Former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson has picked Virat Kohli as the best hitter among Test cricket’s ‘big five’, preferring not to read much about the Indian maestro’s failure to score 100 since November 2019.
According to Watson’s list, the former India captain has capped Steve Smith, Kane Williamson, Joe Root and Babar Azam.
“In test match cricket, I will always say Virat Kohli,” Watson said when asked by Isa Guha who he says is the best test hitter in the world, in his latest episode of ICC review.
“It’s almost superhuman what he’s able to do because he has such intensity every time he comes out to play,” added Watson. While Kohli has slipped to 10th in the ICC rankings, the Indian great continues to hold a remarkable Test batting record. He scored 27 Test centuries and 28 half centuries and currently has a Test batting average of just under 50.
Marnus Labuschagne, the current world No. 1 Test batsman, who played 26 Test matches and averaged 54.31, is said to have raised the ‘big ‘five’ to a ‘big six’, but was left out of the debate on this subject due to a minimum criteria of 40 tests, the ICC said in a report published on its official website.
Regarding Pakistani skipper Babar, whom he kept at number two, Watson noted, ”Babar Azam is playing incredibly well. ” (It’s great) to be able to see how he’s adapted his game to really move his game to Test cricket as well. “Babar Azam would probably be No. 2 right now. ”Babar is currently ranked the fifth best striker in the world and looks to be on the rise if his recent performances against Australia are up to par. He hit a stunning 196 in the second test in Karachi and finished the series with a total of 390 runs.
Of Watson’s third best hitter, Smith, he said the Aussie star was “just starting to come off a bit”. on bowlers like he did when he was at his best. For me, Steve has lowered this list a bit.” Smith is second in the ICC rankings, with only Australian teammate Labuschagne ranked ahead of him. Of Williamson, whom Watson currently considers the fourth best in the world, the Australian said: “Kane knows his game inside out and knows how to put pressure on bowlers in all conditions.” While Williamson has only played two Test matches in the last 12 months, he remains ranked as the third best hitter. The Kiwi veteran has 24 Test centuries under his belt and can still have plenty of cricket in him if he can overcome his injury problems.
Coming to his fifth-best Root hitter, Watson said: ”Joe Root recently scored a hundred but he had a bit of time along Steve Smith’s lines where he wasn’t able to nail the big scores as it has done in the past. ” ” It’s amazing how these world class hitters go through waves where instead of scoring those big hundreds they get the 70s-80s but still impact the game but aren’t able to really keep that really high level of getting those big races like they’ve done in the past,” added Watson.
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