Following on from what seems like countless Test retirements over the past couple of years, when greats of the game like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith have chosen to hang up their boots, the game has been searching for new stars to emerge from their shadows to capture our imagination.
From what we have witnessed recently it appears we may have found them!
Both Australia’s Steve Smith and India’s Virat Kohli have shown in the current Australia v India Test match series that they have what it takes to be the poster boys of Test match cricket, and cricket in general, in future years. They have what it takes to lead a resurgence in the five-day game.
In the fourth and final Test match, which is being played at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) currently, both players have continued their remarkable batting form that has been a feature of the series.
Australia posted a formidable first innings score in Sydney thanks, in no small part, to Smith’s 117 but India have responded well due to Kohli’s sublime unbeaten 140. Both players have now hit their fourth centuries in the series.
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Smith’s century was his fourth in successive Tests, which equalled the record held by Don Bradman and Jacques Kallis, whilst Kohli has become the first player to hit three Test centuries in his first three innings as captain. He has also overtaken Rahul Dravid as the leading run-scorer by any Indian on a tour of Australia.
Smith now has 698 runs at an average of 139.60 in the series so far whilst Kohli has 639 runs at an average of 106.50 . Both still have a further innings in the series in which to enhance their impressive stats and break yet more records.
Added to this Smith and Kohli have been performing remarkably well with the added pressure of captaining their countries. Both players are new to captaincy so are on a steep learning curve but these skills will develop over time. Time is something they have definitely got on their side.
Test match cricket is crying out for an exciting brand of cricket with innovative ideas and hopefully this new breed of cricketers will be given the freedom to express themselves rather than being forced to abide by the more established rules. As captains of their countries they must surely have the power to shake off any constraints placed upon them by the game.
Smith and Kohli are not the only exciting prospects around the World. The likes of England’s Joe Root and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson, to name just two, have the potential to take the game to another level as well. There is also the upcoming World Cup, which is due to start next month In Australia and New Zealand, which will no doubt throw up some more exciting talents that the World of cricket can pin it’s future on.
For now though Smith and Kohli are stealing the limelight in World cricket and fully deserve the accolades that will undoubtedly come their way. They are now in a privileged position of being able to lead the sport through the next few years by their actions and performances. All of a sudden Cricket is once again in a good place and long may that continue.