Does the ‘Fab 4’ exist in Test Cricket? Is it ‘Fab 3’ now?

Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Joe Root and Kane Williamson once formed the famous ‘Fab 4’. But is Kohli still at the same level as the other three?

Late New Zealand cricketer, Martin Crowe coined the term ‘Fab 4’ in 2014. At that time the Fab 4 consisted of Joe Root from England, Kane Williamson from New Zealand, Steve Smith from Australia and Virat Kohli from India. Over the years there have been many opinions suggesting that there could be Fab 5 or Fab 6 with Rohit Sharma or Pakistan’s Babar Azam included in the group. There are many players who have been able to come close to these four in white ball cricket over the years, but when it comes to Test cricket these four have been playing in their own leagues. All these 4 players have been crucial for their countries for a long time, but does the ‘Fab 4’ still exist in Test Cricket or is it just the Fab 3 now?

Fab 4 a term of the past?

Has the ‘Fab 4’ become a term of the past is a big question going around. Test cricket was the format where someone like Smith and Root in particular found the most success while Williamson and Kohli have found greater success in the white ball format. In recent years it has been evident to see that Virat Kohli has fallen behind his counterparts in the longest format. Smith, Root and Williamson have carried on with great form since 2020 while the same can’t be said about Kohli.

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Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli since 2020 has played 25 test matches and has scored 1277 runs in the period. He has managed to score only one century since 2020. The century came earlier this year against Australia in the Border Gavaskar Trophy. The century came at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad which produced one of the flattest tracks seen in India for a long time. His average has been just 29.69 during the period. His conversion of 50s to 100s has also reduced as he failed to convert six of his 50+ scores into centuries. Playing in India is very different from playing in SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia) countries. There are different skill sets involved while playing in different locations, but Kohli has struggled to score runs in India as well as in SENA countries.

  • Kohli in India

Kohli has scored 586 runs in India at an average of 34.47. His batting average in India indicates that he has struggled to find form even while playing at home. He has gotten dismissed for ducks thrice in India while scoring only two half-centuries in 11 matches.

  • Kohli in SENA

Kohli has struggled in SENA countries as well. He has scored 646 runs in 12 matches at an average of 28.08. His best came in South Africa where he scored 161 runs at an average of 40.25 in two matches while his worst came in New Zealand where he scored 38 runs in two matches at an average of just 9.50.

Steve Smith

Steve Smith since 2020 has been in great form. The Australian batter has scored 1915 runs in 27 matches. During this period he has six centuries and 9 half-centuries. He even has a double century during this period and has an average of 50.39. He has been a vital asset for his team at home and on away tours as well. He played a crucial role in the first innings of the World Test Championship final as well where Australia defeated India.

  • Smith in Australia

Smith has played 15 games in Australia and has scored 1106 runs in Australia. He has scored three centuries and six half-centuries at home. He has an average of 50.27. Smith also has three ducks to his name while playing in Australia.

  • Smith in India and England

Smith has scored 432 runs in India and England during this period. Australia has not toured New Zealand and South Africa during this time. His combined average in India and England comes out to be 43.2. He even has two centuries in England which is considered to be one of the toughest countries to bat.

Joe Root

Joe Root has played the most matches among the ‘Fab 4’ since 2020. There are many experts who believe that this is the peak of Root’s form. He has scored 3819 in 43 matches and his average during this period is 55.34. Pre-Bazball when the England team was struggling it was captain Root who held the batting together. 

  • Root in England

Root in England has been in amazing form. He is already at a disadvantage playing most of his matches in England where batting is already tough but he has looked better than any of the ‘Fab 4’ during this time. In 21 matches in England, Root has scored 1730 runs at an average of 61.78. He has seven centuries and four half-centuries. His conversion rate was something that was criticised a lot but since 2020 he proved everyone wrong by converting his 50s to 100s more often than not.

  • Root in India, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand

Away from home, Root has performed for the England team as well. He has scored 1249 runs at an average of 48.09. His best came in New Zealand where he scored 319 runs at an average of 106.33 in two matches. His worst performance came against arch-rivals in Australia where he scored 322 runs at an average of 32.2.

Kane Williamson

Kane Williamson has the best average among the ‘Fab 4’ during this period. He has played 16 matches where he scored has scored 1745 runs at an average of 72.70. Out of his 16 matches, nine were in New Zealand.

  • Williamson in New Zealand

Williamson has scored 1215 runs in New Zealand in nine matches. His average in New Zealand is 93.46. During this period he has six centuries and a solitary half-century at home. 

  • Williamson in India and England

Williamson has struggled away from home. He has played one match in India and four matches in England. He has scored 263 runs in both countries at an average of 29.22.

Also Read: World Cup 2023: How does the schedule benefit India?

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