Smith vs Kohli vs Root vs Williamson. Who is currently the best batsman in the world?
Steve Smith, Virat Kohli, Joe Root and Kane Williamson, known as the “fab four” because of their excellence, are currently ruling the cricketing world with their spectacular batting prowess and it won’t be long before they rewrite the history books. In fact, they have already started on that endeavour but there’s surely more to come.
With their spectacular techniques and run-scoring ability on any given surface, they are without a doubt a class above the rest. These four gentlemen are currently their country’s main batsman and having tasted captaincy for their respective countries, these men will become more and more responsible as well as become much better players in the years to follow. You can hardly find any flaws in them and hence, it is really difficult for anybody to rank these players.
However, the question we always find ourselves asking is “Who the best of the best?” For that, we must delve deeper into their individual records which is what we are going to do right now.
Starting off with none other than the former captain of the Australian team - Steve Smith. With an exceptional test average of 62.49 and a One Day average of 41.84, his record speaks volumes about the man’s hunger to score runs every time he steps onto the field to bat. He was a key factor in the Australian’s securing the World Cup in 2015 at home for a record 5th time.
At just 28 years old, the man from Sydney is already making massive strides in becoming one of the Aussie greats. However, Smith’s only major drawback has been his lack of run scoring ability in the T20 format and that might also be a reason why Australia is yet to win a T20 World Cup title. With the next T20 Cricket World Cup to be held at home in 2020, Smith will seek to lead from the front to secure Australia's first Cup victory in that format of the game. The whole of Australia will be rooting for him and his men.
Next, we move onto the captain of the Indian team - Virat Kohli. The past couple of years has seen the rise of Virat Kohli who has been consistently scoring runs effortlessly for India across all three formats. After a torrid time in England in 2014 where he averaged just 13.5 in 10 outings, Kohli has been a different player ever since.
He played a pivotal role in guiding his country to the final of the ICC Champions Trophy which ironically was held in England. However, prior to revisiting England, Kohli scored four double centuries in four successive Test series (World Record) which helped his test average sail past 50. He recently played an instrumental part in team India’s success in South Africa by amassing close to 1000 runs on that tour across all the three formats.
His record for India in the limited overs format has been remarkable, averaging a whopping 58.11 in ODI cricket and a staggering 50.85 in T20’s, fifteen more than the next best. With such impressive figures in all three formats, it would seem impossible to find any flaws in Kohli’s batting, but his major drawback though, has been his inability to play on surfaces where the ball seams a lot, for example in England. Having said that, an average of 50+ in all three formats is no easy feat and being the only player in the world with such a record goes to show just how accomplished of a batsman he really is.
The third player we are going to look at also happens to be a captain – Kane Williamson, the New Zealand skipper. Like Kohli, Williamson is the only other player out of these 4 men to captain their respective countries in all three formats. With the added responsibility of being captain, Williamson has still managed to score runs for New Zealand in both Test and One Day cricket. Even though he has a T20 average of just 31.33, his test average of 50.62 and ODI average of 46.88 shows just why he will be the main man for New Zealand in the upcoming World Cup in 2019.
Williamson’s drawback has been his inability to convert his 50’s into 100’s. He has 67 scores of above 50 across all formats but only 28 hundred’s. Off late, he has been in good form and his brilliant captaincy helped New Zealand to a 5-0 whitewash against Pakistan in a recent ODI series at home.
All eyes will be on the Kiwi skipper as he will hope to continue the good work and help his country to its first ever World Cup success, come 2019. An ICC title has eluded the Blackcaps since winning their maiden ICC title in the Champions Trophy way back in 2000.
Last but not the least we move onto Joe Root, the only player on this list who is not the captain of his country in only one format. Root has been in phenomenal form for England across all three formats and ever since making his debut for the national team, he has never looked back. He has performed extremely well, series after series, almost as if he knows when to accelerate and when to play defensively.
Root has got a wide range of shots and his ability to play on all sides of the wicket is a massive asset to the team. His test average of 52.79 along with his ODI average of 51.16 and T20 average of 39.11 speaks highly of his consistency in all three formats. Root’s only drawback though, much like Williamson has been his inability to convert his 50’s into 100’s. Across all formats, he has amassed 68 fifties but only 24 hundred’s.
This has been one of the contributing factors to England’s inability to chase down big scores. Root is one for the future and England will hope that the English Test skipper will continue his rich vein of form in next year’s Cricket World Cup and help his country win its first-ever title.
So, who is the best?
Taking everything into consideration, Virat Kohli is, without a doubt the best batsman in the world right now with an average of 50+ across all formats, Steve Smith is a close second due to his staggering performances in Test match cricket. Joe Root in third followed by Kane Williamson.