As the game of cricket has progressed, a number of talented batters have come to the fore. The sport is considered a batsman’s game and hence the focus is mostly on the batters to wield magic. Even as some of them faded away after promising at the start of their careers, a handful of them went on to become fulcrums of their respective sides.
Every era has it’s set 0f exceptional players. From Don Bradman, the baton got passed to the likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Hanif Mohammad, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting to Sachin Tendulkar and many others.
Even the current generation has a set of players, who rule the roost as far as rankings are concerned. Nevertheless, even those players have been vulnerable against certain bowlers, who managed to hit their weak spots pretty consistently.
In the article, let’s take a look at the current Fab 5 and their nemesis in cricket at the highest level: –
1. Babar Azam: Josh Hazlewood- 8 times
Babar Azam is Pakistan’s most consistent batsman without a doubt among the current bunch of cricketers. The 25-year-old started with some handsome knocks in the ODI and T20I formats. However, he had his travails at the start of his Test career, but he managed to find his feet even in the purest version of the sport.
In his glorious journey, Babar has strained against certain bowlers. Josh Hazlewood is one them. The Australian fast bowler is known for his immaculate accuracy and he has gotten rid of Babar as many as eight times.
Even in Pakistan’s tour at the end of 2019, Hazlewood picked him up a couple of times. Moreover, in Tests, Babar has a terrible average of 10 while facing the speedster. Even in ODI cricket, Josh has pinned him a couple of times in four games.
Matches- 5, Dismissals- 6, Average- 10
Matches- 4, Dismissals- 2, Average- 92
2. Joe Root: Pat Cummins- 10 times
Joe Root has been England’s bedrock in the middle order, especially in Test cricket where he averages 48.40. Though he has gotten out quite a few times after getting set, he has been able to make comebacks. In ODIs, the average shoots up to 51.05 in a power-packed batting line, boasting off brutal some power hitters.
However, he has found the going tough against Pat Cummins. In Tests, the Australian paceman has dismissed Root seven times in 10 matches. On a couple of times, the English Test skipper couldn’t open his account.
Root averages a mere 23.14 in the format while facing Cummins. Even in the ODI format, the 29-year-old Root hasn’t been able to evade Cummins’ wrath. In eight matches, the fast bowler had the batsman’s number three times.
Matches- 92, Dismissals- 7, Average- 23.14
Matches- 8, Dismissals- 3, Average- 24.66
3. Virat Kohli: Tim Southee- 10
Virat Kohli is the only batsman, who has an average in excess of 50 in all the three formats of the sport. The 31-year-old hasn’t gone through much of a lean patch and his numbers speak for themselves. However, during the course of his stupendous career, there have been a few bowlers, who have been able to hit his blind spots.
One of them is Tim Southee, the veteran New Zealand pacer. The Kiwi speedster has accounted for Kohli’s wicket as many as 10 times. In Test cricket, the fast bowler dismissed Virat three times in five matches.
When it comes to ODIs, Kohli averages a stunning 56.16 against Southee, but also got out to him six times. In the T20I format, the Black Caps’ seamer got Kohli’s number at the Eden Park in Auckland in January when the Delhi-born was on 11 runs.
Matches- 5, Dismissals- 3, Average- 36.66
Matches- 20, Dismissals- 6, Average- 56.16
Matches- 6, Dismissals- 1, Average- 11.00
4. Steve Smith: Stuart Broad- 11
Steve Smith has been in a different zone when it’s about Test cricket. The 30-year-old keeps on notching runs and his hunger to succeed has only increased. A Test average of 62.84 with 26 centuries speak volumes about the Australian batsman.
But he hasn’t quite been able to figure out the enigma of Stuart Broad, the England fast bowler, who has dismissed him as many as 11 times. Smith has gotten out to the right-arm pacer eight times in 24 Test matches. Most importantly, Smith averages 29.87 while facing him.
Even in the previous Ashes, Broad pinned Smith a couple of times. Moreover, in the ODI format, Broad accounted for Smith’s wicket three times in 11 matches. It won’t spring surprises if the future England captains bring Broad on when Smith comes to the middle.
Matches- 24, Dismissals- 8, Average- 29.87
Matches- 11, Dismissals- 3, Average- 25.00
5. Kane Williamson: James Anderson 8 times
Kane Williamson is a kind of batsman, who hardly succumbs under pressure. He is deemed to be cool as a cucumber, a quality that has helped him rack up records with sheer authority. In all the three formats, Kane has shown his versatility.
However, like most other batsmen, even he has a few bowlers against whom he has strained. James Anderson, the Three Lions fast bowler, is one of them. In Test cricket, though Kane averages 46 against him, Anderson has gotten the better of him six times in nine matches.
Out of them, on four instances, James found the batter’s outside edge, showing his accurate line and lengths. In ODI cricket, the speedster pinned Williamson two times in three games. Both times, Kane was yet to get settled and hence the average stands at a paltry 3.50.
Matches- 9, Dismissals- 6, Average- 46.00
Matches- 7, Dismissals- 2, Average- 3.50
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