The 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup in India is less than a month away and will feature some of the cricket’s very best players and teams. This tournament is set to hold a lot of significance in larger cricket history, as the modern day ‘Fab Four’, consisting of batting greats – Virat Kohli (India), Steve Smith (Australia), Joe Root (England) and Kane Williamson (New Zealand) will have their ‘One Last Dance’ together.
This tournament could be the final time that these four legends play an ICC Cricket World Cup or matter of fact, any major ICC tournament together. Ever since the New Zealand legend Martin Crowe coined the term ‘Fab Four’ to put all these stars in a group, they have accomplished a lot in the sport. All of these players have a large volume of runs and multiple records to their name.
But with Virat about to turn 35 in November, Steve aged 34, Root about to turn 33 in December and Williamson currently aged 33, they are not getting any younger. By the time the next 50-over World Cup comes in 2027, they will be in their late 30s. There is a big chance that they would not be around in the white-ball set-up during that time together at once.
Ahead of the WC, let us have explore these legends, in numbers:
Virat is undoubtedly the best all-format batter of all four. In 279 ODIs, he has scored 13,027 runs at an average of 57.38. He has scored 47 centuries and 65 half-centuries in the format, with the best score of 183. He is the second-highest run-scorer for India in ODIs next to Sachin Tendulkar (18,426 runs) and in fifth position.
The dashing Indian top-order batter has represented India in 26 World Cup matches since 2011, having scored 1,030 runs at an average of 46.81. He has smashed two centuries and six fifties in 26 matches, with the best score of 107. He is India’s second-highest run-scorer in WC history, next to Sachin Tendulkar (2,278 runs) and overall at 17th spot. He lifted the 2011 WC with India.
During this World Cup, he would be extremely keen to improve his record in the knockout stages after poor outings in the 2015 and 2019 semifinals, in which he registered single-digit scores.
The 2019 World Cup was the best for Virat statistically. In nine matches, he scored 443 runs at an average of 55.38, with five half-centuries to his name and a best score of 82. Virat was the 10th-highest run-scorer in the tournament and the second-highest scorer for India.
This year, Virat has been in solid form across all formats. In 14 ODIs and 12 innings this year, Virat has smashed 556 runs at an average of 55.60, with three centuries and one fifty and a best score of 166*.
Next up is Steve Smith. Often hailed as the greatest Test batter of Australia since the days of Don Bradman, Smith has also played 142 ODIs for Australia. In these, he has scored 4,939 runs at an average of 44.49. He has scored 12 centuries and 29 fifties in 126 innings, with the best score of 164.
Smith has played 24 World Cup matches since his debut in 2011. In these, he has scored 834 runs at an average of 46.33, with one century and eight fifties in 20 innings, with the best score of 105. He is the eighth-highest run-scorer for Australia in WC history.
The 2015 CWC was the highest point of Smith’s ODI career. In the eight matches he played, he scored 402 runs at an average of 67.00, with one century and four half-centuries and best score of 105. This included a match-winning century against India in the semis and a match-winning half-century against New Zealand in the finals. He was the sixth-highest run-scorer in the tournament and Australia’s leading run-scorer.
This year, however, Smith has not had much ODI match practice. He has played only two innings in three matches, scoring 22 runs at an average of 11.00, with the best score of 22. He will be looking forward to improving and adding to these stats in India.
Joe Root is up next. In 161 ODIs, he has scored 6,217 runs at an average of 48.95. He has scored 16 centuries and 36 fifties in 150 innings, with the best score of 133*. He is England’s second-highest ODI run-scorer, next to Eoin Morgan (6,957 runs).
Since his WC debut in 2015, he has represented England in 17 WC matches, scoring 758 runs at an average of 54.14 in 16 innings, with three centuries and three fifties. His best score in WC is 121. Behind the legendary Graham Gooch (897 runs in 21 innings), he is England’s second-highest run-scorer in WC history.
Root’s finest moment of his ODI career came in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, when his team lifted their maiden title. In 11 matches, he scored 556 runs in 11 innings at an average of 61.77, with two centuries and three fifties. He had the best score of 107. Root ended as the fifth-highest run-scorer in the tournament and as England’s leading batter too.
This year, Root has played only three ODIs, scoring only 10 runs. This tournament will be his opportunity to roar out loud in his side’s title defence.
Lastly, let us look at Kane Williamson. In 161 ODI matches, he has scored 6,554 runs at an average of 47.83. He scored 13 centuries and 42 fifties in 153 innings, with the best score of 148. He is the fifth-highest ODI run-scorer for New Zealand.
Ever since his World Cup debut in 2011, he has scored 911 runs in 23 matches and 22 innings at an average of 56.93, with two centuries and three fifties. His best score is 148. He is NZ’s fourth-highest run-scorer in WC history, behind Martin Guptill (995 runs), Ross Taylor (1002 runs) and Stephen Fleming (1,075 runs).
The 2019 World Cup is Williamson’s high point in ODIs. In 10 matches, he scored 578 runs at an average of 82.57. He scored two centuries and two fifties, with the best score of 148. He was the fourth-highest run-maker in the tournament and NZ’s best batter. This earned him the ‘Player of the Tournament’ award, but he could not win the World Cup since a tie in regular time at finals and then in Super Over led to his side losing the match on the basis of boundary count “by the barest of margins”.
In three matches this year, he has scored 164 runs at an average of 54.66, with two fifties and best score of 85. Williamson, who has gained full fitness after suffering an injury during IPL 2023, will be keen to be at his best during the marquee event in India.
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