Sports have always played an integral role in human society. Since the earliest civilizations, people have engaged in competitions of stamina, strength, and speed. The earliest examples of this include wrestling, foot races, and throwing events. However, over the years, different sports have developed among difference civilizations, that still are going strong today.
An example of this is cricket. Cricket is one of the most popular sports today. With roots in England, the sport quickly spread throughout the English commonwealth, and grew in popularity over the years. Today, the sport has over 2 billion fans around the globe, enjoying major popularity in countries like India, Pakistan, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, and naturally, England.
In many of these countries, cricket is the unrivaled, most popular sport watched and enjoyed by people of every stripe. The sport is also hugely popular online, with numerous sites that focus on the sport, such as Sportsadda, experiencing major success among cricket fans.
Today, the major countries with a successful track record in the cricket world are Australia, India, and England. These countries have also produced some of the finest players and batsmen. In this article, we are going to take a look at a few of the greatest batsmen in the world of cricket, and talk about their career and achievements.
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Marnus Labuschagne is an Australian cricketer, who plays for the Australian men’s team. Today, he is widely renowned as the top ranked batsman in the world, at least according to the International Cricket Council’s rankings of the best batsmen in 2023.
Labuschagne started his career playing for Queensland, a team he captained in the 2012-13 National Championships. He spent most of his early years playing cricket in England. During 2013 he played in the Devon Premier League, and spent the following year in the Kent Premier League.
He got a taste for the A-list in 2015, when he made his debut in the One-Day Cup, playing for Queensland. The following year, he was named the “Player of the Tournament” in the 2016 One-Day Cup.
The height of his career, thus far, came in 2019, when he became the first concussion substitute in cricket. During a Cricket Test match he replaced Steve Smith, a prolific and respected player in his own right, who recently, according to the Guardian, experienced a concussion in a game against Sri Lanka. During the 2019 Test Matches, Labuschagne became the leading-scorer of the season and rose through the ICC Player Rankings, all the way up to 4th place. The next year, in 2020, Wisden Cricketers’ Almanac named him one of the five Cricketers of the Year.
For this next player, we must travel to New Zealand. Kane Williamson is one of New Zealand’s most renowned players, and current captain of the New Zealand national cricket team. While he has dabbled in off spin bowling, he is primarily a batsman, and one of the best in the world.
Williamson’s first-class debut was in 2007, the same year when he played against the Indian U-19 team. During this game, he was chosen to take up the title of New Zealand’s national U-19 team’s captain. He has also been chosen to represent New Zealand at three different iterations of the Cricket World Cup, and several different editions of the International Cricket Council’s world Twenty20. In 2016, he made his debut as full-time captain of the New Zealand team, during the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 in India.
Kane’s highest point came in 2019, when he took the New Zealand team to the ICC World Cup finals, where they played a tough and draining match against England. While the match ended in a tie, England ultimately won due to the boundary count-back rule. Despite this, Kane Williamson’s drive and determination were rewarded with the Player of the Tournament award, and a significant jump in the ICC Player Rankings. Today, he is ranked 2nd on the ICC Batsmen Rankings, only topped by Labuschagne.
From Australia and New Zealand, we move over to England, in order to take a look at Joe Root. Mr. Root plays cricket for the England Test team (which he used to captain) and the One Day International team. In the domestic scene, Joe Root represents the Yorkshire team.
The Englishman made his Test debut in 2012, and his One Day International debut the following year. During the 2016/2017 season it was decided he would take over captain duties for the English Test team, a responsibility he held on to until April 2023. During this stint as captain, Joe Root earned a record for most Test matches played, most Test matches won, and most Test matches lost as England’s captain. He also played for the English team in 2019, when the country won their first ever Cricket World Cup, during which he was England’s leading run-scorer.
In 2023, he was named Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World, and according to the ICC’s Official Website was given the Player of the Year award.
Lastly, we are taking a look at Pakistan’s most prominent player active today, Babar Azam. Babar is currently Pakistan’s most respected, beloved, and many would argue, best player, who captains the Pakistan men’s national team in all formats. He also captains the Karachi Kings in the Pakistan Super League, and the Central Punjab team in domestic cricket. The International Cricket Council named him the top ODI batsman in 2023, and he has held the title of number one in the T20I as well.
Throughout his career, Babar Azam has won a number of awards. In 2017 and 2019, he was named as an important player of the Pakistani team in the ICC Men’s ODI Team of the Year award. In 2018 he was awarded the 2017 Cricketer of the Year Award, and in 2020 he was named Player of the Tournament in the Pakistan Super League.
For Azam, 2023 was certainly his best year. During the 2023 season he achieved numerous awards, the most notable of which was the ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year award.