We are blessed currently to be witnessing an era in which the batting standards have increased hugely and there are many batsman on the circuit who impress in all formats. Here are my personal top 5:
5: David Warner: Test batting ave: 49.16 ODI batting ave: 44.84
David Warner is undoubtedly one of Australia’s finest opening batsman of all time, and he still has plenty of his career left. He is very similar to Virender Sehwag in his style- an opener who is very aggressive and plays his shots right from the outset. Warner is one of the most exciting and dangerous batsmen in the world when he is on form, and his recent form suggests that 2017 could be a huge year for the Aussie vice captain. Just last month, he became just the fifth player of all time to score a century before lunch in a Test against Pakistan. Once he gets going, he is incredibly difficult to stop, and with a crucial tour coming up against India, Warner will have to be in top form if Australia are to be successful.
4: Kane Williamson: Test batting ave: 50.07 ODI batting ave: 46.65
It is undeniable that Kane Williamson is the classiest batsman in the world right now. It is difficult to remember the last time Williamson played an ugly shot, or a shot that’s not in the coaching manual. There is nothing unorthodox about Williamson, and after Brendon McCullum’s retirement in 2016, Williamson has had to take over the role of captain, and pretty much carry a mediocre New Zealand team on his shoulders. It was widely expected of Williamson at the beginning of his career, that he would be solely a Test player due to his slower approach to batting, however, he has achieved phenomenal success in One day matches for New Zealand. He bats fluently at a good strike rate and proves that you don’t have to be a Chris Gayle type hitter to do well in One Day. His real test from now will be how he manages to balance the captaincy burden, and his individual batting.
3: Virat Kohli: Test batting ave: 50.10 ODI batting ave: 53.11 T20 batting ave: 53.40
Kohli is probably the most talked about cricketer in the world right now, due to the fact that he is Indian, and the fact that he has extraordinary talent. I believe that in the years to come, Kohli will become the best batsman in the world, but as of right now, he still needs to prove himself in conditions where the ball moves about. He is the only batsman to average over 50 in all formats, which is a feat that is just completely unthinkable, yet Kohli has still managed it. He is a prime example of what can happen when a talent works hard, and despite still having years ahead of him in his career, he has amassed tons of runs so far. He has only recently come into his own in Test cricket-managing to record three double centuries in Tests in 2016, including a dazzling 235 against England in December. Kohli himself has acknowledged that he is not the best batsman in the world right now, but he is focused on his game, and in the years to come, expect this name to be right at the centre of cricket still.
2: Steve Smith: Test batting ave: 60.15 ODI batting ave: 43.67
No I did not make a mistake with his average, he really does average 60+ in Tests with over 4500 runs. One of the most unlikely players to succeed, Smith was thought of as a mediocre leg spinner who could bat a bit when he came into the Australian team in 2010. No one could have predicted that he would be the number one ranked test player in the world 6 years later, and certainly no one would have expected him to have the stats that he does right now. He ditched the leg spinning, and focused on adopting one of the most unorthodox techniques in world cricket right now. I was torn between putting Joe Root on this list, but he didn’t make it due to his problem of converting 50’s into 100’s. Smith has no such problem. 17 hundreds and 20 fifties in tests show that once he gets in, he stays in, and the Australian captain will need to continue making those hundreds on the upcoming tour of India where he will go head to head with Kohli in batting and captaincy.
1: AB de Villiers: Test batting ave: 50.46 ODI batting ave: 53.93
Ab de Villiers is hands down the greatest player I have ever seen. Virtually every other cricketer in the world acknowledges AB as the best, especially Kohli who constantly reminds people during the IPL that AB is still at the top. Bob Willis said that de Villiers is the best batsman he has ever seen, and that he is better than the great Vivian Richards. AB is so dominant in One day cricket- holding the record for the fastest fifty (16 balls), the fastest hundred (31 balls), and the fastest 150 (64 balls), that it is easy to forget how good he is in Tests as well. Over 8000 runs at an average of 50 with 21 hundreds is an incredibly impressive feat. It does seem however that AB has put test cricket on hold at the moment, ruling himself out of all tests in 2017 until November-December. Whilst we won’t see him play tests for a while, we will still be blessed with seeing him in One Dayers for South Africa, including the highly anticipated Champions Trophy in England in the summer, and of course, the greatest domestic competition in the world, the IPL, where he will be wishing to give his team RCB their first ever IPL title.