why he is considered as the current best batsman in the world. This shows that Kohli learns quickly and no one can beat his urge to improve.
He also further continued his form vs Windies at home and is the player to watch out for the tour of Australia and New Zealand and most importantly the 2019 World Cup.
The performance of Indian team in these tours and WC 2019 will largely depend on Virat Kohli and we hope that he continues his purple patch and helps India lift the WC for the third time and that too under his captaincy.