Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe has announced that he believes four players have the potential to become “the No.1 Test batsman”.
The four players Crowe has earmarked for greatness are England’s Joe Root, India’s Virat Kohli, Australia’s Steven Smith and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson.
However, while those four batsmen have been branded as the “fabulous four” of Test Cricket, Crowe noted that they will experience a few “teething problems” before going on to become all-time greats.
“Prior to hitting peak period for a Test batsman, between age 24 and 32, the young player will go through teething problems, highs and lows, swings of fortune, before shooting for the stars,” Crowe wrote in his column for ESPNcricinfo. “If he is destined, he will learn quickly and climb the ladder to become the best of his time.”
Crowe also pointed out that all four batsmen have gone through rough patches in their careers, but added that it will only make them hungrier to become the best and achieve their ultimate goal of holding the coveted number one spot on the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test batsmen rankings.
Using Kohli as an example, Crowe highlighted how his ODI career started with a bang before things started to go downhill at an alarming rate.
“Then disaster struck. In his last ten innings he has hit absolute rock bottom, with a need to assess and start again,” he said. “Despite a solid technique with no obvious weakness – which produced centuries in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand – he has found the late-swinging ball in England to be his nemesis. In short, his footwork needs to be more decisive in getting close to the ball, shutting down late movement.”
The former New Zealand captain also stated that all four batsmen each have a weakness that stands out.
“They have been able to overcome problems, with a permanent batting position locked down being the key,” he said. “Only Kohli has shown a need to correct a glaring weakness exposed at this stage of development.”
In addition to becoming great Test batsmen, Crowe also believes that all four players will go on to captain their respective countries.
“All four will reach peak form in a few years’ time, and then the real battle will commence as to who will be the No. 1 batsman in the world,” he said. “My sense is that they will all take turns as the No. 1 Test batsman, while Kohli already has the one-day mantle in his sights. Maybe it is his prowess in, and preference for, the limited-over formats that will hold him back in Tests? Maintaining one’s game while playing three different formats is the most challenging aspect confronting the modern-day batsman.”