Between 1950 to 1980 we had legends like Gavaskar, Lillee, Bradman, Allan Border, Garfield Sobers, Viv Richards, Imran Khan, Kapil Dev amongst others. Between 1980 to 2000 we had new stars emerging right from the Pakistan pace duo of Akram and Waqar Younis to Inzamam and Miandad, Australian legends like Warne and Ponting, Sri Lankan stalwarts like Jayasuriya, Aravinda, Mahela, Sangakkara to Indian greats like Dravid,Laxman, Kumble, Tendulkar and Ganguly amonst others.
Now comes the new age 21st century- a generation of fast paced cricketers who bat faster, are more agile, play in new cricket rules (favoring batsman more, making it a batsman’s game). In the era of fast food and fast technology, cricket has also evolved to become a fast game where the concept of rock solid defense, playing like a wall till the end and scoring a classical 200-250ball 100 in Tests has become a rarity. Former test great VVS Laxman once said- “Now pick any player and they will be able to score a 25ball 50 but ask them to score a 25 in 50balls, no one will have the technique and patience to achieve that feat”
Even in this fast paced generation, there are some boys who are showing signs of becoming great legends in the longer format of the game i.e Tests and even in ODI’s and hence we at Sportsnasha shortlisted a few players who can definitely be the new age legends in the coming years to come.
Virat Kohli- (IND)
In the 80’s and 90’s, average of 38-39 was considered above par in ODI’s. Today these boys are just raising the bar and starting with Virat who averages 53.40 in 66 Tests, 58.20 in over 200ODI’s and almost 50.00 in T20. That’s just unbelievable when you look at his stats, it’s simply surreal. 35 ODI Tons in mere 211ODI’s is a testimony to the fact that his appetite is simply wild when it comes to scoring runs. Tendulkar took over 300ODI’s to cross 30tons, Ponting took over 350ODI’s to score 30 ODI tons and Ganguly who was once the 2nd highest ton scorer in ODI’s had 22tons in over 300 ODI’s and here is Kohli scoring staggering 35hundreds in almost mere half the matches than these earlier legends. 5 more years of cricket and he is bound to break many records. Infact he looks all set to even break Sachin’s record of 100 ODI tons with already 56 International tons at the age of 29 and almost another 7 to 8years of cricket left.
Babar Azam (PAK)
Though it’s too early to compare him in the league of Kohli but his run scoring appetite is very good. With an average of almost 55.00 with 7tons in just 44 ODI’s and team it up with his qualities of calm head, extreme patience under crunch situations and stick to the wicket like a glue makes him a mixture of Inzamam and Kohli combined. He has that laziness, that rock solid sturdiness of Inzy while he also has the energy, hunger and temperament like Kohli making him a player to look out for. And the best part is, he is just 23, so he is surely going to improve and mature with age with lots of years of cricket left in his kitty.
Steven Smith (AUS)
He has the panache and aggression of Ponting, even the aggression and sledging levels are same. While on the other hand, he is more agile, more flexible and more innovative than Ponting which makes him a very big asset for Australia. A Test average of 61.00 in 64 tests with as many as 23tons makes him right now only next to Bradman in terms of Test Average. Even in ODI’s he has always been a stable hand and 5-6 more years of cricket and he is bound to break Ponting, Hayden and Langer’s test records.
Fakhar Zaman (PAK)
Currently averaging 76.07 with already a double ton in his kitty in ODI’s, 28yr old southpaw Fakhar has lent that much needed freshness and pumped up energy into the Pakistani side. He has that old world swagger of the Pakistani players of the 90’s and early 2000’s. The way he played against India in the Champions Trophy finals is anything to go by, he can be the new age Javed Miandad for Pakistan.
Joe Root (ENG)
Averaging over 50+ in both the longer formats of the game-Tests and ODI’s, Joe Root is the classical English batsman England were madly in a wait for since years after the retirement of the previous batch of cricketers. Joe also has the best ratio of scoring 50 or more than 50+ per match with 40fifties and 13tons in mere 69Tests. That means almost every 1.3 tests he either scores a fifty or a hundred.
Kane Williamson (NZ)
The kiwi batsman has been the backbone of New Zealand Cricket past 3-4 years and the best part he has the temperament to play at a strike rate of 50-60 while he can also be equally dangerous if required and smash those biggies. An average of 50+ in 65Tests with 18tons and a healthy average of 47.00 in ODI’s makes him one of the most promising batsman to lookout for in the next 5years.